31 October 2006

Another (this one is mostly worthless) data point

Zogby internet poll:

Perry 37
Bell 29
Strayhorn 15
Friedman 15
I've written for years now about how untrustworthy these Zogby internet polls are.

That's awfully different than their phone poll done for the Houston Chronicle in a similar time frame, which found this:

Perry 38%
Bell 22%
Strayhorn 21%
Friedman 11%
Werner 1%
Internet polls are not reliable. Here's the funny thing: I could write long paragraphs explaining why this is, but it's not worth it. At this point in the election cycle, with partisan fervor at a peak...if you don't already know why internet polls aren't reliable, then you're probably not going to be reasoned with.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Strayhorn and Bell on the air

Harvey reports that Strayhorn campaign manager Brad McClellan is claiming this:

He also said that the Bell campaign could only make a $40,000 media buy to cover the next four days. Strayhorn, who has already made her media buys for the rest of the campaign, is spending $200,000 daily.

That is, of course, unless O'Quinn decides to burn some more money give more money to Bell.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Money, Money, Money! (Final edition)

Who's got how much money left for the final stretch. As of Saturday, September 28th, the candidates had this much:

Perry $2.9 million
Strayhorn $0.42 million
Bell $0.08 million
Friedman $0.54 million
A huge cash advantage for Perry, even after Bell received his millions from trial lawyer John O'Quinn.

If you're one of those people who thinks it matters how much the candidates raised over the last month, then here are those numbers: Perry $2.6 million, Bell $2.8 million (including the $1 million dollar loan from O'Quinn and the $1 million O'Quinn donation), Strayhorn $0.58 million, Friedman $1.1 million.

In other words, Bell started burning through cash like there was no tomorrow, when in fact there's about a week of tomorrows. Strayhorn hasn't been able to raise any money, because folks realize she self-destructed her campaign during the summer. And Friedman has actually learned to conserve a little money, after that horrendous burn rate he had going on early in the campaign.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Drew Brees to Mom: Stop trading on my name

What's your problem, Mom? Gosh! [/Napoleon Dynamite]

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees is upset with his mom, an Austin Democrat running to be a judge, for using his name:

The NFL quarterback and Westlake High School graduate has told Mina Brees, an Austin attorney, to stop using his picture in TV commercials as she runs for a spot on Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals, saying their relationship is now "nonexistent" after souring six years ago.

"I think the major point here is that my mother is using me in a campaign, and I've made it known many times I don't want to be involved," he said Monday.

The New Orleans Saints player said he is speaking out now because she did not acknowledge previous requests to keep him out of the campaign.

It's actually a pretty sad story.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


A perfect storm

Lots of pundits have been writing about how the multiple candidate field has guaranteed Rick Perry's victory.

I don't really agree. Seems to me like this is the perfect storm of something that could beat Perry. Of course, it's still not going to happen, but, y'know...

In a two candidate race, there'd have been only one candidate attacking Perry. Instead of the 3 candidates getting headlines all summer blasting Perry, it would've simply been one. That means that Perry's personal and job approval numbers would be higher.

That's not to say there isn't a strong anti-Perry vote out there. Of course there is. But some folks seem to think that most everyone who doesn't vote for Perry in this 5 person race would've voted for Perry's opponent if this were only a two candidate race. I doubt it. Highly. Perry and his team are excellent at drawing contrasts. They'd have spent all summer defining the Democrat.

So actually, I think this is the Democrats' best chance. They've had the arrows of Kinky Friedman and Carole Strayhorn aimed at Perry for over a year, while Bell has managed to skate through largely unmarred until now. Bell may be unknown but he hasn't been defined until recently, and that's pretty much the best any Democrat can ask for in this state right now.

UPDATE: Welcome Chron.com Opinion readers, and welcome Yahoo AP readers. Click here for the main page of the blog. This blog started out covering just the gubernatorial race here in Texas, but know covers Texas politics at large.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 09:16 AM | Comments (3)

 
 


A note on the poll results from yesterday

As pointed out in the comments by Ryan Goodland, the Chron CD 22 poll actually shows Shelley 8% behind Lampson, not 1%.

