30 November 2005

Bob Gammage, Democrats, and trial balloons

Well, the Bob Gammage for Governor trial balloon went up via email and blogs. I didn't scrupulously monitor the reception it got on the left side of the Texas blogosphere, but my sense was that Democrats were guardedly enthusiastic.

So it seems to me that this is put-up or shut-up time for Democratic gubernatorial candidates. The primary is looming.

In 2002, former Attorney General Dan Morales stunned the Texas political world when he filed for governor and not US senator. But Morales was a special case. Not only was Morales the last Democrat elected statewide in Texas, but he was sitting on a million or two in campaign cash if I recall correctly. So he had name ID and some money, although he also had a scandal and Sanchez's wealth lined up against him. Some have speculated that he ran in order to claim that the federal investigation then well underway was politically motivated. Indeed, Morales is now in prison. But Morales was a special case, overall. He had name ID and could easily garner media coverage that allowed him to start a little late and still be a credible candidate.

There have been lots of rumors of Democrats who are thinking of running for governor. The primary is now 3.5 months away. If someone is going to challenge Chris Bell for the right to be the Democratic nominee, then they're going to need to surface immediately. Yes, I'm assuming Bell would beat Felix Alvarado.

So if Bob Gammage or anyone else is running for governor, then I expect he or she will let us know in the next few days.

Posted by Evan @ 11/30/05 03:42 AM | Comments (1)        


Adios mofo, redux?

A female friend of mine signed off our IM [instant messenger, for the Luddites] conversation by saying -- you guessed it: adios mofo.

We've never really talked politics, so I assume she wasn't making a joke about this blog or my partisanship.

So I have to wonder: has the phrase caught on with Texans? And if so, is it because of Governor Perry?

Will my kids be saying it in thirty years?

Posted by Evan @ 11/30/05 03:14 AM | Comments (1)        


29 November 2005


The link from the Chronicle has brought in some new visitors. I'm reminded that my bio is woefully out of date. I'll update it sometime in the next day, even though I despise writing about myself.

Posted by Evan @ 11/29/05 11:02 AM | Comments (0)        


Kinky is in the valley

Kinky makes first campaign stop today:

Kinky Friedman will spend most of his time trying to encourage college students and professors to vote for him. If past stops are any indication, much of that encouragement will come in the way of jokes.

Friedman’s strategy is to bring new voters to the polls, so college campuses are full of potential, said Laura Stromberg, press secretary for Friedman.

“We need to bring new voters into the electorate, and obviously young open-minded people are a good place to start,” she said.

Friedman is a country singer, satirist and mystery novel writer. His campaign slogan, “Why the Hell Not?” says a lot about his campaign. He faces significant hurdles to getting his name on the ballot, but insists he is a serious candidate.

Friedman will speak at 12:30 p.m. today at the SET-B Lecture Hall at the University of Texas at Brownsville. The event will be followed by a book-signing at 1:30 p.m.

Tonight, he will host a will host a $125-per-person fundraiser at the Sea Ranch at South Padre Island.

On Wednesday, he will speak at 2:30 p.m. at South Texas College. He will address the Pan American University Faculty Forum at 6:30 p.m. at the UTPA Union Theater.

Note: I resisted the urge to entitle this post "Kinky in the Valley." I think that double entendre is fully played out to the point of cliche now. Let's hope the state's political journalists take note.

Posted by Evan @ 11/29/05 10:53 AM | Comments (0)        


28 November 2005

Kronberg on the school finance Supreme Court decision

Quorum Report's Harvey Kronberg on the recent Supreme Court decision:

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that our current system of funding schools was unconstitutional because the system had deteriorated into an illegal statewide property tax.

But of course, there's more.

For instance, the Supreme Court rejected most of the legal theories proposed by the attorney general intended to take the courts out of education policy or at least severely limit judicial participation.

On top of that, the court rejected the Legislature's assertion that as long as it has a so-called rational basis, lawmakers can define whatever they want as a suitable and adequate education.

But most interesting of all, the court said that Texas education was adequate and suitable, but just barely. While agreeing with most of the public education failings outlined in Judge Dietz's original ruling, the Court pointed to generally rising test scores as evidence that while flawed and failing many students, Texas education was still adequate and therefore constitutional.

Passed along -- but not in full -- as the best commentary I've seen on the decision.

Posted by Evan @ 11/28/05 06:43 PM | Comments (0)        


26 November 2005

Arrogant Euros really shouldn't write about Texas politics

When writing about Texas politics, you should find an author who knows something about Texas politics.

Left-wing UK paper The Guardian (in the UK, newspapers have admitted leanings) profiled Kinky Friedman's campaign for governor. If you don't know much about Texas politics -- I assume most of The Guardian's readers don't -- I'd recommend that you not read this article. It will only confuse you with its inaccuracies. If you're a Texan, it may irk you to read that many paragraphs dripping of superior European elitism.

If you still want to read the article, I'd suggest you try to count the number of factual inaccuracies. My count didn't reach double digits....until I'd read a few paragraphs. I mean, they can't even spell Molly Ivins' name correctly. And did you know we've had three Bush presidents from Texas?

Here's a suggestion for The Guardian: next time you want to condescend to Texans, at least be smart enough to get most of your facts right. Until then, keep your smug sense of superiority to yourselves.

UPDATE: Welcome Chronicle opinion readers! This blog started out as a personal way to chronicle the impending gubernatorial primary between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison. That didn't happen, and so far Carole Keeton Strayhorn isn't running close or gaining ground on Governor Perry. Perhaps Kinky Friedman or a so-far unannounced Democrat or perhaps even Chris Bell will make the gubernatorial race interesting. However, the blog's focus has expanded beyond the gubernatorial race and contains political analysis on Texas politics.

If that's your thing, then come on by more often.

Posted by Evan @ 11/26/05 11:21 PM | Comments (1)        


25 November 2005

The battle of the party switchers

Selby in the Statesman:

It days was 20 years ago today, Carole Strayhorn taught the band to play. [sic]

Scotch that Beatle-ism and chomp on this: Two decades ago this week, Carole Keeton Strayhorn (then Rylander) shelved her lifelong affiliation with the once-dominant Texas Democratic Party — joining a trend that was just bubbling.


Up next: the Battle of the Party Switchers for the 2006 GOP gubernatorial nod. After all, Gov. Rick Perry went from D to R in 1989 before upsetting Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, a Democrat, in 1990.

Perry was encouraged to jump by the state's pre-eminent switcher, Phil Gramm, who won election to the U.S. Senate in 1984 after having gone from D to R and re-winning a U.S. House seat he'd first won as a Dem.

Talk about history: The number of GOP officeholders in Texas has more than quadrupled from less than 500 with nobody in a statewide post in 1984 to nearly 2,200 now, with Republicans clutching every statewide office for six years-plus..

George Strake of Houston, state GOP chairman when Strayhorn came aboard, said he approached right-leaning Dems with a phone call."I've heard through the grapevine that you are sounding a lot like a Republican," he'd say. "Should you ever come over, I want to be chairman of the red-carpet committee that welcomes you."

