The Publisher's Desk: So you want to elect an official? (part 3)

If you’re like me, you’re pretty sick of politics by now. 

To take your mind off of all the candidates, I invite you to instead consider how to research candidates. 

In all seriousness, as I’ve written about for the past three weeks, it can be hard to know who to vote for in statewide and national elections. 

For the local elections, we try to give you as much information as is out there. But when it comes to statewide elections, we admit we can’t do them justice, so to compensate, here are my suggestions on how to research them online to make the most informed decision. 

This week’s suggestion is the Texas Tribune database. 

Keying in will take you to an online news source that focuses exclusively on Texas. They have many databases that are interesting, such as education, water, etc., but this time of year their political databases are useful. 

Specifically typing in brings up a database of government salaries.

Typing in “Railroad Commission” in the search bar below brings up a list of employees, including Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, who is currently running for re-election. The database shows us she makes $150,937 a year. 

You can also see general statistics, such as employment and salaries by ethnicity and general length of employment. 

The directory of state officials is also useful. 

Type in into your URL to find it. 

Selecting an official, such as “Bush, George P.” under Texas General Land Office will give you basic information about him, his staff and his position. 

Especially interesting is the ability to download his financial statements by year. 

Plus, entering your zip code in the “Show Me” box will give you a list of everyone who represents you, just in case you ever forget. 

Choosing “Primary Candidates” on the home page gives you a complete statewide ballot (not including local elections). You won’t be able to vote on every race listed here, but you will be able to see literally everyone running for a statewide office. It’s also visually appealing and easy to read. 

Choosing “Campaign Finance” gives you a list of some of the U.S. House candidates and how much money they have raised in the current campaign. Unfortunately, in this particular primary, none of the candidates Erath County is voting on are listed.

The Texas Tribune also offers up to date news coverage of statewide campaigns. Pulling up the home page as I’m writing this (late Saturday night) brings up the top headline, “George P. Bush’s secret mansion is financed by an undisclosed loan from Texas donor’s bank.” 

Remember, this is just one news source. Checking this information out elsewhere is advised. But the Texas Tribune is known for being on top of these campaigns and political information. 

Next week, I’ll wrap up this column series with the following final suggestions for researching candidates.  
-Campaign websites
-Google news search 
-Live speeches.

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