31 January 2010

Politifact is Politipinion: Houston IS a sanctuary city

Politifact holds itself out as a John Roberts-like umpire of political campaigns, dispassionately calling balls and strikes.

If you're going to do that, then you have to be careful. You have to refrain from favoring certain candidates. And neutral people should overwhelmingly not only agree, but think that disagreement would be childish.

Politifact rated as "false" a claim by Texas GOP Chair Cathie Adams that Houston under Bill White was a sanctuary city.

The Congressional Research Service said that Houston is a sanctuary city. Politifact disagrees because 1) there is no policy posted online, 2) the policy is not backed by ordinance, 3) the CRS didn't explicitly delineate why each jurisdiction was considered a sanctuary city and 4) "there is no official policy."

These things are all correct, but irrelevant and/or misleading. Houston is a sanctuary city. As the Houston Chronicle reported in 2003:

The Houston Police Department's controversial policy, in place for almost 11 years, forbids police from asking about someone's citizenship status and prohibits them from detaining or arresting people solely on the belief they are in the country illegally.

You and I might agree or disagree on whether that is a wise policy, but around the country cities that have policies like this are called sanctuary cities. Houston, under Bill White, was a sanctuary city. When Politifact calls people liars who say this, they are crossing the bounds of reason and wading into mere editorializing

Politifact is just mere politipinion.

Posted by Evan @ 01/31/10 11:28 PM | Comments (0)        


Politifact is Politipinion: Houston IS a sanctuary city

Politifact holds itself out as a John Roberts-like umpire of political campaigns, dispassionately calling balls and strikes.

If you're going to do that, then you have to be careful. You have to refrain from favoring certain candidates. And neutral people should overwhelmingly not only agree, but think that disagreement would be childish.

Politifact rated as "false" a claim by Texas GOP Chair Cathie Adams that Houston under Bill White was a sanctuary city.

The Congressional Research Service said that Houston is a sanctuary city. Politifact disagrees because 1) there is no policy posted online, 2) the policy is not backed by ordinance, 3) the CRS didn't explicitly delineate why each jurisdiction was considered a sanctuary city and 4) "there is no official policy."

These things are all correct, but irrelevant and/or misleading. Houston is a sanctuary city. As the Houston Chronicle reported in 2003:

The Houston Police Department's controversial policy, in place for almost 11 years, forbids police from asking about someone's citizenship status and prohibits them from detaining or arresting people solely on the belief they are in the country illegally.

You and I might agree or disagree on whether that is a wise policy, but around the country cities that have policies like this are called sanctuary cities. Houston, under Bill White, was a sanctuary city. When Politifact calls people liars who say this, they are crossing the bounds of reason and wading into mere editorializing

Politifact is just mere politipinion.

Posted by Evan @ 01/31/10 11:28 PM | Comments (0)        


I missed something in Scharrer's lt gov race profile.

Earle, who grew up on a small ranch outside Fort Worth, retired last year after 32 years as the Travis County district attorney, during which he made himself a thorn in the side of Democrats and Republicans alike in high-profile prosecutions. He also is a former state representative and a former municipal judge.

During his career, Earle brought charges against 18 politicians, including former House Speaker Gib Lewis and former Attorney General Jim Mattox -- both Democrats -- as well as against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison -- both Republicans. Earle also once filed charges against himself for missing a campaign finance report deadline and ended up paying a $200 fine.

It's probably worth noting that all of those Dems and Republicans were political enemies. And that $200 fine sounds rather PR stunt-ish to me.

Meanwhile, Marc Katz said:

He blames the Democrats' long Texas losing string on fielding too many well-qualified candidates with intellectual power that does not connect with voters.

"We need to talk to the people -- not at the people," Katz said.

Yes! Democrats aren't winning races because...they're fielding too many well-qualified candidates with intellectual power! The problem is the messenger, not the message!

Self-deception is a powerful force, but it probably isn't going to help you win elections.

Posted by Evan @ 01/31/10 04:37 PM | Comments (0)        


the Dem lite guv race

Gary Scharrer profiles it for the Chron/SAEN this weekend.

But the odds remain long that a Democrat will knock off Dewhurst in the fall, said Cal Jillson, a Southern Methodist University political science professor who studies state and national politics.

Katz still will be selling sandwiches next year, Jillson predicted.

"Ronnie Earle and Linda Chavez-Thompson have visible strengths," he said. "Earle is a Texas populist in the (Ralph) Yarborough/(Jim) Hightower tradition, and Chavez-Thompson is a national Hispanic activist. Neither is terribly well-known. Hard to tell who wins the primary, but neither is likely to have the money to stand in against Dewhurst."

Jillson says Katz has no strengths. Well, he announced he was going to raise millions from family members, only to then announce that he wasn't going to do it. Perhaps he is going to self-fund for millions, I don't know, but it does seem unlikely that he is going to win without enough money to counteract his lack of name ID. And it doesn't help when you apparently base your campaign plan on something that you change your mind about a week later...not exactly a solid way to convince donors/activists/voters that you have the qualities to be lieutenant governor.

Presumably Jillson wanted to say something like: all 3 would be longshots against Dewhurst in this state, especially in what appears to be a strong Republican year, but the fact that they probably can't raise enough money precludes any possibility. However, as quoted, it seems to suggest that money is the only factor. Which clearly isn't the case: Earle and Chavez-Thompson simply aren't the types of candidates who are going to win statewide in modern day Texas without a lucky fluke.

Posted by Evan @ 01/31/10 04:31 PM | Comments (0)        


In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering where the Texas trial lawyers' money goes...

Posted by Evan @ 01/31/10 04:02 PM | Comments (0)        


29 January 2010

GOP debate tonight

The debate starts at 7pm.

Posted by Evan @ 01/29/10 05:13 PM | Comments (0)        


28 January 2010

Gramm Rudman 3

Perry is proposing a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. Of course, it's a gimmick, but one that will work when people overreact.

Posted by Evan @ 01/28/10 11:00 PM | Comments (0)        


Spin usually involves an element of truth.

Gary Martin, SAEN:

President Barack Obama urged lawmakers in his State of the Union speech Wednesday to drop partisan divisions and pass immigration reform legislation.

"We should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system," Obama said, "to secure our borders, enforce our laws and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation."


"I am going to give the president a lot of credit for broaching the subject in this particular environment of 'Just Say No to Everything,' " said Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio.

I support changing the law on immigration, but a mere mention in a laundry list during a State of the Union ain't gonna get it done. Obama so far hasn't really "broached the subject" and to say otherwise is stretching it. I understand Obama is trying to do other things -- hey, politics is a question of priorities -- but let's not make stuff up: there is no Obama plan on immigration.

And Gonzalez seems to want to re-write history, but it was the Democrats who chose to write bills like the "stimulus" package that couldn't garner a single Republican vote in Congress during a moment of strong Obama popularity. Congressman are pretty risk-averse by nature, so if they had crafted a bill that any Republican could possibly support, they would've picked up a vote or two. As it was, they couldn't even get Congressman Cao's vote in Louisiana.

Posted by Evan @ 01/28/10 10:51 PM | Comments (0)        


The Kitchen Sink = Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign so far

Kelley Shannon, AP:

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison took aim Thursday at Gov. Rick Perry's oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund, saying he has kept the public in the dark about the fund's activities. She called for an immediate independent audit of the job creation program.


"If the senior senator is saying that David Dewhurst and Joe Straus have been poor managers of the TEF then she needs to say so," Perry said. "I would suggest to you that the enterprise fund, having created 54,600 jobs and $14.3 billion in capital in the state of Texas, I think I'll compare that to what they've done in Washington, D.C. any day."

Perry's stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but it doesn't look like Kay is saying that it shouldn't exist. She's saying that Perry operates it in a shady manner. Well if it's operated in a shady manner, wouldn't it be Dewhurst and Straus' responsibility not to sign off on the things that the governor's office proposes?

I just don't get Hutchison's campaign. It looks like she's trying to throw the kitchen sink and whatever else she can find. It's just this muddled, incoherent message.

Posted by Evan @ 01/28/10 10:37 PM | Comments (0)        


bling blang blaow!

Farouk Shami attacks Bill White:

Hair products tycoon Farouk Shami said Tuesday that Bill White, his Democratic rival in the race for governor, took jobs from poor Houston residents and gave them to friends.


