Benchmarks is a way of saying "It's over"
Rice Political Science Professor Mark Jones puts up a post entitled, "Benchmarks for Bill White on November 2." In other words, sayeth the professor, Bill White ain't gonna win, but what's a moral victory?
46.0 percent. This is the highest percentage won by any Democrat in a statewide race during the past decade. John Sharp (a potential rival in the 2012 Democratic Senate primary) won 46.0 percent of the vote in his 2002 campaign for lieutenant governor. Surpassing this mark would position White in the driver's seat for the Democratic Senate nomination, as well as provide strong support for the case that he would be a formidable rival for whichever Republican wins the party's nomination in 2012.
43.7 percent. This is the percentage won by President Barack Obama in 2008 in Texas. While the overall political context, as well as the composition of the voters participating in the election is distinct in 2008 and 2010, White's 2012 quest for the Senate will be advantaged by the extent to which he exceeds President Obama's vote share.
40.0 percent. This is the percentage (39.96 percent to be more precise) won by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez in 2002. Failing to cross this threshold would be a traumatic blow to White's political future.
I'd add one: 9.24%. Even for the lackluster campaign that Chris Bell ran, he managed to stay within about 9% of Perry. [Even though Chris Bell himself said, "You could be a corpse and get 31 percent as the Democratic nominee just about any office," before winning exactly 29.8% of the vote. Yes, Chris Bell got outperformed by a corpse.] If White doesn't get closer than 9% to Perry, Democrats have to wonder why they got so excited and put so much work into a candidate who couldn't outperform Bell.
As the title says: it's over. No one discusses these sorts of things during the last week of a race that might flip.
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