29 July 2005
"Strayhorn takes gamble on Democrat donors"
Wayne Slater takes a look at at Carole Strayhorn's campaign finance report:
In her bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is pursuing an unprecedented strategy of soliciting big-dollar donors with a history of backing Democrats.Probably? I think Wayne Slater, you, and me all know that Democratic trial lawyer campaign contributions getting towards a million dollars will DEFINITELY be in a few tv ads for Governor Perry.
The approach carries considerable risk for a candidate trying to woo faithful Republican primary voters, but it may be Mrs. Strayhorn's only option for matching the GOP incumbent's fiscal firepower, analysts say.
Of the Republican comptroller's $7 million campaign account, more than $800,000 has come from some of the Democratic Party's biggest political donors, according to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News.
The donors include dozens of trial lawyers, whose financial largess probably will be a theme in Mr. Perry's campaign against Mrs. Strayhorn in next year's GOP primary. But experts say Mrs. Strayhorn had little choice.
Strayhorn camp's response:
"The primary on March 7 is going to be the general election. And what the comptroller is obviously doing is strengthening and growing the Republican Party, believing in Ronald Reagan's big tent and George Bush's big tent."I think Todd Smith said it best:
Mr. McClellan said one reason Mrs. Strayhorn has attracted such support from attorneys is that her father served as dean of the University of Texas School of Law.
"He taught a lot of these guys and gals and knew a lot of them," he said.
"It's one thing for Rick Perry to call Carole Strayhorn a Democrat," [Smith] said. "It's quite another for her to make the case for him."
Strayhorn isn't making it easy on herself.
28 July 2005
Chris Bell is running for governor
I know, I know, it's a shock, isn't it? Chris Bell is officially running for governor.
He'll officially announce August 14th in Austin.
Cornyn's rival doesn't sound like he wants hardball
Senators John Cornyn and John Ensign are both planning to run for vice chair of the Senate Republican Caucus, the #5 rung in the leadership ladder.
Ensign declared first, after making a deal with John Kyl and Kay Bailey Hutchison as to who would run where. Then, surprisingly, Cornyn jumped into the race as well, which would give Texas two of the lower ranking spots in the Senate leadership.
The Hill reports that the junior senator from Nevada doesn't seem to mind the challenge at all.
"I think he'd be a great member of leadership," Ensign said.Well it's always nice to know that your challenger doesn't seem likely to declare all-out war on you or let it affect your working relationship.
He said Cornyn told him as a courtesy that he was planning to jump into the race for vice chairman before going public with the news.
"I told him: 'Go for it,'" Ensign said. "Even if he beats me, he's a great guy."
Ensign, who is well-liked within the conference, said that he has spoken to almost every Senate Republican to seek their support and that he plans to keep campaigning for the leadership post. But his warm praise for his colleague signaled that Ensign might not be willing to engage in some of the tough politicking that has dominated other recent leadership battles.
"Sometimes people have hard feelings about leadership races and stuff," Ensign said, adding that he is not one of those people. He noted that he and Cornyn share a similar political philosophy.
"Obviously, I'll try to win," he added. "But it's kind of like two good friends battling."
When Trent Lott ran for leadership after he'd been in the Senate a relatively short while, the senior senator from Mississippi Thad Cochran was known to be less than pleased. From what I've heard, their relationship could still be better.
Leadership contests are often nearly impossible to handicap, particularly a year and a half in advance. Ensign started first, has seniority over Cornyn, and may be seen as smoother in front of the cameras. On the other hand, Cornyn has quite the senatorial bearing himself. Cornyn also benefits from his close ties to the White House.
Kay Bailey Hutchison won't say who she's voting for. Cornyn didn't endorse Perry until after she bowed out, so she has to feel some loyalty there, but she also made the deal with Ensign.
27 July 2005
Lance Armstrong for governor...of Arizona?
All this talk of Lance Armstrong running for governor someday gets increasingly strange with each passing day.
Today's oddity: the Arizona Republic has an editorial promoting the notion that the Arizona GOP should recruit Lance Armstrong to run for governor.
I mean, moving to run for office did work for Hillary Clinton. But then, most folks seem to think that Lance is more likely a Democrat.