Shami was in Dallas to discuss his plan to create jobs in the state's low-income areas. They [sic] plan involves developing solar panel plants in blighted areas. Those plants would produce jobs for poor people and cut their energy costs.

"The American dream is still alive," Shami said at a breakfast in South Dallas. "My opinion is to start with the poorest people in the state. Unfortunately, we have a lot of those people."

Shami continued to take aim at White, blasting the mayor for not fixing potholes in poor neighborhoods.

"The holes are in Mexican-American and African-American subdivisions," he said. "The mayor has deaf ears to minorities. He took jobs from minorities and gave them to special interest."

Those are certainly some allegations that will grab Dem primary voters' attention.\

By happenstance, I happened to see that Shami addressed the Dallas Gay LULAC meeting yestereday. That's a...very specific group.

Posted by Evan @ 01/28/10 01:29 AM | Comments (0)        


26 January 2010

Apparently, I like linkposts

* Will Hurd's candidacy in San Antonio CD23 is interesting to me. Former A&M student body president (sound familiar?) turned CIA agent now running for Congress:

Speaking to a College Republicans meeting at UTSA, 32-year-old Will Hurd recalled congressional delegations visiting CIA posts in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. A senior member of the House intelligence committee, someone you'd think should have a nuanced understanding of the Arab world, asked him the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Hurd thought he was joking. "I was shocked by the caliber of our elected leaders," he said.

Hurd may have been talking about Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes, who as House Intelligence Chairman didn't know that whether al Qaeda is Sunni or Shiite.

* The Medina boomlet is starting to feel like a media-driven candidacy, is it not?

* RG Ratcliffe does abortion as a gubernatorial issue in the Chron. If I get around to it, I'll comment more.

* Fortune profiles the odd couple: libertarian Ron Paul and socialist Bernie Sanders. They've apparently convinced John Cornyn. If I were Ron Paul, I might want to be careful, as I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising Republican decides to take you on.

* Texas Watchdog notices that HillCo Partners are giving free rent to the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. It's unlikely to get alot of media play, because it doesn't fit any of the media's narratives.

*Slampo had me laughing with this one:

It's been pathetic––even poignant, if you're the sensitive sort––watching Kay Bailey Hutchison trundle out her endorsements by these antediluvian, establishmentarian Republicans––Bush Senior (now sadly looking his age), James Baker, and, most curiously, at least to us, Dick Cheney. Surely Brent Scowcroft also has thrown one her way and we missed it.
He later asks, "would even half of potential Republican primary voters be able to accurately identify James Baker, if forced to do so at gunpoint?" I'd take the under and feel pretty good about my bet.

* The Dems running against Todd Staples called him names yesterday. But maybe they should stop getting in fights with each other before they start throwing stones?

Posted by Evan @ 01/26/10 05:14 AM | Comments (1)        


25 January 2010

Grinding the workweek

* John Cornyn is going to vote against Bernanke. That's...not good. Given that Bernanke is going to be confirmed and that there's no way Obama would appoint someone better...that's just just irresponsible, Senator.

* Evan Smith interviews Michael Williams for Texas Monthly Talks.

* Peggy Fikac does the Farouk Shami bio.

* Perry gets the NRA nod, which isn't a surprise since they endorse friendly incumbents.

* Democratic candidate Hank Gilbert has a theft charge, incidences of which he's still paying off years later. Apparently he is now accusing rival Kinky Friedman of disseminating the charges, and getting in Friedman's face at campaign events....man, I tell you what, I'm glad I'm not a Democrat, where this is the best my party can do. But demographic changes will soon usher out candidates like this anyway.

* KBH is in Amarillo today.

* I've always been surprised by the lack of metal detectors and such at the Texas Capitol. But I came to like it. Apparently Rick Perry has too.

* Apparently some of the folks getting paid through Perry's sign'em-up program have criminal records.

Posted by Evan @ 01/25/10 03:41 AM | Comments (0)        


22 January 2010

A thought about HW and Baker

George H.W. Bush and his Sec of State James Baker are obviously big names. And it certainly says something to primary voters when big names like that endorse the challenger.

On the other hand, political decisions such as voting are largely driven by emotion, and I think people respect former President Bush and Sec Baker, but I'm not so sure that they move many votes these days among Republican primary voters. I'm not so sure that non-Republicans understand this.

Posted by Evan @ 01/22/10 06:37 AM | Comments (0)        


Getting started on Friday links

* George H.W. Bush to endorse Hutchison. By the way, Wayne Slater, only Democratic activists use the "Tea Bag" phrase that you use. Too much MSNBC can lead to slips like that.

* Meanwhile, Sarah Palin will appear with Rick Perry in Houston on Dec 7th.

* The Supreme Court's decision threatens Texas' ban on corporate contributions as a 1st Amendment violation of free speech.

* Former Mexico president Vicente Fox was in Laredo and blamed America's thirst for drugs for Mexico's gang problems. The sad thing is: he's right.

* Wayne Slater devotes newspaper space to speculating that a $50k donation to Perry from a normal Democratic donor is meant to help Bill White by helping KBH win. All I want to know is: how slow was the newsday? I mean, it's possible, for sure since John McHale has apparently only given to Lamar Smith on the GOP side until now (according to the link, I haven't verified). But only $50k? That would be extremely stupid to only donate $50k if the objective is to influence the outcome of the race. $50k is so extraordinarily unlikely to change the outcome.

* John Cornyn is trying to recruit recruit recruit candidates to run for the Senate this year.

* Looks like the Dem establishment is backing Gilbert over Kinky in the Ag Commish race.

* I suppose it's fair to note that Craig James is now on the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

* There's a whole list of longer posts I have planned but...well, if you've been around for awhile, you'll know that my blog promises are worth what you pay for them.

Posted by Evan @ 01/22/10 03:37 AM | Comments (1)        


21 January 2010

Wrong on almost every point

Richard Murray:

Debra Medina is not, of course, anywhere near as well-known as Rick Perry or Kay Bailey Hutchison, but her years of work within the Republican Party give her credibility with party activists like precinct committee members. These unpaid party volunteers can be very helpful in a low-vote primary, as we seem likely to have March 2nd. And because Ms. Medina will get better known as the election approaches because of the debates and other free media coverage, this gives her a good chance to grow her vote base, especially among the undecided voters who know Perry and Hutchison well, but have not yet decided to support either one.

The whole post was pretty...strange. But the bolded part...really? Rick vs. Kay is going to be low turnout?

The point of Murray's post is that Medina is going to keep rising in the polls. Truthfully, this sounds more like the hoped-for musings of a Democrat (which is what Murray is) than solid political analysis based on theory or empirical evidence.

Edit: I just can't let this part of Murray's post go:

A Perry-Hutchison runoff would be good news for Democrat Bill White, as it would consume millions of dollars in GOP campaign funds, and likely leave the eventual winner in a weaker position to unite the party for the General Election than would be the case if a clear winner emerges on March 2nd.
It's hard to argue that a runoff is bad for Bill White, but it helps him alot less than many old-time politicos think.

Does anyone really think that Perry or Hutchison are going to lack for funds if a Democrat (which may be Bill White, but we probably shouldn't yet take it as an absolute given like Murray does) looks like a credible challenger? I can't believe that Murray is really proposing such a thing in a Republican state with no contribution limits.

And the old saw about primaries dividing the party is largely outdated. This was true when there was only 2 months inbetween the primary and the election, but even if there's a runoff, there will be 6 months between the runoff and the general election. Plus, the media cycle has obviously shortened so much that 2 months back then is more like 2 weeks now. It's hard to argue that a runoff is so different in terms of splitting the party from the primary. While what Murray said might have been true 30 years ago, it's not relevant today.

Posted by Evan @ 01/21/10 06:07 PM | Comments (0)        


Supreme Court campaign finance ruling

The Supreme Court issued a landmark campaign finance ruling today. Ben Ginsberg writes what it all means. Of course, this only affects federal races.

Posted by Evan @ 01/21/10 03:03 PM | Comments (0)        


20 January 2010

A thought

What will Senator Hutchison say about this:

President Barack Obama, delivering a schoolhouse pitch Tuesday for a $1.35 billion expansion of his signature education plan, promised to "raise the bar" on what is expected of public school teachers and students.

The expansion would allow individual districts, such as the hard-pressed Fort Worth district, to apply directly for some of the federal money.