Frankly, I still think the poll overstates Shelley's strength. And the Chron's write-up of the poll is pretty irresponsible. I mean, I know local journalists like to make the horserace close and all, but the article makes it sound much closer than it is.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 12:32 AM | Comments (1)

 
 


Funniest radio ad of the year so far

Rick Perry's radio ad on Chris Bell is pretty funny. A knockoff of the "Real Men of Genius" ads, it made me laugh and I was impressed at how many issues they managed to cram into one ad.

Announcer: Presenting...

Singer: Real Washington liberals

Announcer: Today we salute you, Mr. Way Too Liberal for Texas Guy

Singer: Mr. Way Too Liberal for Texas Guy!

Announcer: Only you, Chris Bell, could vote for higher taxes ten times in congress, and despite a record state surplus, run for governor on a platform of raising taxes.

Singer: This ain't Taxachusetts!

Chorus: Taxachusetts!

Announcer: Congressman Bell, only you could vote to make it hard to deport terrorists then support sanctuary for illegal immigrants so the law can't ask a person's legal status.

Singer: Don't ask, don't tell!

Announcer: And you voted to let the United Nations oversee elections in America because no one stands up for democracy like the French.

Singer: Je m'appelle Christophe Bell! (My name is Chris Bell)

Announcer: So wear your fancy beret with pride, Congressman Bell...liberals everywhere salute you.

Singer: Mr. Way Too Liberal for Texas Guy

Chorus: Ooh la la

You can listen to it here. You know, once upon a time Chris Bell was running as the de facto Republican candidate for mayor. Then he started a steady slide leftward that continues to this day, and he's been campaigning for governor with a pretty left-ward bent. He certainly hasn't pushed back at being called a liberal.

The ironies of this campaign makes me smile.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 12:24 AM | Comments (4)

 
 


Big guns coming in -- W, John Kerry, Bill Clinton

The big guns are coming to town. It's 04 re-do.

Bush:

The president is shifting to full-time campaign mode next week and plans two Texas stops Sugar Land on Monday, where he'll appear with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. House candidates, and Reunion Arena in Dallas a week later to lend a hand to the governor and other statewide candidates.

"I'm looking forward to campaigning for Governor Perry, who I strongly support. I'm looking forward to saying positive things about my friend Senator Hutchison," he said.

John Kerry:

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry lent his support Friday to a fellow Democrat in Texas.

Kerry appeared with gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell in downtown Austin to give him his support and discuss the issues important to the election.

"Twenty-five percent of its citizens have no health care at all. That's about 5.6 million citizens of Texas. That's just wrong. We're the only country in the world, and this is the only state in the nation that treats that many children and that many adults that way," Kerry said.

Nothing like having one of the most liberal people in the Senate come down to campaign for you.

Oh wait, yes there is: Bill Clinton taped a radio ad for Chris Bell. They couldn't even an appearance, or a TV spot, so I guess radio is the best Texas Democrats can do.

All three things are designed to boost Republican turnout. Heh.

Posted by Evan @ 10/31/06 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


30 October 2006

Great copy, AP

AP:

"There are a lot of people out there ... who think that the color of your skin dictates your political philosophy," Bonilla said. "And that's the greatest insult that you could inflict on any American, regardless of their ethnic background."

Ethnicity is an issue in the campaign for the massive 23rd Congressional District - it stretches from south San Antonio to the Mexican border and west to the eastern edge of El Paso - in part because Texas Republicans made it one.

Bonilla's former district had been drawn in a 2003 redistricting plan engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to improve the chances of GOP candidates. However, courts later ruled that by splitting into two congressional districts Webb County, which includes the 94 percent Hispanic city of Laredo, the plan unfairly diluted Hispanic voting strength.

Yeah, gee, protecting a Latino Congressman. How terribly racist of the Republicans. Clearly they were making ethnicity a campaign issue.

Posted by Evan @ 10/30/06 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Bush in Sugar Land

The President came down to Sugar Land today. We get a full one line of reportage on what he said from the Chron.

Posted by Evan @ 10/30/06 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Friedman on Friday's Letterman

Chron:

Friedman is taping his segment for Letterman's CBS program Monday, and it is scheduled to air on Nov. 3, said campaign spokeswoman Laura Stromberg.

"We just hope a lot of Texas voters are going to be watching," she said. "Being on David Letterman three days before Election Day couldn't possibly hurt."

