Posts Tagged ‘David Dewhurst’

Statewide Race Roundup for August 9, 2013

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Time for another quick roundup of statewide race news:

  • Even left-wing PolitiFact admits that Democrats are lying about Greg Abbott improperly moving funds.
  • They’re a lot tougher on Lt. Governor candidate Sen. Dan Patrick’s claims that funding for border security was cut in the latest budget.
  • The Texas Tribune looks at Abbott’s consultant spending.
  • Abbott, running for a statewide office, refuses to opine on national legislative tactics to defund ObamaCare. Stop the freaking presses!
  • The Washington Post offers up five facts about Abbott. For a change, they’re even accurate.
  • Abbot takes south Texas votes seriously.
  • Lt. Governor David Dewhurst shakes up his re-election team with new hires, including Ryan Hecker of FreedomWorks and Eliza Vielma (AKA Twitter’s @misslizaface) will be handling social media. Given how poorly Dewhurst performed in social media in the Senate race, that’s probably a good move.
  • Lt. Governor candidate and Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples takes a swing at Dewhurst’s leadership in a fundraising letter.
  • But Staples, like all three of Dewhurst’s challengers in the Lt. Governor’s race, endorsed Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in last year’s Senate runoff.
  • Patrick has a new ad out. He looks sleepy. He may need to consider ptosis surgery.

  • Attorney General candidate Dan Branch defends defense of marriage. Unlike Tom Leppert, Branch doesn’t seem to have played footsie with Dallas’ gay rights community, and indeed was an (unsuccessful) target for them to defeat in 2008.
  • Speaking of Branch, Facebook briefly yanked, then restored, one of his campaign videos. This one I think:

    Which strikes me as well-produced, but pretty generic. Can’t see why any reasonable person would find it even remotely objectionable.

  • Sources tell me that Rep. Brandon Creighton gets into the Agricultural Commissioner’s race today.
  • And speaking of the Agricultural Commissioner’s race, Eric Opiela is evidently not only Joe Straus’ lawyer, but also managed (through some ill-advised emails) to hurt Republican redistricting efforts by making them easier to challenge in 2012.
  • On the Democratic side, Abortion Barbie inches closer to declaring her intention to lose to Abbott.
  • The Ted Cruz Victory: One Year Later

    Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

    Travis McCormick notes that exactly one year ago, Ted Cruz beat David Dewhurst in the 2012 Republican Senate runoff. (He also demolished a number of myths in the process.) And pretty much every day Ted Cruz has been in Washington, he’s confirmed that Texas voters made the right decision.

    Can anyone imagine Dewhurst leading the fight against illegal alien amnesty? Or schooling Dianne Feinstein on gun control? (I can imagine Dewhurst voting against gun control, but not leading the fight against it.) Or holding the feet of other Republicans to the fire on conservative principles? (As I said then, “We sent Cruz to Washington to shame Republicans into acting like Republicans.”)

    No wonder Cruz is getting buzz as a 2016 Presidential candidate. I don’t see anyone else better on the horizon…

    Nitpicking National Review On Dewhurst

    Monday, July 15th, 2013

    When you’re a domain expert in something, sometimes you agree with the central point of an article, but enough details ring false that you wonder how closely the reporter has been following the story. For example, this Betsy Woodruff piece in National Review gets the big picture right (David Dewhurst’s loss to Ted Cruz has weakened him politically), but gets numerous details wrong.

    “Only one person has ever lost an election to Ted Cruz, and he’s not doing so well right now. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst,”

    No. The proper way to start that sentence is “Only one person has ever lost a runoff to Ted Cruz.” Paul Sadler lost an election to Ted Cruz, and a whole bunch of other candidates (Tom Leppert, Craig James, Glenn Addison, etc.) lost a primary to Cruz.

    “But things went from bad to worse for him when the news broke, shortly after his defeat, that his former campaign manager, Kenneth Barfield, appeared to have stolen millions from the lieutenant governor’s campaign coffers over the previous five years.”

    Last I checked, Barfield was accused of stealing a maximum of just over one million (singular), not millions (plural).

