Bell vs. Gammage

I'm not a Democrat. I don't know who will be endorsed by what organization. I couldn't tell you who has deep long-term connections with who.

That said, my intuition is that Bell is the favorite here. He's locked up lots of endorsements from Democratic officeholders and recent former officeholders (or at least that's my perception). He's been raising money, whereas Gammage has only been able to raise money for less than a month. The primary is only about 65 days away right now, and fundraising takes time. Every hour Gammage spends catching up to Bell (who probably hasn't raised that much money himself).

Bell's also been touring the state, and picking up the occasional news article. He has to have some name ID by now with Texas Democratic primary voters? Does Gammage have name ID? After not being in office for over 10 years (and even then, only a Texas Supreme Court justice), I doubt it. Not only is he starting from scratch money-wise, he's starting out close to scratch name ID-wise.

Further, because Bell has locked up a reasonable amount of endorsements, he's ahead in that game too.

So far as I can tell, neither Gammage or Bell intends to attack each other too harshly, and I don't see evidence yet that either will try to be more liberal or more of a "real Democrat" than the other. Surely there will be some of that and definitely the occasional sly insinuation, particularly by whoever is behind going into the closing weeks, but so far it looks like that may be small.

One thing I've noticed that bodes well for whoever wins the Democratic primary: it looks like both Bell and Gammage want to talk about reform and who the real reformer is. If the race stays this way, it segues perfectly into either's preferred general election theme. Because they aren't trying to out-ideology each other, they won't have to change the campaign message when the primary is over. Now I have my doubts about the efficacy of reform as a general election theme, but Gammage and Bell both seem committed to the theme, so two voices on the same period for the primary time period are definitely better than one.

What would change my mind that Bell is the favorite? Money. If Gammage announces a large amount raised in his short time raising money, then that would signal that the party's donors consider him worth backing. Further, it would help alleviate Gammage's name ID problem.

If any Democrats want to send me their analysis of the primary, I will consider printing it.

Posted by Evan @ 01/04/06 06:26 PM


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Sounds about right to me. Fundraising is the main question I have about Bell, and I know others have wondered about it as well. It's probably the main reason why there was still a pining for John Sharp - everyone knows he can raise big bucks.

I'm eager to see the latest quarterly financial statement. It should be telling.

Posted by Charles Kuffner @ 01/05/06 12:47 PM

Yes, the financials will indeed be interesting.

Texas Democratic politics is not all (or even mostly) surface relationships. Many of those relationships run years or decades long. They are often fractious and have at times been bloody, but for the first time in over a decade, the Gammage candidacy has a chance to heal some of the deepest rifts.

It's always hard for a new generation of people interested in politics to relate to 'war stories' from 'back in the day', but if they neglect those stories and ignore those relationships they can never get a handle on the full picture or scope of the Democratic Party (and why it's been disfunctional) in Texas.

Maybe it's a good time to begin. To paraphrase: "If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it."

Posted by TAMU 76 @ 01/05/06 04:35 PM

You neglected to mention that Bell has the Netroots constituency AND the anti-DeLay constituency.

Isn't that enough to lock it up for him? ;)

Posted by kevin @ 01/05/06 08:53 PM

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