Putting candidates on TV right before election day is awfully like a corporate campaign contribution. Of course, under McCain-Feingold, that's okay!

Posted by Evan @ 10/30/06 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Control

New tentative opinon on control of Congress from me: Democrats take the House with a margin of 3 to 5 seats, and Republicans hold the Senate with 51 or 52.

Just too many bad polls coming out in House races across the country. I haven't been able to devote much time to thinking about it -- I think it's likely that the undecideds at this point are GOP-leaning -- but just too many races out there for Republicans to hold it, I think.

Posted by Evan @ 10/30/06 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


The Chron poll

The Houston Chronicle/KHOU have released their pre-election poll, done by Zogby. Of note, I'm fairly certain that every cycle from 2000 until now have been Murray/Stein, so the Chron has decided to change pollsters.

Here're their results:

Perry 38%
Bell 22%
Strayhorn 21%
Friedman 11%
Werner 1%
Another data point. I'm still feeling okay about my prediction, and will resist the urge to rejigger it.

You can read the polling script, or go see the crosstabs they've made available at the main site.

They also have some CD22 results:

36% Lampson
28% Sekula-Gibbs

Sekula-Gibbs might get 30% of the vote. Maybe. I doubt it. Polling this is pretty difficult, and I'm not a fan of the way they polled it. [Read the script here]. I'd have asked the questions differently.

I know the NRCC has spent quite a bit (over a million) in this race, so maybe they're seeing something in their more sophisticated polling. But I still don't buy it.

Posted by Evan @ 10/30/06 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

 
 


26 October 2006

Facebook updating

Awhile back, I decided to check in and see how many kids on Facebook had joined groups for one of the Texas gubernatorial candidates. Let's do it again.

Texans for Rick Perry - 985
Chris Bell for Governer! - 156
He Ain't Kinky, He's My Governor - 20,306
Carole Strayhorn for Governor - 64 (Right below, there's a group called "A Texas Governor Should Know Who the President of Mexico Is..." that has 180 members. Ouch!)

For comparison purposes, the old numbers were:

10276 Kinky Friedman
665 Rick Perry
50 Chris Bell
12 Strayhorn

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Silly columns

Carl Leubsdorf's column in the DMN:

News that President Bush will make a campaign stop next week in former Rep. Tom DeLay's Houston-area district underscores the defensive strategy the White House has adopted in seeking to stem a potential Democratic tide in next month's elections.

In 2002, when Mr. Bush was riding high politically, he led the charge against Democratic incumbents and helped produce one of the best midterm showings for a recent president.

Mr. Leubsdorf seems to miss the fact that Bush is defending Republican seats because Republicans have already captured much of the low-hanging fruit.

It really was a silly column the more I thought about it. Yes, it's a bad environment for the 'phants and Bush isn't very popular, but the rest of the column seems a little silly. Or maybe it was edited poorly. Who knows?

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Reflexively yours

Janet Elliott, Chron reports on the report that Strayhorn's office released yesterday:

The state's contract with a private company hired to administer children's health insurance and other state benefit programs should be canceled because of mismanagement, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Wednesday.

"The contract with Accenture must be ended. This project has failed the state and the citizens it was designed to serve," Strayhorn said in a report to three lawmakers who asked her office to investigate the contract.

...

Accenture-run call centers that screen for eligibility in the Children's Health Insurance Program have been plagued by computer glitches and lost or backlogged applications, which has caused children to be wrongly denied coverage.

I'm sure the Comptroller's office just finished this report this week. [/sarcasm]

If we just decided to get rid of a government program every time there was "mismanagement," would we have any government at all?

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 11:01 PM | Comments (2)

 
 


CD17

I have yet to read an article by the Waco Trib's CD17 Dan Genz that could be characterized as favorable to Van Taylor. Today's is no exception, which seems to seek to defuse several of Taylor's campaign points.

Edwards is probably a good favorite to win here -- neither the NRCC or DCCC is playing in this race -- but I highly doubt he is up 20 (as he claimed he was in released internal polling) or that he'll win by 20.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Random thought while sleepy on a Thursday night: Draft Fred Thompson

I'm not too excited about any of the '08 GOP candidates right now. I do think it is imperative that we beat Hillary. If you thought Bill or W divided the country, just wait for Hillary.

