30 November 2006
CD23 Rodriguez Bonilla fundraising
Bonilla, R-San Antonio, reported $955,000 in cash-on-hand for the Dec. 12 election, compared to $91,000 for Rodriguez, according to reports covering the one-month period that ended Nov. 22.
Rodriguez raised $100,000 for the current reporting period. A $40,000 debt was eliminated before the Nov. 7 election. He also filed additional fundraising reports that show he raised another $72,000 last week.
Bonilla started the period with $1.9 million. He raised $322,000, and listed expenditures of $1.2 million.
Campaign expenditures are fueling a mudslinging contest.
The DCCC is running a television ad attacking Bonilla for votes on veteran health care and funding for National Guard troops.
A Bonilla ad attacks Rodriguez – who served four terms in Congress before losing the Democratic primary to Henry Cuellar in 2004 – for votes on national security and funds to combat terrorism.
Bonilla has a big resource advantage, although that could be wiped out entirely if the DCCC decides it wants to play. The D-Trip has a TV ad up now, but that's almost just perfunctory. It sounds like they've decided not to try to throw the Hail Mary pass to try and beat Bonilla. Rodriguez is an uninspiring candidate with no money of his own, who couldn't even decide whether he was in the race. He manage to skate into a runoff with only 20% of the vote due to his name ID alone.
Guess he must be running for re-election.
On Nov. 19, 1854, General Sam Houston was baptized in Little Rocky Creek in Washington County. He also joined the Independence Baptist Church that day. Gen. Houston took these steps at the urging of his wife and mother-in-law, who both desperately wanted Gen. Houston to moderate his habits, and to live a more sober and devout life.
I've always believed in periodic re-evaluations, and in course corrections as the results warrant. For those of us entrusted with public office, there is nothing like an election to provide information on what changes are needed.
The election results were a powerful reminder of who works for whom in our democracy. We work for the people--not the other way around. Public officials must adhere to our principles and beliefs, but we also should remember who we work for, and who has the final say.
I am privileged today to occupy the U.S. Senate seat first held by Sam Houston, a man whose career in public service for our state and its people will likely never be matched. Gen. Houston was serving in the U.S. Senate when he was baptized at the Independence Baptist Church.
This may be the greatest goal I've ever seen. Ronaldinho not only plays well, he plays with flair.
28 November 2006
Beldar is back
After over a year of hiatus, Beldar has a couple posts up.
27 November 2006
In reading Harvey Kronberg's analysis, I stopped myself a few times. Was I still reading Kronberg, or the Democratic Party's talking points?
Dan Patrick made me laugh
Laylan Copelin in the Statesman:
Dan Patrick's recent purchase of a Dallas radio station -- and rumors of more to come -- fuels speculation among Austin's political crowd that Patrick wants to run for governor.Yup. Austin made him do it!
"That was never on my radar," Patrick says. "Until they started talking about it."
Copelin turns out a pretty balanced profile. Good take on this session's entertaining story in Austin.
Cornyn and Hutchison
Good for our Senators.
Texas' pair of U.S. senators informed Del Rio Mayor Efrain Valdez last week that he may be invited to tell Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff directly and exactly why border mayors loathe the idea of a fence along the Rio Grande.
On November 20, Valdez was notified by Beto Cardenas, chief counsel for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, that his boss, and Sen. John Cornyn, had appealed to Chertoff for a meeting with the border mayors "to hear your comments as they relate to the enactment of the Secure Fence Act and other border security measures."
"Senator Cornyn promised they would not put in a single inch of physical fence until they have heard all our concerns in Washington," a jubilant Valdez told LIVE! during his return trip from McAllen in October. Texas Border Coalition's Immigration Committee is chaired by Valdez who presented the problem to Cornyn at the early fall meeting.
Conaway for Reyes
[Midland GOP Congressman Mike] Conaway hopes the Blue Dogs will join Republicans to oppose the stated intention of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco to nominate Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings to the House Select Committee on Intelligence chairmanship.I'm pretty sure it's Harman, but I'm a pedant sometimes.
He said he will fight the appointment because Hastings was impeached in the House and removed by the Senate from his south Florida federal judgeship in 1989 for taking a $150,000 bribe in return for leniently sentencing and returning the assets of Thomas and Frank Romano, who had been indicted for 21 counts of racketeering.
Conaway much prefers Rep. Silvestre Reyes of El Paso, or Rep. Jane Harmon of California for the sensitive intelligence post. "We believe Texans can do things better than anyone else and I would like to see Silvestre in there," he said.
I thought it was interesting that a Republican was commenting, since he doesn't have a vote. Attacking Pelosi for nominating an impeached former federal judge is one thing that might score points, but expressing an affirmative preference? Might hurt Reyes's chances slightly, if it has any effect at all.
25 November 2006
Rice goes to bowl game!
Rice just beat SMU to clinch a bowl berth on the strength of Jaret Dillard's three TD catches. Unless something crazy happens, he'll finish the season #1 in the nation for TD catches. It's Rice's first bowl berth in 45 years.
Meanwhile, am I the only one who thinks ESPN College GameDay's Chris Fowler looks a lot like Rick Perry?
Cornyn to be on Late Edition tomorrow
John Cornyn will be on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer tomorrow. The show airs at noon.
