Enough gun news popped up this weekend to justify a roundup:
Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category
Time for another (no doubt incomplete) roundup of statewide race news:
There’s been a lot of criticism of John Cornyn in Tea Party circles over his failure to back Ted Cruz in procedural votes on the ObamaCare defunding fight. Given that, the muttering over someone primarying Cornyn have grown much louder.
Can anyone take Cornyn? It’s something of a tall order. He had some $6 million on hand as of the July reporting period, and any potential candidate will have a much latter start than Ted Cruz had when he beat David Dewhurst.
I queried a few people more tied-in than I, and three names of possible Cornyn challengers came up:
(Unmentioned by anyone, but someone who’s family connections would bring instant media coverage: George P. Bush. But name recognition and family connections only take you so far. Bush would go from an overwhelming favorite for Land Commissioner to a distinct underdog in a Senate race, plus there’s no guarantee he would be any more conservative than Cornyn. And Tea Party opinion of the Bush Dynasty is not exactly one of, shall we say, unrestrained affection.)
It’s going to be a tall order to take out a sitting U.S. Senator, barring scandal or even more deviation from conservative principles. But of those mentioned, McCaul probably has the best shot to beat Cornyn.
Francisco “Quico” Canseco is gearing up to take U.S. Congressional District 23 back from Democrat Pete Gallego. Canseco lost the by just over 9,000 votes in 2012, having beaten Ciro Rodriguez for the seat by just over 7,000 votes in 2010. CD23 is the biggest “swing” district in Texas, and Canseco probably has a good chance to take back the seat as Gallego will have to win in 2014 without a boost from the Obama campaign.
More on Canseco’s Facebook page.
Some more reactions and tidbits on the Colorado gun-grabber recall:
- Both state-senate districts were overwhelmingly Democratic. In 2012, President Obama carried Morse’s district by 21 percentage points and Giron’s by 19 points.
- These were the first recalls of legislators in Colorado history. Nationally, recalls of state legislators, particularly state legislative leaders, has been very difficult. Morse and Giron were only the 37th and 38th state legislators in U.S. history to face recall votes (before this vote, precisely half the efforts had succeeded). Prior to Morse, there had only been four recall elections against legislative leaders, and the legislative leader was retained in three of those four races. Giron was also a powerful senator, serving as vice chairman of the very important, especially for her rural district, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee.
- Not only did getting a recall on the ballot require a number of signatures amounting to 25 percent of all the votes in the previous election, but the Democrats didn’t take even that battle lying down. During the signature-gathering effort, recall proponents were outspent by the groups backed by billionaire Mayor Bloomberg that went in earlier with ads to discourage signature gathering.
- In their last races for the state senate, in 2010, Morse raised $163,972 and Giron $68,710. By the last filing for the recall, on August 29, Morse had raised $658,230 and Giron $825,400. While the NRA had donated $361,700, just two billionaires, Bloomberg and Eli Broad, donated a total of $600,000 between them. Left-wing organizations such as the Daily Kos and MoveOn.org continually bombarded their members with requests for money. Of the $3.5 million spent on the recall election, almost $3 million came from its opponents.
It’s one thing for a deliberately polarizing legislator like Morse to lose a close race in a swing district. It’s quite another for Giron to lose by 12 points in a district that is 47% Democratic and 23% Republican. One reason is that in blue collar districts like Pueblo, there are plenty of Democrats who cling to their Second Amendment rights. As the Denver Post noted, 20% of the voters who signed the Giron recall petitions were Democrats….
For abuse of office, John Morse and Angela Giron have been recalled from office by the People of Colorado, to be replaced by legislators who will listen before the vote.
(Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
For starters, the headline writer displays a rather loose grasp on reality: “Colorado recall slows gun-control momentum.”
Uh, what momentum? The gun grabbers have lost every fight since the initial knee-jerk legislation.
Writer Ryan Parker works a bit of rhetorical slight of hand further in: “And while the pro gun-control movement — on both the state and national level — had significant momentum following the Aurora and Sandy Hook massacres of 2012, Thursday night’s history-making recall election may have all but stopped Democrats’ response, Second Amendment supporters claim.”
“Had” momentum being the key word here, and only in the immediate aftermath, and only where it was possible for liberals at the state level, backed by overwhelming in-kind support from their local and national media wing, to exploit the tragedy by pushing rushed, ill-conceived legislation through against the wishes of actual constituents. Did Mr. Parker not notice the crushing defeats the gun-grabbing agenda experienced at the national level? Was he on vacation when that downpayment on the gun-grabbing agenda, Manchin-Toomey, failed to make it out of the Senate? That’s point when “momentum” for the gun-grabbing cause went from “small and slowing” to “non-existent.”
