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Senate needs a businessman, says former Dallas mayor


The following ran in the March 10, 2012, edition of the Houston Chronicle. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

March 22, 2012

By Joe Holley

On a recent morning in Heritage Ranch, a gated community for "active adults" northeast of Dallas, the sky is a brilliant blue, the temperature balmy. Inside one of the immaculate brick homes bordering a championship golf course, the local Republican Women's Club is hosting a reception for area judicial candidates and one candidate to succeed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

As mayor of Dallas from 2007 to 2011, Tom Leppert is in congenial company at the reception. Most know him or at least know of him.

Joleen Reynolds, 70, who lived in Houston 44 years before moving to Heritage Ranch in 2007, recalled hearing Leppert speak to a local Republican club. "He's not like Ted Cruz, all fiery and everything," she said, referring to the former Texas solicitor general and tea party favorite. "The reason I like him is because he gave common-sense solutions. Plus, he has experience, including a lot of executive experience."

Retired businessman Michael Petrik, 68, called Leppert "a perfect politician. He gets along with all sides and can reach a consensus. That's how he governed Dallas."...

Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, called Leppert a good mayor, "well-liked and well-respected." Those qualities, however, are unlikely to count for much in this year's Republican primary, he said.

"He's an intelligent man of moderate instincts being forced to ape the more immoderate positions of the Republican Party electorate," Jillson said. "He faces the same problem Mitt Romney does, from a less advantageous position."...