Democratic runoffs

Once again, I cannot really say that I was surprised by either of the results in these elections. Unsurprisingly, David Alameel defeated Kesha Rogers to earn the Democratic nomination for the US Senate. In a little more of an upset, Jim Hogan beat Kinky Friedman to be nominated Agriculture Commissioner. Alameel got upwards of 70% of the vote, while Hogan was merely in the low 50s.

I hate to even talk about these contests at too much length, given how futile it all is. Talking about squabbles in downballot Statewide Democratic primaries is a little bit like talking up your High School student government’s internal politics to a public audience. That is, nobody gives a damn. If David Alameel breaks 40%, I will be honestly surprised, and if Jim Hogan gets over 33% it would honestly be a miracle. While Wendy Davis (Governor), Leticia Van de Putte (Lt Governor) or even Sam Houston (Attorney General) and Mike Collier (Comptroller) all have some meager semblance of a chance in November, I simply do not see the same being said for these two candidates. With all that being said, let us look at the county-by-county results. I have attached the two obligatory charts on the matter.

Click here to see the charts!

Other GOP runoffs

As I previously noted in my Dan Patrick analysis, there were three other Statewide GOP primary runoffs last night.  Ken Paxton defeated Dan Branch for Attorney General, Sid Miller defeated Tommy Merritt for Agriculture Commissioner and Ryan Sitton defeated Wayne Christian for Railroad Commissioner. In the former two contests, the clearly denoted “Tea Party” candidate defeated the “Moderate establishment” pick, whereas the latter race was significantly more nuanced. While Christian has a history in public office of using loud and obstreperous right-wing noise to the detriment of actual policy, Sitton also campaigned heavily on right-wing issues. For example, his campaign commercials discussed immigration policy, taking a hard stand on undocumented immigration, despite that it has little to do with the office of Railroad Commissioner, which regulates the oil and gas industries.

Specifically in the Attorney General’s race, Paxton won in yet another blowout, winning almost every county in the State, save a few in the Valley and along the Edwards plateau. The issue with Paxton is a novel one, as he has received no shortage of bad publicity this campaign cycle for some shady dealings. Paul Burka at Texas Monthly lamented Paxton in particular as both a “know-nothing” and someone likely to be convicted of a felony and disbarred. What a wonderful candidate for Attorney General.

Click here for the three obligatory charts!

In re Dan Patrick

Last night, I attended the “victory party” for the David Dewhurst campaign. As one may have expect, the affair for the Lieutenant Governor was rather somber as a result of his crushing defeat at the hands of State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County), who usurped the nomination away from the three-term incumbent. In other news from around the State, State Senator Ken Paxton (R-Collin County) defeated State Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas County) to win the GOP nomination for Attorney General and former State Representative Sid Miller (R-Erath County) defeated former State Representative Tommy Merritt (R-Gregg County) to win the GOP nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. Ryan Sitton also won the Republican primary runoff for the Railroad Commission, besting former State Representative Wayne Christian (R-Shelby County). All in all, it was a fantastic night for the Tea Party in an election cycle where they are losing all over the rest of the country.

Whenever I go to an election watch party, I invariably attempt to befriend the younger faces, out of familiarity I suppose. As a fun aside, this was the first election where some of those “younger faces” were actually younger than me, but that is neither here nor there. What stuck out to me was the degree of hatred pointed toward Patrick that many held. Most everyone I talked to pledged to not vote for Dan Patrick in the fall, with many of them willing to thrust eager support behind State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

“It doesn’t matter anyways, Texas will be a blue state in 10 years,” one of them even said. I was shocked at how many of his compatriots appeared to tacitly agree with such a viewpoint, long the immaculate bread and butter of Democratic politics. You know my opinion on this subject, however. It is going to get worse before it is going to get better, and last night was yet another huge step backwards.

Click here to see my obligatory charts!

Memorial Day

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My grandfather served in World War II, being part of a unit that landed on Omaha Beach and suffered very heavy losses. His two brothers also fought, serving in the South Pacific and fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal. However, this holiday is not about them; they all survived the war.  Memorial Day is about those who give the ultimate sacrifice –their life– in the service of their country. It is about the men who served as the namesake for my father and, by extension, my nephew. My grandfather had multiple friends in the service named James, all of whom died when their company scaled the gigantic cliffs at the end of the Normandy beachhead.