I've already mentioned that I am disposed to agree with our president*. Perry has disagreed. What will KBH do?

* On a theoretical level, I don't think that the federal government should be collecting taxes from the states to return it to them capriciously (and when I saw capriciously, I mean: according to the winner-takes-all nature of Congressional leadership). But we live in a world of second bests.

Posted by Evan @ 01/20/10 11:26 AM | Comments (0)        


Challengers adjust their tactics

It looks like Bill White is adjusting his tactics to a likely Perry primary victory:

Bill White said Tuesday that he agrees with Republican rival Kay Bailey Hutchison: Texas needs new leadership.

In Dallas to meet with local Democrats, White said he was especially troubled that Texas was either "treading water or going backward" in public and higher education under Gov. Rick Perry's leadership.

Posted by Evan @ 01/20/10 10:24 AM | Comments (0)        


No sir.

Jason Embry:

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign was quick to point out Tuesday night that a Rasmussen Reports poll just before the election showed Democrat Martha Coakley up 2 points on Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts race. Rasmussen, of course, just put out a poll that shows Hutchison trailing Gov. Rick Perry by 10 points among voters who say they'll take part in the Republican primary.

When I read things like this, I am always torn. Should I bother explaining why the two aren't analogous? Because I have a fairly good handle on my current readership, and you folks already know that the two situations are not really worth comparing.

There are plenty of reasons to think KBH can make up her current deficit. This isn't one of them.

Posted by Evan @ 01/20/10 09:17 AM | Comments (0)        


Wake up, Wednesday

* Is Bill White ducking debates? Felix Alvarado thinks he is.

* I have some longish, more serious posts fermenting. Let's see if I get around to writing them out and posting them. I'm generally happy when I read this blog ("Not bad, Evan, for something you write on background while multitasking. But really, your longer posts...they sometimes make you seem only mildly literate?")

* AP:

Gov. Rick Perry is denouncing President Barack Obama's plan to let local school districts directly compete for federal education grant dollars that Texas has already rejected.

Obama singled out Texas in outlining his proposal on Tuesday. He said local school districts "stymied by state-decision makers" would have a chance to pursue the money on its own.

My natural tendencies are to agree with both Perry's decision not to take the funds (Hutchison agreed for those who google this in the future) and with Obama's decision to let school districts apply.

Local control is good. The Founding Fathers liked it.

* Shami donated $150kish to Hank Gilbert after he dropped out of the governor's race. At the time, there were lots of rumors of a backroom deal. At the very least, you have to wonder why Shami would donate to Gilbert with those rumors swirling.

The link above was brief. Try Aman Batheja for more.

* I agree with Jason Stanford:

So who does Medina help more? When I asked Democratic consultant Jason Stanford that question Monday night, he replied, "She pulls anti-Washington, right-wing votes from Perry and anti-Perry votes from Kay Bailey. But since she pulls Perry down from 50 percent plus one vote and forces a runoff, then she hurts him more."
I agree with Stanford: Medina hurts Perry in that she makes a runoff more likely. Now, Perry is more likely to win a run-off as his supporters are more dedicated, but any run-off always increases the variance. Politicians sometimes make mistakes, and incumbents are more likely to make them (and have them reported by the press).

I should probably mention that I also think I agree with Paul Burka's take, which is supposedly diametric. (Why is it diametric? Because that's what journalists do, but in this case Jason Embry thoroughly reported, and thus they aren't. Kudos to him.) Yet even if Medina draws more votes from KBH than from Perry, drawing votes in a 50% + 1 hurts Perry more.

* Even before seeing the date 9 days from now, I would love to bet anyone that Medina does not reach 12% on the only poll that counts on Election Day. It doesn't matter how well she does in the debate or how negative the campaigns go, she's not going to hit 12% at any reasonable odds.

* The Aggies are getting close to picking a new president. Given the history, how long until some folks accuse Perry of involvement?

Posted by Evan @ 01/20/10 03:05 AM | Comments (0)        


Will we see more retirements or party switchers?

How nervous are some of the Texas House Democrats as they watch news of Scott Brown winning in Mass?*

I'd love to be a pharmacist in some of those districts. I bet they are reaching for the Rolaids as I type this. Will more retire? Will more switch parties? The few remaining Anglo Democrats are mostly not feeling good...as they realize that their future hinges on Congressional decisions out of their control.

* I think I can spell it, but I'm tired right now.

Posted by Evan @ 01/20/10 12:05 AM | Comments (0)        


19 January 2010

Hutchison "Fence" featuring Nolan Ryan

Hutchison's new ad is an endorsement from Nolan Ryan.

Script is below the jump. Hat tip to the Texas Tribune.

She also released the endorsement of Sec. of State James Baker.

[Read More]

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 03:17 PM | Comments (0)        


Rasmussen: Republicans lead White by double digits

A Rasmussen poll has Perry and Hutchison leading Democrat Bill White by double digits. Full question wording available here.

1000 Likely Voters, +/- 3%
conducted 1/17/2010

Perry 50
White 40
Other 4%
Not Sure 6%

Hutchison 52
White 37
Other 4%
Not Sure 8%

Medina 38
White 44
Other 5
Not Sure13

Healthcare reform
39% Favor
57% Oppose (50% Strongly Oppose)

Barack Obama Job Approval
44% Approve
54% Disapprove

Rick Perry Job Approval
53% Approve
46% Disapprove

Not sure why Rasmussen polled Medina. I'd rather have seen if Shami's ad have done anything.

Post in progress...

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 01:43 PM | Comments (0)        


Bill White: I grew up a liberal

Bill White says he was raised a liberal? It got repeated twice in this Peggy Fikac story, so it sounds like he emphasized the point. Talking about those deep liberal roots doesn't seem like a winning strategy in Texas.

The progressive roots that he said prompted him to register voters while in high school show in his push to improve education. White cites the influence of family and of friends including former state Sen. Joe Bernal of San Antonio, who coached and was in a bowling league with his dad. White, as a legislative page, commuted to the Capitol with him. “I would be going back and forth with Joe every week from Austin when I was 13 years old and a page, and we would talk about the future of this state,” White said, adding that Bernal, like his parents, “believed that the future of our state was ... educating and bringing into leadership our growing Hispanic population.”

On energy, as White tells it, that progressive beginning was

Seems odd to go around talking to reporters about how liberal you are.

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 06:07 AM | Comments (1)        



Jamie Stengle, AP:

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Monday proposed new regulations for lobbyists, curbs on some political contributions and constitutional reforms to limit a governor's power of veto.

Hutchison, who is running for Texas governor, presented the ideas as part of a government reform package. Though Hutchison broke her own term-limits pledge several years ago, she said she would restrict the governorship to two four-year terms.

If KBH were to be successful, then Rick Perry would eternally be the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

I view KBH's campaign right now as throwing issues at a wall hoping one will stick.

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 05:56 AM | Comments (0)        


Time to lay that horse down

A story about one of the Dem candidates mentioned this:

She registered with the Texas Democratic Party to run for lieutenant governor, a position most political analysts consider the most powerful in Texas, because the officeholder presides over the Texas Senate and controls the legislative agenda.

Does anyone still believe this?

Also, if a Democrat were to actually win Lt. Gov, I think there's a very high chance that the Lite Guv would have an office stripped of its customary (but not constitutional) powers. As in, not powerful at all.

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 02:07 AM | Comments (2)        


Debra Medina invited to Jan 29 debate by BELO

Not really too much to add to the title.

I'd rather have seen it be just Perry and Hutchison.

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 12:30 AM | Comments (0)        


Rasmussen's poll shows Perry and KBH dropping a point or two, Medina picking them up

Lots of folks talking about the Rasmussen poll. Question wording available here.

831 likely GOP primary voters,+/- 3.5% MoE, in the field 1/17/2010. Numbers in parenthesis are from the November poll.

Perry 43 (46)
Hutchison 33 (35)
Medina 12 (4)
Undecided 11 (14)

Very fav/ Smwht fav/ smwhat unfav/ very unfav/ not sure
Perry 26 / 46 / 17 / 9 /1
Hutchison 23 / 50 / 21 / 4 / 2
Medina 12 / 31 / 20 / 9 / 28

Barack Obama approval percentage: 16%. That seems surprisingly high.
65% say Kay should not resign as Senator while running for governor.

Perry 68% job approval as governor.

