Governor Perry faces obstacles, well…maybe

Perry would lose a primary against Abbott. Unfortunately, Abbott isn’t running.

Somehow, when I wrote about the PPP poll in re Cornyn yesterday, I overlooked that there is a concurrent poll about the Governor, including the holy numbers on a GOP primary. My wishes have been granted! PPP has Bill White beating Perry in a hypothetical head-to-head, and has Castro within striking distance. Further, the mythical GOP primary poll shows Perry & Abbott virtually tied.

Full results:
Rick Perry approval rating: 41% (approve) to 54% (disapprove)
Greg Abbott approval rating: 33% (approve) to 24% (disapprove)
Should Perry run in 2014?: 31% (yes) to 62% (no)
Should Perry run in 2016?: 14% (yes) to 79% (no)

Perry vs. Someone else (in GOP primary): 41% (Perry) to 47% (someone else)
Perry vs. Abbott: 41% (Perry) to 38% (Abbott)

Perry vs. Castro: 47% (Perry) to 42% (Castro)
Perry vs. Davis: 47% (Perry) to 41% (Davis)
Perry vs. Parker: 47% (Perry) to 40% (Parker)
Perry vs. White: 44% (Perry) to 47% (White)
Abbott vs. Castro: 46% (Abbott) to 36% (Castro)
Abbott vs. Davis: 46% (Abbott) to 34% (Davis)
Abbott vs. Parker: 47% (Abbott) to 35% (Parker)
Abbott vs. White: 46% (Abbott) to 39% (White)

As the poll discussion mentions, if Abbott is the nominee, we don’t even have a contest. If Perry is the nominee, he’ll probably still win, but it might be competitive. Last night, I talked about how unfeasible it was for any of the “possible Democrats” to actually run. Anyways, there is some real news to report on this afternoon.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Governor is going around telling people Abbott won’t run against him, but nobody has actually talking to the AG about this thus far. I guess we can disregard the Abbott polls, then. Strange indeed. As I have said before, even though I am a yellow dog Democrat, I would have gladly donated money to Abbott’s primary campaign for the simple reason that he isn’t Rick Perry. It is thoroughly disappointing that Perry won’t have to be sweating in a primary this time next year.

Off the Kuff has more about the gubernatorial poll.

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White leads possible challengers against Cornyn

Public Policy Polling, the Democratic-aligned polling firm that has been notoriously accurate recently, has put out a new report on the state of the 2014 Senate election in Texas. Senator John Cornyn leads his four hypothetical opponents: Julian Castro, Wendy Davis, Annise Parker, and Bill White by good margins. The poll showed that Cornyn is not popular nor unpopular, but still relatively unknown, although Texas is still a solidly Republican state. I’m going to break down the results below.

Obama approval rating–47% (approve) to 51% (disapprove)
Cornyn approval rating–34% (approve) to 30% (disapprove)
Castro approval rating–29% (approve) to 24% (disapprove)
Davis approval rating–15% (approve) to 19% (disapprove)
Parker approval rating–16% (approve) to 17% (disapprove)
White approval rating–34% (approve) to 24% (disapprove)
NRA approval rating–46% (approve) to 40% (disapprove)
Obama impeachment approval–39% (pro-impeach) to 50% (anti-impeach)
Obama or NRA: trust in re guns–43% (Obama) to 47% (NRA)
Banning assault weapons–49% (support) to 41% (oppose)
Police officers in schools–47% (support) to 39% (oppose)
Arming teachers–31% (support) to 56% (oppose)

Cornyn vs. Castro–48% (Cornyn) to 41% (Castro)
Cornyn vs. Davis–48% (Cornyn) to 37% (Davis)
Cornyn vs. Parker–47% (Cornyn) to 36% (Parker)
Cornyn vs. White–45% (Cornyn) to 42% (White)

How it is possible that a majority of Texans support the President’s gun control measures, yet almost 40% support his impeachment (for what?), I will never know. Otherwise, it seems the President’s approval ratings have seen a bounce in Texas for his second inauguration.

I have a few comments about this poll. First, it seems sad that, in all likelihood, none of the Democrats mentioned will run. Second, 2014 is still a LONG ways out, and I seem to recall 2009 polls once upon a time that said Rick Perry was dead in the water. But that’s a whole other story. Third, this poll didn’t seem to measure what I am truly curious about: the GOP primary for the seat (because, in all honesty, that is the only possible way the seat would change hands next year).

Castro has already disavowed any 2014 plans, plain and simple. Davis will be doing something else next year: running for re-election. Parker, as I discussed a million years ago, would most likely not bother with a Statewide, and it is, in my opinion, far more feasible for her to run for Congress. White has been hiding under a cave or something for the last three years, so he is sort of a non-starter in the discussion.