Strayhorn campaigning against toll roads in South Texas
Strayhorn was down in San Juan, speaking at a rally against a planned 9 mile toll road between Military Highway and US 83. Here's the McAllen Monitor's take.
Ramona Gonzalez’s limited English didn’t allow her to fully understand what Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn — a 2006 Republican candidate for Governor — was saying at a campaign rally Tuesday, but she believed every word of it.
"I think she spoke well," Gonzalez of San Juan said. "She appeared strong."
Strayhorn rallied support at San Juan fire station No. 2 with about 50 residents, outlining her agenda: no toll roads and come March, after the Republican primary election, no Gov. Rick Perry.
Campaigners passed out Strayhorn for Governor bumper stickers and pledge cards, while many audience members held anti-toll road signs and cheered at Strayhorn’s opposition.
"It’s a land grab being crammed down our throats," Strayhorn said of a possible nine-mile toll road slicing through San Juan from Military Highway to U.S. Expressway 83. "Mayor (San Juanita Sanchez of San Juan), you just give me a holla’ and I’ll come lay down in front of a bulldozer with you and stop toll roads."
The Monitor quotes Strayhorn being surprisingly candid about a strategy to get Democrats to vote for her:
Comptroller Strayhorn obviously needs to convince some Democratic leaners to vote for her in the Republican primary for her to win. So she's trying to be as subtle as possible in pursuing Democratic votes.
Focusing on her campaign for Governor, Strayhorn pledged to work for support in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the few strongholds for Democrats in the State of Texas.
"I’m not trying to make Republicans out of everyone," said Strayhorn, though she invited everyone to vote in the Republican March 7 primary. Texas has open primaries, meaning voters can participate in either party’s primary.
San Juan resident and democrat Arnoldo Cantu said Strayhorn could win over the always-Democrat friendly Valley.
"If she can come along and offer something new," said Cantu, she might win. "The Democrats are standing still."
Related: Harlingen Channel 4's report is here.
Kinky's immigration plan catching on?
Senator John McCain was on Fox News' Bill O'Reilly last night. He said this:
There's a guy that's running for governor of Texas named Kinky Friedman. He says, 'You give the Mexican generals $1 million and for every illegal that gets across, you take away $10,000.' Maybe we should try that.I don't know if he was being serious or just joking. Or jokingly serious.
26 July 2005
Perry's statement on the failure of HB2 and HB3
The House defeated HB2 and HB3 -- the bills for how tax revenue is generated and spent on school finance -- tonight.
Governor Perry, who arguably has more at stake politically than anyone else in the process, issued this statement.
"Today I share the disappointment and frustration of millions of Texans that the House has voted against providing a property tax cut for homeowners, more money for the classroom, and additional funding for teacher salaries and textbooks.
"Legislators now have a decision to make. There are 24 days left in this special session. Either they can give up on pay raises for teachers, funding for textbooks, and a property tax cut, or they can join me over the next few weeks in fighting for what the people want.
"The people demand property tax relief, more education for their money, and continued classroom reforms.
"The special interests want to protect the education status quo, their tax loopholes, and their market share of tobacco addicts. Why should the special interests win at the expense of schoolchildren, parents and taxpayers?
"Last Thursday the leadership of both houses said they were close to an agreement on a property tax cut in a joint news conference. In fact, the measure the House voted on today was quite similar to the property tax cuts both chambers passed just a couple weeks ago.
"I still believe where there is a will there is a way.
"And the fact of the matter is I called them into special session because their work was unfinished and nothing has changed.
"Legislators cannot pass this great challenge to another day or another venue.
"I know they are frustrated and tired. So are taxpayers...so are teachers hoping for a pay raise...and so are families looking for better schools. I ask them to come back tomorrow, set aside rancor and partisanship, and get back to work."
The deadline for this session is August 19th. Will it get done?
Perry picks up firefighters union endorsement
Governor Rick Perry picked up the endorsement of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters. This is the first time they've ever endorsed a Republican.
Governor Rick Perry today proudly accepted the endorsement of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters (TSAFF).