Posted by Evan @ 01/19/10 12:01 AM | Comments (0)        


18 January 2010

The Main Event

Obviously the main event in the political world right now is the special election in Mass. It's just unbelievable that the American political climate is so unfriendly to Democrats that an unknown GOPer might beat the Dem. Coakley's numbers seem to be collapsing to the absolute die-hard yellow dog vote up in the Bay State, but when that's like 40% of the vote...crazier things have happened. Models and polling are pretty rough guesses right now.

Nate Silver is the person to read on this score. While Nate isn't really the best person to read farther away from an election when qualitative analysis is more important than quantitative, 538 is definitely required reading today.

Posted by Evan @ 01/18/10 05:31 PM | Comments (0)        


Campaign finance reports

All data from Texas Ethics Commission as of 1/17 for reports filed by January 15th, 2010 for the 6 month period ending December 30, 2009. Incumbents in italics. Figures rounded.

(UPDATE: Added Ted Cruz's numbers.)

Rick Perry (R)
$7.1M raised
$4.7M expenditure
Cash on hand $11.6M

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
$6.1M raised
$6.4M exp
$12.3M COH

Debra Medina (R)
191k raised
164k exp

Bill White (D)
6.2M raised
151k exp
COH 5.5M

Farouk Shami (D)
57k raised
loans $3M
exp $3.1M
COH 6k

Lt Gov
David Dewhurst (R)
$2.8M raised
$2.2M exp
$1.7M COH (+1.1M in loan as I understand it)

Earle (D)
2k raised
exp 6k
COH 28k

Marc Katz (D)
7k raised
exp 6k
COH 9k

Chavez-Thompson (D)
no report

Attorney General
Greg Abbott (R)
1.2M raised
456k exp
$10.2M COH

Ted Cruz (R - will run in case of Abbott switching to Senate race)
$256k raised
$283 exp
$986k COH

Radnofsky (D)
$331k raised
157 exp
COH 388

Land Commissioner
Jerry Patterson (R)
199k raised
108k exp
COH 655k

Uribe (D)
no report

Agriculture Commissioner
Todd Staples (R)
541k raised
123k exp
864k COH

Kinky Friedman (D)
140k raised
112 exp
53k COH

Hank Gilbert (D)
225k raised
82k exp
coh 113k

Railroad Commissioner
Victor Carrillo (R)
119k raised
53k exp
652 COH

David Porter (R)
no report

Jeffry Weems (D)
exp 59k
COH 37k

Posted by Evan @ 01/18/10 01:01 PM | Comments (0)        


17 January 2010

Perry "Bailout" ad

Script below the jump. Can't remember where I found it.

[Read More]

Posted by Evan @ 01/17/10 10:02 PM | Comments (0)        


Weekend links

* The State Board of Education passed a resolution supporting Perry's decision not to apply for federal money.

* DMN's James Drew says that Perry seriously misrepresented the facts when he said during the debate that "voted for $20 billion to bailout the auto industry." In the next paragraph Drew acknowledges that Hutchison "voted against a provision that would have barred financial-bailout money from going to auto companies."

So...in what way was there any misrepresentation of the facts?

* Straus, Dewhurst and Perry issued a letter asking state agencies for a 5% cut in spending. It's not actually as deep as it seems, as the Austin Chronicle notes:

It's not the whole budget, just what's paid for by general and general revenue-dedicated appropriations. On top that, the request exempts a few items, including: benefits and eligibility staffing levels for Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and foster care, plus total exemptions for the Foundation School Program, debt service, and contributions to Social Security, the Teacher and Employees Retirement Programs and the Higher Education Fund. So, most of the budget.
In other words, of $182.3 billion in the budget, the cuts only apply to about $32 billion. Still, that would cover $1.6 billion of the hole.

The FWST adds this Bill White quote from a press release:

"For months, he should have been identifying efficiencies and productivity improvements that would allow a reduction in spending without a compromise in services delivered," said White, former mayor of Houston. "This exercise has occurred among well-run businesses in Texas and cities such as Houston. Any well-run organization can find these kind of deficiencies, but it takes attention to detail and strong management skills to implement them."
Right, Bill White is just Mr. Fiscal Manager. Right. I'd love to hear a detailed list from Bill White on what areas he will cut in the budget, especially while he's in the Democratic primary.

Any chance the media actually asks him for that?

* SAEN's Gary Martin notes that KBH is up for the Porker of the Year Award given by the Citizens Against Government Waste to those who obtain the most pork. She is on the Appropriations Cmte; I don't think that's a secret by now.

Posted by Evan @ 01/17/10 09:07 PM | Comments (2)        


15 January 2010

KBH's new ad

They're really in love with the scrolling road signs concept, aren't they?

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 01:59 PM | Comments (1)        


Obama's voicemail to Parker

The White House wasn't pleased that Barack Obama's congratulations voicemail to Houston Mayor Annise Parker went on YouTube.

I thought it was a little strange that he used his title.

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 12:53 PM | Comments (0)        


Morning links

* Burka's take on the debates.

* Wayne Slater's take.

* A national education magazine gave Texas an A on standards and accountability, bolstering Perry's claim to not bother applying for federal education money. Apparently 11 states have copied Texas' standards. Who knew?

* Hutchison agrees with Perry's decision not to apply.

* Today is the deadline to file those campaign finance reports, so if you're an entrepreneuring sleuth, feel free to google yourself to death this weekend.

* If you've read my blog lately, I really should get a copy editor. Especially this post. Good post (especially for being my 3rd priority while multitasking), bad editing. Maybe I should go clean it up...probably won't get around to it.

* I mentioned that I'd go with "Shami for governor" before "Farouk for governor." Burt Levine comments that Farouk is part of the wannabe underwear bomber's name. So...more reason to go with Shami. Nice catch.

* Kevin Whited suggested a much better name for this post than I came up with myself. Noted and will be corrected.

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 06:51 AM | Comments (1)        


Has Peggy Noonan lost it?

This week's column was better than those that immediately preceded it. I know she's always had her own style, but lately it's just stream-of-consciousness rambling.

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 06:31 AM | Comments (0)        


My brief thoughts on the debate

* I thought both Perry and KBH let personal animity affect their lines at points.

* From a strategic standpoint, Perry is ahead, so Kay has limited opportunities to make up ground. She didn't do it tonight.

* I heard Kay articulate a possible message in her closing statement (I'm running to prepare Texas for 20 years from now) but that was the first time I heard it during the debate. I have heard her mention this as the rationale for her candidacy before, but if that's her message, she might want to try to make sure we don't miss it so easily.

* Medina didn't attack either one.

* The "social media" angle was dumb.

* I felt a little bad for the girl who replied snootily "That's Johns Hopkins University...there's an s." You're young, we forgive you.

* Perry got a little flustered over the number of jobs and got off his "Texas has the strongest economy in the nation" talking point. At some point, he was doing a Bush-like smirk, which may have hurt him as large parts were split screen between Perry and KBH (was there a 3rd person on that stage?) On the other hand, I'd score him as having slightly won overall without the smirk.

* Kay Bailey's response about Roe v. Wade was one of the most tortured logic statements I've ever heard. I understand why she doesn't want to admit that she supports Roe v Wade, but I think her answer made every single person watching uncomfortable.

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 05:33 AM | Comments (1)        


Bill White's money

Bill White has raised $2.5 million in the last 6 months

Cash on Hand: $5.5 million (mostly due to transfers from his mayoral acct, etc)

Of course, he could probably write himself a check at any time if he needed too. It's worth noting that he has pretty much unified the establishment of state officeholders in his court.

Posted by Evan @ 01/15/10 03:20 AM | Comments (0)        


14 January 2010

That's Bill White

That sounds like the Bill White I know, and the Bill White that Katherine Gregor at the Austin Chronicle now knows:

Is it politically possible to advocate statewide reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions while running for governor of Texas? Houston Mayor Bill White, now campaigning for the job as a Democrat, recently answered that question by ... not mentioning greenhouse gases.

Posted by Evan @ 01/14/10 08:22 AM | Comments (0)        


Today is debate day

Debate is tonight at 7pm in Denton.

Christy Hoppe writes up the gender angle, which is really two sides of a coin for the two main candidates. Perhaps the more interesting angle is the one she mentioned in passing at the end of the article: Debra Medina.

Which way does Medina go? Does she attack one more than the other? If Kay tries to get to the right of Rick, does Medina make one of them look centrist? heh.

