Democrats have a knack for self-inflicted wounds. In an example equally humorous and sad, this year’s Democratic primary for the US Senate saw an enormously lousy candidate advance into a runoff for the nomination. Kesha Rogers, an activist with the cult of Lyndon LaRouche, garnered an appalling 22% of the vote. David Alameel, a dentist and businessman, received the far-and-away plurality of 47% despite spending countless dollars of his own money on the campaign. Our original choice in this race, Michael Fjetland, finished in dead last with less than 5% of the vote. Accordingly, we must field a new selection in this runoff.
To say that Rogers is crazy would be a gross understatement. She actively compares contemporary politicians with Nazis and has openly called for President Barack Obama’s execution for alleged treason. Indeed, the LaRouche cult openly professes support for strange conspiracies such as the belief of a nefarious British scheme to take over the world’s finances. Without any semblance of political experience, this board simply cannot find any good reason to acknowledge Roger’s campaign or give her any further publicity on this inane, strange campaign. If nominated, she would wreak havoc on the prospects of Democrats both up and down the ticket, setting the party back years in its quest to make competitive throughout the State.
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I am a little late to recognize this, but it was a very important event that deserves recognition nonetheless. Robert Strauss, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Convention and a truly larger than life figure for Texas Democrats, died on Tuesday at the age of 95. A product of rural Texas, Strauss attended UT and quickly befriended a fellow student named John Connolly. He, of course, would go on to serve as Governor in the 1960s, when Strauss served as a key adviser to both him and President Lyndon Johnson.
Beginning in 1972, Strauss served as the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. He continued to serve in that capacity until Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as President in 1977. In fact, for two of those years, fellow Texan George H.W. Bush served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, prompting Texas Monthly to run this cover in 1974.
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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.
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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.
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The Associated Press reports that Senator Ted Cruz, the quintessential Tea Party darling, has pointedly refused to explicitly endorse John Cornyn for re-election, or any other Senator for that matter. Cornyn, of course, faces strong tea party blowback for allegedly being insufficiently conservative. His half-dozen or so challengers in the Republican primary look as though they may force him into a runoff election, something Cornyn himself has even admitted has a reasonable chance of occurring.
The common denominator among many, if not most, of these candidates is that Cornyn has been disloyal to Cruz. They point to differing ideologues governing both the government shutdown and the debt ceiling showdown. Cornyn, as the number two Republican in the Senate, had to eventually be one of the grown-ups in the room on both occasions, and voted to both reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Neither or which were done with any preconditions, placing him squarely opposed to Cruz and in the cross-hairs of the Tea Party.
Oddly enough, Cruz’s comments consciously did not share any love for Congressman Steve Stockman –Cornyn’s biggest challenger– either. In fact, most respected Tea Party groups have publicly been distancing themselves from Stockman in recent days, many going as far as to “publicly disavow” him. Accordingly, it look like many individuals who otherwise have beefs with Cornyn would vote for him nonetheless in a hypothetical runoff mathcup against Stockman. This, even though many may have very well supported a third or fourth candidate –Dwayne Stovall, for example– in the preliminary primary.
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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!
Texpatriate has learned that Gravis Marketing commissioned a telephone poll 729 likely Republican primary voters and found a shocking result: Senator John Cornyn could be heading into a primary runoff against Rep. Steve Stockman, his most high-profile opponent. Senator Cornyn, the Senate Minority Whip (2nd highest ranking Republican), is seeking a third term in the upper chamber and has been challenged by a whole slew of candidates for allegedly being insufficiently conservative.
Specifically, Rep. Stockman has challenged Sen. Cornyn’s recent tepidness towards the idea of “Open Carry,” that is allowing otherwise capable CHL holders to furnish their handguns in plain sight. He has also been criticized for allegedly betraying the values of Texas’ other Senator, Ted Cruz. Particularly in the case of October’s government shutdown and this month’s kerfuffle over the debt ceiling, Sen. Cornyn was one of the Republicans who took the high road and vowed not to let the United States default on its debt. This made the hard-right (read: Rep. Stockman) livid, and fostered an odd primary, to say the least. Most people have assumed that Sen. Cornyn would be safe, but a new poll casts doubts on such predictions.
Click here to see the Poll Results!