Do I love or hate Jim Hogan?

Much ink has been spilled by this publication (Ok, so not really, since it’s all online) and many others on Jim Hogan,the enigmatic Democratic nominee for Agriculture Commissioner. As the astute will recall, Hogan rebuffed all campaigning ahead of the primary, lacking a website, a platform and –most importantly– the will to campaign. When asked about specifics, he would only offer broad platitudes that would mock the question-poser. Somehow, Hogan finished with a commanding plurality lead in the March primary, and advanced into a runoff with Kinky Friedman. The third candidate, Hugh Fitzsimons (inexplicably listed on the ballot as Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III) came in last place despite being the unanimous choice of the Democratic establishment. Goes to show how much their endorsement is worth. Hogan then creamed Friedman in the runoff.

Personally, I voted for Friedman twice, and Texpatriate endorsed him the second go-round. At that time, the editorial board lambasted Hogan as a wackadoodle not deserving of any support. “Because of an increasingly illogical hatred for Friedman, many in the aforementioned [Democratic] stablishment have taken to supporting Hogan as a type of sick joke,” we said. “They like to promulgate the oft-repeated cliche that, despite his history as a comedian, Friedman’s campaign is not funny. On the contrary, we think nominating an incompetent buffoon such as Hogan would be the worst joke of all.”

Yet, this sick joke has continued in serious fashion following Hogan’s victory in the runoff election. I saw it in full display at the State Democratic Convention last month, when many of my (regrettably younger) contemporaries talked up Hogan and lamented his absence therefrom. A couple of attempts at a cult following have been launched –a Tumblr and a Facebook page– but not have catered to anyone far enough out of the inside-baseball crowd to make a difference. The new stokes recently added to the ember are a Texas Observer piece that could generously be described as “ALL ABOUT HOGAN!”

The article itself is a fine piece of journalism; its author, Christopher Hooks, is undoubtedly a talented writer. But the piece of chock full of Hogan’s obnoxious one-liners and will surely cause “Hogan’s Heroes” to jump for joy at the prospect of their fabulous savior.

I suppose that the longwinded answer to the question posed in the headline is that I still dislike Hogan. Let’s be clear, he is a smug and sanctimonious man who gets off on receiving media attention for not wanting to receive media attention. Hogan is sort of like the girl from Junior High who is mean to you because she has a crush on you, to borrow a ridiculous metaphor.

My disgust with Hogan’s candidacy, then, presents me with a difficult quandary regarding the Agriculture Commissioner race. The Republican nominee is former State Representative Sid Miller (R-Erath County), a fiercely conservative politician whose biggest claim to fame was introducing the so-called “Sonograms-before-Abortions” bill in the Legislature. Supporting him is more-or-less out of question for me.

There is, to go down the line, a Libertarian candidate though, as well as a Green one. The Libertarian, Rocky Palmquist, has in Kinky-esque fashion endorsed the repeal of all laws against marijuana and hemp farming. Harkening back to Friedman, he even states on his Facebook page that “Hemp can and will be the new cotton for Texas!!” This appears to be his key distinguishing feature.

Kenneth Kendrick, meanwhile, is the Green nominee. Best known as the chief whistle-blower a few years ago when the Peanut Corporation of America was embroiled in a salmonella scandal, Kendrick appears to simply be cruising on that limited fame on the campaign trail instead of actually talking up real issues.

Ultimately, I think Hogan would be a decent Agriculture Commissioner if by some divine miracle he were elected. Hooks, who wrote the previously linked Observer article, quoted an old Louisianan adage that Miller will only lose this election if caught with “a dead girl or a live boy.” It might have to be worse than that. I could become a begrudging Hogan supporter, but for his smug attitude. If he were to acknowledge a need to play seriously, actually build a rudimentary website and accept other people’s help, much like Friedman did, I would gladly support him. But I cannot bring myself to support him otherwise. He makes a mockery out of the system, and further cheapens its value by proving –once again– that ANYONE can win an election and their uses are basically meaningless with an uneducated electorate.

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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!

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!

Bell endorses Friedman

Texpatriate reports that Chris Bell, a former Congressman and the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2006, has endorsed Kinky Friedman’s bid for Agirculture Commissioner. Longtime followers of politics will see the significance in this, as Friedman got his start running as an independent in that same year’s election. Many ill-informed Democrats blame him for Bell’s defeat in the four way contest, wherein Rick Perry was re-elected to the second full-term with a plurality victory of 39%.

