Terrible, terrible poll

The Texas Tribune has released its newest poll, and the results continue to paint a bleak picture for the campaign of State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic candidate for Governor. The poll has her down 12 points to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate. The poll also examined Statewide races up and down the ticket and found that Democrats were doing miserably bad in all of them. Most all of these polls included Libertarian and Green candidates, for what it is worth. Additionally, undecideds boasted pretty good showings in all of these races, and the number only got bigger the further down the ballot one traveled.

As many will remember, the Tribune commissioned an extensive poll in February that was not worth the non-existent paper that is was not printed upon. Among the many terrible predictions it made was that Kesha Rogers and Debra Medina led the plurality in their respective primaries. Rogers barely squeaked into a runoff and Medina came in a distant last place in a race where one candidate (Hegar) won outright. I went after the Tribune with a wrench in the Daily Texan a couple days after the preliminary primary completely discredited their polling, noting that we should not waste our breath analyzing something so unreliable anymore.  As my friend Charles Kuffner noted yesterday, the Tribune polls should be “in time-out,” meaning that we have to very look at what they have to say quite critically.

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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.

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Not showing up

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports on a pet peeve of mine, the smug complacency of many within the ranks of Texas Democrats who are so satisfied with an abstract notion of future victory that they ignore the present. Specifically, by ignoring the need to actually run candidates for office.

The opinion article, penned by Bud Kennedy, notes that despite having a denizen of Tarrant County (Wendy Davis) at the top of the Democratic ticket, Democrats have not followed suit to make the country competitive in next year’s election. This, despite the fact that the party and outreach organizations such as Battleground Texas keep talking about how invaluable the county hosting Fort Worth will be in order for Democrats, not only to win, but to also simply make elections competitive. Not a single Democrat has signed up to run for ANY county offices, at least according to Kennedy’s column and the Tarrant County Democratic Party’s website.

While Democrats have broken through and completely taken over Dallas County, El Paso County and Travis County, as well as turned both Bexar County and Harris County into very competitive, swing districts, Tarrant County has hosted a consecutive streak of Republican victories since 1994 (much like the Statewide GOP). With the county’s demographics becoming more and more competitive, optimistic Democrats have pointed to it as an example for future Democratic victory.

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Existent and non-existent Democrats

Texas Democrats are giddy at the prospect of Wendy Davis running for Governor. The astute will remember that I was very excited when she first announced, but with all due respect, that was nearly two weeks ago. Democrats might do worse than ever before –oh yes, mark my words– in the 2014 elections if something does not change quick.

Most importantly, the Democrats need to find candidates to run for the Statewide offices. As I have said before, even a State that is 80% non-White will not elect a single Democrat if they do not run. Buckpassing is perhaps Texas Democrats biggest problem, as everyone is so satiated with this abstract concept of a future victory that they are unwilling to do anything today. The reason why Wendy Davis’ candidacy is so extraordinary is that she put the good of the party and the State above her immediate political future. Rick Noriega did this in 2008, but it is a rare occurrence otherwise.

Democrats do have a serious candidate for Land Commissioner, John Cook, the former Mayor of El Paso. Serious candidates have also been suggested for Lieutenant Governor (State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte) and Attorney General (State Sen. Carlos Uresti) as well. However, the latter two individuals have been painfully silent recently, prompting some concern about the rigor of Democratic candidates.

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