”Texas fire fighters are proud to unanimously back Governor Rick Perry for re-election, ” said Guy Turner, President of the TSAFF. “His performance on public safety issues this session is proof that he cares about the health and safety of those men and women who protect the lives and property of the citizens of this great State, and endorsing Governor Perry for reelection was an easy choice for the members of our association.”
The Texas State Association of Fire Fighters, founded in 1938, represents over 13,000 professional fire fighters across Texas, with 152 affiliated associations in cities, counties, emergency service districts as well as the fire fighters stationed at the Dallas – Fort Worth Airport. This is the first time the association has endorsed a republican candidate for Governor.
Asked Monday by NBC-TV's Ann Curry whether he has political aspirations, the 33-year-old Austinite said: "No, no."As far as I can tell, most are assuming he's a Democrat by virtue of the fact that his girlfriend Sheryl Crow was stridently anti-war (remember the rhinestone "NO WAR" guitar strap at the Grammy's?)
Curry: "You're saying you have no political aspirations?"
Armstrong: "I'm not..."
Curry: "You're not saying you have no political aspirations?"
Armstrong: "I don't know what I'm saying. We're going to elect a new (Texas) governor next year -- I'm not running next year."
24 July 2005
* Strayhorn takes a whack at Perry over school finance.
* School finance takes: Dallas Morning News.
* The Dallas Voice -- the "community newspaper for gay & lesbian Dallas" -- glowingly profiles Chris Bell's visit to the Stonewall Democrats.
* SAEN columnist Roddy Stinson writes up the Democratic trial lawyers who gave lots of money to Carole Strayhorn.
* HouChron Newswriter/editorialist Clay Robison editorializes that "Perry, Legislature lack real will to redo school funding."
21 July 2005
School finance, no posts this weekend
The second special session for school finance is underway.
Will it happen?
Meanwhile, I'm headed off to New Braunfels to enjoy the Texas outdoors. So I'm unlikely to post anything this weekend, unless the improbable occurs and Kay Bailey decides to run for guv after all (I'm not starting rumors!). As Bob Bullock might say, God bless Texas.
20 July 2005
"Hairdressers for Kinky"
Rick Casey's column in today's Chronicle:
Gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman's biggest campaign contributor from Houston is a Palestinian hairdresser.It'll be interesting to see if McCall continues to bankroll Kinky Friedman's campaign.
What did you expect?
Friedman says he's quite serious about his campaign to become the state's first Jewish governor, but he's destined to spawn humor.
He can't help himself. In between his serious proposals, he says when he's elected, he'll lower the speed limit to 54.99.
The hairdresser, Farouk Shami, gave Friedman's campaign $5,400.
Shami has a partner in [a business] endeavor who is an even bigger campaign contributor. John McCall, who made a fortune as a shampoo distributor, has ponied up $160,000 so far, more than half Friedman's total of $301,000.
Raising money is tough work, and often the hardest thing for candidates. No one like to get on the phone for a few hours and ask people for money over and over again. But it's what separates the serious from the whimsical.
UPDATE: Though I didn't excerpt it here, Casey's column mentions the Texas Monthly article Kinky Friedman wrote about Farouk. The Texas Monthly article is here.
19 July 2005
Hutchison vs. Radnofsky numbers
More campaign finance reports, this time from the Senate race. The time period ended on the last day of June, and covered the preceeding 3 months.
Kay Bailey Hutchison has $7.4 million in cash on hand. She raised $502K (about 60K from PACs), spent $364K.
Barbara Radnofsky, the only announced Democrat, has $349K in cash on hand. She raised $137 and spent $48K.
Texas Monthly's Kinky Friedman article
PerryvsWorld.com gets results! [Nod to Daniel Drezner]
Yesterday, I said I'd try to get the link for the Texas Monthly Kinky Friedman article.
Cathy got back to me quickly. Here is the link to John Spong's article. It will be active for about 24 hours. If you come by this post after that, then the next best thing is probably my thoughts from the article.
Who's running against Chet Edwards?
The only one I've heard of is Tucker Anderson, because a friend who worked with him for Sessions mentioned him as a good guy who had a unique way of looking at policy.