So can we draft Fred Thompson? I'm almost tempted to register a domain name.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


How hard could it be? This is how hard it could be.

Janet Elliot profiles Kinky Friedman, at the end of his second political race [he ran for Kerr County sheriff in 1986]:

Even here, surrounded by those he holds dear six friendly dogs, a namesake macaw and assorted humans he can't put the slings and arrows of politics out of his mind.

"I didn't expect the media to be so low," he said, brown eyes narrowing. "I thought they would go after the guy who's really stuffing money in his pants. That's (Gov. Rick) Perry.

...

With one poll showing half of voters have a negative perception of Friedman, Smith says he worries that Kinky's image has been irreparably tainted.

"He's the sad and tragic clown of Texas politics," Smith said.

Such criticisms sting, and Friedman says his former editor is the "guy I don't want giving the eulogy at my funeral." That's a big change from 2002, when Friedman asked Smith to read "The Navigator" at his dad's funeral.

How hard could it be? This is how hard it can be, Kinky.

In your hubris, Kinky, you just thought you could waltz into the Governor's Mansion on the strength of your personality. You even had the witty slogan, "how hard could it be?" Well frankly, governing is harder than campaigning, and you haven't shown yourself to be much of a campaigner.

Evan Smith is right, Kinky is the sad clown of Texas politics right now. That's sad: he seems like a good guy whose columns I used to usually laugh at. After he's lost, hopefully he'll realize that he shouldn't be bitter -- heck, he's gotten treated nicer by the media than most candidates. Instead, he should realize that politics is serious business.

It really could be that hard.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 01:27 PM | Comments (1)

 
 


Polls!

I'm shamelessly stealing these numbers from Paul Burka's blog. Not only does he have the best political blog in Texas, but he's done the best job of keeping up with the polls while I've been away.

Rasmussen (parentheses indicate previous Rasmussen poll):

Perry 36% (34%)
Bell 25% (19%)
Strayhorn 22% (21%)
Friedman 12% (18%)

Survey USA:

Perry 36%
Bell 26%
Strayhorn 19%
Friedman 16%
Werner 1%
Undecided 2%

Zogby's worthless internet poll:

Perry 37.2%
Bell 26.2%
Friedman 13.2%
Strayhorn 13%
Werner 3.9%
Undecided 6.5%

Trial lawyers org poll:

Perry 34%
Strayhorn 19%
Bell 19%
Friedman 9%
Undecided 19%

Data points, people. Data points.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


Burying the lead

I buried the lead. [On my blog, it'll be lead, not lede, thank you very much.]

On my recent post, I just listed the endorsements that a cursory search had turned up. I'll reprint 'em:

Austin American-Statesman: Rick Perry
Dallas Morning News: Rick Perry
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Chris Bell
Houston Chronicle: Carole Strayhorn
San Antonio Express-News: Rick Perry
Midland Reporter-Telegram: Rick Perry
Galveston County Daily News: Kinky Friedman
Bryan-College Station Eagle: Rick Perry

Surprising? Yes. I mean, in today's environment it might make sense. Op-ed boards don't think highly of Bell, who hasn't really proven himself to the op-ed boards. Friedman is a joke. And Strayhorn is running a campaign that is all over the map (for heaven's sake, she just announced a steering committee two weeks before the election!).

But think back to a year ago. Then think back to two years ago. Or even three. And now, it starts to be quite surprising that most of the op-ed boards are endorsing Perry. These same folks were regularly lambasting him during that time period, frequently over Strayhorn's criticisms. Plus, the Chron ed board was never going to endorse Perry -- it's probably the most liberal in the state, and they've been among the most ardent of Perry critics.

So I buried the lead. If you were to tell me this three years ago, I'd have been shocked.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 01:39 AM | Comments (2)

 
 


Taxes, Perry, Bell, Strayhorn

Definite differences in what the gubernatorial candidates are promising to do on taxes:

"Our budget surplus is going to be so friggin' big," Perry said. "So why not lower the [business] tax rate down to three-fourths of a cent, or a half-cent? ... I'm all for that."

The new business tax, part of a sweeping school finance overhaul, takes effect in January 2008. Most businesses will be taxed at a rate of 1 percent. The overhaul was designed to reduce the state's reliance on the property tax to fund schools.

