Rick Perry vs World
04 December 2013
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the tycoon who has everything?
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, ever attentive to the economy, has moved decisively to respond to disappointing Black Friday sales by announcing his very own Cyber Monday. Yes, he has opened an online store where you can buy swag from his re-election campaign.
You too can contribute to Dewhurst's campaign! Looking for the maximum value in your shopping dollars? You contribute $20, he'll contribute $20 million. But wait, there's more! If you act now, he'll throw in a Dewhurst coffee mug with that yard sign!
03 December 2013
Two interesting Houston races to watch
I haven't been paying very close attention to the candidate filings but there are two candidates who I am curious to see whether they get serious primary challenges: Sarah Davis and John Zerwas.
Sarah Davis is the most liberal Republican in Austin. She's a staunch supporter of Speaker Straus. She used to have a swing district until Straus -- thinking he could shore up a moderate in her seat by doing her a favor -- gave her more Republican votes in redistricting. 134 now has a pronounced lean to the right -- and definitely will in 2014.
Some might think that Republicans in this close-in west-side district are moderates. They'd mostly be wrong. Plus, there is no district in the state in which Republican primary voters want to have the most liberal Republican as their representative.
Sugar Land Rep John Zerwas wrote the bill to implement ObamaCare exchanges in Texas (see eg, Zerwas interview with the liberal Texas Observer). If there's ever a single issue that could imperil an otherwise safe seat, it's aiding and abetting ObamaCare's implementation.
02 December 2013
Dan Patrick: You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean
BigJolly had a rather odd post up today in which he criticized a recent Todd Staples campaign email as the "worst press release."
The Staples campaign sent an ICYMI email to call attention to Mark Jones' analysis of legislative voting records which found Todd Staples and Dan Patrick to be the same:
neither can credibly be considered noticeably more conservative than the other. In sum, Staples' voting record was as conservative as Patrick's, and vice versa.
Dan Patrick has been crying loudly -- without much substantiation -- that he is the most conservative. He seems to believe that he can convince people of his conservatism through stupid stunts like backing Ted Cruz for President. Nevermind the fact that Dan Patrick was the most strident voice opposing Ted Cruz for Senate just a few months beforehand. In fact, Dan Goeb/Patrick even went so far as to ambush Cruz on his radio show.
He's also called for an end to the filibuster in the Texas Senate.
Look, the Staples email was very poorly messaged. The message should have been something more like "Politician Dan Goeb/Patrick can't be trusted. Another of his claims shown false" instead of "Todd Staples is just as conservative as Dan Patrick."
But then again, the Staples email got people talking about how Dan Patrick is not the most conservative candidate in the race. No matter how often Goeb/Patrick likes to repeat it, it isn't so.
18 November 2013
Wendy Davis cashes in
May as well cash in on her popularity with the far left:
Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator whose 11-hour legislative filibuster of an abortion bill gave her instant fame in the Democratic Party, is about to take the next logical step in her political ascent: writing a memoir.
Ms. Davis, a candidate for governor in Texas, has signed with Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, to write a book about her personal life and career, the publisher said on Thursday.
She's an ardent liberal running in a conservative state whose campaign has been marked by a series of missteps. May as well try to make some money on the deal, I guess.
16 November 2013
Those funny stereotypes
This is what Wayne Slater thinks is "funny and familiar" to Latinos.
As for speaking directly to Hispanics, she can be funny and familiar.
"I still live in the barrio. And if I get lost I can find the gang signs on my way home," she said recently. "The closest gated community to my house is the jail."
