Guv update 10/5

The Houston Chronicle, in the only gubernatorial news of the day, notes that Wendy Davis & the Texas Democratic Party will be campaigning at full throttle to turn out Latino Democrats from the southern Rio Grande Valley in the 2014 election.

The articles goes onto list two main, though distinct, priorities for Democrats in the valley. Admirably enough, these do not necessarily have much to do with gubernatorial election as much as they are simply systemic of a greater cause for the Democrats in this State.

First, the Chronicle notes that Nueces County, the home of Corpus Christi, really needs to turn blue once and for all. The county has long been on the fences, but swung very heavily to the right in the 2010 election. The result is having Blake Farenthold —this joker— representing the area in Congress. The county is 61% Hispanic, but is still dominated by Tea Party zealots. This is the future of Texas we are all looking at 30 years down the line, absent some big work. No matter what the demographic dividends have in store for us, if Democratic voters are too lazy to cast a darn ballot, nothing will get better. In fact, in the short term, it will probably get worse.

That is why the news of hearing that Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and the Texas Democratic Party have hired two full-term field operators for the valley, including one specifically for Nueces County. Additionally, Battleground Texas will begin investing some serious time and money into the area.

The other aspect of this strategy, which I am ecstatic about, is working to increase the margins in already blue counties in the valley. While the governments and local representatives in counties such as Cameron (Brownsville), Hidalgo (McAllen) and Webb (Laredo) are already dominated by Democrats, it would help immensely if they won by greater margins. This is because Democrats statewide would be given a boost.

The news is yet another item that gives me a tiny flicker of hope about 2014. It will be a competitive election, to say the least.

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In re Redistricting Hearing

Last Saturday, I attended the Senate Redistricting Hearing. Perhaps something of a misnomer, the committee was not only considering the approval of Senate district maps, but also both the State House and U.S. House district maps. The Congressional maps were by far the most contentious, and the one I testified on.

The ratio of supporters to opponents of these interim, court-ordered plans was roughly 1-to-9. The vast majority of those who spoke did so critically, challenging the allegedly discriminatory elements of the map.

The most controversial aspects of the plan, and those two which I personally testified upon, were the butchering of Lloyd Doggett’s district and the horrendous gerrymandering of Blake Farenthold’s district such that he could remain in office.

Among the politicians I saw at this hearing, besides those on the Committee, were Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, Ronald Green, Mike Sullivan, Gene Wu and Larry Green. Numerous candidates were also in attendance.

My opinion on all this is that it will mean zilch when all is said and done. The Republican majority in both Houses of the legislature enjoy the current situation, which obviously benefits the GOP. Perhaps they are motivated by racism, but that isn’t important, because the Supreme Court will probably kill off the Voting Rights Act in the next couple days.