    “Further, [Dan] Patrick used to be a vocal champion of Dewhurst’s. During the contest for the senatorial nomination, Patrick strongly defended the lieutenant governor on his radio show.”

    This is not how I remember things. Patrick contemplated a run against Dewhurst himself, criticizing Dewhurst at length over his handling of the anti-TSA groping bill. He did finally come down on Dewhurst’s side against Cruz very late in the game, i.e., only a week before the runoff, but I don’t recall him being particularly vocal. (Granted, I don’t listen to Patrick’s radio show. Maybe he was far more vocal in support there in that last week.)

    The piece is otherwise fairly reasonable, but I found it just wrong enough to merit correction…

    Perry’s Decision and the State of Play for Texas Statewide Races in 2014

    Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

    With Rick Perry declining to run for reelection as Governor, we finally have the crystallizing event that will set the 2014 field. So here’s an early look at how the next year’s statewide races are shaping up in Texas:


    Attorney General Greg Abbott and his $18 million warchest is going to be the overwhelming favorite almost no matter who else jumps into the race; he has all Perry’s strength’s without Perry’s disadvantages. If David Dewhurst jumps into the Governor’s race, Abbott will still be the prohibitive favorite. Tom Pauken will be hard-pressed to match Glenn Addison’s 2012 senate race total of 1.6%. On the Democrats’ side, instant abortion celebrity Wendy Davis might be the favorite, but there’s no reason to expect Abbott won’t cream her by 20 points, and as a politician since 1999, there’s no indication she can self-fund. Neither of the Castro brothers strike me as stupid enough to want to tarnish their national office chances by losing a governor’s race. Beyond that it’s random state senators and reps (reportedly Rep. Mike Villarreal and Sen. Kirk Watson are considering runs), or retreads from the 2012 senate race.

    Lt. Governor

    His humiliating senate race defeat proved that David Dewhurst is vulnerable to a challenge from the right, but I remain unconvinced that any of the three currently declared candidates (Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples, and State Senator Dan Patrick) are the ones to do it. Dewhurst and Perry both moved up from the Land and Agricultural Commissioner positions (respectively), but neither ran against an incumbent, much less a well-heeled, entrenched one. Patrick tested the waters for the 2012 senate race, but found the groundswell for him non-existent. Moreover, Patrick’s candidacy appeals most to social conservatives, but after the abortion dustup, they would seem among the least likely to desert Dewhurst. Presumably U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul (the only man currently in Texas politics richer than Dewhurst) could defeat Dewhurst were he to get in, but so far he hasn’t made any moves to get into the race. In this, and all lower statewide races, whoever runs for the Democrats is whatever random candidates decided to skip the governor’s race.

    Attorney General

    With Abbott running for governor, this race is wide open. With Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman’s website already touting him as a potential candidate, his entry is pretty much a foregone conclusion. State Rep. Dan Branch is also said to be considering a run. Someone on Abbott’s staff could also get in, or a state legislator with a law degree who has been blessed by Texans for Lawsuit Reform. (Maybe Ken Paxton?)


    Incumbent Susan Combs has said she’s not running for reelection. Early word was she was eying the Lt. Governor’s race, but I don’t see her getting any traction there. Losing 2010 Tea Party/Ron Paulite gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina is rumored to be considering a run (and the previous link goes to a webpage for an exploratory committee for that race). State Senator Glenn Hegar is also said to be considering a run, as is state Ways and Means chairman Harvey Hilderbran. (State Senator Tommy Williams has preemptively bowed out.)

    Land Commissioner

    With incumbent Jerry Patterson gunning for Dewhurst’s job, George P. Bush, son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, nephew of Bush43, and grandson of Bush 41, is considered a lock for the race. Though nothing about George P. Bush’s limited public appearances suggests he’s invulnerable, it’s doubtful he’ll draw a serious challenger this far down the ballot who’s willing to take on the Bush Machine’s renowned fundraising prowess.