09 November 2013
John Weaver got paid well to mismanage Ben Hall's campaign
When I read in early August that Ben Hall had hired John Weaver to run his campaign*, I knew Annise Parker would be re-elected as Houston's mayor. I said so on Twitter:
John Weaver has called himself a Republican. He's also called himself a Democrat. While he seems to be calling himself a Republican again now, he spends most of his time criticizing Republicans as if he were still a Democrat. Over the course of Weaver's career, there is no detectable ideological consistency. But the one constant is that John Weaver gets paid. If there is one thing John Weaver is good at, it is finding deep-pocketed candidates. In fact, I said that back in August:
@PubliusTX if there is one thing John Weaver is good at, it is finding deep-pocketed candidates.— Evan PVW (@PerryVsWorld) August 3, 2013
I took a quick tour through the City of Houston's campaign finance reports this morning. Here are the payments from Hall to John Weaver or to John Weaver's consulting firm*:
That's a grand total of $535,735. Ben Hall received just 46,775 votes for under 28% of the vote. Hall paid about $11.50 per vote to John Weaver/Weaver's firm for a campaign that was terribly strategized and poorly executed.
To be fair, some of those big payments to Weaver's consulting firm were for media buys. We don't know how much Weaver's firm made on those ad buys. However media buyers often get about 5% of media buys. If Weaver made 5% on the ad buys, then he made $80,000 (and $1.71 per vote) from four months of running Ben Hall's campaign into the ground.
* Mark Sanders' firm was also involved in the race.
** Those were just the payments I found in a quick check of the reports. I wouldn't be surprised if I missed some payments, so the actual amount could be higher.
06 November 2013
From the same playbook
Early returns on Ted Cruz vs the establishment
Last night's gubernatorial results do not reflect the apocalyptic-style predictions made by some in the GOP establishment about the electoral consequences of #DefundObamaCare.
1. Chris Christie cruised to re-election in NJ. His team looked to be patterning his re-election bid on George W. Bush's 98 effort, but the politician Chris Christie most reminds me of is John McCain. Christie benefited from sucking up to Obama during Sandy, but clearly NJ's solidly Democratic electorate did not hold the R by Christie's name against him.
2. McAuliffe squeaks by Cuccinelli in Virginia. This augurs pretty well for Republicans since 1) McAuliffe was outspending Cuccinelli 25 to 1 on the air, and even 10 to 1 in the closing days (per PoliticoLive last night), 2 liberals bankrolled a libertarian who got 7% by peeling off votes from Cuccinelli, and 3) Cuccinelli wasn't a stellar candidate. And exit polls even showed Virginia voters held Obama equally as responsible as Republicans for the government shutdown.
As for Texas angles:
1. With Wendy Davis and Barack Obama leading the way, 2014 should be a tough year for downballot Democrats.
2. I wonder if John Cornyn regrets his vote to not Defund ObamaCare? Someone should ask him.
3. Those overblown predictions made a few months ago do not look very smart nor perspicacious.
31 October 2013
Houston mayoral elections comment
A strange paragraph from Robert Miller:
An analysis of the City of Houston vote by Kyle Johnston of Johnston Campaign estimates that through the first five days, the ethnic breakdown of those casting Houston ballots is African American 32%, Hispanic 12%, Asian 1%, and Other (Anglo) 55%. Mr. Johnston also finds that of the City of Houston voters, 61% have a Democratic primary history, 34% have a Republican primary history, and 5% have no primary history. This partisan breakdown provides further evidence that the time has passed when a candidate running as a Republican can be elected Mayor of Houston.
This is a strange paragraph on multiple levels.
First, partisan ties are much weaker in big city municipal elections so the right candidate can always win. How else would NYC go 2 decades without a Democratic mayor?* Houston's elections are non-partisan by law, but Houston is obviously a less Democrat-dominated city than Los Angeles. That didn't stop Dick Riordan. You could probably even point to Sam Katz in Philadelphia, who came very close in a much more difficult partisan environment than Houston. Of course finding the right candidate isn't so easy, and often good political talent doesn't work in political races (or it doesn't get hired because candidates are very poor at selecting consultants), which leads me to my second point.
You can't project a D vs R election when this is a Democrat vs Democrat election. There are no Republicans running for mayor. It's not surprising that Democrats are more motivated to turn out to vote in a battle between two Democrats. Ben Hall has occasionally tried to speak to Republicans, but he made the mistake of hiring John Weaver. Maybe Weaver is calling himself a Republican again these days (it's tough to keep track of his party and ideological switches) but he really hasn't run a good campaign that would motivate Republicans.
