Ted Poe Decides He Likes Drunk Drivers After All

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Congressman Ted Poe was, for a long time, a Harris County district judge. And he displayed special venom for people convicted of DWI.

Once he went to Washington things didn't change. Here's part of a floor speech he gave two years ago about a police chief killed by a drunken driver:

He took the time to talk to kids and was well liked throughout the school. But it all ended a mile from his own home and the indifference of a drunk driver.

Like most drunk drivers, Guillermo [Paniagua] had only minor cuts and bruises. He was not injured. But those bruises did not keep him, the coward, the killer, from running from the scene in the darkness of the night.....This drunk should never have been given his driver's license back at all. His four DWI convictions proved that the system is not holding him accountable for being a drunk driver

When KPRC found federal air marshals working despite having DWI arrests, Poe was angry: "They are the ones that are supposed to enforce the law, not violate the law," he said. "And if they commit a crime or are charged with a crime, there is a consequence for that and it should be a tough consequence."

A "tough consequence" apparently doesn't mean Ted Poe withholding his political endorsement of you, however.

Poe has endorsed Congressman Kevin Brady's re-election bid this year, saying Brady has "the experience, vision and understanding needed to meet the critical challenges facing this country."

The endorsement got some notice because a former Poe staffer is challenging Brady in the March 2 primary.

Poe apparently thought he had to distance himself from his former staffer. Or maybe he's endorsed Brady before, and it went unnoticed because Brady's re-election was a foregone conclusion.

But this is the same Kevin Brady who pled no contest to a DWI charge in 2005. He was back in his native South Dakota to receive an alumni award and got pulled over, the Houston Chronicle reported:

Brady's arrest came after he attended a homecoming-weekend cocktail reception and dinner at his alma mater, the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, his hometown.

Wine was served at the dinner, and Brady later attended a reception with a cash bar.

He was driving back to his hotel just before midnight in a rented Subaru with his wife, mother, sister and brother-in-law when a South Dakota state trooper pulled him over for a problem with one of his taillights.

The officer smelled alcohol on Brady's breath and asked the lawmaker to step out of the car. He administered a breath test and several sobriety tests to Brady, who refused a blood-alcohol test, as was his right under state law.

After the tests, Brady was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. He was handcuffed and taken to the county jail. The test results are not part of the public record, said Clay County States Attorney Tami Bern.

Brady apologized (through a statement, not live) and noted DWI "is an extremely important law."

Which certainly is, or was, Ted Poe's view. And hey, people make mistakes, and forgiveness and all that, yadda yadda. Although some of the people who were DWI defendants in Poe's court might think differently of his ability to show mercy.

We've left voice and e-mail messages with Poe's spokeswoman, but have not heard back.

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