    Agricultural Commissioner

    State Rep. Brandon Creighton is rumored to be interested in a run. Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt is passing on the race

    Railroad Commission

    When Smitherman runs for AG, his position will open up. State Rep. Stefani Carter will be running, along with “Dallas businessman Malachi Boyuls and geologist Becky Berger of Schulenburg.” Greg Parker, who made it into the runoff with Smitherman in 2012, is another possibility.

    And don’t forget all those wildcard Texas millionaires and billionaires who might suddenly decide to run for office…

    George P. Bush Running for Land Commissioner

    Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

    George Prescott Bush filed the official paperwork Tuesday to run for Texas land commissioner next year.”

    That would be Jeb Bush’s son, Bush43′s nephew, and Bush41′s grandson, one of the “little brown ones.” The Bush name alone is probably enough to win him the office, but add to that the fact that the Bush family has one of the most powerful money machines in all politics and you have a prohibitive favorite. Jerry Patterson was probably right to think he’d have an easier time defeating a post-Senate-race-meltdown David Dewhurst for Lt. Governor.

    Deeper analysis of a continuing Bush dynasty, and of how Democrats and the press react to facing a Bush scion who happens to be Hispanic, will have to wait until (at least) tomorrow.

    Well, Who Hasn’t Misplaced $600,000?

    Thursday, January 17th, 2013

    Top David Dewhurst campaign aide Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield has been accused of embezzling at least $600,000 from the Dewhurst campaign, starting all the way back in 2008. (This news evidently first came to light December 28, but I was distracted by tidings of comfort and joy.)

    I’ll just wait a moment while that sinks in. $600,000 is pretty freaking big chunk of change. It’s only a little bit less than Democratic Senate nominee Paul Sadler raised during his entire campaign. I can’t imagine how Barfield thought such a sum wouldn’t be noticed, even in such a cash-flush environment as Team Dewhurst. The news reports don’t entirely make clear whether the funds were embezzled from Dewhurst’s 2010 Lt. Governor re-election campaign, his losing 2012 Senate run, or both, since Barfield worked on both.

    Some articles suggest that Barfield embezzled the funds to make up for losses on business deals.

    There was also this:

    There also were reports of friction between Barfield and others on Dewhurst’s campaign team over what strategy to use against rival Ted Cruz before the GOP Senate primary.

    While some thought it best to ignore Cruz as much as possible, Barfield pushed for the campaign to sharpen its attacks on Cruz, efforts that many analysts now believe were too exaggerated and turned voters against Dewhurst.

    So the guy stealing money from the campaign was also the guy who managed to lose the campaign.

    How convenient.

    I think the embezzlement is a symptom of the disorder within the Dewhurst campaign, not the cause. Having a flush campaign papers over many flaws, but if a guy steals $600,000 from you over four years, you have some serious oversight problems. I think that if someone stole $600,000 from me, I would notice, even if I were a quarter-billionaire.

    Of course, as of this moment Barfield does not appear to have been indicted, much less convicted. But if true, the story should really give hope to Jerry Patterson and anyone else gunning for Dewhurst’s current job, as it suggests that Dewhurst’s attention to detail is somewhat less than total…

    Brief Impressions of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2013 Policy Orientation

    Monday, January 14th, 2013

    I enjoyed attending what little I could of the Texas Public Policy Foundation 2013 policy orientation held January 9-11. Here are a few quick and largely random impressions:

    Because I just started a new day job, I wasn’t able to attend until Thursday evening, which meant I got to enjoy Austin’s lovely rush-hour traffic on Mopac and only got to hear about half of Ted Cruz’s pre-recorded message. (Cruz was originally scheduled to appear with Sen. John Cornyn, but had to fly off to Afghanistan and Israel on a Senate Foreign Relations trip. Cruz also appeared at lunch that day, a session I was unable to attend.) Then it was time for Texas’ senior U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, to be interviewed.

    He defended the Fiscal Cliff deal as necessary to avoid a huge tax increase. He talked about the Senate’s inability to pass a budget. “Shame doesn’t work on Harry Reid.”

    On foreign and defense policy, he noted (correctly) that keeping the American people safe is the number one responsibility of government. Cornyn says he’s opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel and dinged Obama over Benghazi. “If the President and his Administration had been honest about Benghazi, they’re wouldn’t have been a scandal.” (Paraphrased.)

