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Lone Star Project Report

HD94 Candidate Tony Tinderholt

Divisive Tea Party Republican brings sordid past and irresponsible actions to key Arlington house district

About House District 94 Race and Democratic nominee Cole Ballweg

The Democratic nominee in the race is Cole Ballweg, a native Texan and successful local businessman who grew up in South Arlington. Cole brings proven business skills and the ability to work across party lines to get things done. Cole has received key endorsements from United Educators Association, Texas State Teachers Association, and American Federation of Teachers who had previously backed Republican Diane Patrick.

HD94 is middle-class Arlington-based district that takes up most of the eastern half of the City of Arlington and includes the smaller communities of Pantego and Dalworthington Gardens. It is Republican leaning, but General Election voters in the district are not ideologically rigid, willing to consider fair-minded and effective candidates from both parties. Mainstream Republican Diane Patrick served the district well for three terms before being upset by Tinderholt and Tea Party activists in 2014.

Arlington-based State House District 94 has long been represented by capable and respected Republican representatives in the Texas House. Both the current incumbent, Diane Patrick, and the predecessor she defeated, Kent Grusendorf, built reputations as substantive representatives with a deep understanding of public education. Even those who disagreed with Patrick and Grusendorf could not credibly question their intentions or integrity.

Well, things have changed.

The 2014 GOP nominee in HD94 – Tea Party activist Tony Tinderholt – has no experience in public policy, little to no knowledge or background on education, tax policy, healthcare or transportation. He has failed to disclose a sordid personal background and has misrepresented his employment history. If elected, Tinderholt will be, at best, part of the obstructionist and divisive Tea Party fringe in Austin. More likely, he will be a destructive voice who invites controversy and embarrassment.

So far, Tony Tinderholt and the HD94 race have for the most part stayed under the media radar. However, it doesn't take much research to reveal that he is not just another Tea Party blowhard. Tinderholt has a history of personal and financial irresponsibility that includes four wives and five marriages, exposing children to drug-abusing day care providers, allowing a minor to drink and drive and lying about his employment status and history.

Tony Tinderholt often makes reference to his military background. All service to our nation should be honored. However, in terms of capably and responsibly representing House District 94 in the state legislature, Tony Tinderholt is unfit for service.

Don't trust Tony Tinderholt with your money

As a bar manager, Tinderholt allowed a minor to be served alcohol, become intoxicated and then drive drunk

Court documents reveal that while working as the manager of a southwest Fort Worth bar called the Horseman Club in 2000, Tinderholt allowed an employee who had not yet reached the legal drinking age to be served to the point that records say he was a “clear and present danger to himself and to others.” Moreover, the lawsuit states that Tinderholt was involved in allowing the employee to leave the bar and drive away. The employee was unable to manage the vehicle, left the roadway and crashed, causing “severe injuries.”

Tinderholt has left children in the care of drug-abusers

According to statements made by Tony Tinderholt during a court ordered psychological evaluation in 1999, Tinderholt invested in a child care business where his then-wife worked as a child care provider. Documents detail that Tinderholt was aware that both his wife and at least one other child care provider were abusing drugs – including crack cocaine – and were embezzling money from the business in order to buy drugs. The embezzlement to acquire drugs eventually caused the child care business to become insolvent and Tinderholt filed bankruptcy to avoid responsibility for debts incurred.

Tinderholt lied about his employment history

The education page of Tony Tinderholt’s website claims that he is the “Vice President of Education” at “Ancora Education”. The claim is simply untrue.

Until recently Tinderholt’s campaign had listed him as an employee of Ancora Education; however, he has not worked for Ancora since December 31, 2013. After Tinderholt’s resume embellishment became public, Tinderholt changed one section of his campaign website to reflect his actual employer.

Rather than simply acknowledging that his employment with Ancora Education was terminated and that he spent the latter half of 2014 working as a recruiter/trainer at Eliot Management Group, Tinderholt chose to lie.