[Can you tell it's a little slow, and I'm trolling for things to post?]
Express News editorial board knocks Ciro Rodriguez
A debate offers free name ID for Rodriguez. Considering that Rodriguez needs the debate much more than Bonilla does, he should really be willing to debate Bonilla.
The limited time frame makes it imperative for the candidates to get their message to voters quickly.
Rodriguez is claiming the short window for campaigning is a "Republican scheme" to disenfranchise voters.
Instead of complaining, Rodriguez should make good use of his time to get his message out. The candidates knew the runoff would be on a short fuse and pushing the election closer to Christmas would further inhibit turnout.
The pair had agreed to a Dec. 1 debate. Regrettably, Rodriguez has since balked, claiming a scheduling conflict.
If Rodriguez hopes to represent the district in Congress, he should be willing to debate Bonilla on the date both chose.
24 November 2006
Shelley CD22 2008
How much has short-term Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs hurt herself for 2008?
My guess is quite a bit. In case you haven't been paying attention, Shelley's first week in Congress was marred by 1) very widespread rumors that she was upset that Bush and Cheney didn't show up to her swearing-in, 2) a quote she gave that made her sound like she was going to be able to accomplish lots of things, and most importantly, 3) she managed to run off her staff en masse, and then 4) call for a silly, unnecessary investigation.
Still to come, she's got 5) the negative reaction when the City of Houston has to spend a few million bucks to hold a special election for her seat. Yikes!
Even though she did pretty well in getting over 40% of the vote as a write-in, she's hurt herself quite a bit. [Quick digression: her strategy was to educate the voters on writing her in. It worked in getting to 40%, but never had a chance of getting to 50%. She didn't give people a reason to write her in if they didn't already want to She still gets to run as Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, but chances of her winning the primary are less than 50%.
There was never that good a chance that she was going to escape a serious challenge. Sure, lots of people passed in 06, but that was to run in a precinct chair campaign, or later, for a write-in race.
The question is who decides to take her on. Paul Bettencourt has already announced, via a Kristen Mack Houston Chronicle column, that he's planning on running. He's hoping to scare other candidates off, so that he gets her one-on-one. Bettencourt is definitely popular among the Harris County activists, and polls pretty well in Harris as well. Once upon a time, he was even the Houston Press' favorite Republican. But will he be successful in clearing the field?
I don't know. Certainly Kyle Janek would have to take a strong look at running. He was up for re-election to the state senate in 06, so he chose to pass on this year. But he is the one candidate who can probably unite the regional factions, as a guy who lives in Houston, was born and raised in Galveston, and represents half of Fort Bend County right now. He can also certainly raise the money. There are rumors that he's waiting for Dr. Paul to retire in CD14, however.
Harris County Judge Bob Eckels would also certainly be a heavyweight who will consider running. You'd expect that he could raise the money.
There was a time when state Rep. Talton was thought to be running in 2008, but those rumors have cooled a little bit.
Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace might want to run, but he probably didn't help himself with this year's primary posturing.
If we end up with two Harris County candidates, it'll be interesting to see if a Fort Bend candidates gets in. It'd be easier to rally Fort Bend support if the other two serious candidates are both from Harris. Wallace might see that as a chance, as might Fort Bend County Commish Andy Meyers. Myers was one of Shelley's biggest backers, so my guess is that he'll stay out. Sugar Land State Rep. Charlie Howard might also think about getting in, as well as '04 DeLay challenger Tom Campbell.
My prediction is that Shelley will draw a serious challenger, and that she has an uphill battle to get the nomination. And hey, the primary is only 15 months away!
21 November 2006
I still have a few posts to wrapup from the election, but now that the gubernatorial election is over, the question is: what do I do now?
Should I keep the name? Quit blogging? Move to a different site?
I haven't quite decided, although very soon (possibly today) I'm going to launch a new blog-related project I'm working on, and I think it should be interesting.
Cornyn challenger rumors
The Hotline blog has some rumors about possible Cornyn challengers:
Despite Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R) resounding '06 win, one TX Dem insider says Dems are hopeful that a strong challenger to Sen. John Cornyn (R) will still emerge. The Dem claims Cornyn "has significantly lower approval rating" than Hutchison and that Gov. Rick Perry's (R) plurality win shows the TX GOP base is only 40% of voters. However the Dem concedes that a credible challenger would have to start raising money right now for what could be a $12M campaign.
Already mentioned as possibilities are '98/'02 LG nominee/ex-Comp. John Sharp (D) and Houston Mayor Bill White (D), but ex-Rep. Jim Turner (D) still has over $1M CoH left over. There are "rumblings" about Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-28) running, and '02 nominee/ex-Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk's (D) name gets batted around occasionally too.
20 November 2006
Tom DeLay posts at RedState
Quite interesting, and not really that surprising to anyone who has followed his career.
Hoyer victory not a sign of moderation
Todd Gillman has a column in yesterday's Dallas Morning News that I disagree with in regards to congressional leadership elections.
The Hastert doctrine is out. The Republican speaker famously catered to the "majority of the majority." In the Pelosi House, centrists – in both parties – may end up calling the shots.Gillman's thesis is thus: Hoyer beat Murtha, therefore centrism will occur under Nancy Pelosi's reign as Speaker.