Also, these things are a ways off, and thus, through no fault of the polling house, are unreliable. I recall a 2011 PPP poll which had Cruz trailing, and a June 2010 PPP poll had White & Perry tied. Twenty-two months is an eternity in politics, so a lot will change.

Finally, I was disappointed by how the Republican primary was not discussed. Just as how Cruz came out of nowhere to snatch up a nomination that was, in the eyes of the establishment, Dewhurst’s for the taking, I would not be surprised if a Tea Party like challenged Cornyn in the spring next year. Personally, I’d love to see John Cornyn have to battle someone as reality impaired in a primary as Steve Stockman, but he would make Senator Cruz look sane if he won.

Bottom line, the Democrats need to find a candidate for the Senate. I nominate Tommy Lee Jones. Seriously.

In re Benghazi

From The Justice:

Last Wednesday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before a Congressional Investigation Committee related to the September 2012 attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador. She was grilled by the Republicans on the committee, most notably Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, for, in their eyes, being negligent and culpable for the attacks. Such an utterance is low and underscores the blatant disrespect the Republican Party has for this administration.

On Sep. 11, 2012, Islamic militants, who have allegedly been linked with al-qaeda, attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing the four Americans. The attacks occurred in the midst of a plethora of protests across the Middle East over an inflammatory anti-Muslim video spreading over YouTube. Thus, the administration, which had been caught off-guard by the attack, falsely initially reported  that the attacks were a result of these demonstrations. Further analysis, however, proved this untrue. While President Obama did call the attack an “act of terror” the next day, Republicans are correct that his administration was scrambling for answers in the days following the attack.

However, this immediate response of the administration should not really matter. The fact is the United States was attacked by terrorists, like it has been dozens of times in the past. When the United States embassy in Beirut was bombed in 1983, resulting in the deaths of 14 Americans, Democratic leaders did not immediately start clamoring that President Reagan had maliciously caused the attack, or that Secretary of State George Schultz was somehow culpable. Indeed, when individual Democrats attempted to hold the administration personally liable for such attacks, they were roundly criticized by their party.

Historically, when the United States is attacked, the nation comes together, in an effort to heal the wounds and work with one another to find answers.

Divisive politics is usually put aside during such issues. The Republican Party has sunk to a new low by exploiting this tragedy for political gains, especially as they keep harping upon it. Instead of working together to see what had happened and trying to prevent other tragedies, the Republicans have been insistently trying to simply assign blame and point fingers.

Secretary Clinton, in her testimony, summed up her articulate position responding to Senator Johnson in saying, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.” Indeed, the Beirut embassy bombing under Reagan’s tenure, nor the bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi in 1998, in which 12 Americans and over 200 Kenyans were killed, did not even draw this stiff of a punitive congressional investigation.

A cursory Google search will reveal the true strategy of the Republicans: not to get to the bottom of this investigation, but to disparage and impeach a President they hate. In September, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a regular contributor on Fox News, even compared the Benghazi attacks to Watergate and insisted that President Obama should be removed from office.

Though it is true that inquiries and investigations must take place after terrorists attacks and other national tragedies, this is not what Congressional Republicans are doing. Rather than simply trying to get to the bottom of what happened, Republicans are simply looking for someone to assign blame. They want to hold President Obama and Secretary Clinton responsible for the attacks and play the blame game with national tragedies.

I was appalled by many fellow liberals who argued that President George W. Bush let 9/11 happen, or some variation thereof.

Exploiting tragedies, especially deadly ones, for political purposes is morally reprehensible. However, the difference was that Democrats who insinuated the Bush administration was negligent over 9/11 were unequivocally castigated by the leaders of their party. While the president and his or her administration surely have a responsibility to protect the nation’s citizens working abroad, failures on this account are not the result of negligence.

Instead of playing petty politics with this somber, sobering issue, the Republican Party should use it for a brief showing of bona fide bipartisanship, working together to not only find the culprits and bring them to justice, but to increase and strengthen embassy security, to make sure a tragedy like this will not be repeated any time soon. Senator Paul may believe that Secretary Clinton deserved to be terminated following the attacks, but she is no more responsible or liable for these attacks as former Secretary of State Colin Powell was for 9/11—that is, not at all.

Only by coming together and not assigning blame for tragedies can we move past them.

Garcia leads going into runoff

As expected, Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado advanced into a runoff for the Special Election in SD06. Garcia led, with 45% of the vote, as Alvarado followed with about 42%. The other candidates, led by Bray, gathered up a combined 13% of the vote. Something I noticed was how Garcia started very, very strong, but faded towards the end.