His footsie calls were often followed by dial-outs from Gramm and, occasionally, George Bush, then-vice president of the United States. More than 60 current or former Democratic incumbentschanged parties by the time Strake stepped down in June 1988.

Strayhorn, No. 50, recalled acting without courtship. "They welcomed me with open arms, but I made my decision on my own."

Strayhorn, who hopes Democrats and independents vote for her in the GOP primary, said she treasures a letter from President Reagan, but doesn't stress her partisanship. "Every single speech I give, I say Texas belongs to no special interest group, no special political credo, no special individual, it belongs to all Texans."

The balancing act could be the subject of a column in and of itself.

Posted by Evan @ 11/25/05 04:13 PM | Comments (0)        


22 November 2005

For whom the bell tolls

The AP:

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that local property taxes used to pay for public schools amount to an unconstitutional statewide tax and has given the state until June 1 to fix the system.

Texas' highest civil court agreed 7-1 with one of three arguments brought against the state by hundreds of school districts, but found that overall school funding is adequate and that poor districts have equal access to facilities funding. Justice Scott Brister was the only member of the nine-member court to dissent. Newly sworn in Justice Don Willett did not participate.

The majority opinion is here, while Justice Brister's dissent is here.

So, the appointment of a commission gives Perry and the Lege a politically good reason to delay until after the primaries. But the Legislature's actions will still be relatively fresh in early November.

Posted by Evan @ 11/22/05 11:05 AM | Comments (1)        


21 November 2005

The puzzling nature of Carole Strayhorn's campaign

"Strayhorn battling campaign slowdown," is the title of Peggy Fikac's SAEN must read on Carole Strayhorn's campaign.

Strayhorn announced in June that she's running for the GOP nomination and had signaled it long in advance by regularly trashing Perry's record on everything from education to transportation to taxes.

But since then, skeptics have found much to feed their doubts.

With the primary just months away, attention-grabbing events — including two special legislative sessions on school funding and two hurricanes — have hampered her ability to get out a message. As the holidays near, Strayhorn said her efforts are geared toward January, when she expects more voters to tune in.

But even the message she controls has seemed to move in fits and starts.

She has skewered Perry's education finance plan without offering a detailed proposal of her own.

She canceled her radio ads as Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, explaining it was a time for prayer, but soon lambasted Perry at a news conference and within days had her ads back on the air.

She called on Perry to spend $1.2 billion in unanticipated revenue to help local communities deal with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita — and when rebuffed said he should use the money to give a tax rebate to homeowners.

When asked about illegal immigration in August, she was quoted as saying, "I sympathize with those coming over who want to put a roof over their heads." Two months later, she blasted a Perry-signed law allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition — lower than out-of-state charges — if they meet certain conditions.

Strayhorn insisted in an interview at her campaign headquarters — which a sign labels "one tough grandma's house" — that her broad message is consistent, with a focus that includes "children, children, children" affected by issues such as education and health care.

She said she consistently has "been adamantly opposed to illegal immigration" and that her August comment was part of an answer to someone wondering "why do they come here?"

On school finance, she said in June that she would support a teacher pay raise, with money she said could come from legalizing video lottery terminals. She also has said she would restore money-saving programs cut from her office in 2003 by lawmakers and Perry.

As for a detailed revamp of the property tax-heavy school funding system, she emphasized her support for lowering property taxes and for a "fair business tax." She said she would bring business leaders and educators to the table the day after the March 7 primary "to fix the problem."

Strayhorn said her campaign is going full force and that speeches she's giving around Texas shouldn't be discounted "just because the Capitol press corps isn't out traveling around with me."

"The Capitol press corps ... (and) people in general are going to focus on this after the holidays," she said. "And frankly, everything I'm doing is gearing up to that."

Strayhorn said she has plenty of fundraisers planned, including two in San Antonio, after reporting $7 million in cash on hand in June, compared with nearly $8.8 million for Perry.

She said she has spent close to $1 million buying radio time and added that "when we spend that first million on TV, that's when you'll see the numbers move."

A recent poll — scoffed at by Strayhorn, who says "it's all in how you ask the questions"— conducted for the Texas Credit Union League found Perry besting Strayhorn head to head by 35 percentage points.

Political scientists, even those who see her as a strong, engaging campaigner, describe her as having something more than an uphill battle.

They note Perry's successful courtship of religious conservatives for a primary in which such voters have been dominant. Strayhorn's desire to lure independents and crossover Democrats to join Republicans who'd prefer her to Perry is a tough task, they say.

"Strayhorn would look like a very decent candidate if she were running against him in an all-comers race. This isn't an all-comers race," said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein. "She's not right of Genghis Khan. Nor are most Republicans. But most Republicans don't vote in the primary."

Interesting Stein quote.

Strayhorn hasn't found a message that will let her beat Perry in a primary. Without a clear focus on what she's trying to convey to voters, she's tested different themes and that sometimes makes her sound inconsistent. She also has the problem that some see her as reflexively anti-Rick Perry.

Posted by Evan @ 11/21/05 11:21 AM | Comments (2)        


Tax reform panel starts work

The tax reform panel meets today:

Awaiting only final marching orders from the Texas Supreme Court, a high-profile committee of business leaders headed by a prominent Democrat is poised to tackle the divisive issues that roiled three sessions of the Legislature this year: tax and education funding overhauls.

The 24-member Texas Tax Reform Commission, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry and led by his one-time political rival, Democrat John Sharp, will begin work today on recommendations for cutting school property taxes and raising new revenue for education through higher business and consumer taxes.

The issues dominated Austin while lawmakers struggled and squabbled, but they have receded as policymakers await the high court's ruling on a lawsuit by school districts over the state's funding system. But they are no less divisive, as shown by an outcry over the Sharp panel's lack of labor, education or consumer representatives.

Mr. Sharp said the panel would examine potential increases in sales taxes, higher cigarette and alcohol taxes, along with a redesigned state business tax.

"We are open to everything except an income tax," the former state comptroller said, adding that even expansion of gambling in Texas, which failed to pass the Legislature, will be on the table.

At the same time, Mr. Sharp said, the panel will respond to calls from state leaders and taxpayers to significantly cut back school property taxes.

"I take 'significant' to be at least a third," Mr. Sharp said. The current maximum school property tax rate is $1.50 per $100 valuation. Cutting the rate to $1 would save property taxpayers about $5.5 billion a year.

The more high profile this thing is, the more the chance that our Legislature will feel compelled to enact whatever the panel comes up with.

Posted by Evan @ 11/21/05 10:53 AM | Comments (0)        


Dick DeGuerin

David Casstevens of the FWST profiles famed criminal defense attorney Dick DeGuerin:

During his last year in law school at the University of Texas, Dick DeGuerin drove to San Antonio and applied for a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His interview went well, he believed, until ... "Have you ever been arrested?" the agent asked, fixing him with a level gaze. DeGuerin wasn't under oath, but his father, a lawyer, had taught him to be truthful, and he didn't dare lie to the feds. For all he knew, J. Edgar Hoover already had a file on him. "Yes," DeGuerin replied.

