Let's pretend I'm like Texas Weekly...

I know, I haven't posted all week. I was busy, out of town some, and my desktop died. Boo to that. So, let's just pretend this is something like Texas Weekly, and I just write a mega-post on Fridays. Of course, even Ross Ramsey now posts through the week, so that's not true anymore. But it used to be! Jokes aside...

CD22: Do you want to spin the wheel to spell out Shelley Sekula-Gibbs?
The drama continues in CD22. First, Tom DeLay announced he'd resign, but would wait awhile to do so. Then, the state and county parties started a drawn-out process of picking a replacement, but was soon enjoined by a judge ruling for the plaintiff state Democrats. Eventually, the Democrats won -- when the GOP exhausted its appeals -- and the replacement process was dead. DeLay withdrew, and now we don't have a Republican on the ballot.

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace announced he would run as a write-in (and has already filed), despite the fact that the party chose Shelley Sekula-Gibbs to be its unofficial standard-bearer as the write-in.

Although it's still somewhat early, it appears that Wallace's strategy failed miserably. He hoped that by filing early he could force everyone else out of the write-in race, and thus be the frontrunner against Lampson in 2008. That didn't work, and now he's probably significantly reduced his chances in 2008 by angering much of CD22's GOP grassroots. Instead, now Sekula-Gibbs has to be seen as the early 2008 GOP frontrunner.

The GOP's best hope of defeating Lampson in 2006 was to unite behind Bob Smithers, who is on the ballot as a Libertarian. He's got some name ID, and his name is actually on the ballot. A few Republican officeholders endorsed his candidacy. He even offered to caucus with the Republicans if elected, thus denying Nick Lampson a chance to vote for arch-liberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

But Republicans refused to endorse Smither, instead opting for Sekula-Gibbs. There are reasons not to endorse Smither: 1) Republicans ought be wary of promoting the Libertarian Party in any way. Arguably, Libertarian candidates on the ballot have cost Republicans a few US Senate seats over the past decade or so. A viable Libertarian party would do the opposite of the Libertarian party's goal of small government: it would ensure that Democrats would control the government. 2) Endorsing and promoting Smither as an alternative to Lampson complicates the GOP's efforts to urge straight-ticket Republican votes.

So, will enough people spin the wheel for Sekula-Gibbs?
You're joking, right? Of course not. Nobody should kid themselves. The GOP write-in campaign will not succeed. A week or so ago, I put the odds as "longer than 22:1." I don't see any reason to change that.

Here's the reality: this is not your father's write-in campaign. While CQ (and 2006's OH DCCC-backed Dem primary write-in campaign by Charlie Wilson) have shown us that write-in campaigns are theoretically possible, this is a different era. Back then, they could actually write in the name of a candidate. Now, voters will have to choose the write-in option on the eSlate, and then spin the wheel to spell out Sekula-Gibbs. Folks, that just ain't gonna happen. Despite rumors of the NRCC spending $4 million (I highly doubt NRCC Chair Tom Reynolds is that dumb, and I doubt Ken Mehlman is going to be spending the RNC's money either), no amount of money is likely to make this a probability. I was an election judge when eSlate's came out in Harris County in 2002, and I remember the confusion voters had. While they've gotten more used to the eSlate, they haven't been writing in names.

Further complications: 1) does the voter have to spell out "Shelley Sekula-Gibbs" or just "Sekula-Gibbs"? Will "SekulaGibbs" be good enough? This reminds me of "voter intent" in 2000, and it's not a fond memory. 2) Wallace's name will be among the write-ins, and he may campaign too, further complicating the process.

So congratulations to soon-to-be Congressman Lampson. Despite losing by more than he should have to Ted Poe (in a district that he actually lived in!) in 2004 (56%-43%), his moxie (or hubris, depending on your point of view) has a very strong possibility of paying off.

Texas money men for McCain
Chris Cillizza keeps a regularly updated list of the Bush Pioneer or Ranger fundraisers who have joined up with a presidential candidate. He counts Senator Bill Frist with 7, Governor Mitt Romney with 14, and Senator John McCain with 11.

I wrote briefly about Romney before -- and I still recommend my friend's blog The Romney Report. For a long time, I'd written Romney off, but he's one guy that will probably be able to raise the money. He's got ventural capital, Bain Consulting, Boston, Republican Governors Association, Michigan (where he grew up), Utah (Olympics), Mormons (he's Mormon).