    Cornyn also displayed a certain tone-deafness in regard to his audience. When asked to mention possible 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, the first name Cornyn mentioned was NJ Governor Chris Christie, which drew audible groans and hisses from the audience, for good reason.

    After the Cornyn speech there was a blogger met-and-great at Rivals Steakhouse. I met a bevy of state Reps whose names quickly blurred together, as well as Ashley Sewell, AKA @TXTrendyChick, who I had already been following on Twitter, and a bunch of other bloggers. Most interesting bit of off-the-record gossip: Confirmation of my Rick Perry hopped-up on goofballs theory. “When I saw him running around Iowa in flats I knew he was in a lot of pain. The man practically sleeps in boots.”

    On Friday, I took a long lunch to attend the Newt Gingrich luncheon and signing. I sat one seat down from the indefatigable Holly Hansen (who has her own, far more extensive coverage), and @TXTrendyChick promptly plopped down between us. Obviously our table was the place to be.

    I get to hang out with all the cool chicks!

    Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was Gingrich’s warm-up speaker. Dewhurst has improved somewhat since his losing Senate race against Ted Cruz last year, but he’s still not a natural speaker. He tries to cram too many policy points into a speech, and isn’t skilled enough to distinguish between major and minor points. When it comes to conservative policy, he seems to know the words, but doesn’t hear the music.

    Dewhurst’s four points as to why Texas is doing better than any other state (1. We keep our spending low, 2. Keep our taxes low, 3. A light regulatory hand, and 4. Keep state government out of the way) were all very solid. He also promised additional budget cutting; let’s hope he follows through.

    Most interesting parts of Dewhurst’s speech: A clumsily-phrased plea for welfare reform (“I’m not going to pay people to sit on the couch and do drugs,” a proclamation that will no doubt disappoint many members of Occupy Wall Street), and a proposal to arm teachers in the classroom.

    Gingrich came on stage to a standing ovation. He said it was unfair for other states to compete with Texas, since we weren’t raising taxes and spending like California. (This is what people call “sarcasm.”)

    This was definitely Gingrich 2.0 (or maybe 8.6), an idea-a-minute futurist (I’d like to see him and Bruce Sterling bounce off each other for a couple of hours someday). He was saying things about America 2.0, ubiquitous diagnostic cell phones as a health care initiative, having the programmers behind World of Warcraft come up with ways to teach our kids, and puters mkn kdz wrt btr (I iz skptical). It was even more scatter-shot than Dewhurst, but seemed a lot more organic. And he had one truly fascinating factoid: Students taking Stanford’s online classes did better on tests than the ones taking classes in person.

    Gingrich seems genuinely optimistic about America’s future, which is a nice contrast with many of us after the 2012 election.

    After the speech I managed to get him to sign two books for me, To Renew America, and Jim Wright’s Reflections of a Public Man, which he was quite amused by.

    A few more luminaries:

    State Senator Larry Taylor

    State Rep Marsha Farney

    A very dapper Chuck DeVore. He wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as quickly as he could.

    Hey girl, it’s Josh Trevino!

    Apologies to anyone I didn’t mention, didn’t run into, or didn’t get a picture of (some just didn’t come out well). It was a busy two days!

    And congratulations to TPPF honcho David Guenthner and his many minions, for all the hard work in carrying this off:

    In addition to the copy of Texas Got it Right handed out to everyone, David thrust a copy of DeVore’s The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State into my hands. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say more about both in the not-so-distant future.

    Dick Armey Aims to Unseat Speaker Joe Straus

    Monday, September 24th, 2012

    Well, this is very interesting:

    FreedomWorks, which helped insurgent Ted Cruz snatch the GOP nod for U.S. Senate from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said Monday it will put its muscle behind toppling Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio from his leadership post.

    Armey’s one sharp cookie, and he plays hardball. Conservatives came up short when they challenged the moderate Straus before last session, but the incoming Texas House looks to be more conservative, and a lot of Straus’s committee chairs lost in the primary. But Straus is no pushover, and I imagine he still sits on a big pile of legislative IOUs, as well as lobbyist juice and gambling money. Will a disgruntled David Dewhurst throw his still-considerably clout behind his counterpart in the House?

