21 March 2006
No recent media polls
We haven't had any media polls on the gubernatorial race recently. I wonder how long it will be until the next?
Maybe news organizations have decided not to waste any more money on polls and surveys until they have a better idea of what the ballot will look like.
Rick Perry's release:
Gov. Rick Perry today announced that he will call a special session of the legislature beginning on Monday, April 17, at 2 p.m.Would it surprise you that Strayhorn had a reaction, and that she wasn't complimentary of Perry?
"The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Texas' current tax system must be reformed by June 1," Perry said. "This special session provides legislators of both parties a rare opportunity to significantly reduce property taxes, make substantial reforms to the franchise tax so it is fairer and broader, and ensure our schools have a reliable and constitutional stream of revenue."
The governor will issue a proclamation outlining the specific issues for the session at a later date.
Strayhorn, who brought her independent campaign for governor to San Antonio, said Perry deliberately delayed convening a special session until after the primaries, so Republicans didn't have to deal with the issue at the same time they were on the campaign trail.
"Now he is punting it as far as he can go to get everybody past runoff elections," she said. "It is purely for political and partisan reasons."
We've got a month until the special. Anyone want to take odds on what the Legislature will accomplish (or won't)?
I know this is olds, not news. But I'm trying to catch up.
19 March 2006
Strayhorn gets Sanchez, Price. Friedman gets Willie
Two [names that Carole Strayhorn] likes to point out: Former Democratic nominee for governor Tony Sanchez and former House Speaker Rayford Price, who left the Democrats to become a Republican.Willie was already expected.
Sanchez ran for governor in 2002 but lost in a landslide to Gov. Rick Perry, who Strayhorn hopes to challenge in November. Price was a Democrat when he was House speaker in 1972 before switching to the Republican Party in 1973.
Strayhorn, who was elected state comptroller as a Republican, and writer-humorist-musician Kinky Friedman are both collecting signatures in order to get on the Nov. 7 ballot as independents.
Friedman launched a new radio ad touting biodiesel as a fuel alternative with country music star Willie Nelson as his pitchman. Nelson tells listeners, "I'll be one of those signatures. I hope you will, too."
Sanchez and Price are surprises. It's worth pointing out that Sanchez isn't exactly the staunchest Democrat, having support George W. Bush while governor, and becoming a big enough fundraiser for Bush's 2000 presidential campaign to be named a Pioneer.
Still, it's a blow to Bell. I'll have more on this soon, when I'll offer updated thoughts on the race in partial response to Royal Masset's recent QR column.
Friedman caught drinking beer at parade in violation of law
Gubernatorial hopeful Kinky Friedman rode in a St. Patrick's Day parade car Saturday with his trademark black hat and burning cigar — plus a beer in his hand, an apparent violation of the state's open container law.The Dallas police didn't ticket Friedman, because no officer witnessed the imbibing of the libations. They aren't planning to ticket him, despite photos.
A spokeswoman for Friedman, the author and musician running as an independent, acknowledged that the candidate drank from a can of Guinness handed to him. State law prohibits opened alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. The Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $500.
"Guinness is the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world. It would be unthinkable not to have a Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day parade. In fact, it would be spiritually wrong," Friedman said in a statement issued by spokeswoman Laura Stromberg.
In typical style, Friedman said:
Yes, I admit to holding a Guinness. I even admit to drinking it. But I did not swallow.Having a swig of Guinness during a St. Patrick's Day Parade doesn't really seem like a worthy ticket to me. And Friedman and I have something in common: we both had free Guinness on the 17th.
However, I think that it's arguably a bad headline for voters to read as they form initial impressions of Friedman as a gubernatorial candidate. While disgruntled voters won't mind, they are also less likely to vote, because voting is a habit. Somebody like Ventura didn't win solely because of disgruntled voters, but because they were able to persuade frequent voters as well.
So all in all, maybe a dumb story/scandal, but probably not a good one for Friedman.
Lowest primary turnout in decades
Even Republican Secretary of State Roger Williams, who predicted a paltry 13 percent turnout, was caught being overly optimistic.Primary turnout was low, but it is probably not because people chose to stay home and sign petitions.
"We don't know why the turnout was low, and certainly this office is disappointed," spokesman Scott Haywood said.
He said he should make it clear that TV commercials running statewide and starring Mr. Williams were not part of a failed get-out-the-vote effort. They were designed to inform voters about where to vote and that they would be casting ballots on new electronic equipment – part of a $5 million voter education drive.
"We're pretty pleased with the results. Things went really well with the new equipment," he said.
Mr. Haywood said that if any one factor was significant, it was that Democrats failed to show up. "I couldn't find a Democratic primary that was lower," he said.
The Democratic primary drew 4 percent of registered voters, the GOP primary 5 percent.
The Dems had a big race in 2002 -- Sanchez vs. Morales. Sanchez spents lots of money turning people out. This year, the primary wasn't nearly as high-profile, and Democratic turnout went from a million to 600K. Meanwhile, just like four years ago, there weren't any big races for the GOP, and turnout was only up a modest amount (less than 10%).