Democrats faced down the new speaker and picked Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland as majority leader even after Nancy Pelosi backed his rival – to the relief of many Texas Democrats and to Blue Dogs, the fiscally conservative, pro-gun Democrats whose ranks swelled in the midterm elections.
The Blue Dogs and a similarly minded centrist group that calls itself the New Democrats have been exchanging feelers with what's left of the moderate Republicans, who lost many members in tough New England races.
Three major problems with that thesis:
1. Congressional leadership elections aren't about ideology. While ideology may underpin members' decisions on who to vote for, it is much less important than Gillman portrays. Congressional leadership elections are about politics, particularly internal politics. A book could be probably be written on this subject (and should be!), but congressional leadership elections are more about personal alliances, communicating for the party, raising money, listening to the backbenchers, etc. Surely Gillman knows this, yet the way he framed the article makes it sound like he thinks congressional leadership elections are mostly about ideology.Gillman's columns are frequently insightful, but this one is not. The best argument for his position is that Hoyer will owe the Blue Dogs. There are a number of problems with that argument, however, including point 3 above, as well as the fact that Hoyer's margin of victory was relatively large. [It occurs to me also that Gillman thinks that Pelosi will have to moderate because so many of the new members are to the right of the Democratic Caucus. I think that argument is also overblown, and Gillman didn't make it in this article anyway.]
2. Hoyer is the more liberal candidate. Hoyer's voting record is not that different from Pelosi's. In fact, in the 2002 minority whip election [at the time, Dick Gephardt was Minority Leader, and former whip David Bonior had launched a quixotic bid to be governor of Michigan, so the Minority Whip spot was open], Hoyer went to great pains to point out how similar their voting records were. While Hoyer is perceived [fairly, in my opinion] as less liberal than Pelosi, he's got a fairly standard-issue liberal voting record.
By contrast, Murtha has been pro-life and pro-gun. A quick check of lifetime voting records on the ADA's website ranks Hoyer as 83 and Murtha as 56. [I think the numbers might be out of date, but that's not my fault, and both have been in Congress so long that their scores should be stabilized.] That makes Hoyer quite a bit more liberal.
3. Speaker Pelosi sets the agenda. Even if Hoyer were more moderate (he's not; see point 2), his influence over the initial agenda will probably be relatively little. Pelosi will drive the agenda for now, unless she's a weaker leader than she is perceived. This is, after all, the time when her power is the strongest.
Perhaps Gillman will ultimately be right, and centrism will reign in the House under Nancy Pelosi. I doubt it, though I am hopeful. Either way, the results of the House Majority Leader election do not provide much indication.
17 November 2006
CD23 runoff: Henry Bonilla v Ciro Rodriguez
I haven't really written much about the runoff in CD23 between Bonilla and Rodriguez.
I guess it's mainly because I'm doubtful that the race will even be that close between Bonilla and Rodriguez. Democrats may be able to raise the money for the race nationally, but do they really think they can squeak out a victory in this race, no matter how much money they spend?
My guess is that the DCCC will decide to take a pass, and Bonilla eases through. But maybe they'll decide to play. It is a good cycle for them with a relatively good district. Even so, I doubt they'll play: if they do, they'll make Bonilla sweat a little, but are unlikely to beat him. Check out what Paul Burka writes:
The problem in District 23, unfortunately for the Ds, is the candidate. This guy previously served in Congress for four terms, and he's running in a district that stretches all the way to El Paso, and he's still going door to door in San Antonio as if he were running for school board. How about raising money? Oh, no, that's not fit work for a man of the people. How about bringing in campaign professionals? Oh, no, that would mean that Ciro's wife, Carolina, could no longer wield what the San Antonio Express-News called "tremendous authority." In a conference call early this week, Texas Democratic members of Congress tried to persuade Rodrigues to turn his campaign over to professionals, who know how to raise money, use direct mail, and do TV spots. A fundraiser from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed up, only to have Rodriguez tell the Express-News, "The last thing I want to see is a phone line."
John Sharp running for Senate in 08?
Nate reports that John Sharp is thinking about challenging John Cornyn for his Senate seat in 2008.
Cornyn is a solid campaigner. He doesn't make mistakes, he has money in the bank, and he'll be running in a presidential election year in a GOP state. He's not going to be easy to beat.
Pelosi follow up
The biggest problem with all of Nancy Pelosi's post-election decisions is that she has no strategy. Or if she has one, it's flawed.
Her message right now should have been: Democrats are different. It's not business as usual. So far, her actions belie her campaign promises. Oops.
To wit, today's New York Times' op-ed:
Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House. First, she played politics with the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee to settle an old score and a new debt. And then she put herself in a lose-lose position by trying to force a badly tarnished ally, Representative John Murtha, on the incoming Democratic Congress as majority leader. The party caucus put a decisive end to that gambit yesterday, giving the No. 2 job to Steny Hoyer, a longtime Pelosi rival.Few mistakes are fatal, but Pelosi has mostly succeeded so far only in setting the bar low.
But Ms. Pelosi's damage to herself was already done. The well-known shortcomings of Mr. Murtha were broadcast for all to see — from his quid-pro-quo addiction to moneyed lobbyists to the grainy government tape of his involvement in the Abscam scandal a generation ago.