The holiday is also about more than those who died on the battlefield. Those who return home with untreated ailments that prove ultimately fatal should be memorialized as well, just as vigorously. These include physical ailments, such as lymphoma from exposure to Agent Orange, and mental ailments, such as post traumatic stress order shell shock from traumatic experiences that often leads to suicide. The rate of suicide among recent veterans has jumped 44% in recent years alone, being one of the biggest unaddressed issues facing today’s veterans.

This is only compounded by the recent scandal at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Forget about assigning winners and losers, or ascribing blame. How about, just today, our top priority be to lessen the suffering of those who have put everything on the line for the good of their countrymen. Veterans should transcend the politics behind wars; they are the brave young men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for country. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a supporter of the Iraq War in any way, shape or form, but believe that the veterans created by that conflict should be taken care of as one of our biggest national priorities. Those who lost their lives in the conflict should be revered as strongly as any other serviceman.

Click here to read more, including today’s relevance for tomorrow!

In re Open Carry

This has been getting some major press coverage recently, though it does not especially involve an ongoing political dispute. The point of open carry is that proponents want to be allowed to carry their handguns exposed on their hips wherever they go. To illustrate this point, many of these types have taken their big, clunky semiautomatic weapons into restaurants and other establishments (this type of open carry is currently legal in Texas).

State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic nominee for Governor, has absurdly come out in favor of open carry, as has Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Governor. That being said, the issue I want to hone in on, open carry of long guns such as the firearms pictured above, has long been legal in this State.

These firearm enthusiasts, to say the least, have now been making a habit of taking their heavily weaponry into private businesses and blowing their tops (figuratively, of course) when denied service. Chipolte and Jack in the Box, specifically, have seen the highest profile incidents. Now, Chipolte is firing back by publicly announcing these long guns are no longer welcome.

Click here to read more!

Voting recap

 

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Photo courtesy of Greg Enos, Esq.

Yesterday, I went to early vote at West Gray, in the heart of Montrose. I ran into Alicia Franklin and Tonya McLaughlin, two Republicans running in primary runoffs for judicial elections; both have been Texpatriate-endorsed. Unfortunately, I could not vote for either of these well-qualified candidates, as I had voted in the preliminary Democratic primary and thus was required to vote in the Democratic runoff.

Accordingly, I voted for David Alameel in the US Senate runoff and Kinky Friedman in the Agriculture Commissioner runoff. I got the feeling that I may have been the first Democrat to vote there all day. Considering that there was not a single sign for a Democratic candidate, perhaps I was not too far off, though I did hear that representatives of the Houston GLBT Caucus were present today handing out their slate card (consisting of the single endorsement of Alameel).

Click here to read about the phantom Pratt signs!

Duncan leaves the Senate

The Texas Tribune reports that State Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock County) will be resigning from the Senate in order to become the next Chancellor of Texas Tech. Admittedly, I heard a rumor about this a couple of months ago and utterly refused to accept it until I saw it confirmed. I do not especially care about the wonky higher education implications of this, and considering that I do not even talk about the (albeit fascinating) inside politics at the UT system on this publication, I will not bore you with the Ivory Tower tales from Lubbock, Texas (Editorial note: Carl, this is not elitist against your alma matter, it is a general comment that details of inner squabbles with universities, even involving my own college, are not meant to be published here).

Rather, I think the implications of someone like Duncan leaving the Texas Senate are quite significant for two key reasons. First, Duncan is definitely one of the most noble Senators in the upper chamber, and likely the most noble among Republicans. Avid followers of the chamber will surely remember Duncan for his kindness, integrity and all around good graces toward those on both sides of the aisle. However, much more pressing is that he was a foe to ideologues and partisan-over-policy attitudes, especially those in the Tea Party and other fringes of the right wing. In fact, early this year, Duncan strongly repudiated the so-called “race to the right,” a move that garnered him some positive press from an op-ed of mine in The Daily Texan.

But the Senate is losing much more than a moderate, click here to find out what!