The election in HD134

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I live in House District 134. Despite having a Democratic rep for two terms, the district swung Republican in 2010 and was gerrymandered in the following year’s legislative session to become something of a Republican stronghold. Sarah Davis, the Republican incumbent, defeated her Democratic opponent by 10 points in 2012 as opposed to less than 1 point in 2010.

Accordingly, I have felt it to be less-than-newsworthy to bring up that a Democratic named Alison Ruff has signed up to challenge Davis in the 2014 election, given she has not created a website, Facebook page or Twitter account at press time. Charles Kuffner has met —and been impressed by— her, though I cannot say that I have done the same. Given that I am in a Boston dormroom (for now), lacking an online presence assures one will not interact with me.

I have no doubt that Ms Ruff is a qualified and impressive candidate, just as Ann Johnson was last year, but that does not change the demographics and politics of the heavily gerrymandered district. It will be a cold day in hell before a Democrat wins in HD134 as currently configured. The real news, therefore, is in the Republican primary, which (like most other contests in Texas) is tantamount to election nowadays. The primary will be competitive this year.

David Jennings at Big Jolly Politics reports that Bonnie Parker, a former schoolteacher, will challenge Rep. Davis in next year’s Republican primary. The astute will recall that Davis was the only Republican –in the House or the Senate– to vote against HB2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill. Parker, of course, will be attacking Davis from the right. Coming out the gate swinging, Parker’s press release began with “Bonnie Parker is the Pro-Life candidate,” and continued to berate will for being allegedly insincerely conservative on the abortion issue.

Parker, of course, ran in the primary against Davis in 2010, when the Republicans did not hold the seat. Davis ultimately out-edged her 55-45. And Davis has a track record of bipartisanship and pragmatism on issues other than abortion. In the regular session, she lead the charge with Democrats to preserve funding for women’s health programs, and even “pledged her full support” for gay rights while headlining an LGBT event. Those two actions earned Rep. Davis a spot on Texpatriate‘s list of best legislators, before she even stood up for Texas women in the summer.

HD 134 is a fiscally conservative district, though, not a socially conservative one. The Republicans in the district, which encompasses Bellaire, West U and other surrounding areas– is the quintessence of nouveau riche country club Republicans, who are mostly non-religious and pro-choice. Therefore, I would imagine that many naive Democrats will recommend that those left-of-centre root for Parker to win the primary, in order for he Democrats to be competitive in the general election.

I have heard this argument too many times to count, and it has never worked out well for the Democrats. Whether this has been the Rick Perry/Kay Bailey Hutchison primary or the Ted Cruz/David Dewhurst primary, the only result has been more and more conservative Republicans.

Sarah Davis is a good Republican –one of the only ones left– and I would regret seeing her ride off into the night, politically speaking.

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2 thoughts on “The election in HD134

  1. Pingback: How to assess the odds in HD134 – Off the Kuff

  2. You’re right about the election in HD 134 being on primary day. But gerrymandered ? The Democrats have a long history of using gerrymandering and even the Voting Rights Act for their own advantage (and to elect mostly white democrats). In 2011, the Act mandated that an adjacent heavily Republican House district be dismantled. Just wiped off the map. Those voters were split between 3 adjacent Republican districts, including Sarah Davis’ district. The dismantled district – formerly held by Beverly Wooley – was so Republican that the disbursement of its voters benefited all 3 Republicans. The irony is that if the interpretation of the Voting Rights Act were not so extreme, more than one of those three Republican seats would have fallen in 2012, likely more than one minority would have been elected as a result and the ensuring elections in all three districts would be much more competitive for the next decade.

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