Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

This GOP Hopeful's Texas Roots Run Deep

Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina campaigns for the Republican Party's nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

From Texas Standard:

Former Governor Rick Perry's bid for the presidency may have come to an end, but there's still a few chances that someone with Texas ties could occupy the White House next term.

Some, more obvious than others: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, son of Texas congressman Ron Paul, and from the Texas family legacy — Jeb Bush.

Perhaps the most overlooked candidate with ties to Texas is former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina. Recently, she outshined Perry enough in the first GOP "kids table" debate to win herself a spot in the second round on primetime.

Jonathan Tilove, chief political writer for the Austin American-Statesman, researched Fiorina's family, the Sneeds. He says her Texas roots hail back to the Civil War era.


"There were ranchers in the family and, most notoriously, an uncle who was involved in one of the great, sort of romantic and deadly feuds in Texas History.” Tilove says. “His wife left him for another rancher and he ended up shooting and killing both that man's father and that man.”

Tilove says Fiorina’s uncle was was eventually acquitted. This is one of the stories that lends to her family’s infamous moniker “Bad Seed Sneeds.”

But is Fiorina trying to distance herself from her Texas family history?

Tilove says he doesn’t know. “I can't understand why. You would think this would be a very appealing back story,” he says. “Even the so called 'Bad Seed Sneeds' are people who in the popular imagination would be sort of, kind of heroic, frontier justice kind of folk that would place her in the Texas panorama."

Tilove says in the 1950s the Sneed family, along with a majority of Texans, identified as Democrats. Fiorina’s father, however, was a Republican.

"He signed his name to ads for Republican candidates,” Tilove says. “He gave one lecture to Republican women about what we've got to do to get a two-party system here in Texas and why we're stuck with this one-party state."

With such rich ties to the state, there’s the question of whether or not Fiorina missed out on making strong Texas connections by choosing to center herself in California.

"If she had run for the Senate in Texas instead of in California maybe it'd be her, not Ted Cruz, who would be representing us now in the Senate.”

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
Related Content