Posted by Evan @ 01/14/10 07:50 AM | Comments (0)        


Shami criticizes White, opens 8th campaign office

Democrat Farouk Shami criticizes Bill White while opening his eighth campaign office in El Paso:

Farouk Shami, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, criticized primary election rival Bill White on Wednesday -- calling the former Houston mayor a poor businessman who does not understand the pressing economic problems of Texas.

"Mr. Bill White's city of Houston -- which is my city -- is almost on the verge of bankruptcy," Shami said. "It's in a deficit of $103 million just three days ago. Mr. Bill White borrowed $200 million just three and a half weeks ago. Mr. Bill White claims he knows business. What kind of business?"

As I said before, If I were Shami, I'd go on the air. He doesn't have much time to get a message out, and the early things people would have heard from the media aren't good.

If you click the link, Shami has decided to go with Farouk for governor. I frankly wonder about that. Shami ain't exactly Smith, but since it seems like the candidate might have wanted to play down his religion, you might think he might want to play down his non-nativeness as well. My intuition would be that Farouk seems stranger than Shami would on a yard sign, but I might be wrong.

Posted by Evan @ 01/14/10 06:40 AM | Comments (1)        


Waco Trib calls on Kay to resign

WacoTrib says Kay should resign:

While U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has mounted an aggressive gubernatorial campaign for a post she has long coveted, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is increasingly questioning the senator about her commitment to duties she swore to uphold in Washington, D.C.

Initially, Hutchison said she'd leave the Senate last autumn to devote herself to what promises to be a grueling, combative campaign across one of the largest, most populous states in the nation. Then she said she'd stay till the health care debate was resolved.

This week, Hutchison reaffirmed a more nuanced and recent position -- that she won't leave the Senate till her March 2 primary battle with Perry is decided.
We don't at all argue with Hutchison's right to run for governor. She and Perry offer Texas Republicans a terrific chance to debate major issues facing our state. But we believe she needs to cede Senate responsibilities to someone who can give this crucial job the time and attention it obviously rates.

I disagree with the Trib, but beyond that it seems to me like an odd time for KBH to resign.

Also, given that she has pledged to stay until the end of the health care fight, she'd be breaking her promise if she resigned now.

Posted by Evan @ 01/14/10 06:07 AM | Comments (0)        


Jack Kemp (deservedly) gained alot of votes post-humously today

Do you get the feeling alot of folks in Iowa and New Hampshire now think they voted for Jack Kemp or George Bush and not Pat Robertson?

Posted by Evan @ 01/14/10 01:47 AM | Comments (0)        


13 January 2010

Unspinning the spin

Peggy Fikac does the obligatory pre-debate writeup for Thursday's showdown. It mostly recounts the 2006 debates. What caught my attention was:
GOP consultant Mark Sanders said the candidate to watch is Medina: "She is the wild card. If she performs well, she could throw the gubernatorial election into a runoff ... It'll take more than just the debate, but she could be the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent candidate that many voters are looking for."
The bolded part is inaccurate. Fikac should know better, given that Sanders has worked for an independent in 2006 and for a Democrat in 2002. How is he a GOP consultant? Should we term Mark MacKinnon and Matthew Dowd as Democratic consultants?

A few paragraphs later Fikac inserts this:

The [Carole Strayhorn] misstep wasn't a game-changer. And neither was Bell's performance, praised as a strong one. "After the debate, we had a rocket attached to us. We just ran out of time and money," Stanford recalled.
Stanford, of course, was Chris Bell's consultant. As such, he has a vested interested in having people believe that what he said is true.

At best, that's some hard spin. Chris Bell himself said two months before the election: "You could be a corpse and get 31 percent as the Democratic nominee just about any office."

Chris Bell got 29.8% of the vote. That's some rocket!

Posted by Evan @ 01/13/10 03:48 PM | Comments (0)        


Perry rejects federal money on grounds of too many strings attached

Texas Watchdog has Perry's speech rejecting fed money for education as well as the Democrats' response. We'll see what Hutchison does with this.

Posted by Evan @ 01/13/10 03:14 PM | Comments (0)        


One Crazy Grandma

Am I the only one who is disappointed that Carole Strayhorn didn't file to run for comptroller? I guess Bill White's phone call to her wasn't persuasive enough.

Posted by Evan @ 01/13/10 02:55 PM | Comments (0)        


Campaign finance reports

As of 12/31:

Cash on Hand:
Rick Perry $11.6 million
Kay Bailey Hutchison $12.3 million

Raised in the last 6 months:
Rick Perry $7.1 million
KBH $6 million

Perry started the 6 month period with $9.4M. Kay started with $12.5M. We can therefore deduce spending in the lastt 6 months.

Expenditures in the last 6 months:
Perry $4.9M
Hutch $6.2M

Posted by Evan @ 01/13/10 02:50 PM | Comments (0)        


Debate #2 announced for Jan 29

Perry and Hutchison will debate heads-up Jan 29th in Dallas...for those of you keeping score, that will make DFW 2 for 2 in hosting this year's gubernatorial debates.

The format of the debate will include questions from reporter panelists, as well as questions from citizens. The candidates also will be asked to address each other's political advertising and address issues speaking one-on-one to each other.

Debra Medina has not been invited to this debate.

Posted by Evan @ 01/13/10 08:34 AM | Comments (0)        


12 January 2010

Who's in charge?

Why is Kay Bailey Hutchison talking about border security right now? I think it's a fairly large strategic blunder.

1. She is not going to win voters whose primary issue is border security. She just won't. If I need to explain this to you, this probably isn't the right blog for you to be reading. While border security may be the deciding issue to some very small percent of GOP primary voters, for most it is not nearly that important. The people really fired up about border security are unlikely

2. It's not who she is, or at least who she is perceived to be. In 3 Senate terms, I really don't recall Hutchison making immigration a defining issue. When Hutchison did talk about immigration, I don't remember her talking about border security. You'd be much more likely to put her in the "comprehensive" camp than the "border security" camp.

3. Perry isn't exactly perceived as being weak on border security. He's done video cameras on the border, he's sent the Texas Rangers, etc etc.

4. It doesn't fit into the message. It's almost cliche to say that we don't really know what Sen. Hutchison's message is. But, I sure don't. Whatever Kay's message is, I don't see how this fits it and it certainly didn't make it into any news reports today. I highly doubt that she's going to make this a central point of the next 2 months, so this doesn't help weave a narrative for her campaign.

So why did she unveil a border security plan today? I have trouble believing that it was part of a long-term plan. Yes, people are just starting to really pay attention to the race, but given the above three factors, you'd have to assume that this was not a long-planned plan.

Frankly, it looks to me like a panicked attempt to "get to the right" of Perry on an issue...any issue. But that's not how Hutchison has been perceived throughout her career. Why change now?

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 08:33 PM | Comments (0)        


Hutchison did transportation, now border security

It's not like she's been planning this campaign for 8 years or anything. Here's the text of KLTV's broadcast:

In Longview Tuesday, Senator Hutchison detailed her plan for border security. Specifically, she wants to do away with so-called "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants. Hutchison also wants to increase border security by allowing officers to keep their insurance coverage across county lines and establishing a volunteer border force.

And here's more of the meat from the proposal from the AP's Juan Lozano.

If elected, Hutchison plans to expand participation by Texas law enforcement agencies in the federal 287(g) program, which trains state and local officers in immigration law enforcement and enables them to identify and detain illegal immigrants. Critics have argued the program can lead to racial profiling.

The senator also said she would push to change state policy to require the eligibility of new state employees be checked through E-Verify, a federal government program that checks a person's work eligibility in the country.

Hutchison said she also would work with the Legislature to end so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state — cities with policies restricting police officers' ability to inquire about people's immigration status until they have arrested a suspect on criminal charges.

Her plan also calls for the creation of a volunteer border force made up of retired police and military officers to assist in border security efforts.

The Perry campaign predictably fired back that in her time in Washington she hadn't accomplished anything for border security.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 08:10 PM | Comments (0)        


Pretty bizarre.

When Farouk Shami's gubernatorial campaign officials were asked in November what his religion is, they said he is Quaker.

But on Monday, other campaign officials said he is not.

Regardless of what religion the Palestinian-born U.S. citizen is — his campaign says he's not Muslim, but family members say he is — the fact that his campaign is putting out conflicting information could become a political liability.