Apart from possibly lowering business tax rates, a big surplus would allow lawmakers to further reduce property taxes, as well as fund the dilapidated state park system and other long-neglected needs, Perry said.

But Perry's Democratic opponent, Chris Bell, said dollars from both the surplus and the new business tax -- which he calls the "largest tax increase" in history -- should be tapped to increase funding for public education.

"Now he's saying none of that can go to our public schools," said Bell spokesman Jason Stanford. "What's wrong with that boy?"

Another Perry opponent, independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn, accused the governor of using fuzzy math to entice voters as the Nov. 7 election draws near. Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said the reforms Perry signed this year are already destined to blow a $25 billion hole in the budget over the next five years because they promise more property tax relief than the state can deliver.

Meanwhile, Perry is attacking Bell for wanting higher taxes.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


Shorts

1. DMN:

President Bush is expected to attend a rally for Republican candidates at Reunion Arena on Nov. 6, a day before the midterm elections that could cost his party control of Congress. The rally will also feature Gov. Rick Perry and other state GOP candidates. It has become customary for Mr. Bush to finish campaign swings in Dallas; in previous years, he's done so at Southern Methodist University. He is expected to vote in Crawford on Election Day.

Gromer Jeffers Jr.

Perry takes swing at Bell on border security

LUFKIN, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry made several stops Tuesday in East Texas, highlighting his efforts to secure the border with Mexico and criticizing Democratic opponent Chris Bell. Mr. Perry talked up his efforts to fight crime along the border, including sending National Guard troops there even before President Bush asked them to go, and said again that he'll ask the Legislature for $100 million to sustain border crime-fighting programs. He said that, as a congressman, Mr. Bell voted against using troops to patrol the border and for making it harder to deport illegal immigrants.

I'd note that Bush actually had reason to finish campaign swings in Dallas previously. In 02, he had John Cornyn. And in 04, he had Pete Sessions. In 06, the closest candidate is Van Taylor, in Bush's home district to the south of Dallas. We'll see if Bush promotes Taylor.

2. Remember that funny moment in the debate?

Turns out "Frank from Atlanta" really isn't from Atlanta.

But he is Frank. He is black. And he's now back in Texas to help his long-time friend Kinky Friedman, who's been dogged by accusations of racism as he pursues his independent bid for governor.

"Whenever he'd come to Atlanta for a book signing, that's where I would meet him," Mason said. "That's why he calls me 'Frank from Atlanta.'"

"It hurts me," Mason said of the accusations [that Kinky is a racist]. "And I know it's hurting him."

3. SAEN/Chron profiles Carole Keeton Strayhorn. Nothing really new here, but I noted George Strake's quote

He and other Republicans laugh at Strayhorn's claims of being an outsider aiming to shake up Austin's status quo. The theme "just doesn't fit," he says.

"She's running as an outsider but she's been the ultimate insider for 20 years," Strake says. "I think she is burning with ambition to be a governor, and I think she is sacrificing a lot of her old friendships and loyalties and principles to do it."

Lots of people have had a good laugh about how she's not an Austin insider.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater:

Mayor Leonard Scarcella of Stafford, a Houston suburb, says he knows who's to blame for a $2.6 million hole in his budget politically well-connected firms that sign up corporations with promises of lowering their taxes.

"This is the new ambulance chasing," Mr. Scarcella said.

Stafford is among several local entities that were told this year to repay sales tax revenue because of a $130 million refund that a Dallas-based consulting firm won for Texas Instruments Inc.

TI was represented in its appeal to the state comptroller's office by Ryan & Co., which pocketed about $50 million as its share for successfully appealing the case.

Executives from Ryan & Co. are the biggest campaign contributor to Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who is running for governor as an independent. So the dust-up over the Texas Instruments refund underscores the connection between campaign politics and the real-world effects of public policy.

Sure sounds like Wayne Slater thinks there's some there there. [Is that groans I hear? Admit it, you love that there phrasing.]

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


Rumor mill

Rumor mill from Houtopia. We'll see if it's in the DMN tomorrow:

Word is, the Dallas Morning News will report tomorrow on a statewide poll conducted by Brian Epstein for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. The poll will show Rick Perry is in deep trouble -- garnering just 32% support of those sampled -- with Chris Bell nipping at his heels at 27%, Carole Strayhorn trailing with 20%, and Kinky Friedman cratering in single digits. This is huge news, folks.

