Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Reports of the Tea Party’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

There have been a lot of wishful thinking thumbsucker pieces from liberal media outlets proclaiming that the Tea Party is done, finished, a spent force. (Here’s an example.)

And indeed, those looking only at some top-line races in Texas (like Katrina Pierson’s failed attempt to take down Pete Sessions) might find tend to agree.

However, a look at all the races (including many down-ballot) shows that the Tea Party is alive and well.

Start at Lt. Governor. Dan Patrick says he followed the Ted Cruz blueprint and leaned heavily on the Tea Party. “If you have a candidate who will work and at least enough resources to fund a statewide race then and you have the credentials, the tea party will bring you to victory.”

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s Michael Quinn Sullivan sees conservative victories up and down the ballot:

  • The most liberal Republican in the Texas Senate lost.
  • Conservative ranks in the Senate are swelling.
  • Every House conservative won re-election (with re-enforcements coming from the open-seat races).
  • House incumbents affiliated with Speaker Joe Straus lost big.
  • Statewide races saw the TFR-backed candidates earning commanding leads going into run-offs.
  • Sullivan goes on to cite Don Huffines defeating John Carona, Brooks Landgraf defeating Austin Keith, and the defeats of Straus allies Bennett Ratliff, Ralph Sheffield, Linda Harper-Brown, Diane Patrick and Lance Gooden.

    This AP piece touts Tea Party success in Texas, but is lamentably short on details.

    Even liberal fossil Paul Burka says that “If there was a clear winner in last night’s election, it was the tea party,” noting the defeats of Joe Straus allies Harper-Brown and Ratliff.

    So too at the national level. The enthusiastic response to Sarah Palin’s speech and other Tea Party favorites shows that the movement is far from dead.

    Which is not to say huge obstacles don’t remain. The Tea Party still hasn’t built up their financial networks enough to reliably take on big-money incumbents, and even in Texas, previous Tea Party gains were insufficient to wrest the Speakership from Straus (who just spent $2,578,942.72 to retain a job that pays $7,200 a year). But the Tea Party movement is still very much alive and kicking, much to the chagrin of RINOS, democrats and the media…

    In Which Ace of Spades HQ Declares War on your 23″ Monitor to Show Why Wendy Davis Can’t Win

    Saturday, March 8th, 2014

    Ace of Spades, showing considerable time, effort, and a somewhat shaky grasp of MS Paint, has produced a single, superginormous .PNG that will annoy everyone without a 30″ Apple Cinema Display that shows, in great detail, why Wendy Davis is doomed.

    It’s essentially a color-coded county-by-county breakdown map of Texas that shows negligible voter growth in the most heavily Democratic counties since the Ann Richards—Clayton Williams gubernatorial election of 1990, while East Texas has flipped Republican and the big suburban Republican counties have grown tremendously as of the 2010 Rick Perry-Bill White gubernatorial election.

    “The GOP margin out of Montgomery Co ALONE almost completely negates that of the D’s in Harris, Travis, and Bexar Cos combined, falling just 1300 votes short!” [all sic from the PNG]

    For those outside the state who may not immediately twig to what that sentence is saying: A single suburban county north of Houston has enough of a Republican margin to negate the Democratic advantage in Houston, Austin and San Antonio combined.

    Red areas have gotten redder, blue areas have flipped red or gotten pink, even deep urban areas are less Democratic than they were two decades ago, and the few counties in the Rio Grande Valley who have stayed deep blue have barely added new voters.

    All that adds up to Wendy Davis being slaughtered in November.

    And Ace’s map only goes up to 2010. Since then, things have gotten even worse for Democrats.

    Hey Ace: Is there any reason you couldn’t have stacked the two Texas images vertically? Are you in the pay of the Big Monitor Lobby? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Hilderbran Withdraws, Hegar Advances

    Friday, March 7th, 2014

    When last we checked, Glenn Hegar was on the edge of winning the Republican nomination for Comptroller outright, but he ended up garnering a frustrating 49.99% of the vote.

    Thankfully, primary opponent Harvey Hilderbran has aceeded to reality and announced he’s withdrawing from the race, saving everyone a lot of money and effort for contesting a race that was already a foregone conclusion.