Shami, a Democrat, said in a written statement Monday that he is "not a member of any specific religious tradition."

"To say simply 'I'm a Muslim' or 'I'm a Quaker' is to ignore major parts of my faith," said the statement by Shami, a Houston businessman who has said he'll spend $10 million of his money on his campaign. "I know it seems complicated that I do not have a pat answer to questions about what religion I am, but without my exposure to many different cultures and religious beliefs, I wouldn't be the person I am today."

It's not the religion that matters, it's the equivocation. If he is Muslim, but doesn't want to say it, go with "I'm spiritual but not religious." Sheesh, what do you have consultants for? Yes, sometimes people get elected pretending to be what they're not, but far better to just be authentic.

If I were Shami, I'd get a spot up on the air tonight. This isn't the way to introduce a candidate.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:52 PM | Comments (0)        


Christy Hoppe reports that a 300 person poll in the West Texas district 11 has Perry 45, KBH 26.

I guess that's the good thing about having primaries in Congressional races. Incumbent Mike Conaway faces two challengers in his Midland-based seat.

I hate mentioning polls like this when I know nothing of the poll, methodology, etc.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:37 PM | Comments (0)        


Time takes a look at megachurch Willow Creek's emphasis on racial diversity. The spark was when the founding pastor read a book by Rice's Michael Emerson.

I've been impressed that Emerson has managed to be so influential in the intersection of his research: race relations and the sociology of religion. Both were classes I took at Rice, and he was definitely one of the best professors. So good, in fact, that I took the classes even though I knew that he requires attendance and punishes tardiness.*

* Only bad profs require attendance. Emerson is the exception.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:17 PM | Comments (0)        


Three HouChron periodistas write an "analysis" of the race in Texas 18.

I assume Jackson Lee will win reasonably comfortably, but truthfully I don't have a clue. It will be interesting to see whom sides with whom.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:11 PM | Comments (0)        


Rice and Baylor Med School talks collapse

A few months ago, the presidents of Rice and Baylor Med School seemed to intimate that they would announce an agreement by the end of this month.

Instead, they announced that Baylor won't affiliate with Rice. That seems like a loss for both of them.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:05 PM | Comments (0)        


Annise Parker: 82nd most influential liberal in America?

Frankly, it seems a little crazy to me, but so says the UK's Telegraph.

Of course, any list that has John Edwards on its most influential is worth taking with a grain of salt.

Posted by Evan @ 01/12/10 07:01 PM | Comments (0)        


11 January 2010

Gilbert Garcia of the SAEN profiles San Antonian Linda Chavez-Thompson:

Despite a formidable resume that includes a stint as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, membership on a race-relations advisory board created by then-President Bill Clinton and 40 years on the front lines of the labor movement, Chavez-Thompson had never sought public office until now.

That doesn't sound like a formidable resume for running for statewide office in 2010 Texas.

Party leaders gathered in Austin last month to brainstorm on promising candidates for the lieutenant governor's race. They had initially approached state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, but she said she declined.

Someone suggested Chavez-Thompson, and before long, her friends and associates began a full-court press to persuade her.

Strategists dropped by her home and made their case. Pollsters broke down the numbers for her. Prominent politicians such as former state Comptroller John Sharp and state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, urged her to run.

"There'd be one day when I thought it was doable," Chavez-Thompson said. "And the next day I'd think, 'Am I crazy or what?'"

Ultimately, Democratic leaders convinced her that she could energize the party's labor base and connect with women and Latinos.

Candidacies with backgrounds like that are no usually winning candidacies. Campaigning and governing are tough; you've really got to want to do them.

Posted by Evan @ 01/11/10 08:53 PM | Comments (0)        


Link dump

- FWST's Bud Kennedy on Craig James' possible run.

- I didn't get the impression that Wayne Slater thought too much of Ron Paul-like Debra Medina's candidacy.

- Texas is $1 billion behind budget on sales taxes, after only 4 months into the new budget. Of course, given how difficult economic forecasting is, it's almost more like news if the budget is close to the collections.

- The DMN does factchecking on this ad.

They don't give him a very score because they think he exaggerated the specific claims about fiscal conservatism. Still, would anyone really not claim that Perry has governed fairly conservative fiscally?

- Karen Hughes denies an Austin rumor that she advised Straus to help lay an attack for KBH.

- Perry was in Frisco for the 10th anniversary of a megachurch.

- KBH says the campaign has momentum and is "peaking at the right-time." Is that like Joe-mentum in 2004?

Posted by Evan @ 01/11/10 08:48 PM | Comments (0)        


Sen. Cornyn was in San Angelo for a ribboncutting of a wind energy production plant, reports the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Although the Texas senator voted against the stimulus bill that will aid in the plant's completion and operation, he said in an interview after the tour that he is a supporter of clean energy alternatives and voted against the overall stimulus bill because it was borrowed money.

“Having voted against the overall bill, I figure it's my job to make sure that, if it's going to pass, that Texas gets it fair share, and that’s why I’m certainly supportive of the use of these tax credits to help job creation right here in West Texas,” Cornyn said.

The plant is expected to hire 225 mostly local employees and produce 400 wind turbine towers a year by 2013. San Angelo's Hirschfeld Industries joined Portugal-based Martifer Energy Systems late last year to construct the $40 million factory on Old Ballinger Highway. Plant Manager Paulo Rebelo said the plant is still set for a March completion and should begin its next round of hiring by February.

Richard Phillips, president of Hirschfeld Industries, says plans would have gone forward for the plant regardless of the [$3.5 million in] stimulus funds

"Our long-term plans were to get into this industry anyway," he said.

The results of the stimulus bill.

Posted by Evan @ 01/11/10 05:45 PM | Comments (0)        


Burka thinks Perry is running to be POTUS

I didn't find it that convincing, and the timing is strange in my opinion.

Posted by Evan @ 01/11/10 05:34 PM | Comments (0)        


er, what?

Paul Burka writes:

So [Craig James] wants to run for KBH's Senate seat. Here is the first question he will be asked when he announces for office: What did you know and when did you know it? "It" is SMU's pay-for-play scandal, when the university leadership, including then-Governor (and SMU board chairman) Bill Clements, was paying football players in the 1980s. James himself has never been implicated in the scandal that led to SMU's receiving the NCAA's "death penalty." Still, I find it hard to believe that James (or anybody else on that team, including the coaches) was in the locker room and didn't know what was going on. Kids brag. Or they show up with gold (or diamond) jewelry. Or they are suddenly driving fancy cars. If James knew, he is complicit in the destruction of SMU's football program, just as the members of the Black Sox who knew that the 1919 World Series was fixed and didn't report it were complicit in the dishonoring of baseball. And he shouldn't have a position of public trust.

In the last year that I was away from blogging, the thing I missed most was a forum to comment on some of Burka's posts. Apparently unlike much of the blogosphere, I think very highly of Burka. But this post just makes me want to yell: WHAT? Really?

James may or may not have known/suspected that there were issues. I don't know much about the scandal. But Burka in this post suggests that any 19 year old kid who suspects wrongdoing is unfit to ever hold public office? I use the example gingerly, but if I understand correctly, our current president admitted to snorting cocaine at an age less tender than that. It didn't disqualify him in Burka's eyes, but James' needs to answer for a 30 year old scandal when he was 20?

I just can't buy that. I'm generally in favor of treating teenages more like adults in most instances, but the idea that we are going to parse James' three-decades-old memories from when he was 19 to see if he is fit to run for public office? Ludicrous.

Posted by Evan @ 01/11/10 03:09 PM | Comments (0)        


08 January 2010

I wondered, Cory Crow answers.

Will the InterLeft stand for Shami? Evan thinks so. Me? I'm not so sure. Vince Leibowitz is a good blogger, but a majority of the Progressive blogosphere has already signed on for White, who has his own member of the InterLeft (Greg Whythe of gregsopinion) signed on for the duration. Since most of the InterLeft seemingly takes their lead from The Texas Progressive Alliance (More here, here, here, here, here and well..you get the picture), and the Alliance is all in for White....well, I don't see there being much written by the InterLeft that casts White in a negative light, certainly not when you consider the InterLeft considers White to be their best shot at the Governor's mansion since Tony Sanchez.