The applicant told the story about watching an annual spring parade near the Austin campus with a few college buddies. As they sat curbside in DeGuerin's 1959 Chevrolet convertible drinking beer, a float appeared along Guadalupe Street carrying Price Daniel, who was then the Texas governor.

"I'll bet he'd like a cold one," DeGuerin suddenly thought.

He hopped from his car, a can of suds in hand, and in his uninhibited haze, attempted to climb on the governor's float.

Police arrested him for public intoxication.

I'm amused. The rest of the profile is pretty entertaining too.

Success for Tom DeLay is to get the case dismissed as a matter of law or to be found not guilty on a speedy enough trial in order that he retain his leaderhip role as House Majority Leader. Can DeGuerin do it?

Posted by Evan @ 11/21/05 10:49 AM | Comments (0)        


"Democratic Senate hopeful poised to assail Hutchison"

Selby -- Statesman:

Radnofsky is a mediation lawyer for the Vinson & Elkins firm, which employs Hutchison's husband, Ray, in Dallas. She has not met him but cannot wait to debate his wife, the state's senior senator.

Hutchison "has refused to defend her record," Radnofsky said. "She's ready to run a race by traveling in a Cadillac appearing to honor her past as a University of Texas cheerleader," a reference to Hutchison recently joining an Austin parade featuring former Longhorn cheerleaders. "She's running the fluffiest race you can imagine."

Hutchison campaign adviser Bryan Eppstein called the jab "an immature statement by an immature candidate. We will debate on facts and the record, not on falsehoods."


[Democratic strategist Kelly Fero] said Hutchison, initially elected to the Senate in June 1993, "comes across as a moderate and a common-sense official who reflects the mainstream values of Texas. She's not a rabid political hack. It will take scandals in Washington to put Radnofsky over the top."

Radnofsky said Hutchison, who ranks among the GOP vice presidential prospects for 2008, will have trouble defending her role as a "rubber stamp" for President Bush, with at least three issues surfacing as soft spots: the Iraq war, veterans affairs and a comment on the recent CIA leak investigation.

•Radnofsky favors the United States setting a timetable for getting its troops out of Iraq. Hutchison thinks specifying a timetable would only embolden enemies.

•Radnofsky has characterized Hutchison as falling short of fully funding programs for service veterans by not voting for funding increases proposed by others.

Hutchison's office countered that this year, the senator, a Veterans Affairs Committee member who heads an appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs, carried legislation saving the Veterans Affairs Department from a budget shortfall.

•Hutchison told an NBC-TV audience last month that she hoped a grand jury looking into possible Bush administration leaks of an undercover CIA operative's name would not indict anyone on "some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime."

Radnofsky isn't going to win this race. If she starts slinging personal mud (eg, the cheerleader crack, which admittedly is very mild. In other states it would be slightly more personal...), it may limit her future opportunities in politics. Going negative generally hurts you, even if it hurts your opponent more.

My feeling has been that Radnofsky might be running this race in order to gain name ID to use it for another race. However, if you go overly negative, you may not get a chance for that other race. On the flip side of that though, is that if Radnofsky doesn't come close at all, she won't look as attractive.

The veterans issue is interesting. Service in the military makes any demographic group more likely to vote Republican. So veterans are generally a pretty tough place for Democrats to go campaigning for votes, even when you focus your entire campaign around being a veteran, ie John Kerry (see 2004 DNC convention). It's tough to transition veterans issues into a campaign issue which swings non-veteran votes. Perhaps it is possible, but it is a tough hill to climb.

Posted by Evan @ 11/21/05 10:44 AM | Comments (1)        


20 November 2005

Bob Gammage to run for governor?

Selby -- Statesman:

Llano lawyer Bob Gammage, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, says he might enter what he calls a sleepy race for the Democratic gubernatorial nod in 2006.

"My closest and best friends have asked me if I've completely lost my mind," Gammage said Friday.

Gammage, 67, a mediation attorney whose consideration surfaced this week on blogs, including the Democrat-oriented Burnt Orange Report, said he's weighing whether he can raise enough money to run and whether his candidacy would draw grass-roots support.

And now for some Democratic infighting:
But Gammage said Bell "hasn't been able to focus public attention on much of anything else. And he can't run on that. He's not running against Tom DeLay; he's running for governor of Texas, and it's a big state. Anybody who hasn't run statewide really can't appreciate how big.

"The campaign conducted so far puts you to sleep," Gammage said. "The message is not being delivered so that anyone is listening. One thing I can do is deliver a message. I know how to wage a late-starting, under-funded campaign. Been doing that all my life."

On taxation, Gammage differs from Bell in saying that creation of a state personal income tax should be considered with other government finance options. "Everything is on the table," he said.

Gammage, a Houston native, is a former college instructor whose career includes stints in the Texas House and Senate and the U.S. House. He also served on the Third Court of Appeals in Austin and on the Texas Supreme Court.

Bell spokesman Jason Stanford said it was "ludicrous" that Bell is fixed on DeLay. Bell "was not afraid of Tom DeLay. He isn't afraid of Rick Perry. And he's certainly not afraid of Bob Gammage," Stanford said.

Stanford made a comparison to jockeying among Democratic presidential possibilities before the 1992 election season.

"How many Mario Cuomos have to pass on this race before we realize we've got a Bill Clinton already running?" Stanford asked.

Chris Bell has the political skills of Bill Clinton?

Seems like it would be a tough race for Gammage, whose name ID would be even lower than Chris Bell's name ID.

Posted by Evan @ 11/20/05 04:03 AM | Comments (7)        



Jay Root -- FWST:

Hurricane evacuees face a new housing crisis unless the federal government abandons its plans to quit paying for their hotel rooms by Dec. 1, top state officials warned Friday.

With the holiday season at hand, Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison separately asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday to extend the deadline. A group of Texas congressmen and various city officials from Texas and around the country, where evacuees have scattered into some 50,000 hotel rooms, are doing the same.

Do you ever get the feeling that maybe...just maybe, Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison aren't best buddies? It would be normal for the senior senator and the governor to write together, but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

*My guess is that if you don't understand what the title means, then you're over 30.

Posted by Evan @ 11/20/05 03:48 AM | Comments (0)        


Wasted away again in Margaritaville

Jimmy Buffett endorses Kinky Friedman.

Has anyone in the Luckenbach crowd not endorsed Friedman yet? Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver both have.

Will Pat Green, supposedly "friends for life" with Kinky?

Posted by Evan @ 11/20/05 02:50 AM | Comments (0)        


16 November 2005


Charlie Bass doesn't want Tom DeLay back as House Majority Leader:

Five-term Republican Rep. Charles Bass said this week his party’s leaders in the House of Representatives are more concerned about their own pet projects than the GOP’s "fundamental principles."

Bass, co-chair of a group of about 35 moderate House Republicans called the "Tuesday Group," is calling for new elections in leadership next year "so we have a fresh slate of officers outside of the speaker for the next session of the Congress."


He said he is not interested in running for a leadership post himself and was not specifically calling for anyone in leadership to be "thrown out." He also said he has no specific action in mind to try to force a vote.