But what's more striking is that five of McCain's Rangers/Pioneers are from Texas: Rob Mosbacher, Tom Loeffler, Kent Hance, Carter Pate, and former Gov. Bill Clements. Add to that the apparent support of Dallas brothers Charles and Sam Wyly, who have hosted a fundraiser for McCain's PAC, and it sends a few signals.

First, some former McCain enemies look like they're hopping on board. The Wylys spent a few million dollars in the 2000 primary attacking McCain, and McCain filed an FEC complaint against them. There was some animosity, certainly. But it looks like that animus has attenuated quite a bit, to say the least. Two, it means that Bush isn't sending signals to his former fundraisers that he'd prefer someone other than McCain. Three, no Texas Pioneers/Rangers have signed up for any other presidential candidate. This might point to Texans deciding to support McCain

It will be interesting to watch this develop.

Friedman not a fan of the Kossacks?
Transcript of Kinky's appearance on Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Kinky, could the argument be that both parties are extreme, vote for the new independent?

FRIEDMAN: That could certainly be. I think the mood of the country is really, really independent. I mean, I think the winds of change are really blowing right now. And all the—the way I see Lieberman, he's very—he's pro-America, unashamedly, and he's pro-Israel. And these liberals are not.

This amuses me, since I'd surmise that most of the Kinky Friedman bumper stickers I see in my area are on cars whose owners support Ned Lamont. In fact, I'm pretty sure I actually saw a car with a Lamont bumper sticker and a Friedman sticker.

Cornyn and Hutchison at odds?
Lufkin Daily News editorial board:

Kay Bailey Hutchison told us in an editorial board meeting this week that past Texas senators have "all gone national," in that they focused on matters of importance to all Americans at the expense of issues at home.

Her attention to Texas hasn't gone unnoticed.

A story in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday examined the track records of Hutchison and fellow Sen. John Cornyn during the four years he's been in office: While Cornyn has worked to make a name for himself outside of Texas, Hutchison has devoted much of her time to such constituent issues as hurricane aid and military base closings.

Seems like the LDN ed board interpreted Hutchison's remark as somewhat of a shot against Cornyn. Others have reported that Cornyn and Hutchison were supposed to have a breakfast sit-down in DC, but that Hutchison ended up re-scheduling. They are on opposite sides of each other on the immigration debate. But I haven't heard much either way, so it's all conjecture to me.

In case it matters, the LDN's editorial was very pro-Hutchison in regards to her re-election.

Downballot races
This is what counts for coverage in the downballot races. Lack of coverage means that voters are even more likely to vote on partisanship. Big advantage: Republicans.

Bell poll
A Cooper & Secrets poll done for Chris Bell. 7/31-8/6 (quite a long time to have a poll in the field); 1010 likely voters (as usual, we don't know the screen)

Perry 38%
Bell 18
Strayhorn 16
Friedman 11
Werner 1

In the poll, 58% disapprove of Perry's job performance. That seems a little high, which means Democrats might've been slightly oversampled. Overall, the fact that Bell is only gettin 18% in his own polls is bad news for him.

Can you think of another time when a major party candidate would release his own poll showing him at 18%? Yikes! I can't, although I bet Schlesinger in Connecticut would love to.

A week ago, the candidates agreed on a four-way Strayhorn, Perry, Friedman, and Bell debate. Strayhorn criticized Perry for the debate being the night before the Red River Shootout between UT and OU.

Other quick gubernatorial stuff before I head out the door for a soccer game
Perry attacked Strayhorn several times this week on ethics. He attacked her for a contract her office gave her brother's law firm, as well as a $130M refund her office gave Texas Instruments (and that will wreck the budgets of several small cities). Personally, I found this part odd:

Sanders said this week that Strayhorn didn't even know about the Texas Instruments refund — which represents about a tenth of $1.4 billion refunded annually — until she read about it in a newsletter.

"The decisions (about the refund) were made by her staff," Sanders said.

Comptroller Strayhorn didn't sign off on a $130M tax refund? That seems like the sort of thing that should be approved by a Comptroller. Odd.

Meanwhile, Strayhorn called Perry the "most ethically challenged governor" and is probably the source/instigation behind the articles around the state (example here) which mention governmental appointments given to some of Perry's biggest contributors.

Meanwhile, Friedman offered an energy plan.

And I am now late for my soccer game.

Posted by Evan @ 08/18/06 03:41 PM


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