UPDATED 11/30: David Alameel to run for Senate; scroll to bottom.
About a month ago, we ran a tombstone on the cover and declared that “Democrats have surrendered the capacity to run competitive races for 2014 offices.” Perhaps that was a little harsh, and the jury might still be out on how competitive at least some of these races will end up being. Please note that I do not believe that any Democrat could actually win next year in a statewide race, but multiple races could end up being closer than 5 points, a far cry from what I was willing to admit just 30 days ago.
Since then, three major actions have occurred,all of which have renew a limited sense of optimism towards the future. The first is that State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), who announced she would run for Lieutenant Governor next year. When our “Tombstone article” was published in October, Van de Putte had been painfully silent for a very long period of time, and many had concluded that she would not end up running to lead the Senate. At that time, Maria Luisa Alvarado, the Democrat’s 2006 nominee for Lieutenant Governor and a political novice, had just announced her candidacy. At a time when the Republican candidates –all White men– keeping sliding further and further to the right, the right Democrat could have a very successful impact. While Alvarado would be sure to lose by double-digits, Van de Putte has the ability to make this a competitive election (within 5 points). This was more or less the point of Ross Ramsey’s recent Texas Tribune column on the Lieutenant Governor’s campaign.
Click here to read more about why some elections might be competitive!
The Texas Tribune reports that State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), a long serving rank-and-file legislator, will join the Lieutenant Governor’s race. Van de Putte, who stepped into the national spotlight during the Wendy Davis filibuster, has since become a nationwide hero of liberals for her impassioned defense of abortion rights.
Van de Putte will face Maria Alvarado, a political nobody and the 2006 nominee for Lieutenant Governor, in the Democratic primary. However, at press time, Alvarado has not yet filed for office and may not even end up running. Either way, Van de Putte is heavily favored to prevail by a large margin, given both her high name recognition and well-financed campaign.
The incumbent Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, of course will face a crowded Republican primary just to get another chance at keeping his job. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and State Senator Dan Patrick are all vying to knock off Dewhurst and win the nomination for themselves. Because of this, the four candidates have often tried to one-up each other, tacking to the right on more and more issues. Recently, in fact, the candidates flirted with the idea of repealing the 17th amendment (direct election of US Senators) and impeaching President Obama. It is unclear how much this will help Van de Putte.
Click here to read more!
At long last, the Democrats have candidates for both the United States Senate and Lieutenant Governor. Unfortunately, they are not the ideal selections (the “A” team, so to speak) the Democrats were hoping for. Simply put, absent a miracle, the Democrats have surrendered the capacity to run competitive races for 2014 offices. Not win, but run competitively.
If you find yourself asking ‘Why the tombstone,’ click here to read more!