    This promises to be a very interesting fight…

    Update: Here’s the Freedomworks press release, where Brendan Steinhauser says they’re supporting State Rep. Bryan Hughes for Speaker.

    Dewhurst Running for Re-Election Again in 2014

    Thursday, August 30th, 2012

    David Dewhurst says he’s running for reelection as Lt. Governor in 2014. This puts him on collision course with Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who also announced he’s running for the office some ten minutes after Dewhurst conceded the Senate race.

    Can Patterson take Dewhurst? Hard to say. The Senate race defeat proved he’s vulnerable when faced with the right candidate, but Dewhurst will start off with a considerable fundraising advantage, and big donors may be more fearful of backing Patterson knowing that Dewhurst will control the state legislative agenda for the next two years. But if Dewhurst makes the same mistakes he did in the Senate race, and the Tea Party backs Patterson as strongly as they did Cruz, then yes, Dewhurst could lose. But neither of those is a given.

    What made Dewhurst decide to run again? Well, maybe Rick Perry saying he’s he’s likely to run for Governor again had something to do with it…

    Random Texas Runoff Tidbits

    Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

    I intend to do a comprehensive roundup of why Ted Cruz won the Senate race, and why David Dewhurst lost, but it’s such a big subject I’m having trouble getting started. There’s entirely too much to talk about, and I’m still digesting all the ramifications.

    So instead, here are a few other random observations from last night’s runoff:

  • Republicans now have two Hispanic candidates running for statewide office: Ted Cruz at the top of the ballot (just below President) for United States Senate, and Elsa Alcala for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Place 8. Number of Democrats nominated for statewide office in Texas in 2012: Zero. (Even the Libertarians have more statewide Hispanic candidates than the Democrats this year, which is to say they have one.)
  • Actually, the Libertarians more candidates running statewide than the Democratic Party does. And the Greens (five) have just as many.
  • Donna Campbell stomped Jeff Wentworth, taking two-thirds of the vote against a long-time incumbent which (absent a serious scandal) is almost unheard of. However, the result isn’t the “upset” some newspapers are proclaiming it, since Elizabeth Ames Jones split the anti-Wentworth vote in the primary, indicating deep dissatisfaction with the very establishment incumbent.
  • Tom Maynard edged Rebecca Osbourne in the State Board of Education District 10 race, 36,099 votes to 35,120. I’m sure that Holly Hansen will be pleased.
  • As expected, Paul Sadler beat Grady Yarbrough for the Democratic Senate nomination. Sadler is about to find out that when members of the national Democratic Party promised him adequate funding if he won the primary, they were engaged in what is commonly known as “lying.”
  • Republican U.S. Congressional Race runoffs: Ron Paul-endorsed Randy Weber beat Felicia Harris in CD14, Roger Williams beats Wes Riddle in CD25 (Last Williams Standing, and I think the only Senate race dropout to win their new race), once and future congressman Steve Stockman (part of the Gingrich wave in 1994) beat Stephen Takach in CD36. Plus longshots in two heavily Democratic districts: Dale A. Brueggemann over Eddie Zamora in CD15 to face incumbent Ruben Hinojosa, and Jessica Puente Bradshaw over Adela Garza to take on Filemon Vela in new “minority opportunity” CD34.
  • Pete Gallego beat former congressman Ciro B. Rodriguez for the chance to take on Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco in CD23. Canseco took the seat away from Rodriguez in 2010, and CD23 is essentially the only realistic opportunity Democrats have to flip a Texas U.S. congressional seat this election.
  • The Tea Party is alive and well not only in Texas, but also in Georgia, where voters rejected a consultant pocket-lining mass transportation tax hike supported by the Republican governor.
  • July 19: Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announces he’s supporting Dewhurst. July 31, 7:52 PM (just minutes after Dewhurst’s concession speech to Cruz): announces he’s running for Dewhurst’s current office: “I have great respect for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. However, I’m running for LtGov in 2014.” And his campaign website is already up.