"I’m not starting a movement. I’m not leading a revolution," Bass said. "I’m just stating an opinion."

Bass noted that he has expressed concern about the direction of the Republican Party in Washington “all along, but the difference is that Republicans are now down and everyone is listening to this sort of thing."

But he said the House Republican conference "would be healthier and more unified if we had real elections and if (former House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay would step aside for the good of the conference." DeLay, while no longer holding the title of majority leader, has kept his office at the Capitol and "is still very much around," Bass said.

I may update this post, but I thought this was an interesting development.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 11:50 AM | Comments (2)        


Zogby Interactive

Since I frequently criticize the "Zogby Interactive" online polling, I thought I'd present the other side.

The Zogby Interactive poll has caught criticism and started a controversy in Arkansas, where there was a double digit discrepancy between the Zogby online poll and a University of Arkansas poll. The Hotline (aka, the best political service ever) got this response from Zogby:

Someone interested in participating signs up through solicitation notices on the company website as well as other websites that cover the political spectrum. For example, the company has used Newsmax. com, a conservative site, and Buzzflash. com, a liberal site. It also accepted referrals from participants who invite others to sign up. The company no longer solicits for participants on other sites because it has enough to choose from."

Participants provide demographic data, including their address, race and party affiliation.

When Zogby does a poll, the company will send questionnaires to a sample of their e-mail database with a goal of having the respondents represent the racial breakdown and party affiliation ratio of the state.

The company verifies at least 2% of the responding sample by making follow-up phone calls. For instance, the poll in AR used 518 responses, so about 10 responses would be double-checked for demographic accuracy and their e-mail poll answers. If many more were called, "it would defeat the purpose of doing interactive polls," Bohnert said. "Unless we found a problem, then we'd look deeper." Such problems would be if the same IP code, which is customized for each contributor through the Internet, shows up on more than one vote. The firm's software accepts only one vote from a single IP address.

The software also has ways to catch participants who forward the e-mail poll to someone else so they can try to vote and each e-mail survey can be replied to only once. Someone could vote more than once, but that person would have to be lucky and go to a lot of trouble, said Bohnert.

Anyone with multiple email addresses who has created aliases for each one could vote multiple times only by using multiple computers and if the firm picked each alias for the sample, Bohnert said. The firm has safeguards to throw out fake addresses if area codes don't match zip codes. And those telephone numbers could be called for verification. More Bohnert: "We sat around thinking about every way someone could manipulate this."

Zogby also contends that telephone polling is becoming less reliable. I agree with that, but I've yet to see indications that online political polls should be taken seriously.

I know that no political candidate would rely on online polls, and what candidates use themselves is the best measure of reliability.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 11:33 AM | Comments (1)        


Haggerty to face challenger

One of the interesting stories in Texas politics over the last week or two has been what appears to be a concerted effort to find challengers to those GOP lawmakers who didn't vote the way the leadership wanted them to vote. In this case, it appears that Republicans who opposed the school finance plan will now face a primary challenger. Here's an example out of El Paso:

El Paso's top Republican Party contributors are abandoning nine-term state Rep. Pat Haggerty and throwing their political muscle and money behind his GOP challenger.

Ted Houghton, Texas Department of Transportation commissioner; Rick Francis, Texas Tech University System regent; Woody Hunt, former University of Texas System regent; and Harold Hahn, president of Rocky Mountain Mortgage Co. -- each has given thousands to Republican Gov. Rick Perry and once supported Haggerty.

Now they're rallying behind Haggerty's primary election opponent, Lorraine O'Donnell, because they said the area needs someone who can "play well" with the state leadership.

Despite the big money backing O'Donnell, Haggerty said he has faith his constituents will support him because he supports them.


"Is somebody saying we did something wrong by voting to not raise taxes?" Haggerty said. "I'll argue with that all day."


When asked whether Republican state leaders asked them to find an opponent for Haggerty, Houghton said no.

O'Donnell appears to be a serious candidate: she's hired Ted Delisi to consult.

I think it's apparent what Haggerty's counter-argument will be.

Enforcing party discipline for both parties is a tricky thing that often leads to unforeseen ramifications, but it's also part of the political process in this country.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 11:13 AM | Comments (0)        


KBH challenger formally announces yesterday

KBH challenger Barbara Radnofsky announced yesterday:

In a speech Tuesday at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Radnofsky challenged Hutchison on veterans issues and said she wants to see the United States return to the value of selfless sacrifice exhibited by World War II veterans.

"This world was saved for democracy by men and women, teenagers really, ordinary men and women in extraordinary times doing extraordinary things," Radnofsky said. "It is my passionate, firm belief that we can return to that kind of extraordinary service."


Hutchison spokesman Bryan Eppstein declined to discuss any of Radnofsky's specific challenges to Hutchison's record, saying there would be time for that in a general election. Eppstein said polling consistently shows Hutchison to be the most popular politician in Texas and a strong contender for re-election.

Radnofsky, 49, a mediation attorney with Vinson & Elkins, has been running a low-key campaign for Senate for more than a year.

But her battle likely will be uphill. Texas has trended Republican for a decade. And as of Sept. 30, Radnofsky had $382,000 in the bank while Hutchison had $7.3 million. Radnofsky said she raised $30,000 more last week at an event hosted by Democratic U.S. senators in Washington, D.C. "I foresee it changing. The reason is a conglomeration of events," Radnofsky said.

Radnofsky said "incompetence and corruption" became apparent in the Bush administration's handling of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She also chided Hutchison for saying a perjury indictment in the White House spy leak case would be a "technicality."

She has a tough row to hoe.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 11:05 AM | Comments (0)        


Friedman fundraising in Hollywood

Kinky Friedman is raising money out in California:

Friedman, who first rose to fame as the singer of satirical country songs in the 1970s, is making a two-hat trip to Los Angeles. At 5 p.m. today he holds a campaign "funraiser" at Lucy's El Adobe in Hollywood. And in a non-campaign appearance, Friedman dons his entertainer's hat at 8 p.m. Thursday to anchor an evening of reading, music and conversation as part of the Skirball Cultural Center's "From Haven to Home" series on the evolution of Jewish life in America.

The presentation will include music by former members of his band, the Texas Jewboys — Jeff "Little Jewford" Shelby and Lebanese American Jimmie "Ratso" Silman. "We feel," Friedman said, "we represent the last true hope for peace in the Middle East."


Friedman's campaign remains a longshot, but a recent Zogby poll placed Friedman third with 21% support, trailing Democratic challenger Chris Bell, a former congressman, with 25%, and incumbent Republican Rick Perry, with 42%.

It was a Zogby Interactive poll! INTERACTIVE. That means done online with people who choose to do polls.

Although the results are believable, I don't believe the media ought yet be quoting Zogby Interactive polls as normal polls without a serious disclaimer.

Posted by Evan @ 11/16/05 10:57 AM | Comments (0)        


15 November 2005

Status quo?

April Castro at the AP reports on the school finance commission headed by John Sharp.

