A flyer sent out to some Republican voters in Dallas is sparking outrage from the lawmaker it criticizes.
According to Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, the mailer is racist and untrue, and he wants his challenger for the seat in House District 114 to disavow it.
“The flyer was absolutely disgusting,” Villalba said. “I think that is disingenuous. I think it is mean-spirited.”
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The mailer has a picture of Villalba with the headline, “Giving felons welfare handouts.” But Villalba takes issue with the image below that, one of a dark skinned male wearing a hoodie.
“I think he was trying to make it clear that this person is scary, the people of the district should be scared,” explained Villalba. “And if they're going to vote for Rep. Villalba, then that's the kind of scariness you're going to expect.”
But the mailer didn’t come from one person; rather, it was distributed by the North Texas Conservative Coalition, a PAC registered in Tyler. According to campaign finance disclosure forms, the group does support Villalba’s Republican opponent, Dan Morenoff.
“It’s not from me,” Morenoff explained. “This is a mailer that I only knew about when it hit my mailbox.”
While the Dallas attorney contends he had nothing to do with the creation of the mailer, he doesn’t have an issue with its content.
“When I look at it I just see a guy in clothes in the shade. I didn't actually see another face,” Morenoff explained. “Me and Jason are both Hispanics. So, I'm certainly not catching...I don't see anything that's racist about it. I think it's really just focusing on the policy issue.”
Thursday, Villalba challenged Morenoff to come out against the flyer, however, Morenoff indicated he had no intention of doing so.
“I'm perfectly happy being judged by the campaign that I've run,” Morenoff said. “I think that we've been very respectful about the differences between me and my opponent.”
NBC 5 reached out to the North Texas Conservative Coalition for comment, but the group did not return our calls.
“If he doesn't reject this outright, then he's endorsing it,” said Villalba. “And we do not need that.”