16 November 2006
Hutchison, Cornyn rise in GOP Senate leadership
Kay Bailey Hutchison is now the #4 Republican in the Senate, and John Cornyn took her old place at #5 in the leadership.
A non-insignificant amount of the establishment is less than enthused with Cornyn, but it'll be interesting to see if they want to replace his 6 years of experience and leadership post.
Nancy Pelosi: Baffling
What is Nancy Pelosi thinking? Compare 1994 to 2006, and Newt Gingrich comes off looking superb and disciplined by comparison. [It was much later when Gingrich self-destructed.]
1. Divide the caucus, make Pelosi look weak. In 1994, Gingrich's old friend Bob Walker ran against Tom DeLay. DeLay and Gingrich weren't exactly best friends. Gingrich was at the height of his powers, but was wise enough to not intervene in the race, though he knew the caucus would pick DeLay. Gingrich didn't want to divide the caucus, and he didn't want to diminish the perception of his power. Pelosi would've been wise to follow his example.
The ramifications of Pelosi's dividing the Dem caucus won't be immediately apparent. Winning conceals lots of fissures. But this has sent a message to the congress: it's all about Nancy Pelosi's personal power. Perhaps it will make some of them loathe to cross her...but then, if Pelosi wanted to send that message, she should've picked a fight she could win.
2. Ethics. Pelosi's decision to fight for Murtha sends a bad signal. Murtha may not have been indicted on ABSCAM, but he is on videotape sounding awfully ambivalent about declining an obvious bribe, and leaving open the possibility of later accepting the bribe.
Maybe there's some nuance there as Democrats claim, but it sure looks like Pelosi's promise to "clean House" was just a campaign promise.
Compare this to Gingrich, who acted on the ethics reforms that he promised. Though it has been forgotten, the 1994 House GOP Caucus did institute reforms then-widely seen as important, such as term limits on committee chairman, term limits on the Speaker, and ending length of tenure as the sole determinant of who got to yield the chairman's gavel. [It should be noted that Democrats haven't really done any of these things.]
3. DeLay-style Hammer-esque hardball. Pelosi's decision to back Murtha is baffling. Murtha never had a chance to win. Initially Pelosi simply sent a requested letter. Even that was surprising. Then Speaker-elect Pelosi started playing hardball, calling New York freshman Kristen Gillibrand (spelling might be wrong; I'm not double checking...maybe later) to her office to remonstrate with Gillibrand over her support for Hoyer. In the same meeting, she asks about Gillibrand's committee preferences. Why play hardball in support of a sure loser? Pelosi looks downright DeLay Hammer-esque. To follow that up, Pelosi starts making calls to support Murtha. This is no inconsequential thing for an incoming speaker.
If Pelosi's goal was to come in as some idealistic "Ms. Smith Goes to Washington," then she has hurt herself indeed. [Remember, she's the daughter of an old-school Baltimore political boss.]
4. Hoyer will do a better job. Hoyer and Pelosi may have some tension between them, but he's clearly a better political communicator than Murtha. It's unlikely Murtha would've been a good Majority Leader.
5. Trample her own news cycle. The story coming out of this cycle should have been "First Female Speaker In US History." Instead, because of Pelosi's lack of foresight, the story is "Pelosi weakened politically; her followers elect her rival."
There was also that little thing where Pelosi denied Jane Harman the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee (apparently out of personal pique), though most agree that Harman is the best choice.
On the other hand, I guess Pelosi is setting expectations low.
Republicans should think long and hard about this
Republicans lose control of Congress, and the markets react by...reacting enthusiastically.
The 'phants in Congress should do some serious thinking about that one.
15 November 2006
Chris Bell for President '08
Let's recap Chris Bell's history:
Lose a race for state rep in Amarillo...run for City Council in the nation's 4th largest city.
Lose a race for mayor in a landslide...cut a deal and run for Congress.
Lose your re-election campaign in a primary by 2 to 1...run for governor of the second largest state.
Lose by double digits (more or less) in running for governor... What next?
Clearly Chris Bell should run for president!
Okay, I couldn't resist the humor. But seriously, sometimes hubris is rewarded. But, sometimes it isn't.
10 November 2006
Blogging will occur soon
It's possible that if the congressional recounts go a certain way, I will have exactly picked the correct election results in both the US House and US Senate.
That's good news, in that I'm right. Bad news, in that I've missed a Senate race in the last three cycles, and if I missed one this year, the GOP would've kept control of the Senate.
07 November 2006
State House and Senate results
Early voting results. Varying percenatages of the vote in. Landtroop, for example, won early voting.
I put an R by the Republicans, and an *asterisk by the incumbents. No asterisk means its an open seat.
Antuna 46.85% (R)
Joe Farias 47.15%
Heflin 44.4 (R)
Hollingsworth 42 (R)
Landtroop 48 (R)
Kleinschmidt 57 (R) Surprise here.
Durrett 49 (R)
Anderson 43 (R)
*Gonzalez Toureilles 62
Esparza 34 (R)
McComb 52 (R) Surprise lead here.
Craft 40 (R)
*Wong (R) 40
*Seaman 50 (R)
Welch 47 (R)
*Goolsby 55 (R)
*Goodman 51 (R)
Murphy 58 (R)
Margo 0 (R)
Liveblogging at the Perry party
I'm the kid in a dark suit, red tie, yellow shirt (client meeting today), sitting down with the media with a laptop open. It's hard to miss me.