So unless you think lots more people were going to come to the polls this year, it's probably not because of Strayhorn or Friedman or their petitions. Individual voter behavior is not easily malleable in the aggregate.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you should know that when I say that I'll have a post on Saturday, I really mean that I'll have a post on Monday...at the earliest.
In the meantime, let me point you to a new blog, Right of Texas. There aren't enough center-right Texas bloggers, so drop by and say hi. He's much more prolific than I am.
EDIT to add the italics for accuracy.
17 March 2006
Tomorrow I expect to write some thoughts in response to Royal Masset's QR column.
Back in town
I'm now back in town. Spent a few days with a friend in the woods of Arkansas at a friend of a friend's trailer. Lots of fishing and hunting. It was fun and interesting, but not the stereotypical Spring Break.
I'll try and catch up on some blogging tonight, hopefully before my (not at all) Irish self celebrates St. Patrick's Day.
12 March 2006
Out of town
I'm gonna be out of town for the next few days. Posting will resume either Wednesday night or Thursday.
10 March 2006
Looking for signature gathering anecdotes
If you've seen or been asked to sign either Friedman or Strayhorn's petitions, then I'd love to hear from you. If you're okay with it, I'll possibly print your response (anonymously if you wish). I'm sure both are gathering petitions on UT's campus, and probably at other college campuses around the state.
Details I'm looking for (among others): who, what the script was, what they were wearing, were they paid or volunteer, how many were gathering signatures, etc.
09 March 2006
This was pre-primary, but Burnt Orange Report journal-ist Kevin C reports on a Q&A with Michael Baselice, who's Perry's pollster.
I asked him what he thought about the Kinky and Carol campaigns and he said his numbers show that they will hurt Democrats more than they will hurt Perry. Right now, Texas is about 50% Republican, 35% Democrat and 15% Independent. As long as those two are in the race and draw any voters away from the Democratic candidate, the Democrat will lose because there are simply not enough votes available for them. A Democrat might be able to pull 10% from the Republican 50%, but it's just as likely that Perry will pull in 10% of Democrats. With Kinky and Carol in the race, there just isn't enough of the pie left for the Democratic candidate to win because Kinky and/or Carol will take many independents, some Democrats and some Republicans. Perry can afford to lose some votes, Gammage or Bell cannot. Note that Baselice thinks Bell will win the Dem primary outright.
Some primary thoughts
1. My thoughts on the race haven't really changed much since I wrote a long analysis on January 3rd.
2. Texas has still never had a high-profile Republican primary since Republicans took over this state. This is amazing. It was almost guaranteed that we'd get one this cycle...but we didn't.
3. It's all about early voting -- 40% of the total votes statewide in both the Republican and Democratic primaries were early votes. In Fort Bend County, more people voted early than voted on election day. This is going to change the way people run campaigns; it's already been changing, of course, but it appears that early voting will continue to become increasingly prevalent.
4. GOP turnout wasn't much higher than Dem turnout. 618k to 500k. This is actually a little surprising.
5. I'm glad I'm not involved in any Democratic statewide primary campaigns. It sucks when a non-campaigning perennial candidate can force a relatively serious candidate into a runoff. Maybe it's a good thing for Barbara Ann Radnofsky, because the press will feel obligated to cover the runoff a few times. On the other hand, recent statewide Democratic history should also make Radnofsky scared of losing.
7. [I may elevate this to its own post and expand on it more]. I think Bob Gammage was the best thing that could have happened to Chris Bell. Bell needed name ID (and probably still does, though I assume the primary helped) and this was probably the cheapest way for Bell to get it. Without name ID, Bell can't poll well, which means he can't raise money, which means he won't have a chance and the coverage will reflect that.
Items around the state
I'm pretty busy these days, so here's some lazy linking.
Slater/Hoppe in the Dallas Morning News has their gubernatorial race preview here, entitled "It's Perry vs. Bell, with more in wings." You and I both know that it's really Perry vs. World, and I'm kind enough to let the DMN use it, so long as they attribute. Heh.
R.A. Dyer writes up the Dem primary results for the FWST.
Kelley Shannon has the AP's report on Perry and Bell winning the nomination, and then previews:
It'll be weeks before Republican Gov. Rick Perry knows exactly which candidates he'll face in November.
But he's got a sneaking suspicion whom his biggest opponent will be, and he's trying hard not to mention her by name.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, billing herself as "one tough grandma," has millions of dollars to spend on her independent run for governor against Perry and at this point poses his biggest threat. She and author-musician Kinky Friedman moved their independent candidate petition drives into full gear Wednesday, following Tuesday's party primaries.
Democrat Chris Bell, a former congressman, captured his party's nomination over former Texas Supreme Court justice Bob Gammage, winning 64 percent of the vote to Gammage's 28 percent. Perry cruised to victory over three little-known GOP opponents.