    Hegar will face (and most likely obliterate) Democrat Mike Collier in November.

    WILLisms Breaks Down Democratic Turnout Failure

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    Will Franklin has an interesting piece up detailing just how poorly Democrats did in primary turnout on Tuesday, noting that both the Democratic Party total, and Wendy Davis’ numbers compared to Bill White, were down significantly from 2010. By contrast, “Abbott received 1,219,831 votes, or 91.50% in a four-way primary race. 1,333,010 Republicans voted in the 2014 primary.”

    For all the money BattleGround Texas is pouring into the state, Democrats are doing worse than they did in 2010.

    Although Franklin doesn’t go into the 2012 numbers, I’d also like to note that overall Democratic votes are down from 590,164 in 2012 to 546,480. Normally a presidential election year will have higher numbers, but there were no big-money, hotly contested races at the top of the Democratic ticket that year. Turnout should have been up this year. It wasn’t.

    More Will Franklin:

    In short, there is a partisan enthusiasm gap in Texas, and Republicans are winning it. Democrats have years of soul searching and retooling to do before they’ll even sniff winning their first statewide race since the early 90s. Anointing someone known almost exclusively for filibustering on behalf of elective late-term abortion post 5 months of pregnancy may have set the Democrats’ plan back at least one full election cycle, if not more.”

    Read the whole thing.

    Dan Patrick Beating David Dewhurst Soundly

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

    Most people were expecting to see a David Dewhurst-Dan Patrick runoff for Lt. Governor. however, you’d be hard=pressed to find anyone who would predict that not only would Patrick garner more votes in the primary than Dewhurst, but also do so by a significant margin. Right now, with 59% of the vote in, Patrick is ahead of Dewhurst by over 100,000 votes, garnering 41.8 of the vote, while Dewhurst is getting 28.3%.

    People we’re saying that Patrick was lucky Jerry Patterson and Todd Staples were the race, ensuring a runoff. Now it appears that Dewhurst should be thankful they’re keeping Dan Patrick from winning outright…

    Vote Today!

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

    It’s primary election day in Texas.

  • Find your voting statewide place here.
  • A list of Williamson County polling places can be found here.
  • A list of Travis County polling places can be found here.
  • This winter storm is likely to depress voting somewhat, so candidates with the most dedicated voters have an advantage.

    Go vote!

    A Ridiculously Brief Williamson County Election Update

    Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    Since I live in Williamson and have received a ton of flyers on local judicial races, I should probably get together some semi-coherent thoughts about the race and post them here.

    Fortunately, Holly Hansen has already done the heavy lifting.

    County Court at Law Judge Doug Arnold has been challenged by GOP newcomer Tallion Taylor (Taylor used to vote Democrat, but recently switched to the Republican party).

    Three candidates have filed to replace retiring Williamson County Treasurer Vivian Wood: Leander City Councilwoman Michell Cantwell, Jerri Jones, and Ralph Pruyn. As I’ve previously written, Jones is an alleged Republican who publicly supported a Democrat for District Attorney in 2012.

    Indeed, I emailed Taylor to see if he wanted to deny reports of formerly being a Democrat. He never replied.

    And now the tl;dr recommendation from Holly:

    Let me also state my skepticism of those who still view the Michael Morton case as a universal “get into office free” card. Yes, it was a miscarriage of justice. No, that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore your past record of supporting Democrats or lack of conservative credentials to vote for you. In fact, from now on I’m going to vote against those using the case in their attack mailers just on general principle. That means you, Ryan Larson.