8:38: Dewhurst takes the stage. "Wow. What a difference four years makes."
9:00 Abbott and Combs both spoke. They spoke less than Dewhurst.
9 Bonilla to face a run-off? He's at 49%.
9:05 Unfortunately, all my calls in races around the nation look right. Yikes.
9:10 Talent leads in MO! I hope this is the race I miss each cycle.
9:11 Allen leads! He might pull it off after all.
9:30 Jerry Patterson "To the Democrats who ran against this statewide team: what were you thinking?" Pretty funny.
So far, my predictions all look reasonable.
After early voting, Perry had 41.1%, Bell 29%, Friedman 10%, and Strayhorn 19%. After 3% precincts in, it's Perry 40%, Bell 30.2%, Friedman 11, Strayhorn 18.
Kay Bailey Hutchison has 62% over the Precinct Chair.
In a surprise, Chet Edwards leads Van Taylor 2 to 1. Yikes. Dr. Paul is crushing Shane Sklar, who is breaking 33%.
I was probably the only Republican who wasn't worried at all on election day in 2004. I just never thought there was even a chance that the exit polls were near correct. I really was never too worried that W would be re-elected in the run-up to the election either. So I ignored the exit polls.
I agree a little bit with Bob Novak:
Enormous Republican efforts to encourage early and absentee voting could dramatically skew exit polls. Do not be surprised if the apparent results Tuesday night are overturned by Wednesday morning in several close House races.I agree more on the first sentence than the second.
I'll take Paul Burka's quiz:
1. In 1853, Elish Pease won the governship of Texas with 36.67% of the vote. Will Rick Perry do better or worse than Pease?
2. What percentage of the vote, in round numbers, will each of the four leading contenders for governor receive?
On September 14th, I predicted Perry 44, Bell 31, Friedman 13, Strayhorn 10, and Werner 2.
It was probably a little silly to think that Strayhorn would collapse that much. I'm going to keep Friedman at 13. Give Strayhorn 17. Bell 29%. Werner 2% (just cracking the 1.5% mark) and Perry the rest, which would be 38%. Except I remember 2002, where Perry very much outperformed the polls. On that basis and party lines, I'm adjusting it to 41% Perry, 28% Bell, Strayhorn 17, Friedman 13, and Werner 1.
Lots of odd possible iterations for this one.
3. The partisan division of the Texas House of Representatives is currently 86 Republicans and 64 Democrats. What will the partisan division be when the 80th Legislature is sworn in come January?
I don't really know. My other predictions have been pessimistic, so I'm going to go with 82 GOP, 68 D. No. I'm going to change it to 83 GOP, 69 D in my last breath of optimism.
4. How many statewide offices will Democrats win and what races will they win?
I'm not that much of a pessimist. Zero.
5. What percentage of the vote, in round numbers, will Henry Bonilla receive in the 23rd congressional district election?
51. Total guess.
6. Who will win the race between Nick Lampson and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in the 22nd congressional district and what will the spread be, in round numbers?
I'm assuming Burka means the general, and not the special. It might be awhile until we know the answer to this, with the write-ins and all. I think there'll be a significant undervote. I think Smither will take 11% or so. Shelley gets to 33%. Lampson has 55% of the people that voted, but it's really less than that because of the undervote. Yes, I know the numbers don't add up. I don't really have a clue.
7. After Kay Bailey Hutchison, what Republican candidate will receive the most votes statewide?
Dewhurst or Abbott. I'm gonna pick Dewhurst, despite what Burka says. Total guess.
8. Which race for the state House of Representives will have the smallest margin of victory?
I don't really have a clue. I'll go with HD118.
9. Which statewide race will produce the best showing for the Libertarian candidate?
Isn't this kinda like betting on whether heads or tails will come up? I'll go with Tom Oxford, on the theory that Burka is counting most votes and not vote percentage.
10. Other than Rick Perry, which Republican statewide candidate (NOT counting judicial candidates) will have the lowest percentage of the vote?
I would've guessed Don Willett. I don't really have a clue at this, so I'll guess Todd Staples.
Other predictions: Shelley wins the special. Edwards wins in CD17, and Dr. Ron Paul wins in CD14. I assume Lamar Smith will avoid a runoff.
06 November 2006
Federal: The House and The Senate
I've been waiting for Republicans to convince me that this wasn't going to be as bad as I thought it was going to be. I'd like very much to be convinced, but I haven't been. I wish I could be convinced, and I hope I'm wrong, but here are my projections. Small caveat: I wasn't paying attention for awhile in October, so I have significantly less confidence in these projections than I otherwise might.
I don't have much confidence about the nationwide polling that the RNC is touting. There might be some momentum, but I think plenty of it is just natural tightening. I hope I'm wrong. Bob Novak has predicted only a two seat loss in the Senate, including Republican Senate and Governor wins in Maryland. I think he's crazy, but I hope he's right.
But first, from a Republican perspective, there's good news and bad news about tomorrow.
Bad news: 1. I think we're going to lose control of the House and barely lose the Senate, but we have a shot at keeping the Senate.
2. Despite strong economic growth and extremely low unemployment, Americans are not happy. This largely has to do with the war.
3. If I'm right, Democrats will take the House and Senate (barely). If so, that has serious implications for Supreme Court nominees.