Sharp states the obvious: "If the Supreme Court rules 'hey everything's fine' ... then it makes it real difficult to pass something because there's nothing on the other side, no crisis on the other side, no bad thing that happens."

Rick Perry once famously predicted that the Supreme Court would not rule against the state.

Posted by Evan @ 11/15/05 12:22 AM | Comments (0)        


14 November 2005

Armbrister to retire?

Chris Elam reports rumors that Ken Armbrister is set to retire.

Armbrister's retirement will open up the district 18 state senate race. Currently there are 3 GOP candidates, with Gary Gates probably the frontrunner. That could change depending on whether other Republicans will decide to run for the open seat.

SD18 is a big seat. The northern border is Washington and Waller counties, while the eastern border is western Fort Bend County and Matagorda County. The district stretches down to Port Aransas and then runs back up towards Austin to Caldwell and Bastrop counties.

If true, it'll be a competitive race. Bush won the district with 67% of the vote, while Victor Carillo got 59% and Scott Brister got almost 65%. The TLC data on the district indicates that the average district wide vote is 65.5% GOP to 36.5% Dem, whereas the whole states was 59.1% to 40.9%. So although Armbrister was a conversative Democrat, this is definitely a winnable district for a Republican or Democrat.

There are a few Republican state reps that live in this district. Will they look to move to the senate?

Posted by Evan @ 11/14/05 05:07 PM | Comments (0)        


13 November 2005

Another Kinky Friedman profile

Christy Hoppe has the Dallas Morning News' profile du jour of Kinky Friedman.
There's nothing really new there, except for the picture of a vehicle in Kinky's entourage.

It's all about whether he can get on the ballot. But really, if he can't get on the ballot then he's not a serious candidate anyway.

Posted by Evan @ 11/13/05 03:14 AM | Comments (0)        


"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 | Comments (0)        


12 November 2005

Books on the sidebar

I've added some book recommendations on the sidebar. If you click through from here and buy them I get some sort of commission from Amazon.

Here's a short blurb for why I liked each:

The Path to Power: Robert Caro's traces LBJ's early years. Caro simply writes the best biographies I've ever read, and this is his finest hour.

The Ambition and the Power: An account of the rise and fall of House Speaker Jim Wright in the 80's. Barry had special access "on background" to Wright after he ascended to Speaker of the House and he produces a scintillating profile of the Texan from Fort Worth.

Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski's America: Rostenkowski is a fascinating character and provides a case study in urban Democratic machines. I just finished this book.

Moneyball: It took baseball general managers how long to figure out that walks were much more important than traditional baseball statistics indicated? I figured that out when I was 8. Sometimes it's amazing how difficult it is for the "experts" to see past the conventional wisdom. The lesson for politics ought be self-evident.

The Rise of Southern Republicans: Earl and Merle Black are the preeminent Southern politics scholars. The book is a scholarly yet readable study of how Republicans supplanted Democrats as the power in the South. Dr. Earl Black was one of my favorite professors at Rice and his classes got to read drafts of chapters long before this book was published in 2003. Black was also my senior thesis advisor, when I wrote about Democratic gubernatorial resurgence in the 1997 and 1998 Deep South [a 3-2 GOP advantage switched to a 4-1 Dem advantage].

UPDATE: For some reason, the top of this post is being cut off in Internet Explorer (though not in FireFox). These blurbs are my explanation of the books I added to the sidebar. I think I'll rotate the books I put up there every month or two, and try to balance the books on Texas politics with other stuff. I get a cut from Amazon if you buy the books by clicking through this site.

I wouldn't mind making a few pennies from this site, after all.

Posted by Evan @ 11/12/05 06:35 PM | Comments (2)        


"Strayhorn's campaign quiet"

Lee McGuire -- KVUE:

There are just 102 days before polls open in the race for governor, but Governor Rick Perry's main challenger hasn't said much lately.

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has been relatively quiet since launching her campaign in June.

Strayhorn has a lot of money in her campaign war chest, but lately, many political observers have noted that her momentum seems to be dwindling, just as Governor Perry is picking up steam.

On a sweltering summer day five months ago, the state's republican comptroller turned months of speculation into reality and ran full speed ahead at incumbent republican Rick Perry.

But aside from some radio ads, Strayhorn's campaign has barely made a peep since then. Perry has compiled an impressive list of endorsements, including the State Association of Firefighters, the Texas Public Employees Association and the Teamsters.

Strayhorn has scored no big endorsements.

Perry has also pulled off some political coups, including placing potential democratic opponent John Sharp at the head of a school finance reform team.

I'd be happy if she started advertising her campaign on GoogleAds, so that maybe I could earn a few pennies out of this blog.

Posted by Evan @ 11/12/05 03:27 PM | Comments (3)        


11 November 2005

Gubernatorial primaries poll

Two polls done for the Texas Credit Union League, 10/24-10/26:

A Voter/Consumer Research (R) poll; surveyed 400 TX GOP primary voters; margin of error +/- 4.9%.

GOP GOV Primary Matchup
Perry 61%
Strayhorn 26%
Undec/Oth 13%

Perry 79%/18%
Strayhorn 50 /25


Hamilton Beattie & Staff poll; surveyed 403 TX Dem primary voters; margin of error +/- 4.9%

Dem GOV Primary Matchup
Bell 28%
Alvarado 15%
Undec/Oth 57%

Posted by Evan @ 11/11/05 03:03 PM | Comments (3)        


10 November 2005

Friedman opening Fort Worth office

Kinky Friedman is opening a satellite office outside of the main Austin campaign office.

Posted by Evan @ 11/10/05 10:16 AM | Comments (0)        


Column on Radnofsky

Here is Todd Gillman's DMN column about Radnofsky which prompted The Hotline reference.

Posted by Evan @ 11/10/05 01:42 AM | Comments (1)        


School finance delays

Gardner Selby's new Statesman column is up with a rumor about why we don't have a school finance ruling:

The Texas Supreme Court was expected to rule on the legality and adequacy of public school funding by Oct. 1, a deadline set by a Travis County state district judge last year that has since been stayed with the case now under appeal.

According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson told an Austin audience Sept. 9 the court would try to meet the original deadline.

Nine weeks later, with the court locked on pause, a University of Texas audience heard a dramatic explanation for the stall: It's Gov. Rick Perry's politically advantageous strategy.

Paul Burka of Texas Monthly told an insider's conference on the 2006 elections last weekend that Perry has prevailed upon Jefferson to shelve the court's verdict until after party primaries March 7, sparing Perry and legislative candidates (especially incumbents) from having to hem and haw on how to please the court.

Houston lawyer David Thompson, representing school districts in the lawsuit, said he doesn't know how the court could sit on such a vital opinion.

"I don't put any stock in that," Thompson said.

Perry's press secretary, Kathy Walt, called the charge "absolutely untrue and irresponsible."

Jefferson said: "There has been no communication from the court, from any representative of this court, from any political organization, lobbyist or agent of the governor's office or employee who has communicated any request to or from me on school finance whatsoever."