Serving in Iraq during the ongoing conflict, Marine Capt. Van Taylor told a publication he was asked by locals in the town of Afak to become its new mayor. He declined and has since moved from the Dallas area to West in McLennan County and is considering his first campaign for Congress.
A rocket attack last year in Iraq while Bentley Nettles, 41, was preparing to take a shower gave him the second of his two Purple Hearts during an 18-year Texas National Guard career that has sent him to Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Tucker Anderson, 34, quit his job in Washington, D.C., as an aide to U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, to return to the Robertson County hometown of Calvert where he grew up and begin the first campaign of his own political career.
Fred Wood, 45, of Scurry, is selling his 56-acre ranch to move to the 17th Congressional District, preparing a campaign that may focus on his ideas for using new technology to curb illegal immigration on the Mexican border.
Texas A&M University political science instructor and longtime political consultant Todd Kent, 45, of College Station, is also considering a campaign. He has strong regional roots as the son of Brazos County Republican Party Chairman David Kent.
It's Bush's home district, and he won with 69% in 2004. The right candidate could certainly beat Edwards.
No, I don't want your money. (Unless you'd like to check and make sure that a GoogleAd doesn't interest you over there on the right). I don't even have a tipjar. [That's just because you figure no one would use it. -- ed.]
I want your eyeballs. If you stop by this blog semi-regularly, then you must at least get something out of it. Would you be willing to email a friend and mention this blog? If you feel weird, include the address to this post, so they know you have a reason to be sending it to them.
Also, I'm going to expand my focus beyond the gubernatorial race, as my fancy strikes me. So this may become more of a generalized Texas politics blog. Who knows?
KBH rumored for Supreme Court
She skipped running for the governor's mansion...so she could go to the Supreme Court?
This Reuters report names Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as a potential candidate for the Supreme Court.
That's news to me. And I have real troubles seeing that it could be true. She is a woman, and she is legally trained, having graduated from UTexas Law. She'd also be easily confirmed.
But -- this is a terrible thing to say about a person, but it's true -- she's too old. Plus, she's never been a practicing lawyer, to my knowledge. And if you thought the Right would get upset about Al Gonzales, I would imagine a similar brouhaha if Hutchison were nominated.
It ain't gonna happen.
UPDATE: The nominee is not Kay Bailey Hutchison. Surprise, surprise, I know. Judge John Roberts of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is the Supreme Court nominee. Confirmation looks likely.
Strayhorn campaign manager making appearances
Brad McClellan, son and campaign manager for Carole Strayhorn is in Kilgore the morning of July 28th. He's speaking to the "No Texas Teacher Left Behind" group.
Let the politicking begin!
Money numbers for the Republicans, Democrats and Independents, all in one place for easy reference. Straight from the source.
Rick Perry: $8.75 million cash on hand. Raised $2.34M in 2005, spent $1.44M in 2005.
Carole Strayhorn: $7.03 million in cash on hand. Raised $1.58M and spent $0.28M.
Chris Bell: $10,741 in cash on hand. Raised $153K, spent $127K.
Kinky Friedman: $17K in cash on hand. Raised $301K, spent $285K.
A few notes:
1. Rick Perry and Carole Strayhorn start from a relatively similar base of money. Perry's campaign picks up the tab when he travels, as I understand it, and Perry is also spending money to put pressure on state legislators over school finance. Still, both should have money.
2. Kinky outraised the Democrats' only "exploratory" candidate. Yikes. That can't be something the Donks want to see. To be fair though, it's easy to overdo the importance of this.
3. Kinky is spending it as fast as he's bringing it in. Kinky already has over 10 people on staff, according to the Dallas Observer article, and he doesn't even know if he'll be on the ballot yet.
I went and poked through the Kinky campaign's expenditures. There are a few $5000 advances to Kinky for "travel expenses," which seems a bit unusual to me. Some of it is to bookstores and to vendors. Quite a bit is payroll and consulting fees, as you'd expect.
Rookie candidates often have problems keeping expenses down. We'll see what Kinky's burn rate is after the next reporting cycle. He's got to start saving money for signature gathering.
4. I'm going to poke through the other campaign reports when I get a chance.
Cornyn running for Senate leadership?