Good news: 1. Democrats have no mandate. Was Nancy Pelosi front and center and making news every night? No. Did they run on a cohesive liberal platform? No. (If you think otherwise, can you tell me what it is, aside from just being anti-war?) Are the candidates who will help them win the House mostly to the right of the House Democratic Caucus? Yes.
2. The nation is fundamentally slightly more Republican than Democrat. This is the worst cycle for Republicans since Watergate, and yet we won't lose as much. Why? Becasue the nation only tilts slightly right, and when people aren't happy, then we lose. Like this year. But, all in all, this probably gives us a good shot of keeping the White House in '08 as well as recapturing the House (keeping the Senate? Possibly even tougher than re-capturing the House is my gut call right now). A good deal of Republicans' wounds has been self-inflicted. Winning all the time probably isn't healthy anyway: we certainly had some Congressmen who needed to go. [Note: the Democrats have just about as many who need to go. (See Jefferson, Bill. Cross reference: 100K cash in the freezer.]
Ohio: Senator DeWine is a good senator. Unfortunately, Taft has made Republicans unelectable in Ohio this year. Blackwell doesn't help much either. DeWine loses; it's not that close.
PA: Santorum lost this election about two years ago. I refuse to write any more about this election, except to say that I think subconsciously Santorum is ready to start making money.
Rhode Island: In the least Republican of states, can Chafee win? Methinks not. Especially while a Republican guv is winning re-election. I saw Chafee's recent TV ad, and his body language was just way off. He's always been a little awkward and the language was good, but he was grinning and frowning at all the wrong times. Whitehouse edges a product of a famous Rhode Island political dynasty.
Montana: Democrat Jon Tester is the perfect senator for somewhere on the West Coast. He's a terrible senator for Montana. However, Conrad Burns has run a campaign that's not worthy of re-election. So which one wins? Tester is too liberal for Montana, but he's eschewed the spotlight, and run as blandly as possible. Polls have showed Burns bouncing back to even, but I think he loses even in this Republican state.
Tossup: (leans Dem, I just can't quite say it)
Virginia: George Allen hasn't run a good campaign. Jim Webb is not senatorial at all. Neither one deserves to win. So, who loses less? I have no idea. In some ways this race reminds me of VA 94 -- the last time a Democrat was elected to the Senate in Virginia(Chuck Robb -- married to LBJ's daughter -- was a much better Senator than Jim Webb might be). So yeah....I have this in the toss-up, but if I have to predict, I'm predicting that Allen loses. I really, really hope I'm wrong.
Missouri: I like Jim Talent. Claire McCaskill isn't impressive to me as a candidate/campaigner. It's hard for me to imagine Claire McCaskill winning. In any other cycle, she loses to Talent. In this cycle, she probably beats him, unless the 72 Hour Program saves him in this swingiest of swing states.
Maryland -- In any other cycle, Republican Michael Steele wins in Democratic Maryland over lackluster Democrat Ben Cardin. Steele's a great candidate and has been forced to endure plenty of racism, but this is a horrible cycle. Maybe he can pull it off, but I highly doubt it.
Tennessee: In what strange reality is Barack Obama the media's Annointed One (see John McCain, 2000) and not Harold Ford Jr? Harold Ford, Jr., is better looking, more charismatic, and arguably more articulate. Ford's also not reflexively liberal like Barack Obama. Unfortunately for Ford, he lives in Tennessee and Obama lives in Illinois. And that's why Ford is going to lose tomorrow.
Despite Democrats' claims of race-baiting (um, hello, Maryland?), this race bears lots and lots of similarities to the Senate campaigns in neighboring states in both 02 and 04. 02 and 04 each had races in North Carolina and South Carolina which featured late breaking Republicans in open seats. The Republicans won all of those races, and despite the breeze blowing in Corker's face, he'll edge out Ford. Ford ran a great race, but had a couple of gaffes in the end that cost him his chance.
That leaves us 51-49 Dem. Ouch. I really thought the Senate would be 50-50, and honestly I still think there's a decent chance that one of the GOP candidates will pull through. I guess it'd have to be Talent, Allen or Burns, in descending order of probability. Maybe Steele. Maybe even Chafee...Rhode Island is kinda odd that way.
I don't think any of the other races are worth me writing about: Michigan, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey.
Every cycle since 2000, I've picked one Senate race wrong. I really hope I picked one wrong, and that it isn't Corker/Ford. I hope it's Talent or Allen.
Party switchers? I doubt it. Lieberman isn't going to even think about switching to the GOP unless the GOP offers him the chance to chair a committee and the Democrats don't. But why would the Democrats deny Lieberman the chair of a committee if that would risk loss of organizational control? Would Chafee switch if he were re-elected and it was 50-50? My gut says no. If the man has any personal decency (and I think he prides himself on it), he would feel compelled to stay a Republican organizationally for at least 2 years, even if he voted straight-line Democrat otherwise.
Ugh. Do I really have to say this? Democrats pick up 28 seats the way I see it. That would leave them with 231 seats, and the GOP with 204. Maybe I'm being slightly pessimistic here. It could be 26.
I'm not going to go into detail, but I think Dems definitely will be over 25 governor mansions on Wednesday. In fact, I'd project that they win 7. Maybe 8, or even 9.