Third, when was this mythical time when Republicans could be elected mayor of Houston (in Miller's mind)? Are we going back to Jim McConn and counting him? In 2001, Orlando Sanchez ran a pretty good campaign against a weak, bumbling Lee Brown in the height of post-9/11 Republican turnout. He lost, despite some big GOP endorsements and robocalls in the finals days from Giuliani and George HW. To go back to my first point, he could have won the open seat in 2003, but rather inexplicably he didn't do the necessary work to win in a difficult environment.
* For purposes of this post, I'm going with the nominal truth that Mike Bloomberg isn't a Democrat.
21 October 2013
The Texas outside of 360
I consider myself to be as much a representative of a true Texan as anybody I know, but I have to confess to one shortcoming: I just don't get the gun culture, and I don't think I ever will. . . . I don't own a gun and have no plans to get one.
With all due respect to Paul, he grew up in Galveston, went to Rice and then has lived his entire adult life in Austin. He doesn't own a gun.
I doubt many people outside of Travis County consider Austinites who don't own guns to be "representative of a true Texan."
20 October 2013
Eltife and Geren want to decide who gets freedom of the press
I saw last week that AgendaWise is suing to be allowed to livestream the Texas legislature.
In July 2013, AgendaWise began respectfully requesting access to capitol server closets to install equipment that would enable live streaming of the legislature. AgendaWise made the requests after learning that other organizations had been given access to the closets for the same purpose. The group's letters went unanswered. After the four defendants were contacted by AgendaWise's General Counsel, State Senator Kevin Eltife and State Representative Charlie Geren responded in a joint letter denying AgendaWise access.
Time Warner Cable, Grande Communications, AT&T, and the Texas Tribune all currently have the capability to stream live unedited footage from the Capitol.
I get that Eltife and Geren are both moderates who battle against AgendaWise's conservative views during the session. But it is terrible policy to discriminate against more livestreaming of the legislature.
Government doesn't get to decide who gets freedom of the press. It's even worse when they discriminate against organizations solely because they have been criticized by them.
17 October 2013
Exactly why Leppert worked so hard and got so little traction
Tom Leppert shows why he garnered 13% of the vote:
Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, a longtime CEO and one-time candidate for Senate, said it's even simpler.
"If you ran a business and stepped before the board on a big issue to say, 'I'm here to make a speech but don’t have any solutions for the problem,' you wouldn't last long," Leppert said. "The people we have sent to Washington care far too much about giving speeches and too little about getting results."
"There is real concern that the Republican Party is not looking at solutions," Leppert said.
What a shocker that Texas Republicans didn't vote en masse for a guy who likes to echo Democratic talking points.
16 October 2013
Dewhurst's fundamental problem
David Dewhurst called for Obama's impeachment:
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for President Barack Obama’s impeachment during a Tarrant County Tea Party candidate forum, The Texas Observer reported first.
Dewhurst's spokesman confirmed to the Texas Tribune that the lieutenant governor said Congress should impeached the president for taking his role too far on issues like immigration and Obamacare, as well as mistakes following the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Dewhurst's fundamental problem is that he spent his first 10 years in Austin trying to convince everyone that he was a moderate Republican. For the last year and a half, he's trying to convince people that he's really a conservative. It is doubtful that inflammatory rhetoric will outweigh 10 years of record.
13 October 2013
It would make good political theater
Ted Cruz won his battle with some leftist heckers, and while doing so made a pretty interesting offer:
Turning to the media sitting at the back of the ballroom at a Washington hotel, he made what appeared to be an impromptu offer to President Barack Obama.
"If he wants to get 100 of his most rabid political operatives in a room I'll answer their questions on television as long as he likes," he said. "In exchange, all I'd ask, Mr. President, is you take not 100 but 10 of the men and women in this room" and spend half an hour answering their questions.
I'd pay to see that.