Junior Senator John Cornyn has decided to run for vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the #5 slot in leadership. He'll face off against John Ensign from Nevada, who made a deal with Kay Bailey Hutchison that she would run for #4 and Ensign would run for #5. Senator Hutchison is #5 right now.
Of course, if Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum isn't re-elected to the Senate -- and right now, he's probably a little less than a 50% chance for re-election -- then potentially everybody might move up a slot, as he would fill the #2 Majority Whip slot in the next Congress if he is re-elected.
The article notes that Cornyn "has assumed a high profile for a freshman lawmaker." That's true, Cornyn has been quite visible for a freshman...to the DC crowd. In Texas, he's considerably less visible, and his name ID is remarkably low for a former Attorney General and current Senator.
UPDATE: A reader points to a profile of Cornyn in Sunday's New York Times.
18 July 2005
1. Rebecca Rodriguez at SAEN writes up the contribution reports for Strayhorn and Perry.
2. Is Chris Bell running for governor or against Tom DeLay? There's been lots of murmuring about this, but Kristen Mack published what everyone was saying.
3. Perry says he'll call the Legislature right back to work on school finance if this session ends without a deal.
4. Harvey Kronberg reports that Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to lead a "major trade delegation" to the 2005 World Expo in Japan. It might not happen, per school finance. If the governor goes, Perry's campaign covers the costs.
5. Bruce Hight in the Statesman on turnout in the primary. I'll probably have more on this later. It's definitely worth a read.
6. Perry apologized to a group of folks for having a messianic Jew represent Jews at the Fort Worth bill signing.
McNeely: Strayhorn needs new primary voters
Dave McNeely, longtime Statesman columnist, writes:
For Carole Keeton Strayhorn to have any chance to unseat Gov. Rick Perry in the 2006 Republican primary, she needs a significant boost in primary turnout.That's the basic gist of the story: there's never been a very competitive Republican primary (sorry, the AG primaries don't quite count). Why? Well, some might say that the hand of Karl Rove tended to guide competitive candidates towards offices whereby they wouldn't face an opponent.
The most who have ever voted in a Texas Republican primary for governor was in 1990. That year, 855,231 turned out for the white-hot contest between Clayton Williams Jr., Tom Luce, and Kent Hance - even while an even hotter street brawl was being fought on the Democratic side between Ann Richards, Jim Mattox and Mark White.
By contrast, the fewest voters in a Democratic primary came in the lackluster year of 1998, when 654,154 voted. Republican Gov. George W. Bush was seeking re-election and was considered a shoo-in. In fact, the largest Democratic turnout that year was for attorney general, not governor or lieutenant governor, elections which were uncontested.
It was the first time in decades that the Democratic primary turnout fell below 1 million. But even that meager turnout was 57,315 more than the GOP primary, and Democrats have always outpolled Republicans in non-presidential primaries.
At the same time, in the last three non-presidential general elections, the voter turnout has almost tripled the combined primary election vote. Clearly, there are plenty of people who care enough to vote who might be attracted to a primary.
It's possible Gov. Perry has irked enough people - particularly in the education community - that even some who voted for him in the past will turn thumbs down.
His staff has boasted that in a primary, no one can get to the right of Perry, who has shamelessly panderied to the religious right. But that leaves the center - if a center develops in the modern GOP primary.
How many folks will vote? The folks who vote in the GOP primary are now the kingmakers like the Democratic primary voters.
Lots of folks base their campaign plans on changing the turnout model into one more favorable to them. We generally have a name for these candidates: losers.
I'm not being silly. Yes, there will be more people that vote in this primary, but plans to radically alter the turnout generally just don't work (and no, I don't think BushCheney04 is a counterexample). Strayhorn has her work cut out for her. Maybe she can do it, but the odds are against her.
New Texas Monthly, Kinky Friedman, Lakewood, random thoughts
This morning I went and picked up the new August Texas Monthly with Joel Osteen on the cover (I also started the new Nick Hornby novel, which is as brilliant as all the rest).
I discovered Sunday morning on the way to church that I now have the largest congregation in America (world?) not far from where I live. Now that Lakewood Church has moved to the Compaq Center, there will be Rockets game-traffic every Sunday morning. (Note to self: take Shepherd onramp to 59 and not Kirby. You'll save at least 10 minutes).