Direct link to election results is located here.

Garcia took in a majority in Absentee votes, and a more impressive 47% in the nearly half of voters who showed up early. However, among those who voted on election day, both candidates took in 41%, with Alvarado beating out Garcia by a few votes. However, the real headline, in my opinion, is that turnout stood at about FIVE PERCENT. That is literally sad. Off the Kuff seemed to think that more people would vote in the runoff, my two-cents is that it would be pretty hard for any fewer people to vote.

Speaking of the runoff, we still have absolutely no idea when it will take place. Kuff said something about “between now and March 16.” When you get to special election runoffs, the turnout is so low, that it is all about who just shows up to the polls. Alvarado is still very much still in play.

Poll day

All those lucky citizens in SD06, make sure to hit the polls today! The special election to succeed the late-Senator Gallegos is now underway. I believe the polls close at 7PM, so I will be posting some live results as they filter in. So, without further ado, one final look at the candidates.

Carol Alvarado
Endorsed by Senator Gallegos on his deathbed, as well as the late-Senator’s widow, Alvarado, a State Representative and former City Councilmember, has the backing of much of the Hispanic establishment, including Councilmember James Rodriguez.

Sylvia Garcia
Endorsed by Mayor Parker and State Rep. Jessica Farrar, Garcia, a former County Commissioner, City Controller, and Judge, is the favorite of most City Hall aficionados.

R.W. Bray
The Republican in the race. Also the Republican who lost in November. Now, I know SD06 is really liberal, and it made sense to posthumously elect Gallegos so that there would be a special election, but losing an election to a dead person just destroys your political reputation.

Now, I live in SD17, so I don’t have to vote in this race, thus, I am not endorsing. I don’t especially care which Democrat wins this seat, I just like to watch the game. I suppose, then, you could say this is like the Superbowl for me this year.

Castro to run for re-election

Not much of a surprise to the astute, but Julian Castro recently revealed on his Facebook page that he would, indeed, seek a third term as Mayor of San Antonio later this year.

The San Antonio Express-News quickly picked up the story. Castro is planning a full-scale campaign kickoff on February 2nd, and has yet to see any viable opponents emerge for his re-election bid. Other sources have seemed to insinuate that this is somehow monumental news, so I have a few things to say.

First, nobody really expected anything other than Castro running again. Even if he was going to run in 2014, he would have still wanted to run for another term as Mayor so he wouldn’t be unemployed if he lost. Castro has made many comments along the lines of “I’ll be doing this [mayor of s.a.] until 2017,” so I really don’t understand how this is significant news, as The Huffington Post may insinuate.

Second, Castro is absolutely in the right by not wanting to waste his “statewide virginity” on such a hopeless year as 2014. He would be very smart to delay his unveiling on the gubernatorial campaign stage to 2018, not only so he wouldn’t be running against Governor Perry and his slimy tactics, but so the demographics are much more favorable to him. Castro isn’t even 40 yet, so he has plenty of time.

Not that this blog has any fans in San Antonio, but this may provide an impetus to start writing about their municipals (which are approaching very very quickly).

Senatorial short-straw

The State Senate draw lots yesterday, to see who would have to run in 2014. Wendy Davis WILL  be running then  (this is awful, awful, awful news–but more on that later), along with, among others, Joan Huffman, Dan Patrick, Kirk Watson, and John Whitmire. Among the Senators drawn for four-year terms, was the “future officeholder in SD06.”

Patrick, Watson, & Whitmire are so safe in their re-election bids, it is a waste of breath to even talk about. The DeLay gerrymandering has left only 1 swing district in the entire chamber, for all intent and purposes.

Now, Huffman is safe too, but I would like to talk about the 2014 election in SD17 for a little while here. The sorry Harris County Democrats failed to run a SINGLE candidate against her in either 2010 or 2012. Now, unfortunately, the minimum age to run for the Texas Senate is 26, otherwise I would offer up my own candidacy in the event that no other Democrats run. Thus, I will be dedicating a portion of my time in the next year drafting a candidate to compete against Huffman. If we are actually serious about turning Texas blue, someone actually has to sign their name on the damn dotted line to run against the Republicans.

Lastly, we come to Davis. Wendy Davis, arguably, represents the only swing district in the State. She just inched by in 2012, an overall great year for Democrats. Odds are, 2014 will not be as good of a year (people don’t get off their butts and vote in midterm elections), so she faces an uphill climb towards re-election. This also throws the prospect of her running for a Statewide office up in the air. However, it may the best the course of action to go out with a bang, especially if 2014 looks bleak for Democrats as we approach it.