10 October 2013
Trey Martinez Fischer is a phony
Ferdinand Frank Fischer, III would be a great name for a Mexican monarchist trying to reclaim the crown of Emperor Maximilian, but it’s a lousy name for an ambitious American politician from a Latino district of San Antonio.
That's why Fischer ditched it years ago, trying on a couple of monikers before building a name for himself as Trey Martinez Fischer, politician on the rise.
Before he ran for office, Fischer was reportedly known as Tracy Fischer.
Even better, Fischer breaks the law:
In March 2011, Fischer was all over the news arguing against a voter ID bill that Texas was about to pass. He even gave a deposition in the suit over that law, Texas v. Holder, which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided in Texas’ favor.
His story was that his own mother would be one of those poor people disenfranchised by a requirement to show a driver license when voting.
"My mother doesn't have one," was his exact quote. The media lapped it up, as actual examples of this sort of disenfranchised voter are nearly impossible to find.
During Fischer's deposition in the federal case, a lawyer for the state of Texas confronted Fischer with a current copy of his mother’s driver license. It was valid when Fischer had given his press conference, and it had recently been renewed until 2017. Fischer had lied.
The Dallas Morning News was the only newspaper to accurately report the incident. The Houston Chronicle buried it, and presented it as some sort of misunderstanding.
Still, Fischer was adamant that the law would be a problem, and it may well be for him. If there is anyone genuinely invested in the principle that one shouldn't have to prove his identity, it's Fischer. In the days of slacker ID requirements, he registered to vote as Ferdinand Martinez Fischer, III.
Of course, it's also illegal to run for office using multiple pseudonyms, but that didn't stop "Trey Martinez Fischer."
06 October 2013
Will John Cornyn get a primary challenger?
There is a now a chance that John Cornyn is not a senator in 2015. While Ted Cruz led the fight against ObamaCare, John Cornyn was busy chatting up a Politico reporter. The level of disappointment and anger among opinion leaders in the conservative grassroots is off-the-charts.
I don't mean to suggest that Cornyn is likely to be defeated. Far from it. There isn't an obvious challenger with credibility who could raise enough money. There aren't that many months left before primary day. But for the first time, it is a possibility.
John Cornyn is the consummate insider. Karl Rove picked him to take over Phil Gramm's seat, and then cleared the field of serious challengers. He carried the legislation that no one else wanted to during W's time in office. He headed the NRSC -- not very well, if we're being honest -- and used that as a springboard to leadership.
Cornyn won't be caught by surprise. He's hired FreedomWorks staffers for his campaign. He's sending out "John Cornyn: Conservative" bumper stickers with letters from George Strake. For awhile he was matching Cruz vote-for-vote in ways that were uncharacteristic for him (eg John Kerry's nomination to Foggy Bottom).
If you talk to conservative activists, there is a palpable level of anger over Cornyn's stance on ObamaCare. Even if it is just a tactical difference, Republicans want leaders who will stand and fight ObamaCare on every single field of battle. Cornyn didn't. And many have not forgotten how Cornyn voted for some of the bailouts like TARP.
Who could challenge John Cornyn?
Lawrence Person suggested Louie Gohmert, Mike McCaul and Don Willett to challenge Cornyn. Others have suggested Dewhurst, which is laughable since his record is to the left of Cornyn's. Gohmert and Willett seem unlikely to run.
McCaul has the money -- and voted against TARP -- but opted out of a 2012 run. Conventional wisdom would have said that the 2012 open seat is easier, so I rather doubt that he risks his US House seniority on the race. Here's a couple of names I've heard:
Jonathan Stickland. The freshman Texas House member wasted no time criticizing Cornyn for not fighting ObamaCare. He's from vote-rich DFW, has tea party connections, led conservatives in the last session, and is a great retail politician. He'd find it tough to raise the money, but to make this race you've got to have talent. He appears to have it.
Michael Quinn Sullivan. Who else has the same credibility with the grassroots that he does? He is known for being vocal about standing and fighting for conservative principles -- which is exactly the theme that any Cornyn challenger would have to play with note-for-note perfection. I have heard rumors of a Draft MQS campaign, although I remain skeptical that he would run.