[Note: I may keep tinkering with this through the night.]
UPDATE: Yes, I know no one else is predicting that Dems will take the Senate. What can I say? I'm a captive of my deduction skills.
I've just crammed my head full of info, and now I'm going to go for a run and let my brain sift through it.
Unless something changes on my run, I feel pretty bad about tomorrow. It's going to be a good day for Democrats.
05 November 2006
Blum & Weprin poll
Dallas Morning News commissioned a poll done by Blum & Weprin:
10/29 - 11/3, 823 likely voters, +/- 3.5
This election cycle was pretty much a perfect storm for the Dems. They had attack dogs to drive up Perry's unfavorables, allowing Chris Bell to get to the end of the campaign undefined. In this state, that's good for a Democrat. However, Bell won't be able to cobble together enough of those anti-Perry voters to win.
I suppose you could say that if there had been a strong Democrat who'd wanted to run in March, then that person matched against Perry might have a chance. But of course, who could've known then that the election cycle would be as it is.
Kinky Friedman has a girlfriend
Polly Ross Hughes brings us today's Page 6 tidbit:
The new woman in Friedman's life, Issy Drinkall, of London, belies the 62-year-old humorist's joke that he's "too young for Medicare and too old for a woman to care."
Drinkall owns an advertising sales company representing several U.S. and German magazines. "I live in England, but my heart's in Texas in more ways than one," she said in a telephone interview from London.
Drinkall, 33, bought a house in Medina after falling in love with the Texas Hill Country while staying on a ranch in Bandera four years ago. She met Friedman last March, swinging by his nearby Echo Ranch to introduce herself after completing a solo 4,000-mile road trip.
"He was awestruck that a single woman drove across America, an Englishwoman at that," she said.
Last Survey USA poll
10/31 - 11/2, 557 Likely Voters, +/- 4.2%
Rick Perry 38%
Chris Bell 22%
Interestingly, Perry does better with female voters than with males. Also amusing to me is that the poll has Strayhorn doing weakest in the suburbs, which is exactly the area that at the beginning of the campaign you'd have intuitively expected her to be strongest.
Oh, and after looking at the cross-tabs, I think this understates Bell's support by a point or two, but unfortunately for Bell, he simply never consolidated any momentum.
Bonilla just needs to survive
Gary Martin has a column in the San Antonio Express-News:
Color me unconvinced. All Bonilla needs to do is survive this election to keep his hopes alive.
Henry Bonilla's ambition to serve in the U.S. Senate could crumble next week if he fails to win his re-election bid without a runoff.
And political analysts say that could be a difficult goal.
What will determine the next junior Senator from Texas? In the last few cycles, there's been some direction from above (how's that for Note-like allusion?). Presumably, that will continue to be a factor. But the main thing that will determine whether Bonilla becomes the next Senator is whether he can raise the money necessary for a Congressman to win a statewide primary. Under federal campaign finance law, that depends largely on the people who are willing to call their rich friends and tell them go give money to political candidates. These people are astute enough to realize that Bonilla has a tough district in a tough cycle. Whether he wins by 1 point or 10 points -- with or without a runoff -- is so much less important than whether he wins.
He's kidding, right?
National Review has written some odd things recently about district 22's race between Lampson and Sekula-Gibbs.
First, Rich Lowry passed on an absurd rumor that Lampson would consider switching parties. That rumor is so stupid, I can't believe Lowry passed it on. Lampson would get Michael Forbes'd so fast, it would be funny. Yes, Lampson will realize that he's a severe underdog to get re-elected in 2008, but he's not going to switch parties.
1. Wayne Slater chronicles the Strayhorn camp's difficulties of running without a supporting party apparatus.
2. AP's Kelley Shannon does Bell vs. Perry in the Valley.
3. Remember how I said The Silly often comes out at the end of campaigns?
"The revolution will come to Texas; it just won't be as dramatic here as in some other states," said Kelly Fero, an Austin-based Democratic strategist. "But it will still be a wave in Texas. And it could sweep some Democrats into office that wouldn't have been expected to win a year ago."Ah, the silly.
4. Mike Ward and Corrie MacLaggan have an article on the few people showing up at both the Bell and Strayhorn rallies. And then there's this nugget, which indicates why Bell was always going to come in second:
"Those politicians, they like to talk," said Sylvia Rodriguez, 77, noting that most of the faces in the Robstown senior center audience were seniors, union members and politicians. "I already voted. I think I voted for (Bell). I'm mostly just interested in what's going on here."
To Gerald Birnberg, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party, an analysis of early voting in Texas House District 134 shows that Democratic challenger Ellen Cohen is in command.Trying to figure things out from early voting is usually a mistake. There's too many variables at play to give you much useful information. But of course that doesn't stop the politicos! What would politics be without rumors?
"He's dead wrong," said Birnberg's GOP counterpart, Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill: Early voting clearly shows that incumbent Republican Martha Wong is beating Cohen.
Birnberg and Woodfill use similar processes to reach their differing interpretations.
Each day they get a list of those who signed in at early voting locations and check each record to see if the voter has a history of voting in Democratic or Republican primaries — the only way to document party affiliation in a state without registration by party.
Voters identified that way as Democrats are put in Cohen's column, Republicans in Wong's.
