28 March 2017
Statewide primary rumors
It's that stage of the election cycle where politicians are trying to figure out if they should run for something else or stay put. Consultants are whispering in ears, as well as throwing up trial balloons.
I'm hearing that Christi Craddick is likely to challenge Ken Paxton for attorney general. The ongoing legal issues the AG is dealing with have always meant he'd be high on the list of statewides likely to see a challenge.
I'm also hearing that there are folks sitting down with Dave Carney that may challenge some of the non-Carney statewides.
Given that the Democrats are utterly incapable of putting out any candidates who reflect Texas values, it's good for Texas to see competitive races up and down the primary ballot.
UPDATE: Dave Carney tells me he has only discussed the Greg Abbott re-election campaign.
18 March 2017
Is Ted Cruz vulnerable?
Is Ted Cruz vulnerable? Not really.
Sure, he's not liked, Texans think Ted puts Ted first, his approval rating is upside down, etc etc. But in a two party system, that doesn't mean much. The Statesman's Tilove quotes George W Bush advisor Matt Dowd on the subject:
Dowd, who lives in Austin, believes there is a potential path for victory in the Cruz race for a centrist independent — and he is contemplating becoming that candidate.
But, he said, “in my view, if it’s Beto O’Rourke against Cruz, Cruz wins and probably wins by double digits. If it’s Joaquín Castro vs. Ted Cruz, it’s basically the same thing, and instead of losing by 14 points, he might lose by 10 points.
“I mean, Texas is still a right-of-center state, broadly,” Dowd said. “If (voters) get a choice between a very left-of-center Democrat and Ted, they’re going to pick Ted.”
Dowd is right. None of the prospective D candidates are anywhere close to beating any Republican, even Ted Cruz. Joaquín Castro isn't even gonna get the margin down to 10 points.
Could Cruz get beat in a primary? He definitely could, but color me skeptical he gets a challenger savvy enough to beat him.
Could Dowd win as an independent? I'd say the possibility is there, but in practice this is quite hard to pull off. Dowd's profile isn't a great fit for it, and his writing doesn't lead me to believe he could thread that needle.
So unless Nolan Ryan decides he wants to go to the United States Senate at the age of 70, I'd say Ted Cruz is safe for re-election.