George P Bush. Given that he's taken the extremely risk-averse step of running for land commissioner, it is unlikely that he would run. Still, he could raise the money and potentially run to Cornyn's right. I see zero chance of it happening, but if it did his chances as an early Ted Cruz endorser would be decent.
I've also heard rumors of leaders from various tea parties running. And unlike Erick Erickson's post on RedState, I do not think Rafael Cruz is going to run. Who knows -- maybe Steve Mostyn will decide to bankroll a Debra Medina run?*
We're still a long way from primary and runoff day. Some of the ire against Cornyn for his stance on defunding ObamaCare will dissipate by then. If anyone credible makes the race, they'll have to run a near-perfect campaign. They'll pick up the illegal immigration hardliners that have long been skeptical of Cornyn and people mad about how Cornyn supported TARP, but then they have to show why they'll be better at leading the fight against ObamaCare. That's not easy, but then again: nothing unites conservative, moderate and libertarian Republicans like fighting ObamaCare...and right now Cornyn is on the wrong side of the issue.
* Probably not, of course, because Mostyn stands to profit from passing bills in the legislature that allow him to make windfall profits. Not so much in the US Senate.
03 October 2013
Clearly a slow news day
Isn't it time that Democratic political consultants in Texas got a huge payday from Hollywood and San Fran liberals? #WendyDavisSlogans— Evan PVW (@PerryVsWorld) October 4, 2013
W Davis hired non-Texans for the band at her campaign kickoff? Yikes #txgov— Evan PVW (@PerryVsWorld) October 3, 2013
Si nos hiciéramos más como el estado fracasado de California, seríamos grandes. #WendyDavisSlogans— Evan PVW (@PerryVsWorld) October 3, 2013
I represent the Democratic wing of the (California) Democratic Party #WendyDavisSlogans— Evan PVW (@PerryVsWorld) October 3, 2013
22 September 2013
Entourage, as in the HBO show?
Though they spoke frequently by phone, Bill and Hillary were rarely in the same country. By chance, their paths crossed in Bogotá, where they had dinner together -- then, owing to their massive entourages, returned to their respective hotels.
Yes, it was their entourages that kept them apart. Surely.
20 September 2013
Everything that is wrong with the federal government in one clause
But there's one provision tucked into the [continuing resolution to fund the federal government] that may anger constituents back home: Among the various sections of the House-passed CR are 28 words that would pay $174,000 to the widow of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.
"Sec. 134. Notwithstanding any other provision of this joint resolution, there is appropriated for payment to Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, widow of Frank R. Lautenberg, late a Senator from New Jersey, $174,000."
In 2011, the 50% mark for American household income was $50,000. Lautenberg is super rich: he's probably worth about $100 million dollars. And yet Congress is giving his widow $174,000. For no good reason.
But there's no waste in the federal government. Riiiiight.
19 September 2013
Least insightful news analysis of the year?
This might be one of the most ridiculous ledes I have read in awhile. Hearst:
State Sen. Donna Campbell's campaign released a poll Tuesday that showed her with a strong lead over her primary challenger Mike Novak, but also indicated she has lost 15 percent of voters from the same pool who elected her last year over seven-term incumbent Sen. Jeff Wentworth.
In a primary election between Campbell and Novak, 51 percent said they would vote for Campbell and 11 percent chose Novak, while 38 percent are undecided.
Analysis: Campbell won last year's primary runoff against Wentworth with 66 percent of the vote, indicating she has dropped in support, according to her own poll numbers. The large number of undecided voters, 38 percent, leaves Novak, or any challenger, room to work to usurp votes.
I have no doubt that Campbell's opponent will fundraise well. But Wentworth couldn't beat her even with all the advantages of decades of incumbency. What is Novak going to do -- criticize Donna Campbell for not spending enough? Call himself a conservative and blur the difference?
The poll doesn't show "room to work." It shows a race that is pretty close to over. Perhaps the sample is flawed, but one might note that the pollster has a pretty good record in Texas in recent years.
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