Posted by Evan @ 11/10/05 01:37 AM | Comments (0)        


09 November 2005

Radnofsky gets coverage from today's Hotline

Today's Hotline:

Atty. Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D) held a DC fundraiser 11/8, which her spokesperson estimated would raise about $30K. She was introduced by DNC vice-chair/Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and announced she was running "to make a positive change" in "extraordinary times." Asked to contrast herself to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Radnofsky said Hutchison's votes have effectively said, "No more money is needed for veterans." She also denounced the senator's vote against restoring Medicaid cuts. Asked about abortion, Radnofsky said everyone's goal is to "target zero abortions. ... That's the common ground ... and I say that as a pro-choice woman who supports Roe V. Wade."
She acknowledged Dems have not done well in TX recently, but she said she's feeling a "sea change" even in rural TX during her travels. She described Hutchison's border security plans as "a wacky proposal ... a cynical approach," and noted Hutchison took a 2-term pledge in '94.
Senate Min. Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) gave a warm closing speech, describing her as "an extraordinary person. The environment for Democrats is changing dramatically. People are looking for a new direction and new leaders." He said he's told Min. Leader Harry Reid (NV) and DSCC chair Chuck Schumer (NY) "to keep an eye on Texas." Radnofsky mentioned that Durbin has been her "champion" within the Dem caucus (Hotline reporting, 11/8).
Reid himself popped into the lobby "for about a minute," telling Radnofsky: "The people of Texas deserve better." Asked on his way out whether he thought she had a chance, he said: "Everybody has a chance. Bush's numbers are dropping like a rocket."
Hutchison: "I'm not worried. They have the right to support a Democratic candidate. I don't have any hard feelings at all." Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy "found it hard to envision a national tide strong enough to unseat her." Duffy: "I feel like I'm watching a hurricane that's out there at sea. If it's a Category 5, even people like Hutchison are in trouble, but 12 months out, it's hard to say how strong this is going to be" (Gillman, Dallas Morning News, 11/9).
Some of Radnofsky's bumper stickers read: "Tough Name, Smart Dame" (Hotline reporting, 11/8).

Posted by Evan @ 11/09/05 02:45 PM | Comments (0)        


08 November 2005

George Strong predictions

George Strong has his predictions up on tomorrow's Texas elections.

Posted by Evan @ 11/08/05 12:52 AM | Comments (0)        


Where is all this Perry and KBH ticket talk coming from?

Via Kevin and Alex, there's more rumors of Texans being candidates for national office. In this case, it's from an op-ed in a Pittsburgh newspaper.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is steadfast about governing responsibly, which translates into consistently facing resistance when balancing fiscal policies with social concerns. His maverick approach to remaining true-blue has earned him a solid reputation with conservatives. Beltway-types look to him as perfect vice-presidential material, despite his disdain for elbow-rubbing.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a fellow Republican, briefly considered running against Perry in 2006. Faced with a daunting primary against a truer Republican, she quickly backed down.

Kevin rightly points out that, "Hutchison probably would not have won a primary against Perry because of social issues, not fiscal issues." Both Kevin and Alex also criticize the spending of the recently adopted Texas budget.

So, where is this talk coming from? My guess on Perry would be Grover Norquist, as it sounds like something he'd say. Norquist is something akin to the Karl Rove of the center-right coalition. He's a grand strategist, but he's the sort who likes to encourage and talk up officeholders he likes.

Rick Perry will not be on the Republican ticket in 2008. He hasn't even shown any interest in running for president. Also, my guess is that Perry will be glad to make some money in 2010, when his next term will be up if he's re-elected. He'd be way behind if he were to be considering running. Plus, running for president is now a multi-year affair. If you don't know for sure that you're running, then you're not running. You really have to have the proverbial "fire in the belly" to run for president.

Perry won't be a VP pick. What would Perry add to a ticket? Texas will go for the Republican candidate whether he is on the ticket or not. Further, he does not have the benefit of being a woman or minority.

The same is true for Kay Bailey Hutchison. She's not running for president. She could potentially be a vice presidential nominee, but is also unlikely. She doesn't bring a swing state's electoral votes with her. She's pro-choice and as such would be a problem for any Republican nominee. There's a reason that Dick Cheney is vice president now and not Tom Ridge.

It's also hard to see how either KBH or Perry would win a nomination if they were to run. It'd be very difficult for a Texan to be president after 8 years of another Texan.

Posted by Evan @ 11/08/05 12:34 AM | Comments (3)        


06 November 2005

Rick Perry, Prop 2, Gay Marriage, and Texas

Wayne Slater has an interesting analysis of Governor Perry's involvements with Proposition 2. Remember the conventional wisdom.

A key campaign goal of Gov. Rick Perry – boosting the number of conservative evangelical voters – gets a test run this week with the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Perry aides view the issue as an ideal way to build the political base and refine tactics they hope will benefit them next year, such as targeted e-mails and appeals from the pulpit for "values voters" to get involved in politics.

"This is going to help us a lot because these voters who turn out to vote for Proposition 2 are people we're going to be able to communicate with and try to get them to vote in the primary," said Perry political adviser David Carney.


Mr. Perry, already popular with social conservatives, has been a vocal supporter of the amendment since it was created, and it has been key in his aggressive efforts to add even more religious conservatives to his flock. He appears in a video endorsing the ban on the Texas Alliance for Marriage Web site, which is funded by a major Perry political donor, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry (no relation).


Since the spring, a network of conservative ministers called the Texas Restoration Project has held a series of "pastor policy briefings" across Texas featuring Mr. Perry and members of his administration. The governor has spoken at all six project meetings statewide.

The project aims to enlist 1,000 "patriot pastors" and register 300,000 new voters, and leaders say they're closing in on both targets.

The effort mirrors a strategy that helped President Bush win re-election last year: Identify and register new voters likely to be friendly to the GOP cause, and then rely on churches and religious leaders to get them to the polls.


Mr. Carney said the effort to register religious conservatives will benefit such Republicans as Mr. Perry, but not GOP primary challenger Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

"This doesn't help her in any way," he said, "because her whole campaign is based on the premise that somehow they're going to bring people into the Republican primary who don't normally vote in the Republican primary. Carole's whole theory, as crazy as it is, is that they're going to get these people to vote."

Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said new voters will back the comptroller, not the governor.

"We are trying to encourage everyone to show up and vote," he said. "As for the people who vote for or against the proposition, we hope there are new voters because every new voter who goes to the poll is more likely to vote for Strayhorn rather than this failed incumbent."

Both candidates support the amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. Democratic challenger Chris Bell said he opposes gay marriage but is against the amendment because state law already bans gay marriage.

Mr. Carney said the Perry campaign hopes to mine data on voter turnout Tuesday and incorporate new voter names in its files to "microtarget" people next year with e-mails, mailings, phone calls and door-to-door contacts.

"It enables us to refine our message delivery so when we're talking to people, we're talking about issues they care about," he said.

Some advocates of the gay-marriage ban caution against assuming that Proposition 2 supporters are all conservative Republicans.

"The most solid voting block for the amendment are groups that are not Republican," said Kelly Shackelford, who is working with a pro-amendment group, Texans for Marriage. "They are the African-American community, which is heavily Democrat, and the Hispanic community, which is majority Democrat."

