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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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!
At the end of the day, I suppose that the contest between candidates for the US Senate Democratic primary is a two-way race. Texpatriate is the only major political organization I am aware of that has supported Michael Fjetland’s bid for the nomination. Of course, we have stood alone among political groups before, even with candidates who are ultimately successful (just ask Councilmember Robert Gallegos), but statewide politics is a very different animal than a district Council race. It is literally impossible to blockwalk the second-largest State in the country and run a true grassroots campaign.
Therefore, we have a closer race between David Alameel & Maxey Scherr. Alameel, a dentist and businessman multi-millionaire from Dallas, has gotten much establishment support, as well as a high-profile endorsement from Wendy Davis. He has also been heavily defended by the Lone Star Project. However, he has been derided incessantly from the left for donating large sums to Republican officeholders (including Cornyn himself). Scherr, an attorney from El Paso, has much less money but is extremely popular with left-wing activists. Accordingly, it is interesting to note who is supporting who.
Click here to see who has endorsed who!
There are five candidates vying to the Democratic nominee for the US Senate this year. Among these, we only find three to be legitimate Democratic candidates in even the most basic definition of the term. Harry Kim, a physician from Odessa, has campaigned a negligible amount and did not return requests for comment from us or any other news outlet. Kesha Rogers, an activist affiliated with the Lyndon LaRouche movement, is a Democrat in only name. Make no mistake, we do not use that term lightly, nor in any hyperbolic manner whatsoever. The LaRouche movement openly compares President Obama to Adolf Hitler, believes the financial industry (and the world) is controlled by a malevolent cartel of Wall Street bankers and is openly sympathetic to anti-American regimes such as Russia and Iran. We cannot express enough how strongly we urge you to vote against both Kim and Rogers, particularly the latter.
This elimination leaves us with three candidates: David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr. Alameel, a dental mogul from the Dallas area, has wowed many throughout the State with his large fortune (over $50 Million) and his willingness to spend it on a political campaign. Indeed, prominent Democrats such as State Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte has supported him. But, in this board’s opinion, something just does not add up about Alameel. He has an unfortunate history of donating thousands upon thousands of dollars to prominent Republicans, including the incumbent in this election (John Cornyn). He has been accused multiple times of harboring anti-abortion rights political views on the campaign trail. Finally, in a recent TV ad he unveiled, Alameel announced his belief that our overseas wars should be drawn back. That position would be ripe for a campaign, perhaps if the year was 2008. As both the Iraq War is over and the final troops are in the process of leaving Afghanistan, we do not see the point in such an ad. Oddly enough, Alameel has not focused on many other issues with much specificity.
Click here to read the full endorsement!
AMID all the talk of the gubernatorial and the lieutenant governor campaigns, as well as the competitive local primaries, it is easy to lose track of the many other important positions Texans will be voting on at the polls this year.
Perhaps the most underrated of these contests is the race for the U.S. Senate. With fiercely competitive primaries for both the Democratic and Republican candidates, the two primaries thus far have nearly descended into a theater of the absurd. Particularly in the case of the Democratic primary, the major candidates have taken to attacking one another and focusing on unrelated issues such as endorsements from state senators rather than debating policy or zeroing in on the incumbent. The three major candidates, David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr, are doing this at the expense of productive campaigning against Senator Cornyn.
Please read the full column at THE DAILY TEXAN.
Just a few days ago, State Senator Wendy Davis –the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor– endorsed a seemingly unknown businessman and dentist, David Alameel, in his quest to become the Democratic nominee for the US Senate. Alameel, as those from the DFW area may recall, ran for Congress last year in a gloriously unsuccessful race that saw him spend over $1k per vote.
However, it is Alameel’s ill-defined political views that have more recently gotten him in hot water. He ran on some pretty weird and conspiratorial platforms in his 2012 congressional campaign, specifically pertaining to the Federal Reserve and his belief that is tantamount to “private tender” and is run by the “Wall Street banking cartel.” There is also the persistent rumor that he took positions against abortion when he ran for Congress, but perhaps the biggest critique his rivals has been pounding on thus far is the fact that he has heavily donated to Republican officeholders –including Sen. Cornyn– in the past.