Also, note how Parker reprints one whole sentence from an NRA spokesman, but concludes with three paragraphs from members of the gun-grabbing camp.
Democratic incumbents simply don’t lose in states like Delaware and California unless they have done something very, very wrong. They certainly don’t lose by 12 points. In fact, even in the great GOP midterm election of 2010, only a handful of Republicans won in districts where the president approached 60 percent of the vote (using his 2008 numbers, of course), and most of those were in Illinois, where Obama’s vote share had been somewhat enhanced by his “hometown hero” status. It’s just really difficult to write these results off completely, especially given that these were relatively high-profile special elections, driven by issues rather than personality….
The bottom line is that there is something of a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t aspect to the Democrats’ argument. If this isn’t about turnout, but rather is a reaction to policy, then relatively modest gun-control efforts look pretty radioactive, and an awful lot of Democrats who supported the federal gun-control bill ought to look over their shoulders. This is especially true in Colorado, where nine Democrats occupy seats that are more Republican than the ones Republicans just flipped.
Elected to replace them were Republicans George Rivera in Pueblo and Bernie Herpin in Colorado Springs. They promised to be responsive to and representative of the people. This seemed to strike the right chord with voters who have tired of local legislators joining the liberal metrocentric crowd in Denver.
What does unstinting support for disarming the law-abiding get politicians in America these days? A pink slip. Both John Morse and Angela Giron are now ex-state senators.
A couple of weeks ago, Giron had this to say: “For Mayors Against Illegal Guns, if they lose even one of these seats, they might as well fold it up. And they understand that.”
Word is that the gun-grabbing time spent six times as much as the Second Amendment side in the recall and still lost. (But Colorado’s campaign finance laws exclude counting a lot of third party money, so don’t take that as gospel.)
A few reactions:
And this tweet from last night has 100 retweets:
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) September 11, 2013
Bottom line: If you’re a politician, and you choose to listen to Nurse Bloomberg rather than your constituents, you will be replaced.
In the last two weeks, Barry Smitherman has put his foot in it twice, committing unforced errors in his quest to move up from the Railroad Commission to the Attorney General’s office.
First, he said that America’s low birth-rate was a long-term threat to the nation and that many aborted babies “would have voted Republican.”
The first assertion is plausible (albeit a long-term concern), but very far indeed from the purvey of the Texas Attorney General. The second statement, in addition to being statistically dubious (minorities tend to both have abortions and vote Democratic at a much higher rate than whites), is offensive because it takes a profound moral issue and trivializes it by turning it into a partisan issue.
Smitherman could easily have avoided the problem by merely stating “I am strongly Pro-Life, and as Attorney General I will protect the unborn and defend Texas laws restricting abortion.” This is a plausible, principled, focused response that presents a much smaller attack surface for the opposition.
As if shooting himself in the foot wasn’t sufficient, Smitherman promptly took his gun out of the holster again, took aim, and shot himself in the other foot, stating:
“We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid. Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system.”
With just a little editing, Smitherman could have sounded far-sighted rather than kooky, emphasizing keeping Texas prosperous, and our infrastructure working, no matter the challenges or difficulties in the rest of the nation. However, when you start speaking of “an independent nation,” then you’ve stopped making sense and started to play footsie with the “Secede!” kooks.
As a science fiction writer, I can spin a number of vaguely plausible (but unlikely) scenarios in which Texas might secede from the United States. Hell, I can even think of situations where I might push for such action myself (if the feds abolished private property and civilian firearms ownership, I’d be headed for the barricades). What all those scenarios have in common is that none of them are particularly likely, certainly not in the short term, and probably not in the medium term even. (And good freaking luck “seceding” from hyperinflation, a far more likely “doomsday” scenario than any which result in Texas becoming its own country again.)
Look, I’m a native Texan. I’m proud of the state’s heritage as an independent nation, and do believe that (if we had to) Texas could succeed and thrive as an independent nation. But talk about secession (and the “War of Northern Aggression”) is only get a rise out of the yankees, and no one who takes it seriously should be holding statewide elective office. The United States of America will survive Obama, and there’s a difference between prepping and conspiratorial doomsday mongering. (And “closed-loop” economic autarky is loser economics.)
Moreover, even in that extremely unlikely scenario, I fail to see how the Attorney General of Texas would have a leading role in such preparations. The fact that Smitherman brought it up suggests (again) that he lacks the focus and message discipline necessary to be Attorney General.
Former Rep. Wayne Christian has joined the Railroad commissioner race.
Christian lost his seat to the Joe Straus-backed Chris Paddie in the Republican primary after losing 80% of his district in redistricting. Christian is already generating some grassroots enthusiasm in a crowded Railroad Commissioner field that already includes Malachi Boyuls, who has drawn some heavyweight support himself, and state Rep. Stefani Carter.