Just for the record, I re-read my post, and I don't think I expressed an opinion, just a question. Anyway, I appreciate Cory's summary on the predilections of the liberal Texas bloggers.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 05:42 PM | Comments (1)        


"I didn't do it"

Cornyn denies that he asked KBH to withdraw from the gubernatorial race.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 05:29 PM | Comments (0)        



Senator Hutchison was in San Angelo:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison spoke on education and transportation reform during a brief stop at Mathis Field Monday afternoon on a campaign tour.


More than a dozen people attended the news conference.

ouch. KBH's campaign is not doing too well at getting out to her campaign rallies. At least this wasn't her announcement...which had a similar number.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 02:52 AM | Comments (0)        


Clearing out the links

- Wayne Slater looks at Perry's break from Bush.

- The Statesman editorial board makes fun of Dewhurst 35-25 prediction for Alabama-Texas. I'm not gonna lie, when I originally watched the video of Dewhurst making his prediction, I laughed too. Dewhurst definitely appears distracted, and probably not a football fan.

In the end though, Dewhurst's prediction was pretty close.

- Aggie Perry roots for the T-sips?

"When they're playing in the Rose Bowl for the national championship you better believe I'm gonna be in the stands with my Horns (hand gesture) up, wearing orange," Perry said, before stepping off stage, away from the microphone to add, "That's going to be a tough game."
The things candidates have to do...or perhaps Perry has gone Austin? heh.

- Perry says that the Obama administration is targeting Texas on an EPA regulation. Elizabeth Souder at DMN:

"Since 2000, Texas clean air efforts have helped slash levels of NOx gases, a precursor to ozone, by 46 percent, and overall ozone by 22 percent. We've done this during a time of economic prosperity unrivaled in the nation.

"From cap and tax legislation to regulating CO2 to moving ozone targets, the Obama administration seems intent upon following flawed science down a road that will lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs, while doing nothing more to protect human health."

- Perry makes a trip to the Dallas suburb of Frisco to speak at the anniversary of a megachurch.

- In a potentially important move, Debra Medina will be in at least one debate with Perry and Hutchison.

- DMN's Rodger Jones wants to know if KBH supports the LBJ freeway project in Dallas. It's a bit of a catch-22 for her.

-- Alabama Gov Bob Riley apparently didn't want to do the customary bet $30 of state goods on the national championship game with Perry. Lame? Yes.

Kay and Sen. Shelby bet a smoked turkey. Guess it's time for Kay to pay up. Since it should be her campaign that pays, that's just one more break for Perry.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 02:48 AM | Comments (0)        


Craig James wants Kay's Senate seat?

What? At first I thought this was a joke. But no, it's true. Craig James, ESPN college football analyst, former football star and allegedly overprotective dad wants to run.

James told the station that he's been meeting with prominent Texas Republican donors in order to raise his political profile, and will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming conservative policy luncheon being attended by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. John Cornyn.

"I'm a Texan. I'm concerned for our country," he said. "I disagree with the approach that we're having, things that are taking place, and so whatever door opens up, I'll look at it, if and when it opens up," James said.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 02:33 AM | Comments (0)        


Farouk Shami's team

I'm fascinated by Shami's gubernatorial bid. At a time when -- it seems to me -- most Texas Democrats are pretty excited to have a possible winner in Bill White, Shami is willing to spend $10 million to contest that wished-for coronation.

So, Texas Tribune's writeup of Shami's team fascinates me. His campaign staff has a blogger contingent: Vince Leibowitz and Charlie Ray of Capitol Annex and Pink Dome, respectively, as well as Progressive PST, apparently a "netroots" company.

Other consultants include Robert Jara, Dan McClung, Ben Tulchin, Tad Devine and Julian Mulvey. A decent list.

I'll be fascinated to see what the Texas liberal bloggers do. And with $10 million to spend, they can amply point out Bill White's shortcomings as mayor.

Posted by Evan @ 01/08/10 02:22 AM | Comments (1)        


07 January 2010

Perry's own BCS themed online ad

The DMN offers context, which is about what you'd expect. Senators vote on the overall bill, not on the specific earmark. On the other hand, Kay did vote for what came out of the Appropriations committee. Which is fairly standard practice since she is a member of Approps: get your earmarks in exchange for voting for the bill.

Posted by Evan @ 01/07/10 05:55 PM | Comments (0)        



Maybe I'm the only one who thought this was surprising, but when the Texas Tribune story appeared on Paul Burka being banished from moderating the gubernatorial debates, I didn't see a single disclosure.

If you're here, you probably know that Evan Smith left TexasMonthly to start Texas Tribune. It's essentially his operation -- he carries the title CEO and editor-in-chief. I sent an email to the very tastefully named Mr. Smith to ask why there was no mention of the fact, but haven't received a reply. I would've thought that since Smith was Burka's boss for a decade there would be some sort of note on that. In fact, I would have assumed that any story involving Texas Monthly or Burka would get some sort of disclosure.

Maybe I'm wrong. Truthfully it doesn't matter much to me, but I did find it surprising. If you've read this blog long enough you'd know that I don't care at all about disclosing. If a campaign were paying me, I wouldn't feel obligated to tell you (though I have successfully avoided ever receiving a dime from politics up to this point). My words are my words. But then, I'm not a newspaper, nor something that resembles it.

Posted by Evan @ 01/07/10 05:45 PM | Comments (0)        


Tonight's the night

Will update this post later, but headed out the door now.

Kay Bailey has bought an ad during the national championship game tonight. Campaign Manager Terry Sullivan, "playing the expectations game," has called it a "game changer."

If I recall correctly, the spot cost $200,000. We assume it's the slightly modified add (a hook'em horns banner appears in the penultimate shot, if I recall correctly) as indicated on KBH's youtube.

Posted by Evan @ 01/07/10 03:50 PM | Comments (0)        


That's a rumor that doesn't want to die

Stephen Moore has an article in today's WSJ touting Perry, his chances, and this piece of chisme:

I'm hearing that Senator John Cornyn, who runs the Republican Senatorial Committee, also is trying to persuade Ms. Hutchison to drop out of the governor's race run for reelection to the senate. That would stop the costly internecine warfare in the state and likely end any chance of Democrats picking up her Senate seat. Ms. Hutchison has not ruled out seeking another Senate term.

Posted by Evan @ 01/07/10 03:40 PM | Comments (0)        


Every year, when the baseball Hall of Fame puts out the results of the voting, I go check Off the Kuff to hear about the injustices of the voting.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how you can induct Dawson when guys like Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar, Tim Raines, Allen Trammell, and Barry Larkin are on the outside looking in, but like Rob Neyer, I’ve given up trying to figure out how these particular voters think.

Kuff, you kinda let me down this year. I normally use your work to email a sabermetrician-minded friend and sound halfway intelligent with my opinions.

Posted by Evan @ 01/07/10 10:17 AM | Comments (0)        


06 January 2010

Those of you who know me will know that I am interested in how Latinos vote. I'm not Latino, but my kids will be. So I opened up Jan Jarboe Russell's op-ed with interest. Here's the beginning:

By the end of the new decade, now only three days young, the demographics of the new Texas will look a lot like San Antonio: A significant and powerful number of Texans will be Latino.

But for now, as the lineup for the 2010 statewide ballot proves, Republicans hold sway, and probably will until midway through the decade. And San Antonio's influence on state politics is marginal.

Pardon? Such prognostications with such little support. I mean, hey, I might do that, but it's a blog: there are different standards. (Also, if you have read for a long time, you'd know I have a good record.)

Also, these 2 paragraphs seem to be attempting to conflate as many issues as possible. I could go on about that, but the only thing we don't get more of is time. So I'll move on, just like Russell followed those paragraphs by talking about who has filed for the Democrats.

In some ways, 2010 is an annunciation year for the new generation of Latino leaders in San Antonio — they hear the call but are waiting for the right moment. Many, including state Rep. Mike Villarreal, the Castro twins — particularly state Rep. Joaquin Castro — were lobbied to run but decided to sit tight.

Villarreal briefly considered running for comptroller against Susan Combs but decided to run for re-election instead, help White in his statewide race for governor and look at his own options four years from now.

He made the right choice — Combs is competent and popular. She would be difficult to beat in any year.

For now, San Antonio's largest statewide influence comes from local Republicans, particularly Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who likely will be re-elected and continue to exercise powerful control. (emphasis mine)

Annunciation is essentially the same as proclamation, with the root word of announce. I don't know if it works for you, because it doesn't for me. And this paragraph I have to assume was just an editing error.

