The Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor perplexes us in a way most other races do not. Simply put, we find both candidates to be extraordinarily hypocritical. A demagogue and a grandstander, the options for voters are not especially good this cycle. However, at the end of the day, we find that Dewhurst’s sane record of accomplished public service, no matter how much he may eschew it now, is superior to Patrick’s always unpredictable and often untested history.
A non-ideological technocrat and policy wonk at heart, Dewhurst has an impressive track record of competently leading the State in part. As many may recall, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas has often been called the State’s most powerful officer because it commands unencumbered powers over the State Senate. The Lieutenant Governor names committee chairs, and then decides which bills go to which committee. In summation, he chooses whether a bill lives or dies. Of course, this relationship with the Senate is a symbiotic one, which can largely be taken away by an unhappy Senate. Accordingly, a strong but respectful Lieutenant Governor is needed to maintain the integrity of that body.
We simply do not think Patrick fulfills that requirement, particularly the “respectful” part. He has made no shortage of enemies (mostly within his own party) following his brief sojourn in the chamber, fellow Senators who will be invaluable for a smooth stewardship of the Senate.
Click here to read our full endorsement!
Public Policy Poling has another poll out today that examines the horse-race in the Statewide elections, the first of its kind from PPP following last month’s primary. In short, the Democrats have a lot of work to do, with huge deficits for Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, David Alameel and John Cook, among others. Just from a cursory review of the recent pollsters and evaluations, I am prepared to say that, in some ways, 2014 will be a worse year for Texas Democrats than 2010 was, ceteris paribus.
The last time PPP created one of those polls, it put State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic nominee for Governor, 15 points down against Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate (ABBOTT 51, DAVIS 37). In the five months since, a whole lot has happened of consequence. First, there was the whole “Trailergate” thing, then deeper questions about the competence of Davis’ campaign. However, starting about six weeks ago, a funny thing happened. Abbott began stumbling unprovoked, first with the Ted Nugent scandal then with a flareup over Equal Pay. In recent days, the controversy has centered on the fact that Abbott’s education plan not only aims to extend standardized testing to four-year olds, but also relied upon the commentary of a Charles Murray, once cited as a white supremacist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Seriously.
Click here to read more poll results (spoiler: they’re all bad)!
Patricia Kilday Hart at the Houston Chronicle expands upon an issue I lightly touched upon last week: if and how Dan Patrick and recent primaries might move the general temperament of the upper chamber significantly to the right. Specifically, she noted at least three examples of those Republicans most amenable to maintaining the current balance of order in the chamber.
As I have expanded upon in the aforementioned previous post, the venerable 2/3rds rule in the Senate has been incessantly under attack by both State Senator Dan Patrick or Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. I wrote about this issue at length in The Daily Texan, but the gist of the matter is that some of the Republican top brass want to make the Democratic minority powerless to stop the proposals of the Republican majority. This would run hand-in-hand with the oft-controversial Patrick taking the helm of power as Lieutenant Governor, which also serves as President of the Senate. However, as I mentioned in my other article (which, I insist, you should really read), a majority of the Senate may strip the Lieutenant Governor of his power. This majority (16 Senators) would require 5 Republicans join with the Democrat caucus, assuming Wendy Davis’ seat falls into Republican hands.
Click here to read more!
Let us assume that Dan Patrick wins the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Further, let us assume that –no matter what the Washington Post may say– Patrick wins the general election. What, then, will become of our Texas? Liberals are preaching about a tentative apocalypse that may occur if Patrick takes the dais at the Senate. Tea Partiers are giddy at the prospect of having one of their own in office.
This leads us to examine just what would, in fact, happen if (when) Patrick is inaugurated into office at the commencement of the 84th Legislature in January 2015. An article in the San Antonio Express-News begins to answer that question, but stops shy of the pronouncement I will go on to say. Simply put, the article notes the continuing hostility between Patrick and many of the Republican members of the State Senate. In my opinion, the article focuses too much on the prospect of what the Senate majority would do if State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), the Democratic nominee, is elected, given how quixotic that proposition could be. Instead, I would like to focus on how the Senate majority may react to the –far more likely– result of Dan Patrick being elected Lieutenant Governor.
The Texas Tribune reports that the two losing candidates in the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, have some choice words about the fellow candidates who ascended into a runoff election. Both, of course, have previously stated that they are not fans of State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County), the Tea Party firebrand who finished with a clear advantage in the preliminary election.
Staples said that he would not be endorsing anyone in the runoff, though his previous statements have surely been much more critical of Patrick than incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who is in the runoff with Patrick. These comments come amid a shadow campaign that is in the works to compel Dewhurst to drop out ahead of a deadline tomorrow to remove one’s name from the runoff ballot. Similar efforts are afoot to get State Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas County), the second place candidate in the Republican primary for Attorney General, to step aside. They have already been successful efforts dissuading State Representative Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerr County), the second place candidate in the Republican primary for Comptroller, from continuing in the runoff election.
Click here to read what Patterson said of his opponents!
The runoff was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, with State Senator Dan Patrick outperforming incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst 2-to-1 in the preliminary Republican primary for the post. The two will advance to a May runoff election, eliminating both Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Most political prognosticators (including, unfortunately, myself) thought the roles would be largely reversed, with Dewhurst receiving 40%+ and Patrick holding about a twenty point deficit.