The article on Lakewood and Pastor Joel Osteen by retired Rice professor William Martin was interesting and informative. I just missed taking Sociology of Religion at Rice with Dr. Martin, but I was just as pleased to take it with Dr. Michael Emerson, who was one of my favorite professors. As part of a class assignment, I visited Lakewood once. It's quite the experience, and I imagine it'll be quite the experience to go see Lakewood in the Compaq Center. It is extremely impressive that Lakewood is very diverse, and accurately reflects the diversity of the surrounding population.
Post-college, I lived in Northern Virginia for a little while. Once, I was flipping through tv channels and saw Lakewood airing on 3 different tv stations in the DC area. Wow. Of course, I watched the Redskins instead when they came back from halftime.
There was also an article on Kinky Friedman that is worth the price of the mag. I've emailed the folks at Texas Monthly to see if I can get y'all a link to the article, but in the meantime, here are some thoughts I jotted down as I read the article:
-- the Kinky campaign is currently in "phase one," which seeks to put Kinky in the spotlight as a serious candidate while laying the groundwork for signature gathering. I assume this means Phase 2 will be the signature gathering required to get on the ballot.
-- lots of one liners. Many of them are the same ones that appeared in recent articles and profiles of Mr. Friedman.
-- number of times Kinky is quoted using the f-word: 3.
-- Bryan Eppstein, possibly the highest regarded political consultant statewide in Texas, is quoted thus: "Could Kinky even pull 20%?"
-- Kinky's answering machine no longer says, "You've reached Richard Kinky "Big Dick" Friedman. (great, this means I'll start getting google search hits for "kinky big dicks")
-- the campaign claims that they've had 25000 offers to help gather signatures to get on the ballot.
-- there will be a CMT reality show this fall -- before Kinky will have even started gathering signatures to know whether he'll be on the ballot -- about Kinky Friedman's campaign.
16 July 2005
Perry's campaign finance report
Rick Perry's campaign finance report was filed today.
Perry has almost $9 million in cash on hand after raising $2.3million between June 20th and 30th. Overall, for the first six months of 2005, Perry has spent $1.4 million and raised $7.1 million.
Perry's opponent, Comptroller Carole Strayhorn, has $7 million in cash on hand, after raising $1.5 million in the same 10 day June period.
15 July 2005
New Burka column
Paul Burka's column on Rick Perry and the gubernatorial race in the new Texas Monthly is available for preview.
One week left in the special session...
...what are the odds that something gets done this session? How many more will it take?
12 July 2005
Montgomery & Associates poll
Montgomery poll, 905 Texas voters who voted in the 2002 and/or 2004 GOP primaries. moe=3.3%
Perry Job Approval:
Strayhorn Job Approval:
The numbers sound about right to me.
UPDATE: Full press release is here.
11 July 2005
Strayhorn raised $1.5M in 10 days
Via The Hotline, which notes that Strayhorn raised an "unprecedented" $1.5 million in 10 days. She's got $7 million in cash on hand.
It will be interesting to poke through those reports.
08 July 2005
Draft Pete Laney?
Houston Democratic State Rep. Senfronia Thompson has printed up tshirts that she's selling on the house floor that say "Save Texas, Laney for Gov -- 06."
Former House Speaker Pete Laney says, "It'll take a lot more than a T-shirt."
Printing up tshirts is one way to try to start a rumor and draft a candidate, I guess. Sorta. Kinda. John Moritz has more in the FWST.
06 July 2005
1. The Texas Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in the school finance case.
Don't expect a decision anytime soon.
2. Brian Chasnoff at the SAEN files a report on Kinky from Corpus Christi.
One thing worth noting: Kinky's getting significantly more media coverage than Chris Bell.
George Strong's rumors
Houston Democratic political consultant George Strong posts a few interesting rumors.
One is nothing new: both John Sharp and Tony Sanchez are considering running for governor of Texas.
The second is somewhat surprising: that Kinky Friedman might have some "big endorsements" from Democrats.
