Sic Affair: Evan Smith, Bill Dingus, Tina Benkiser and Tom Craddick

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Just in case you were wondering, yes, Texas politics is still a messy and ethics-challenged affair. The latest hiccup in state politics is a report by the Midland Reporter-Telegram that Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith had a hand in recruiting a candidate to oppose Speaker of the House Tom Craddick.

Smith, a New Yorker who came to the Texas Monthly in 2000, supposedly encouraged Midland Councilman Bill Dingus to run against Craddick. Trouble is Smith did no such thing. The Midland Reporter-Telegram seems to have gotten it a little wrong.

The print version of today’s article says: "Dingus said he had just been encouraged to oppose Craddick by Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith, for whom Dingus' sister Anne worked as a writer, and he expects substantial financing from outside District 82."

The web edition has omitted that sentence and added this retraction at the end of the article:

Dingus stated on Friday that, Evan called and asked, "Do you plan on announcing tomorrow?" My sister Anne (a former Texas Monthly writer) had called before that and asked, Can Evan call you? He's a reporter. He has never been on my encouragement team. The Reporter-Telegram regrets the error.

Oops! And what’s the deal with the cruddy punctuation on the correction? Can we expect another correction to fix that?

Of course, by this time, Texas GOP Chair Tina Benkiser had sent out a flaming press release calling for Evans’s resignation. ("Evan Smith needs to make a choice he can't be both a political consultant and a magazine editor," said Benkiser. "Those who report the news are not supposed to make it. If Mr. Smith's work hasn't already made his antagonism toward Speaker Craddick clear enough, this revelation leaves no question. The conflict of interest is obvious. He needs to step down.") Double oops! — Olivia Flores Alvarez

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