After every election, Bill Maher typically does a segment where he presents a tongue-in-cheek “in memoriam” video as a tribute to all those most outlandish personalities who lost in their elections. Thus, to quote the words of Richard Nixon, we won’t have them to kick around anymore.
Texpatriate has learned that Wendy Davis has released a new ad in the Governor’s race that hits hard against her Republican opponent. Davis, a State Senator and the presumptive Democratic nominee, has strongly criticized Greg Abbott, the Attorney General and likely Republican nominee, for the latter’s association with rockstar and provocateur Ted Nugent.
As many will recall, Abbott has received a great deal of bad publicity for campaigning with Nugent. A longtime conservative activist, specifically on the 2nd Amendment, Nugent has lately been in short supply throughout the State. Sid Miller, a former State Representative and candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, lets Nugent serve as his campaign treasurer. Miller recently reaffirmed his support for Nugent. Steve Stockman, a Congressman and primary challenger to Senator John Cornyn, even brought Nugent with him as his guest to the State of the Union in 2013.
Accordingly, it initially did not surprise many when Nugent announced he would be campaigning throughout the State on behalf of Abbott, many times in joint appearances. Immediately, the Democrats (specifically Wendy Davis) began firing back on all cylinders. You see, Nugent has a history of
sexual liaisons with women below the age of consent raping children. I promise that is not hyperbole. He has admitted to having sexual relationships with multiple underage girls, and Courtney Love even recalled that Nugent coerced her to give him oral sex when she was only twelve years old.
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.
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.
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.
Politico reports that US Senator John Cornyn, who recently drew a far-right Republican primary challenger in Steve Stockman, may have very little to worry about come next March. WPA Opinion Research recently conducted a limited poll among over 750 likely Republican primary voters, finding that 50% of voters supported Cornyn, 39% remained undecided and only 6% supported Stockman (a further 5% supported other candidates, such as Dwayne Stovall).
I cannot get my hands on the actual poll itself, so I cannot do much analysis regarding the methodology or selection criteria, nor the crosstabs. However, I do think that these results beg two invaluable questions moving forward with this primary. First, it is odd that nearly 2/5 voters are still undecided about a race featuring a two-term incumbent who no one may accuse of straying away from the spotlight. He is the Minority Whip of the Senate, meaning that in the (exceedingly rare, though still possible) scenario where Republicans regain control of the Senate despite McConnell being defeated for re-election (or, of course, primaried), he would become the most powerful person the upper chamber. Despite all of this publicity, he still is unable to maintain majority support from his own party in his own state.
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.