    A Random Assortment of Texas Statewide Race News

    Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    With primary voting upon us tomorrow, it looks like I’ve run out of campaign to cover. Here then is a quick, scatter-shot batch of snippets on various races:

  • Wendy Davis is super popular…just not in Texas. “27 percent of the money Davis raised in the last filing quarter came from donors outside Texas, compared to just 2 percent of Abbott’s total.”
  • In the Comptroller race, Glenn Hegar seems to have have racked up the lion’s share of conservative endorsements, and is also winning the money race over Harvey Hilderbran (who has mostly racked up the endorsements of business groups, newspapers, and “shill” groups like Steve Holtz’s “Conservative Republicans of Texas“). 2010 Gubernatorial hopeful Debra Medina is also polling strongly despite having raised relatively money, I didn’t think she was ready for primetime in 2010, but Comptroller is probably a great spot for a Libertarian. I’d vote Hegar over Medina, but I’d vote both over Hilderbran.
  • The Agricultural Commissioner’s race is easier to narrow down with who not to vote for, namely J. Allen Carnes, who voted Democratic until 2012, and “donated to Texas Democrats Pete Gallego, Henry Cuellar, and Ciro Rodriguez.” Also who to vote against: Eric Opiela, AKA Joe Straus’ lawyer. By contrast, Sid Miller seems to have racked up an impressive list of endorsements.
  • In the Land Commissioner race, George P. Bush does have a primary opponent in David Watts, who has actually racked up a fair number of endorsements. Plus Paul Burka isn’t impressed with George P. Bush’s campaign (and Burka may even be right for a change).
  • Lt. Governor race roundup. if the Chronicle paywall won’t let you in, search for the first sentence on Google news. Here’s some damning-with-faint-praise for Todd Staples: “‘Staples becomes a plausible alternative if you don’t have Dewhurst in the race,’ Henson said. ‘My impression is that he is well-liked in the Capitol special-interest community.’” Ouch!
  • Here’s your biannual reminder that Texas mainstream media outlets almost always endorse the most liberal candidate.
  • Pete Sessions vs. Katrina Pierson: Super-Brief Race Update

    Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    I haven’t been covering the primary race between incumbent Pete Sessions and Tea Party favorite Katrina Pierson for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not my district. Second, when it comes to incumbent Republicans drifting too far left, Sessions (with an ACU rating of 97%) doesn’t even rank among the top 100. Even though I was on the other side of the battle over defunding ObamaCare. I didn’t regard inter-party tactical disagreement as a reason for excommunication.

    However, a lot of news has been popping up on the race:

  • First, Sarah Palin endorsed Pierson, which is a huge, huge boost for her. Unfortunately, it came fairly late in the primary season, making it difficult for Pierson to capitalize on it for fundraising. The fact that Pierson has also been endorsed by Freedomworks, Rafael Cruz and Instapundit Glenn Reynolds won’t hurt either.
  • Pierson rasied over $68,000 this year, which is not chicken feed, but is pretty low to take out an incumbent with over $1 million cash on hand.
  • Then it came to light that Sessions doesn’t actually live in the district:

  • But in the weirdest twist, Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Pierson, then unendorsed her later the same day and endorsed Sessions, saying Pierson has misled him about Sessions being a supporter of illegal alien amnesty. (You would think Sheriff Joe would do a bit of research before offering an endorsement.)
  • Will the Arpaio kerfuffle blunt her momentum? Maybe, but Sessions more than 10-1 fundraising advantage will be a much steeper obstacle to overcome against an entrenched incumbent…

    Steve Stockman is Not Getting The Job Done Against John Cornyn

    Monday, March 3rd, 2014

    Given Senator John Cornyn’s deviations from conservative orthodoxy, many Tea Party supporters were relieved when Rep. Steve Stockman finally stepped up to primary him at the last minute. Stockman was a solid conservative, and people hoped he could at least give Cornyn a run for his money.

    That hope proved short-lived.

    Stockman has run a very poor campaign. He has missed numerous campaign events. I would say his fundraising has been poor, except the most recent FEC report I have been able to find doesn’t show him having raised any funds at all. (This is not the first time Stockman has had problems with filling out FEC forms.) His missing-in-action campaign is a sharp contrast with Ted Cruz’s smart, disciplined underdog campaign in 2012.

    Other revelations about his past haven’t helped either. Records show that Stockman hasn’t voted in a primary in 10 years.

    Given the dysfunctional nature of the Stockman campaign, it’s not a surprise that Tea Party supporters have largely given up on him as well.

    I thought that Stockman got into the race too late to have real chance to beat Cornyn, but I didn’t expect him to do such a miserable job.