HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In the Republican race to represent the 8th Congressional District, challenger Steve Toth is telling voters that long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady fought to give the Texas High Speed Rail Authority the power to seize private land under eminent domain. For many conservative constituents, a record like that is a deal-breaker.
"He voted for the Texas High Speed Rail Act -- he didn't just vote for it, he authored it when he was in the Texas Legislature," said Toth. Congressman Brady says that is a lie.
"All of this is just flat wrong," said U.S. Rep. Brady to FOX 26 News. "As you know, I led the fight against the Bullet train in the 1990s and we fought hard with laws in the legislature to stop eminent domain, that's why in the end we succeeded." And the Congressman is right.
FOX 26 examined House Bill 1805, the Brady legislation referred to in the Toth political ad and found it was clearly meant to stop private land seizure, not enable it.
"This is either a mistake or an attempt to mislead the voters because what's quite clear from the legislative record is what Kevin Brady was attempting to do in 1993 was to strip the Texas High Speed Rail Authority of its power of eminent domain that it was given in the 1989 Texas High Speed Rail Act," said Rice University political analyst Mark Jones. And Jones is not alone.
University of St. Thomas political scientist Jon Taylor also reviewed Brady's bill and found Toth's advertisement grossly misleading.
"It's not giving eminent domain," said Taylor. "It's doing the exact opposite. It's taking away eminent domain rights from the state."
A call to the Toth campaign was not returned.