I'd note that most of the polls lately have showed Perry with higher than that.

I'd also note that Paul Burka says the rumor isn't true:

There's no love lost between Hutchison and Perry, as everyone knows, but I can't imagine that Hutchison would implant that dagger between Perry's shoulder blades (as much as she might like to), or that Bryan Eppstein, who does almost all of his political work for Republicans, would release a poll that hurts Perry and possibly the entire GOP ticket. Perry has high negatives--60% of the people won't vote for him--but that still leaves him with a potential 40% of the vote. The bottom line is this: The governor's race is a ten-point race, NOT a five-point race, until proven otherwise.

I still feel pretty good about my prediction over a month ago:

Perry 44%
Bell 31%
Friedman 13%
Strayhorn 10%
Werner 2%

UPDATE: Well, since there wasn't anything in Wednesday's or Thursday's Dallas Morning News, I think we can safely assume that this rumor was false. Is it me or is the Democratic rumor mill working overtime right now? (Hat tip to Kevin in the comments)

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 12:24 AM | Comments (1)

 
 


Radnofsky calls Hutchison a liar

San Angelo Standard Times:

''[Kay Bailey Hutchison is] lying about the intelligence in 2002,'' Radnofsky said by phone Tuesday. ''This whole cut-and-run notion she barely applies to Afghanistan. We've really cut and run in Afghanistan.''

Do you ever feel like Radnofsky still thinks she's running in the Democratic primary run-off? I mean, nothing like calling the most popular politician in Texas an outright liar to do wonders for your credibility.

Posted by Evan @ 10/26/06 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


25 October 2006

Democrats for George Antuna

Longtime readers of the blog know that I've been watching the district 118 race for the Texas House. George Antuna is the sort of candidate Republicans should be supporting, as it is essential to the future of the Texas GOP that it develop a crop of future Latino candidates.

Antuna is in the midst of a tough race on San Antonio's South Side in a Democratic-leaning district, but he just might win it. Check out this column by Ken Rodriguez:

At 38, Antuna seems to know more about relevant funding tools for District 118 than Farias, 60.

That may be one reason Antuna is cutting into Farias' Democratic base.

Tuesday morning, Antuna began rattling off names of his Democratic supporters. Among them: Former state Rep. Jerry Beauchamp, former City Councilwoman Toni Moorhouse, former City Councilwoman and County Commissioner Helen Dutmer, and family members of the late Congressman Frank Tejeda.

...

He may be the smarter, more polished and better spoken candidate, but Antuna needs to secure Democratic votes to win.

He needs help from people like Blas Guzman, 68, a longtime South Side Democrat. Antuna won Guzman's support only recently.

"I like the way he talks and explains things about the district," Guzman says. "He moved into the barrio over here. A lot of people would have had second thoughts about that. He's not pushy. He's got humility. I don't think he's a true politician. I think he's a people person."

Once Antuna connected with Guzman, Guzman began talking him up to friends and family.

"It's hard to turn some around," Guzman admits. "They are old, die-hard, straight-ticket voters."

Still, Antuna has more crossover appeal in 118 than does Farias.

Some Democrats are working openly for Antuna. Lillie Tejeda, mother of the late congressman, placed an Antuna sign outside her South Side beauty shop. Others are block-walking and talking to friends.

Farias?

"Do you have any Republican support," I ask.

"No," he says.

... (this is actually the beginning of the article)

At a recent political forum, a questioner asked District 118 House candidate Joe Farias if he would support the Texas Enterprise Fund.
In a stunning show of transparency, Farias pleaded ignorance.

"I'm not familiar with that program," he said.

That's not like Carole Keeton Strayhorn admitting she doesn't know the name of Mexico's president-elect. It's worse.

Yikes. Farias didn't have a clue whether he supports the Texas Enterprise Fund. Antuna has the support of a number of prominent Democrats, and his experience in politics obviously makes him more equipped to jump into the state house. If this weren't a tough year for the GOP, one would have to think Antuna would win this seat.

Antuna has certainly convinced Ken Rodriguez that he's the better candidate, and that it isn't particularly close.

