"Prop. 2 passage seen as '06 tool"

Gary Scharrer's SAEN column focuses on Prop 2 and Rick Perry:

The legions of social conservatives who poured out to support a gay marriage ban in Tuesday's statewide election could show up again to vote for a governor next year, says the pastor of a movement to mobilize them.

Gov. Rick Perry played a leading role in pushing Proposition 2, the measure to place a gay marriage ban in the state Constitution that won a whopping 76 percent of Texas votes.


But a Democratic consultant said the campaign for a gay marriage ban amendment would do little more than give Republicans access to data useful in the short term to identify voters.

"The Republican Party in Texas is deeply divided, with a radical minority driving the agenda of the more moderate majority," said the consultant, Kelly Fero. "The same focus on divisive issues that Rick Perry and his partisans have used in general elections is now dividing their own house in primary elections."

Fero referred to a report last week by Capitol Inside a political Web site that chronicled intraparty efforts to target and oust independent Republican House members in the party primary next March.

"I think that the whole Proposition 2 thing from Perry's perspective and the people around him was nothing but a taxpayer-funded exercise to gather data to boost the Republican Party database in advance of next year's election," Fero said.

I've never liked when politicos accuse the other side of bad faith. First, I don't think it's very effective in scoring political points. Second, I think it's far less frequent than the charges suggest.

"But it's our job to recontact people that haven't voted in the Republican primary but who voted in that election and ask them where they stand in the governor's race and then communicate with them," [Perry pollster Mike] Baselice said.

"They could be Perry supporters, but we have to work that list and dissect it and contact the voters and find out for sure," he said.


"The more people who vote, the happier I am. I have great confidence in the people of Texas," [Strayhorn] said. Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said he could not elaborate.

I've been surprised at Strayhorn's silence to say anything about Prop 2. She's never expressed support of it, to my knowledge. And Comptroller Strayhorn isn't known for her hesitance to give her views on issues. Certainly Prop 2 is identified with Perry, but this is an issue that is overwhelmingly favored by those who will vote in the Republican primary.

That would seem to suggest that Strayhorn either did not support Prop 2 or that she hopes to draw disaffected Democrats and swing voters into the Republican primary to vote for her. If she didn't support Proposition 2, then it was wise for her to refrain from saying so. If she's hoping to draw non-traditional Republican primary voters into voting for her in March, then I think she's based her campaign on a flawed strategy. As I've said before, we have a word for candidates whose strategy is turnout: losers. It is a very rare candidate indeed who is able to transcend politics and draw people to change their voting habits. So far, Strayhorn does not appear to be that candidate.

Posted by Evan @ 11/13/05 03:05 AM


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