When Perry greeted campaign supporters in Austin after his primary victory, he took a broad swipe at his rivals, without naming them.
"The real test of leadership is not saying what you're against. It's saying what you're for. Texans deserve better than empty criticism that serves as a substitute for real substance," Perry said.
Clay Robison does the honors for the Houston Chronicle.
And then, there's the articles that capture the flavor of Texas politics:
James McCutchen sat facing away from the open front doors at Blaine’s Pub — a sign on his back urging people to stop and sign a petition to get Kinky Friedman on the ballot for Texas governor.Good ol' Tom Green County. Kinky's folks have told them to get 800 signatures.
McCutchen, who said he did not believe in telling his age, wore a long black blazer with a vintage ruby western vest underneath and matching red leggings. His long salt-and-peppered hair was hidden under a 10-gallon black hat.
Jones, 50, wore a red hat, shiny metallic purple stretch pants and silky tall purple cowboy boots.
The two said they wanted to attract attention to themselves and of course, Kinky.
08 March 2006
More primary results
UPDATE: Cuellar appears very likely to win without a runoff. Cuellar leads Rodriguez by only something like 48%-45%, but according to the Secretary of State, there are only 5 precincts still out in Bexar County (San Antonio, and Rodriguez's home base), while all 30 precincts are still out in Webb County (Laredo, Cuellar's home base). If none of Webb County is in, then Cuellar should end up avoiding a runoff easily. [Further update: I've seen that some folks are hesitant to call this race, but I'm more than willing. If all 30 Webb County boxes are out and the margins are what SoS says they are, then Cuellar will win without a runoff. Further update 2: Apparently the Webb County voting machines were incorrectly programmed, and thus votes will be extracted from cards attached to each machine.]
**As you can read about at my other blog, Tom DeLay has been renominated with somewhere over 60% of the vote.
** Henry Cuellar leads Ciro Rodriguez 49% to 45% with 70% of the precincts in. I have no idea which 30% is out and it matters very much in this race. If all 30% is in San Antonio, Rodriguez might be able to win without a runoff. If all 30% is in Laredo, then Cuellar will win by double digits.
**Van Taylor edged Tucker Anderson to be the CD17 nominee to face Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards.
**Texas House Education Committee Chairman Grusendorf appears to have almost definitely lost to challenger Diane Patrick.
**Incumbent Democrat state Sen. Frank Madla appears to have been unseated by state Rep. Carlos Uresti in SD19.
**Radio talker Dan Patrick absolutely crushed two sitting State Reps. and one City Councilman. He took almost 70% of the SD7 vote in a four way race.
**Two of the so-called "Leininger Five" appear to have won. Nathan Macias has a 45 vote lead over Rep. Carter Casteel with all boxes counted in the New Braunfels district. Wayne Christian appears to have won his old seat in East Texas back from Roy Blake, Jr. Christian left the seat to run for Congress in CD1, which Louie Gohmert eventually won in a runoff. Tommy Merritt, Charlie Geren, and Delwin Jones all appear to have comfortably held off Leininger-funded challengers by at least double digits.
** Glenn Hegar beat Gary Gates in SD18.
**Local Harris County races: Al Edwards leads by double-digits two challengers in the Democratic HD146 primary but may face a runoff, Patricia Harless edged John Devine in HD126 (Hamric's old seat), and Mike Schofield will face Jim Murphy in a runoff in HD133 (Nixon's old seat). All 3 candidates in HD133 got between 31% and 35% of the vote. Very close race.
** Justice Don Willett beat out former Justice Stephen Wayne Smith 52%-48%. Smith is the guy who unseated Xavier Rodriguez in the 2002 primary, only to lose in the 2004 primary.
** In the ongoing so-called conservative v. moderate battle on the Texas Court of Appeals, Sharon Keller beat Tom Price 53%-47%. Price remains on the same court, of course, leading to some very interesting discussions in chambers, I'm sure.
** Barbara Radnofsky will face a runoff with perennial candidate Gene Kelly (44% to 38%)for the right to be the Democratic sacrificial lamb to Kay Bailey Hutchison.
07 March 2006
Republican and Democratic Primary Results
With about 80% of precincts reporting:
Rick Perry 84%
Larry Kilgore 8%
Star Locke 4%
Rhett Smith 5%
Chris Bell 64%
Bob Gammage 28%
I meant to put a numerical prediction up for the Democrats, but half chickened out/half forgot (that is, when I remembered, I was busy and decided to do it later...and then forgot). I predicted Bell awhile back, so it's no surprise to me that he won. I was going to take the safe route and pick Bell with 60%, but that's easy to say afterwards. That is the number I was kicking around in my head though.
Interestingly, from what I've read (but have not conclusively researched) Bell spent nothing on yard signs, putting his money into direct mail. Gammage, on the other hand, put money into yard signs, but nothing into direct mail.