My guess is that this effort isn't just about the primary. In fact, I think Perry may have more to be worried about in the general election than in the primary. However, that question is largely based on how significant Kinky Friedman will prove to be as a candidate. My guess all along has been that Friedman is likely to be a serious candidate. Currently however, he appears to be splitting the liberals/disaffecteds vote with any Democratic nominee. [Although I'm suspicious of the specifics of Zogby's online polling, it is likely that some broad principles are reasonable to determine from the poll.] If that continues, Perry will be re-elected.

Posted by Evan @ 11/06/05 03:18 AM | Comments (0)        


05 November 2005

When non-Texans come to Texas

Tyler Cowen has discovered Texas barbecue, at one of the best locations in Texas: Lockhart. He writes about the experience in religious tones.

He's not too far off. My roommate is from Lockhart, and it's always fun to go visit with him.

Also, Cowen notes that "sauce is frowned upon," but neglects to mention that Kreuz's refuses to even serve sauce. [Edit: This post has a picture of Kreuz's sign mentioning the lack of sauce.]

Cowen is writing a chapter on bbq for an upcoming book on the economics of food. I'm guessing he'll also visit Goode Co., Salt Lick, Rudy's and County Line, among others.

I know this isn't political, but I couldn't resist. Hat tip: Tom K.

Posted by Evan @ 11/05/05 02:51 PM | Comments (0)        


04 November 2005

Comptroller Strayhorn's husband ill

The Statesman has this report:

Ed Strayhorn, whose wife is state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, sustained stroke-like symptoms Friday during a South Texas visit and was flown to a hospital from a ranch near Kingsville.

Ed Strayhorn, an Austin businessman, was in the stroke unit of Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, according to a hospital operator. The comptroller flew to be with him.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn's state office issued a statement describing her husband as undergoing tests and otherwise resting comfortably albeit looking forward to returning to the golf course.

Best wishes to Mr. Strayhorn.

Update: He's been released.

Posted by Evan @ 11/04/05 10:22 PM | Comments (0)        


The school finance panel

This was sent to me as the list for the school finance panel, which former comptroller John Sharp will chair. I can't vouch for the veracity, but I doubt someone went to the effort to make it up.

-Truman Arnold of Texarkana, a Democrat who's in oil and gas and used to own a chain of convenience stores;
-Bill Blaylock, tax director at Texas Instruments in Dallas;
-A. J. Brune III, the CFO of Wagner and Brown in Midland and Craddick's pick for the panel;
-Randy Cain, a tax consultant with Ernst & Young in San Antonio;
-Alonzo Cantu of McAllen, who's in construction, banking and other businesses;
-James Dannebaum of Dannebaum Engineering Corp. of Houston;
-Wendy Lee Gramm, economist and Sen. Gramm's wife
-Hunter Hunt, an executive with Hunt Oil in Dallas;
-Woody Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Building Corp. of El Paso;
-Kenneth Jastrow of Austin, Chairman and CEO of Temple-Inland Corp.;
-Jodie Jiles, chairman of the Houston Partnership and an executive with First Albany Capital;
-Judy Lindquist, vice president and general counsel for San Antonio-based H.E.B.;
-William McMinn of Houston, a businessman and Republican donor;
-Ernie Morales, co-owner of Morales Feedlots in Devine;
-Jan Newton, SBC
-Dennis Patillo, Houston realtor
-John Roach, Tandy Corp.;
-Robert Rowling, owner of Omni Hotels,
-Ron Steinhart of Dallas, a former exec with Bank One and several other banks;
-Dr. David Teuscher, a Beaumont doctor and SREC member;
-Howard Wolfe, a Houston attorney and close friend of Dewhurst's.
Last time we did this, we started Ross Perot down the political path to running for president. Will it happen again?

Update: The Houston Chronicle has a short blurb.

Posted by Evan @ 11/04/05 02:58 PM | Comments (0)        


What will the fallout be?

The Supreme Court of Texas is set to hand down its decision on the school finance cases in the next week. Anyone care to venture a pre-opinion on the political ramifications of the decision?

If they overturn the Austin district court and rule that school finance is constitutional right now, will it affect any of the Supreme Court races?

If they uphold the district court, will that be the impetus that forces the Legislature to act? If so, will they do the bare minimum required by the opinion?

Will Strayhorn figure out a way to attack Perry on the issue, regardless of which way the ruling goes?

Just asking.

Posted by Evan @ 11/04/05 02:47 PM | Comments (0)        


"You can't count on free media like this all the time"

Scharrer, SAEN:

Maverick gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman reasons that an upcoming "60 Minutes" segment will help him deflect the political hardballs heading his way should his independent campaign pick up steam next year.

Friedman spent Thursday with "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer at Friedman's 400-acre ranch near Medina for a piece expected to run late this month or early in December.

And if that isn't enough for a political novice, Country Music Television will air a sneak preview next week of "Go Kinky," a proposed reality show based on his campaign for Texas governor.

"You can't count on free media like this all the time," Friedman said of his good fortune.


Democrat Chris Bell's gubernatorial campaign doesn't seem particularly worried.

"We heard that, in the last episode, Kinky gets voted off the island," Bell spokesman Jason Stanford said.

Nice line, Stanford.

Getting a piece on 60 Minutes is valuable. If Friedman appears serious in the interview, and 60 Minutes doesn't take anything out of context, then it's quite a boon for his campaign.

Scharrer also briefly mentions the "equal time" that I pointed out might be a factor. It's certainly not fair for one candidate to be on TV constantly during a campaign when the others aren't. To my limited knowledge, I don't know that there is an "equal time" provision in Texas law as there is in federal law.

Posted by Evan @ 11/04/05 02:03 PM | Comments (2)        


Hotline take on prop 2

What the Hotline (11/4) thinks:

Rick Perry threw himself in the middle of his state's anti-gay marriage ballot prop, likely as a way to both ID and motivate conservative GOPers for his March primary fight.

Posted by Evan @ 11/04/05 01:48 PM | Comments (0)        


03 November 2005

Kinky Reality Show

Remember the talk about the reality show that CMT was doing about Kinky Friedman's run for governor? Looks like the pilots are upon us:

If Kinky Friedman's of beat [sic] campaign for governor sounds like something out of a reality TV show...now it is.

"Go Kinky," a proposed reality show based on the writer and singer's independent bid for governor, premieres on Country Music Television next week, campaign press secretary Laura Stromberg announced today.


She says cameras have been following Kinky and his campaign entourage for months.

"They pretty much started following us around in March, and I think they wrapped up in June or July."

"Go Kinky" is created by actor/comedian David Steinberg, who directed episodes of "Friends" and the HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and directed by Wayne Miller, who is a lifelong friend of Friedman's, having attended Kinky's parents' summer camp back in the sixties.

[Friedman press secretary] Stromberg says the two pilot episodes of "Go Kinky" will air at midnight and 12:30 AM November 9th. If the show is succesful, it will officially premiere in early 2006.