Friedman, after his unsuccessful bid for Governor, ran once before for Agriculture Commissioner, always in the Democratic primary. In 2010, in a two-way race, he was soundly defeated by Hank Gilbert. This year, he faced both Hugh Fitzsimons and Jim Hogan in the primary. Fitzsimons, an actual rancher, was the unanimous choice of the elite establishment; he came in dead last and carried one county out of 254. Friedman advanced into a runoff, but so did Hogan, who has no website, no campaign and no respect for the office. Accordingly, it was stupid, to say the least, when I heard of many in this town talking of supporting Hogan over Friedman. Reasonable people, those guided by facts –and not ideology, dogma or revenge– would surely support the actual candidate in this race, as the editorial board of this publication did last week.

Click here to read more about this significance!

Texpatriate endorses in Democratic Agriculture Commissioner runoff

In last month’s primary, Democrats were faced with two legitimate candidates representing two legitimate options for the party. There was Hugh Fitzsimons, a longtime rancher and farmer, who had fabulous inside knowledge of everything that is agriculture, and would have valiantly lead the office as a competent and pragmatic technocrat. The problem, of course, is that Fitzsimons was terrible at sheer, ugly politics. Accordingly, enter Kinky Friedman. Despite his best intentions, Friedman is not anyone’s maven on agricultural issues. However, as a famous musician and one-time candidate for Governor, he boasts name recognition and identification superior to Republican counterparts running for this post. Those focusing on politics more than policy, in this board’s opinion, were wise to vote for Friedman in the primary.

Friedman advanced into a runoff election, but Fitzsimons did not. Instead, an insurance salesman from Cleburne named Jim Hogan finished in first place, advancing into a runoff with Friedman while winning nearly a majority of counties across the State. Small counties, like Loving County, and large counties, like Harris County, voted alike for Hogan, a political dark horse with no website, no platform and no competence. In fact, when political reporters contacted Hogan following his upset performance, he openly mocked the political process and promised to do absolutely no campaigning between now and the runoff and, if nominated, before the general election.

Click here to read who we select!

Civil Affairs: Friedman

CIVIL AFFAIRS

In a recent Daily Texan column, I bemoaned the “race to the right” that had emerged as a general Republican strategy and lamented the fact that ugly purity tests of “true republicanism” had become so common in the state’s primary contests. Unfortunately, we’re now seeing the same tactics on the other side of the aisle in the primary contest for the Agriculture Commissioner Democratic nominee.

That primary is dominated by Richard “Kinky” Friedman, a former musician — known for performing such gems as “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” — turned politician. He ran for Governor as an independent in 2006, finishing in fourth place in the contest where Rick Perry was re-elected with a slim 39 percent plurality. Because of Friedman’s past — not to mention a few off-color comments he has made — this has stilled an unshakeable suspicion among many of the Democratic top brass.

“It’s impossible for me to view Friedman as a serious candidate,” said Harold Cook, a Democratic strategist and lobbyist. “In fact, given that he’s run as a Republican, an independent and a Democrat, it’s impossible for me to view him as anything other than a rank opportunist.”

PLEASE SEE THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE DAILY TEXAN!

Pot poll, Part II

The Texas Tribune, in those infamous polls of dubious reliability, has released a new assessment of the popularity of cannabis in this State. The poll was also worded in a rather lame way, with loaded terms that stack the odds against legalization proponents.

Specifically, 17% of those surveyed said they would support “legal, in any amount, for any purpose.” A further 32% supported “legal, in small amounts, for any purpose.” 28% said they would only support medicinal marijuana, with only a mere 23% saying they opposed marijuana in all cases. This result, however, is somewhat misleading for a few reasons. First, there was some individuals who believe in decriminalization for small amounts while still remaining highly skeptical of medicinal cannabis. Second, the 17% noted opposing all relaxation likely inordinately represent those voting in Republican primaries. While it would probably be an oversimplification to say a majority of the GOP primary electorate is unequivocally anti-pot, they are a significant enough block that prospective candidate would not like to alienate them.

Click here to read more!