Another is bizarre: that Dewhurst will be the nominee for governor, not Perry. I've heard no rumblings of the sort, and I doubt that if Dewhurst were considering it he would have endorsed Perry. What particularly doesn't make sense is that the way Strong phrases his rumor appears to suggest that Perry might step down. I don't see that happening.
Also, Strong mentions a new website started by some Austin Democrats. stepuptexas.com has a poll for each race this next cycle -- from statewides to the legislature to county races. The poll for governor currently lists Lance Armstrong, Chris Bell, Paul Hobby, Ann Richards, John Sharp and Roy Spence.
For what it's worth, Bell leads Sharp 11-5 at the moment.
Strayhorn decides not to take the pay raise
Christy Hoppe -- Dallas Morning News:
A $33,000 raise caused a rise in the governor's race.I've got to give credit to Mr. Saenz for the Kerry quote. It's a good sound bite.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who indicated last week that she would accept the 35 percent raise authorized but not funded by the Legislature, said Tuesday that she wouldn't take the money after all.
"Although Gov. Perry sanctioned pay increases for statewide elected officials when he approved the state budget, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to accept a penny more for the work I was elected to do," Mrs. Strayhorn said.
The comptroller, who is challenging Rick Perry for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, was among seven statewide elected officials authorized to find money in their agencies to boost their own salaries from $92,000 to $125,000. Her decision followed criticism from Mr. Perry's campaign.
The holiday weekend gave Mrs. Strayhorn a chance to study the situation, too, and she changed her mind, spokesman Mark Sanders said.
"Her focus has been on her announcement [to run for governor] and dealing with Perry's horribly inept attempt to deal with the public school funding crisis," he said. "She looked at it over the weekend and called today to say she's not accepting it."
Last week, Mr. Perry's campaign uncovered Strayhorn comments from 1997, when she became eligible for a raise while serving on the Railroad Commission.
At the time, she was quoted saying that an election was a bond between herself and the people. "I knew what the terms were. And I say very strongly, if they have pay raises to hand out, it ought to be going to the teachers of this state," she had said.
"She has ripped a page out of Senator [John] Kerry's flip-flop manual, being for the pay raise before she was against it," he said.
The governor's office was initially included in the Legislature's bid to give statewide lawmakers a raise, but Mr. Perry declined to be included. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's salary is set by the state constitution at $7,200, the same as legislators.
"...Mr. Perry declined to be included," in this case means that Perry told legislators to exclude the governor from the pay raise authorization. This of course creates an interesting situation: all statewide executive branch offices will now pay more than the governor.
Mark Sanders, Strayhorn's spokesman (quoted in the article, but not excerpted here), was previously the spokesman for Tony Sanchez's failed campaign to unseat Governor Perry in 2002.
04 July 2005
Dallas Observer profiles Kinky
Robert Wilonsky in the Dallas Observer has a long and interesting profile of the man who hopes to be an independent candidate for governor.
Friedman on immigration:
Friedman insists that the campaign, not yet out of its bassinet, has invigorated and inspired him. For hours he pitches proposals that land somewhere between crackpot and genius. There's one called The Five Mexican Generals, which he insists would stem the flow of Mexicans illegally crossing the Texas border. The plan is simple: Divide the Texas-Mexico border into five districts, appoint a Mexican general to guard each, keep $1 million in a bank account for each official and then dock the accounts for every immigrant who slips across the border.On being taken seriously and fundraising:
One of Barkley's first jobs in Texas will involve getting Friedman on the phone with his rich and famous friends and asking them to pony up. By the time of the election, Barkley would like to have $5 million, which is but a fraction of the $60 million Democratic candidate Tony Sanchez spent to get his ass handed to him by Rick Perry three years ago. Barkley insists that if Friedman can raise the money, that alone will prove to the media he's a candidate to be taken seriously.I think what Barkley meant to say is "Adios mofo." But he's not from Texas, so maybe he's not hip to the current politico lingo.