As I see the US Senate Democratic primary, there are only four candidates of any significance whatsoever: Alameel, Michael Fjetland, Harry Kim and Maxey Scherr. Kim, a physician from Odessa, has run a fairly low-profile campaign thus far but recently created a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Of these candidates, it is Scherr who has hit Alameel the hardest on his allegedly insufficient progressive credentials.
Click here to read more!
The Dallas Morning News reports that Wendy Davis, the State Senator and presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor, has endorsed dentist and businessman David Alameel in his bid for the US Senate Democratic primary. Alameel, a mulch-millionaire, ran for Congress last year in a largely self-funded campaign. As I noted when he first announced his candidacy, he holds (or held) some rather unconventional positions on issues, specifically in perpetuating the mindless conspiracy theories about some sort of evil cartel who controls the Federal Reserve.
In her endorsement, Davis touted Alameel’s business skills as well as his positions on education and protecting the elderly. No mention of abortion –or any social issue, for that matter– was present in the endorsement. The announcement immediately drew the ire of the Democratic establishment, who have been thus far quite tepid about Alameel’s candidacy. In the past, he has donated heavily to many Republican candidates including, fittingly, John Cornyn himself.
Then there is the question of how effective a candidate Alameel may be. In 2012, he spent $4.5M of his own money for only about 2,000 votes. That is over $2k per vote, meaning he would have to spend in the billions to have a shot at winning the general election at a similar pace. The Dallas Morning News, in a separate article, explains this in greater detail.
Click here to read more!
When it comes to last minute Statewide filings, there were few big surprises besides Steve Stockman going up against John Cornyn, and Justice Larry Meyers becoming a Democrat, both of which I have previously covered. Indeed, the news I will focus on is the continued laziness and complacency of the Democrats, which in and of itself is not especially surprising. But more on that about two paragraphs down.
For the non-Judicial posts, Democrats were responsible enough this go-around to recruit candidates for all of the openings for the first time in six years (in 2010, we allowed Susan Combs to be re-elected without contest, and in 2012, we allowed Barry Smitherman to do the same). Except for the Agriculture Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner and Governor (Wendy Davis faces token opposition), all the other Democrats stood alone in their primaries. The obvious major exception is for the US Senate seat, which will feature three major candidates, David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr.
For the Judicial positions, a few qualified candidates also ran. Bill Moody, an El Paso District Judge who has previously run for the Supreme Court, will seek the Chief Justice’s office. The aforementioned Larry Meyers, who currently serves as a Justice on the Court of Criminal Appeals, will run for a spot on the Supreme Court. Gina Benavides, the Chief Justice of the 13th Court of Appeals (based in Corpus Christi), will run for yet another spot. Additionally, John Granberg, an attorney out of El Paso, will run for the Court of Criminal Appeals. These four candidates will be extraordinarily competent on the campaign trail and would make fine Supreme Court or Court of Criminal Appeals Justices.
But the Dems left three seats without candidates. Click here to read why that is inexcusable!
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 Houston Chronicle reports that State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), according to its sources, will run for Lieutenant Governor. Van de Putte, a stalwart Democratic senator from San Antonio who first came to fame during the Wendy Davis filibuster last June, will “announce and announcement” of her campaign in the next day or two. This will be the prelude to an official announcement on November 23rd, most likely in her native San Antonio.
Specifically during the filibuster, Van de Putte’s claim to fame came after she was absent during the opening hours as she attended her father’s funeral. After showing up in the waning hours of the procedure, she attempted to exploit her ostensible naivety on the matters to draw out the proceedings. Finally, after raising many “parliamentary inquiries,” the President of the Senate refused to call on her, clearly against the rules of the Senate. This led to 23 magic words from Van de Putte: “At what point must a female Senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” And the rest is history, as the crowd rose to their feet and drowned out the final minutes of the session.
Click here to read more!