Have their legal staffs been over this? If this were a federal race, I can't imagine that it would be okay under federal election law for CMT to do a weekly show on a candidate running for governor unless they give equal time to other candidates.

Even so, it seems like there might be a Texas law against this. For example, if this show airs while Friedman is running for governor, it might be an in-kind corporate contribution prohibited by the Texas Constitution.

If I get ambitious, I might research the issue on Westlaw. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Posted by Evan @ 11/03/05 02:03 PM | Comments (2)        


Kay Bailey Hutchison versus the World?

Gardner Selby's Statesman column is a whimsical look into the future; specifically, the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Selby floats the names of Tony Garza, current Ambassador to Mexico and former Railroad Commissioner, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and the 800 pound gorilla Kay Bailey Hutchison on the REpublican side, and Bill White on the Democrat side.

This supposes Perry is re-elected, which looks probable. Ok, that might be an understatement.

Since it's late and I have to wake up for class tomorrow, I'll focus only on the names Selby mentions.

Kay Bailey Hutchison would be 67 in 2010. She'd be on the old side, but not too old. Her kids will be hitting their teens, if she wants to rear them in Austin. If she gets into the race, she'd be hard to beat. Of course, she may prefer to retire rather than have to deal with school finance, issue that continues to confound Texas governors.

Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst would probably rather be in the Senate [US, that is] anyway, so he'd probably be happy jumping into the Senate primary and with his wealth he might get the Senate nomination unopposed. Granted, Dewhurst has said he intends to run for governor in 2010, but I think he'd be happy enough headed to the Senate.

My guess is that Governor Perry will want to focus on making money and will retire from private life in 2010. He's never seemed to interested in going to Washington anyway.

Ambassador Garza presents an interesting case. He's married to the Corona heiress, so it's tough not to think that he's got the money if he needs it to run against Dewhurst. Or he might have a clear shot at the Lt. Gov seat. He'd be an attractive Latino face for the GOP to showcase as a rising star. His name ID is low right now. But money can buy name ID.

Who knows? Maybe we'll see a gubernatorial matchup between Kay and Carole. Or David and Kay, or any other wacky combinations.

Karl Rove has done a remarkable job in the past of helping funnel candidates into specific races and helping the Texas GOP avoid primaries. But given the strong GOP tilt in Texas and the deep Republican reservoir of talent, there is a lot of water waiting to come over the dam when it breaks.

Posted by Evan @ 11/03/05 02:08 AM | Comments (0)        


Making news when you're the Guv is easy

It was a common theme through the early days of this blog (almost one year old now) that governors have an advantage in campaigns: what they do is covered by the media. When you're the governor, there's an advantage in being able to do things. Comptroller Strayhorn has also been quite adept for getting media attention, but all too frequently the way she got attention was not endearing to GOP primary voters.

Exhibit A: Perry criticizes FEMA:

Amid new allegations that federal hurricane disaster aid is being bungled, Gov. Rick Perry warned Tuesday that as many as 65,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees could face eviction in Texas before Christmas because federal officials have not paid the rent.

Perry also complained in a tersely worded letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that: "Our victims of (Hurricane) Rita are being treated differently from the Louisiana victims of Rita. Natural disasters recognize no state boundaries, and neither should FEMA."

Exhibit B: "Perry orders flags flown at half-mast in honor of Rosa Parks" was a representative headline a few days ago, here by the FWST.

To be sure, the opportunity to act and be in control when a disaster like Katrina happens is a greater benefit than either of these exhibits. Governor Perry, Mayor White, and Judge Eckels all took advantage of the opportunity. Good governing is good politics.

Posted by Evan @ 11/03/05 01:46 AM | Comments (0)        


01 November 2005

Zogby Interactive poll

A few folks have asked me what I think about the Zogby interactive poll that shows Kinky Friedman at close to 20%.

Short answer: not much. I'm the first that I remember to predict that Kinky was likely to be a serious candidate. But I'm not going to believe that that time is yet upon us until I read a real poll.

I don't put much stock in a Zogby Interactive poll. It's way too early to discern whether Zogby has found a methodology which will give accurate polling. I'm certain that no serious political candidate is yet doing online polling and basing campaign decisions on it.

Besides, Zogby's record in regular polling was pretty awful last cycle from start to finish.

UPDATE: To quote Kronberg:

ources tell Quorum Report that a soon to be released Zogby Poll will show aspiring, independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is breaking above 20% among likely voters.

Perry - 42%, Bell - 25%, Friedman - 21%

If this is another online "Zogby Interactive" poll, then you already know what I think.

Posted by Evan @ 11/01/05 10:37 PM | Comments (1)        


Tom DeLay wins motion requesting new judge

Tom DeLay will have a new judge, just like Kay Bailey Hutchison did years ago.

The AP headline continues to be true. We'll see if Congressman DeLay also gets a change of venue out of Austin, as Senator Hutchison did.

Posted by Evan @ 11/01/05 04:28 PM | Comments (0)        


More DallasBlog thoughts

1. Carolyn Barta at DallasBlog writes of the Novak rumors that Kay Bailey Hutchison wants to be VP:

To the contrary, our sources in the state say Hutchison has been courting support among Texas legislators for a possible run for governor in 2010. By that time, Perry, if re-elected, would be out of play. (If Carole Keeton Strayhorn were to win, however, KBH would face the same situation as 2006 – running against an incumbent.) She also discovered that Perry had locked up the support of too many state GOP leaders and legislators, which would have made a primary contest tough – even for her.

For the moment, considering Novak's intel, it looks as if she’s keeping all options open.

Aside from this blog, that's probably the first mention I've seen of the idea that perhaps Senator Hutchison thought it might be harder to unseat Governor Perry than she initially thought. And I think it's quite possible that she'd be ready to run in 2010.

2. I had the pleasure of hearing fellow Rice alum Tara Ross speak this weekend, so I thought I'd also link to her most recent piece at DallasBlog, entitled "After Miers, Next Step." She's written a book promoting the electoral college called Enlightened Democracy. I would have bought her book then, but I didn't have any money on me. [In fact, I never carry cash. The only people I know who carry cash are people older than me.]

3. DallasBlog looks very interesting, but if they're really going to try to make money on it, then I think they should hire a longtime blogger to help them as a consultant. I think it'd be money well worth spent. Since I'd rather not be crass and nominate myself, I think Dr. Whited would be a strong candidate.

Posted by Evan @ 11/01/05 01:15 AM | Comments (2)        


Profile of John Poindexter

Remember the shots Comptroller Strayhorn took at Rick Perry when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department nearly sold 46,000 acres of Big Bend State Park to John Poindexter?

Poindexter is still interested in buying the land, but says he'll wait until after the gubernatorial primary. Proponents say the Dept could use the proceeds to buy private pockets of land within park boundaries, while critics such as Comptroller Strayhorn thought the state should never sell parts of the park.

It's an interesting question, and a provoking profile of Mr. Poindexter. It sounds like he wants to be remembered for his passion for land, rather than business.

UPDATE: The Statesman also covers the story, with more details of the then-proposed transaction.

Posted by Evan @ 11/01/05 12:44 AM | Comments (0)        



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