San Antonio has 1 of the titular heads of the 3 branches of government. This seems relevant.

Posted by Evan @ 01/06/10 12:29 AM | Comments (0)        


05 January 2010

Houston City Councilman Jarvis Johnson to challenge Sheila!

Sheila! Jackson-Lee is going to get a primary challenge from Houston City Council memberJarvis Johnson.

I am skeptical of the chances of success, but I would assume they are low. Sheila! did support Hillary, so it's not completely unexpected that her majority black district is upset with her.

Note: Friends and I have long referred to her as Sheila! because that's what her political signs said for years and maybe still do. Either way, it amused us.

Posted by Evan @ 01/05/10 12:59 PM | Comments (0)        


04 January 2010

Kelly Fero passes away

Democratic consultant Kelly Fero has been found dead in his Austin home. Condolences to his family.

Mike Lavigne remembers him thus:

The passing of Kelly Fero is a tremendous loss to those of us who knew him. Personally, I am crushed. He was my mentor and my good friend. Most who read this will only know him from the political wake he leaves behind. No doubt, those who had ever sided with or against him left the field of battle with a hard earned respect for his ample abilities in that realm. Word of his hiring struck fear into the hearts of many an opponent over the years. What I loved about Kelly is that these battles were only a single facet of what was a gem of a life.
The rest is below the jump.

[Read More]

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 10:29 PM | Comments (0)        


It's officially primary season

It's officially primary season in Texas, as the filing deadline has passed. Obviously the gubenatorial primaries and the Dem lt gov primary are the most interesting.

If Katz and Shami hold true to their pledges to spend $10 million in the primary, this is going to be a good year to be a campaign consultant. It will definitely make those races interesting.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 04:35 PM | Comments (0)        


A few only tangentially Texas politics links

I enjoyed this New Yorker piece on John Mackey of Whole Foods fame. I've never shopped there regularly, but it is one of the best places in Houston to find microbrews. He's a unique character And look, a Rice connection:

Mackey was brought up in a conventional middle-class home in a suburb of Houston. His father, Bill Mackey, was a professor of accounting at Rice University, and his mother gave up school teaching to raise John and his two siblings.

The Chron profiles Rice chemist James Tour.

Four years after Nobel laureate Rick Smalley's untimely death, it is the prolific Tour who as much as anyone has carried on Smalley's groundbreaking legacy in the science of nanotechnology.

Confirmation came last month when, among the more than 720,000 scientists who authored chemistry papers in academic journals during the last decade, Tour found himself among the 10 most-cited authors in the world.

This means the 135 papers he wrote during the last decade had one of the 10 highest rates at which other scientists “cited” them in the references of subsequent research papers.

I've had the pleasure to talk to Tour a few times, and I was always impressed by how he manages to simplify his research when talking to laypeople. They mentioned how hospitable he is, and while true, it fails to mention that his wife is the nicest, sweetest person in the world.

Ten years ago friends told me that one should bet on him as a future Nobel laureate if the committee has any since at all.

Finally, Cory Crow offers a Houston-flavored "things you won't hear in 2010." I found a few of them quite funny.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 04:30 PM | Comments (0)        


Chavez-Thompson to file for lt gov

I don't get it. I really don't. Why is a San Antonio labor leader filing to run for lt guv?

She'll be competing with Ronnie Earle, who should have his liberal populist base out of Austin pretty well locked up and Katz, who says he is going to spend $10 million the race.

So, she'll be in a primary where the winner is a very significant underdog to a Republican in a generic year. But not only is this Republican an incumbent, but David Dewhurst has money to spend on his message. Plus, Democrats are likely to face a nationwide headwind.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 01:23 AM | Comments (0)        


Dave Montgomery has a good article up in the FWST about opposition research, with a few quotes from the flacks about how it relates to Rick vs. Kay.

Of course, if you're reading this, there probably isn't that much new for you.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 01:19 AM | Comments (0)        


Every governor is a degen...?

This seems to be from a website that doesn't really have circulation

Gov. Sonny Perdue made it clear last year that he would block any attempt to set up slot machines in Underground Atlanta. He saw the proposal for what it was: just one more desperate attempt to find money in a bad economy.

Primarily, though, Perdue said no to the idea because he's a Southern Baptist, and he's opposed to gambling.


Back in 2007, Perdue bet Texas Gov. Rick Perry that the Little League team from Warner Robins, Ga., would beat the Texas team in the World Series. When they did, Perry paid up on the bet by flying the Georgia flag over the Texas Capitol.

Then, this past week, Perdue won again when the Georgia Bulldogs played the Texas A&M Aggies in the Independence Bowl. Perry, a Texas A&M graduate, had to make a donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank when UGA, Perdue's alma mater, won. Perdue's office issued press releases to brag about the winning streak.

Yeah, I know, these bets between governors are all just "friendly wagers." Call them whatever you want; they're still bets. And that means as long as Perdue continues to profess his opposition to gambling, he's a hypocrite.

This might be one of the literally truest yet dumbest articles I have ever read.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 01:16 AM | Comments (0)        


"Expect low blows, high volume from Perry, Hutchison"

Christy Hoppe in the DMN:

The contact sport of Texas politics is about to evolve from its easy comparison to gridiron contests of hard-hitting marches toward goal lines. No, football is played with pads.

This governor's race has all the feel of NASCAR and kick-boxing: fast, furious and brutal.

Two of the state's Republican titans have been slugging it out for months in the heated primary, but now starts the final laps, the determining rounds.

I have actually not found the governor's race to be as heated as expected. Maybe that says something about my expectations, I don't know.

But anyway, moving on:

The circus is definitely coming to town," said veteran Democratic consultant Jason Stanford. "This will be great for us all to watch."
I appreciate that we as readers are informed that Stanford is a Democratic consultant. It is probably worth noting that, as a Democrat, Stanford has a vested interest in promoting the "yes, very bitter primary angle."

And then, apropos of nothing:

Tension is inevitable, and the fallout is unpredictable. "When Sarah Palin comes to town, the level of discourse doesn't usually rise," Stanford said.
I think we all know that anyone who works for newspapers doesn't like Sarah Palin. I couldn't discern another reason for this.

Anyway, you're here, so you already knew that this is a real race, with real consequences. Campaigns will attempt to make their case in whatever way possible that is allowed by the voters. I wouldn't say that's ideal, but it is reality.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/10 01:13 AM | Comments (0)        


03 January 2010

I'm thinking he's not obsessed with his ROI

I'm a little late to this, but well said, Ken Herman.

"I didn't care about politics because I didn't think I could make a change. Minorities did not get involved in politics, and we always thought we could not make a difference. Now we have a president called Barack Hussein Obama at the White House. He is minority. He is black. So he opened the door for an average person like me to step up front and be ready to serve this state of Texas as the new governor," Shami said at an Austin campaign event.

The downtrodden minority/victim role is particularly unattractive on a guy who lives in a 24,585-square-foot-home like Shami does.

This from a guy who gave 25K to Kinky Friedman as part of almost $80,000 in political donations over the past 7 years.

He plans to spend $10 million fighting Bill White in the primary. His campaign message sounds similar to Kinky Friedman's.

Posted by Evan @ 01/03/10 11:28 PM | Comments (0)        


02 January 2010

2010 promises to be good

Hey man, I like Texas. I like Whataburger. But if reports that In-N-Out Burger is really opening 6 locations in Houston are true...2010 has already been good to me.

Once upon a time, I was a miserable consultant travelling to LA from Houston (obviously I was horrible...who cares about white sand if you're not in Texas?). I got accustomed to my amazing burgers, fries (animal style) and shakes. Life has never been the same since.

Posted by Evan @ 01/02/10 02:07 AM | Comments (0)        


History time

Dave McNeely does the history of the three former student leaders: Rick, Kay, and John Sharp.

I don't know about you, but in college largely thought the people running for student office were self-important.

Posted by Evan @ 01/02/10 01:31 AM | Comments (0)        


Newsweek thinks Bill White will win

That's their New Year's prediction.

Amount of importance I put on Newsweek's prediction powers? Zero.

In general, I refuse to place any stock in a magazine's opinions if I have read "ultraconservative" unless I have also read "ultraliberal." What is that you say? Yes, you're right, I'm still waiting for it to happen.

Posted by Evan @ 01/02/10 01:25 AM | Comments (0)        



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