"My old pal Evan Smith [editor of Texas Monthly] told me, 'Kinky, enough of the one-liners. Where's the real substance?'" Friedman says. "Yet he listens to Kay Bailey [Hutchison] or Rick Perry or John Sharp or Chris Bell and he thinks he's hearing substance, and that's ludicrous. I'll tell ya about one-liners. The kings of one-liners are probably Kinky Friedman, Henny Youngman and Oscar Wilde throughout history, but the defense of a good one-liner is that the cowboy uses one line between his saddle horn and the steer he's roped, and hopefully that one line is true and strong. Travis at the Alamo drew one line in the sand for the men to walk across. Jesus had one line on the cross: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' So if a one-liner is true and strong, it can save a soul. That's my defense of the one-liner. And I'm telling you, the campaign with the most substance is ours, merely because the candidate and the people around him don't come from politics. The closest we get to politics is Dean Barkley..."
"Hey, I resent that," Barkley barks. "Fuck you, asshole."
Barkley is right. They need to raise money, and then commission a poll showing Friedman with palpable support.
"I think we're going to win Fredericksburg, and as Fredericksburg goes, so goes the state," he insists. "There are rednecks still left in this state, and the rednecks are for Kinky Friedman. That's the fact, OK?"Color me unconvinced. How will Friedman's left-leaning social views play?
Eiland has a point
State Rep. Craig Eiland predicts that casino gambling might return to the table if the Legislature finds itself in a second special session seeking to resolve issues related to school funding.Eiland is right. Since Strayhorn has supported gambling to fund education in the past, she can't really take a credible anti-gambling stand if Perry includes gambling revenues in school finance. The political pressure was coming from Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Eiland indicated the governor and his re-election hopes would be at the center of any discussion about funding for education. He suggested that the absence of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison from the Republican gubernatorial primary might make it easier for Perry to get behind gambling as a possible revenue source.
"He had already come out in favor of gambling at the horse and dog tracks," Eiland said, "and as long as she was in the picture, he really couldn’t move off of that because that was the one issue where she was to the right of him. Now that she’s not running, he might be free to look at more options."
Revenues from gambling will start looking mighty attractive to raising taxes. I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen.
I don't comment on policy on this blog, but the one exception has been this: if the state wants revenues from gambling, then why not legalize poker?
Poker is an actual game of skill, unlike say...slots or "VLTs". The game is currently extremely popular, especially with college and high school students. Underground games are flourishing across Texas.
If the state legalized Texas Hold'em, it would give folks a place to play legally -- and I promise you that many, many of the younger generation are playing but would prefer to play in Texas rather than online or in Lake Charles -- as well as generate revenue for the state.
02 July 2005
I got tired of folks emailing me to tell me that Carole Strayhorn had announced for governor, so I updated my sidebar.
It was a little bit more difficult to update the sidebar now that this blog uses Nucleus, but I just hope that I didn't screw any of Kevin's Nucleus customization work up.
Governing on Texas political blogs
An interesting paragraph:
Blogs may pose a more direct challenge to political newsletters. Texas has three of them, the Quorum Report, Capitol Inside, and Texas Weekly. Each charges $250 for an annual subscription, and is aimed more or less at the same niche of insiders that the blogs reach for free. Currently, the blogs come nowhere close to the newsletters in terms of providing useful information for staffers or lobbyists. But that could change. It all depends on who decides to take up blogging — and what sort of information they’re willing to share. “Blogs now have more gossip and entertainment value than the kind of stuff that would dominate the decision-making political conversation,” says Harvey Kronberg, editor of the Quorum Report. Kronberg admits that he reads In The Pink, but he doesn’t see Eileen Smith or her contemporaries as a threat. “Blogs don’t have the range, the reach or the institutional memory. That’s not to say someone won’t come along who does.”Mostly agreed. I've had the pleasure of Quorum Report and Texas Weekly subscriptions in the past, and I thought both were well worth the money. I've never had the chance to try Capitol Inside, though I've heard good things.
The day could come when blogs could supplant those three newsletters, but that day isn't imminent.
01 July 2005
BOR says John Sharp to enter race for governor
According to BOR, John Sharp will seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
Shucks, he's lost for lite guv the last two times, why not give guv a shot? It will be interesting to see whether Bell decides to stay in the race if Sharp runs.
It'll also be interesting to see if anyone decides to take on Sharp. A few names being thrown about by Dems include former Ambassador to Sweden Lyndon Olson and advertising executive Roy Spence.