Posted by Evan @ 10/25/06 11:25 PM | Comments (1)

 
 


The NRCC is actually playing

The NRCC just crossed the seven digit divide in CD22.

Yup, they've spent over a million in support of Shelley. So, despite what I said last night about the NRCC only playing a little, it looks like they're actually playing quite a bit. Add in Bush's pre-election visit, and it's a little surprising. On the other hand, this is one of those districts where a Bush visit is a clear positive for the GOP candidate.

Posted by Evan @ 10/25/06 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


Endorsements so far

Austin American-Statesman: Rick Perry (Perry's an Aggie. Aren't the other 3 t-sips?)
Dallas Morning News: Rick Perry
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Chris Bell
Houston Chronicle: Carole Strayhorn
San Antonio Express-News: Rick Perry
Midland Reporter-Telegram: Rick Perry
Galveston County Daily News: Kinky Friedman
Bryan-College Station Eagle: Rick Perry

I'm sure I've missed some. Feel free to add in the comments. Links are added if I don't have to search for the link at this very instant.

Posted by Evan @ 10/25/06 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


The national parties are playing (a little) in CD22

Do the DCCC and the NRCC have too much money?

I really can't figure out why congressional committee either is spending money in CD22. For the DCCC, it's a district that Rahm Emanuel (subject of a recent WashPost uber-puff piece) should be viewing as rock solid. If he loses this one, he needn't worry about his chances of Democrats regaining the House. Why bother dropping a piece trying to confuse Republicans about write-ins?

For his Republican counterpart, it's tough for me to believe that there aren't Republicans who could use the money. If you were going to spend, it'd be smart to attack Lampson. However, I haven't seen any negative ads on TV. After all, Shelley won't do attack Lampson (time for Kyle Janek in two years?), and may as well soften him up for the campaign two years from now, when he'll have had 2 years to try and burnish the idea that he's not a standard, run-of-the-mill Democrat. And hey, maybe in two years Lampson will actually live in the district!

But seriously, I almost wonder if this was a ploy that Reynolds used just to make Emanuel and Lampson spend money.

Posted by Evan @ 10/25/06 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


23 October 2006

Event I'll be at

Tonight at Rice's business school, Les Alexander, Drayton McLane, and Bob McNair will participate in a panel discussion on the business of sports.

Sounds fascinating. I'll be there.

Posted by Evan @ 10/23/06 01:57 PM | Comments (2)

 
 


I love it!

Turnout is key to Texas gubernatorial race

It's always a fun time to see at what spot in the election cycle the journos start writing these articles. Who votes is the key to an election? Imagine that. Anyway, the Chron writes the first one I've seen, but like I said, I haven't really been paying attention.

Posted by Evan @ 10/23/06 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


22 October 2006

So, for the past month or so, I've been mostly out of the news cycle. I try to do this every now and then, to remind myself how the rest of America decides to vote. I don't usually do it so close to the election, but I've just been really busy. Still, it's worth noting what has trickled down into my conscience: Mark Foley had a sex scandal (only, um, without the sex) that has the Beltway press corps all aflutter, the daily toll of America's finest in Iraq, and Republicans calling Democrats weak on national security. I haven't heard a single thing about the growing strength of the economy.

Doing so this close to the election cycle makes me very nervous about making predictions. It's tough to feel confident in your predictions when you don't feel like you've fully absorbed and processed all available information.

My gut tells me Republicans are likely to keep very slim majorities in both chambers, but I think that that is pretty up in the air right now. Plenty of people haven't decided how or whether to vote. The tone has been set, but the next couple weeks are pretty crucial. The pendulum could definitely swing either way.

Posted by Evan @ 10/22/06 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

 
 


16 October 2006

Why do people insist that Kinky Friedman is going to win?

Whenever I leave Texas and people find out that I follow politics, these non-Texans -- of all political stripes -- want to tell me how Kinky Friedman is going to win. If I've already opined that Friedman has no chance, then they want to tell me why I'm wrong.

I've considered adopting ostentatious yawning as a response, unfortunately I'm too polite. I blame my parents.

The national media produced lots of stories over the summer about how Friedman had a chance to win, despite evidence to the contrary. Plus, Friedman has been fawned over on MSNBC and FoxNews, so I suppose some of that has filtered down.