Further, the Texas Tribune reports on a developing story surrounding pressures placed on second-place candidates to drop out, thus eliminating the need for a runoff election. The effort has already been successful on one front, with State Representative Harvey Hilderbran dropping out in his bid for Comptroller, thus assuring victory to the huge frontrunner, State Senator Glenn Hegar. Similarly, on the Lieutenant Governor’s side, Dewhurst has some huge ground he must make up if he actually plans on remaining competitive. Finishing with barely over 20% of the vote in a race for re-election is a very pitiful end of a political career, but his possible fate in the runoff could spell even more misery.
Click here to view another map!
Just to sum up the results for those of y’all who have not been paying much attention to things, I will recap some of the big things that have happened. First, the expected winners were, by and large, the winners on Tuesday night in Statewide elections. Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis won their respective bids for Governor, John Cornyn easily beat back challengers for another nomination to the Senate, George P. Bush got the GOP nod for Land Commissioner and Stephen Brown got the Democrat nod for Railroad Commissioner. All three incumbent Supreme Court Justices who saw right-wing primary opponent were able to easily prevail.
In a few other races, the expected result happened, but in a very different manner. This was largely due to the fact that the Texas Tribune poll released about a week ago was total garbage. It was not worth the fictional paper it wasn’t printed on, to quote a friend. In these races, David Alameel and Kesha Rogers indeed will proceed into a runoff for the US Senate Democrat primary, as will David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick for the Lieutenant Governor Republican primary. However, the Tribune poll seriously miscalculated who would come in first and by how much. Instead of Rogers holding a commanding plurality lead, she hovered near 20% while Alameel was just a few perilous points so close to winning outright. Instead of the preconceived notion that Dewhurst would receive 40-something percent compared to Patrick’s 20-something, the roles were reversed.
Click here to read more!
Longtime readers of this blog will recall that I am not much for predictions. Well, to be fair, I used to predict things all the time, but I was notoriously wrong too many times to count. Accordingly, in an effort to save face, I will not field my own electoral predictions, which are only slightly less reliable than the Tribune polls.
Rather, I want to note what I am looking for and what I am hoping for; admittedly, they are nearly mutual exclusive categories. Within those categories, I would like to look most specifically at both the Republican & Democratic primaries, as well as both Statewide races and those in Harris County. Within these four categories, there are quite a few overlapping key points, however.
1. HOW BIG IS THE STUPID VOTE?
This is one for the Democratic primary. I am using the official academic term, of course, to describe these so-called stupid voters. They are the voters who will cast their lots for Kesha Rogers (US Senate), Lloyd Wayne Oliver (District Attorney) and Lori Gray (115th District Court), in that order. Albeit, plenty of otherwise unintelligent voters may coincidentally vote for the non-egregious candidates, but there is no way to discern them from Adam.
Click here to read all my other points!
In the early 1980s, an undocumented immigrant named Mike Andrade began working at a Houston sports bar owned by local businessman Dan Patrick. Andrade said his new boss was kind and understanding regarding his legal status, and even offered to assist him in applying for permanent residency. After Andrade’s mother fell ill, Andrade said Patrick offered to smuggle him home and back for a visit.
Roughly three decades later, a lot has changed. The owner of that bar has become a member of the state Senate and is a leading candidate in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Arguably one of the most conservative politicians in the state, Patrick has employed viciously anti-immigrant tactics throughout his campaign. In both campaign commercials and the televised debate for the lieutenant governor candidates, he has not been shy about using the incendiary term “invasion” to describe migration from Latin America into this state.
However, Patrick is not the only individual whose last three decades should be scrutinized. What happened to Andrade, the undocumented immigrant working in Patrick’s bar? Andrade, who has now lived here for 34 years, became a naturalized citizen in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, he got married and had five children, the oldest of whom valiantly serves his country in the U.S. military. The rest of the Andrades live in a house in the suburbs of Houston. Perhaps it is just me, but that sounds a lot like the American dream, and it sounds like Andrade has become a model citizen.
PLEASE SEE THE REST OF THIS COLUMN IN THE DAILY TEXAN!
The Texas Tribune reports on a very comprehensive poll they conducted over just about every competitive primary in the State. The poll has a fairly substantial margin of error (upwards of 6% in the Democratic primary, specifically), so that is something to bear in mind when analyzing the results.
Simply put, the results paint a bad picture for the Democrats. Back at that time, Greg Abbott lead Wendy Davis by only five points; today, Abbott’s lead has grown to Eleven points. Other polls paint a similarly bleak picture for the Democrats, especially considering that these Texas Tribune polls have historically been overly generous to the Democratic candidate. Just a few days after that original Tribune poll, Public Policy Polling (a historically very accurate pollster) estimated Abbott’s lead at a whopping fifteen points. Accordingly, I am eager to see just how bad off the Democrats are doing when PPP releases its triannual February poll any day now.
Also of note here is that these polls were largely conducted before the Ted Nugent scandal really blew over regarding Greg Abbott’s campaign. Therefore, one could plausibly assert that this poll overvalues Davis’ problems emanating from “Trailergate” while simultaneously not taking to account Abbott’s recent woes. Among other issues with this poll was a misleading discrepancy between “registered” and “likely” voters. Additionally, the polls completely disregarded the portion of the electorate still undecided. I have recreated these polls with the undecideds built into the poll, as well as only taking note of the “registered” voters.
Click here for full results and graph!