The art is in determining how strongly partisan a voter's history is. That, combined with each party's tendency to accentuate the positive, may explain the differing conclusions.
6. Chuck Todd, one of the Beltway campaign pundits, writes about this race:
If there is a surprise on election night, I think it would come in Texas. The electorate is still so unstable in the state thanks to the quartet of serious candidates. Perry should win, but his margin will be less than five points. I think Bell's making a move, but Strayhorn and Friedman are still polling too high to put the Dem over the top.Is he reading the same polls I'm reading? Whoa, inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom.
03 November 2006
KBH voting for Perry
Todd Gillman has this bit in the DMN:
On the way to Midland, an aide hands her a faxed copy of a Kerrville Daily Times story. Kinky Friedman voted for her. "She is not without charms," the independent candidate for governor told the paper.I'm half-surprised that Hutchison didn't refuse to say who's she voting for.
She laughs: "He's so open, that he said that."
They had met last Sunday at Love Field, the crossroads of all statewide campaigns. She'll write a thank-you, but her ballot will go to Gov. Rick Perry, her fellow Republican, whom she had thought about challenging instead of running for re-election.
And yeah, that's a headline I never thought I'd write when I started this blog.
The Silly comes out in the closing days
Apparently, this is sexist:
Singer: Real feats of corruption.Yup. Strayhorn held a press conference to claim that Rick Perry's radio ad was sexist. She says the ad implies a woman "is not strong enough or tough enough" to be governor. Perhaps Strayhorn has missed "Mr. Way Too Liberal for Texas Guy" or "Real Men of Genius." Perry's camp has a poll for people to vote on which one is better. My vote is easy: the Bell spot is much funnier.
Announcer: Today we salute you, Mrs. Corrupt Comptroller Politician Woman.
Singer: Mrs. Corrupt Comptroller Politician Woman
Announcer: Only you, Carole Strayhorn, could take three hundred thousand dollars from your top tax consultant contributor, grant them a $50 million payday and claim you knew nothing about it.
Singer: A crazy coinky-dink!
Announcer: When contributors come calling, tax refunds come falling. Comptroller Strayhorn, you didn't just give one refund to a contributor. No, you did it thirty-six hundred times.
Singer: That's a whole lotta coinky-dinks! Whoa yeah!
Announcer: And when the state auditor told you to stop taking tax-tainted contributions...you went ahead and took a million dollars more.
Singer: Not that anyone is counting
Announcer: So here's to you Carole Strayhorn: you not only sold your office...you did it thirty-six hundred times.
Singer: Mrs. Corrupt Comptroller Politician Woman.
C'mon. She hasn't objected to people making fun of her ever-changing name (which could at least she could credibly claim to be gender-linked, as a man doesn't change names when divorced), but she objects to this? That's just silly.
02 November 2006
My latest prediction was that Democrats would take the House by about 3-5 seats. I might actually have to increase the Democrats margin of victory. I'm leaning that way. I still think Republicans will hold the Senate, but that's looking awfully tight.
As Drudge pointed out, Nancy Pelosi has been totally absent from the national stage for the last 10 days. Smart move for her, but hardly the stuff of a mandate.
Last time we had a Republican president, a Democratic House, and a war, the Democrats refused to fund the war unless the president raised taxes. Chances are that history will repeat itself...
Journalists hopping the Facebook train
I am so hip. [/sarcasm] Seriously though, journalists love to write about new campaign techniques. It was only a matter of time.
01 November 2006
Defending Burka to Kuffner
I see Kuffner's point -- I noticed the same thing.The bad news for Bell is that his success seems to have come not at Perry's expense but at Strayhorn's.
Dude. All campaign long you've said that the reason why Rick Perry is unbeatable despite poll numbers in the 30s is because none of his opponents have been able to coalesce the anti-Perry vote. Now we see Chris Bell doing exactly that - this is what it means when some of Strayhorn's support migrates to Bell, as was the case when Friedman started losing voters to Bell - and it's still bad news?
But I think Burka's point is that Bell is only snagging a point or two off of Strayhorn. Strayhorn isn't falling precipitously, and Perry isn't moving at all. There's not much evidence that Bell has really coalesced an anti-Perry vote around himself. If that's the case and Bell doesn't take any votes from Perry, then Perry isn't beatable. Of course, my guess is that the polls probably overstate Strayhorn's percentage by a couple points, while underdoing Perry's and Bell's percentages by a few points.
Why is Bell off the air?
I can't figure out why Chris Bell is off the air. Did they really spend every last penny they had on TV without any more coming in? Is it some elaborate fakeout ploy that even has the TV stations fooled? (Heh.) Does he think he's supposed to get another million from
sugar daddy trial lawyer John O'Quinn?
Or maybe they just decided to roll the dice and spend all their money. Perhaps, they were thinking, if we spend all our money, then our poll numbers will go up. If that happens, we'll be able to raise more money.
Well, their poll numbers might've blipped up. Or they might not have. But apparently there isn't lots more money coming in...or at least it hasn't come in yet. Bell's camp reports another $300k will come in from John O'Quinn, but that's really only 2 days worth of TV money in this state.
Smart campaigns always have a closing strategy...and then usually a contingency closing strategy just in case something happens. It appears that Bell's campaign just didn't have one...or if they did, they spent the money already.