Still, I am amusedly annoyed when this happens. Politics is one of those fields where expertise is not respected: everyone thinks they are a political expert. [UPDATE: And sometimes people's dumb opinions are right.]

It's also entertaining to me to hear people talk about Kinky Friedman's positions on the issues [I always think to myself: Kinky Friedman has positions on issues? He's probably been through ten non-iterative immigration positions]. It seems like Kinky Friedman is the gubernatorial Rorschach test, as long as they haven't paid that close attention. Conservatives think he's conservative, liberals think he's liberal. They see whatever they want to see. If he'd have kept his mouth shut about some things, he might've had a chance to win. But Friedman's campaign is all about keeping his mouth open, not staying quiet. Heh.

Posted by Evan @ 10/16/06 12:40 PM | Comments (9)

 
 


11 October 2006

Traffic up, I'm not posting, maybe I will be soon

Traffic is way up, largely because lots of people are finding this blog searching for Rick Perry. Also, people like to search for abortion and one of the candidates, or polls.

It's very disappointing to me that I don't have time to write in the heat of an election I've been chronicling for the last two years. Trust me, if I could, I would. But a confluence of events has served to leave my free time at zero. The only real free time I've had in the past couple weeks I spent representing Rice at a minority college fair...and I was totally on my game. I'm a great advocate when I get psyched for it, and this was something I believe in. Thanks to my former Rice roommate for coming with me and spurring me on. He's definitely one of the reasons that Rice was a fantastic place to go to school.

So, I spent two minutes writing this post, and it's two minutes I don't have. I need to sleep, but I'll post-date this post for the morning. I'll probably have some free time starting Friday or Saturday, and I hope that I'll be able to pick up blogging again. All I can say is that I wish I wrote for a living, but I don't. And living is pretty important.

Posted by Evan @ 10/11/06 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

 
 


06 October 2006

Gubernatorial debate

I caught the last 35 minutes or so of tonight's gubernatorial debate. I can sum up the debate in a few words:

Rick Perry looked like a governor. The others didn't.

Couple comments:
1. I've always thought one of Chris Bell's strengths is that he looks like a governor, but he didn't tonight. The new hairstyle was off, and it looked on my TV like he didn't shave over his top lip. It was distracting. He might've had a chance at seeming gubernatorial otherwise, but the look was just not completely right. Otherwise, Bell's performance wasn't bad. He came off better than Friedman or Strayhorn, but he occasionally looked a little too smug, which he has a tendency to sometimes seem like in public. For example, he sounded awfully condescending when he told the female journalist (don't know her name) that she "just hadn't been paying attention." That ruined some other politically very good responses.

2. Ugh. What was with the asking the candidates "gotcha" questions? That seemed like a low point in Texas journalism. Just terrible. I have no idea who thought that up, but they should be ashamed of themselves. Texans deserve better than journalists trying to make politicians look dumb. How about asking serious questions instead of shallow "gotcha" questions? I mean, Strayhorn has run a campaign that has made many unsympathetic towards her, and yet they managed to make her look sympathetic to viewers by asking her who was recently elected president in Mexico. She didn't know. That's pretty unimpressive. But so what? I'm not going to vote for her because she keeps changing her convictions on high-profile issues, not because she can't think of the name Felipe Calderon on what might be the most stressful moment of her life. I mean, it took Chris Bell 5 seconds to remember that the Alamo was fought in 1836. It's hard to think on a completely different angle under that kind of pressure.

3. Chris Bell had to go after Strayhorn more than Perry. Not too surprising.

4. Friedman looks short between Perry and Bell. He must've skipped the debate prep, because he looked extremely awkward on camera. He shifted, he fidgeted. He made me nervous. He had some absolutely great responses that resonated. He also thoroughly bombed a few. I guess that's what you'd expect from him though. He has no chance of winning with performances like that...and that's how he's campaigned.

5. Way to bomb the tuition dereg question, Chris. The journalists chose a softball lob question to pitch to you, and you just whiffed it because you wanted to go back and talk about the Trans Texas Corridor. I have no idea how you could miss scoring points on that one, but you did.

Posted by Evan @ 10/06/06 08:04 PM | Comments (8)

 
 


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