Posts Tagged ‘Paul Burka’

Texas Statewide Races Update for June 23, 2014:

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Some Texas statewide race news to start your week with:

  • Her campaign manager twitched her whiskers, then jumped off the USS Wendy Davis. Speaking of which, remember her old logo?

  • Of the move, liberal MSM fossil Paul Burka says it’s about time: “The Davis campaign has been a disaster.” Also:

    Democrats have already started describing the Republican slate as the “Abbott, Patrick, Paxton ticket.” There is always a “be careful what you wish for” component to these races. Patrick in particular is a very shrewd operator who has widespread support from the conservative base. He is a dangerous opponent. Democrats who underestimate him do so at their peril.

  • The fact that Greg Abbott is kicking Wendy Davis’ ass in polls is no surprise. The fact that Dan Patrick is kicking Leticia Van de Putte’s ass by an even bigger margin is.
  • Davis’ political obituary is already being written: “Privately, many of her supporters are resigned to her losing. And, already, some political operatives are pondering how she can stay politically relevant beyond November.” As I’ve said before, I think in 2015 she’ll host her own show on MSNBC.
  • Don’t give up, Wendy Davis! “Republicans needed her to be sucking up Democratic donors’ dollars all year long.”
  • Davis continues to raise funds where she’s most beloved: outside Texas.
  • More on that theme.
  • Abbott’s first ads against Davis are running in Spanish during the World Cup. It’s a sign of Abbott’s strength that he feels no need to secure his own base, so he can cut into Davis’ base right out of the gate.
  • Davis and Van de Putte are getting together to celebrate the one year anniversary of her abortion filibuster on Wednesday.
  • Abbott and Davis agree to two debates.
  • Abbot is not a big fan of corporate welfare.
  • Grappling With the Texas State Budget

    Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

    There seems to be some confusion over Texas Public Policy Foundation numbers for Texas budget estimates. Take, for example, this post by Erica Grieder. (She seems to be sharing space on Burkablog with the titular liberal fossil; I’m going to assume it’s a Sith-apprentice sort of thing…) She accuses TPPF of walking back their estimate of a 26% increase back to a more modest 9% increase.

    The problem is she’s comparing apples to oranges by comparing their numbers for the amount appropriated by the legislature, which increased by some 26% between biennium, as opposed to the total amount spent, which increased by a far more modest 9%.

    Here’s a chart:

    Here’s an in-depth report by Talmadge Heflin, Vance Ginn, and Bill Peacock that explains it in more detail, including such budget arcana as “backfilling” and “patient income funds.”

    Here’s a table containing the actual numbers. Remember that there are multiple line items that don’t get included in the “official” legislative budget document.

    Here’s an editorial by Heflin and Arlene Wohlgemuth explaining it further.

    Now, I do have one criticism of TPPF: All those documents I linked separately above should be boiled down into a single document. Flannery O’Conner once said “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind, you draw large and startling figures.” To which I add “For members of the press, you put key information in the front of the document is visual form so even the skimmers can comprehend it.” Asking some members of the press to look in four places for key information is simply asking too much of them. Especially if there’s drinking to be done, or interviewing another liberal interest group for pull quotes about the perfidious evil of Republicans.

    Ideally there should be a spreadsheet or table near the front of that document with columns showing information just the 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 Bienniums and the % change between them with the following rows of information:

  • Amount appropriated by the legislature
  • Amount actually spent by Texas government for same period
  • Difference between the two
  • Backfilling
  • Patient Income
  • Rainy-Day Fund drawdown (if any)
  • Any other off-budget spending
  • State Revenue
  • Federal Revenue
  • That sort of thing would go a long way toward clarifying state budget expenditures for people who would otherwise protest that they told there would be no math.

    Some Texas Runoff Result Links

    Thursday, May 29th, 2014

    I keep looking for some insightful pieces on the Texas election results, but mostly what I’m finding is the usual MSMN “those extreme extremist Republicans have sure gotten extremely extreme” blather (see just about any Paul Burka piece for an example of the form), but I did find a few links of interest

    Here’s a Texas Tribune piece.

    “‘Some Democrats have said they want me to be the nominee,’ Patrick said during his victory speech. ‘Well, they’ve got me, and I’m coming.'”

    And what does the party that hasn’t won a statewide election this century think of developments?

    “Democratic Party spokesman Emmanuel Garcia added, ‘The days of a pragmatic Texas Republican Party are over.'”

    Why yes, I’m sure we all remember how much Democrats praised George W. Bush and Rick Perry for their “pragmatism.”

    Democrats also might find it hard to win the Agriculture Commissioner’s race with a candidate who refuses to campaign.

    Empower Texas on what the media are calling the “Tea Party Takeover”: “You can’t have a takeover of something that was already dominated by those who are claimed to be taking it over.” The Tea Party is essentially conservative voters who insist that Republicans who run as conservatives actually govern as Republicans. Imagine that.

    Final Statewide Race Runoff Update

    Monday, May 26th, 2014

    Tomorrow is the Texas primary runoff, so now would be a good time to find your voting card and confirm your polling place.

    A final roundup of runoff tidbits:

  • The Dallas Morning News says that Dan Patrick is poised to win due to his staunch opposition to illegal immigration. Oversimplified, but not entirely wrong. They also say Patrick has done a good job connecting with Ted Cruz supporters.
  • The end for Dewhurst draws nigh.
  • Dan Branch would have raised more money for the Attorney General race than Ken Paxton…were it not for the $1 million loan from Midland oilman Tim Dunn via Empower Texans PAC. Now you see why so many liberal reporters call Michael Quinn Sullivan the most powerful figure in Texas politics.
  • Talk show host Dana Loesch endorses Paxton. Less a move-the-needle endorsement than a reminder that conservatives are united on Paxton’s side.
  • Hey, that union Branch lobbied for totally wasn’t a member of the AFL-CIO…at least when he lobbied for it.
  • Governor Rick Perry took the unusual step of endorsing Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner over Tommy Merritt.
  • Some controversy over Miller’s campaign loan repayments.
  • On the Democrat side of the Ag Commissioner runoff, Kinky Friedman is running against an invisible opponent. “In the May 27 runoff the choice for the party’s faithful is either Friedman or Jim Hogan, a former dairy farmer who hasn’t campaigned for the office or even has a campaign website…Hogan could not be reached for comment because a phone number listed under his name was out of service and the Democratic Party of Texas did not respond to a request for other contact information.” Also, win or lose, Kinky said this is his last race.
  • Hogan seems to be taking a very Zen approach to campaigning.
  • One website has tried to fill the Jim Hogan void.
  • Here’s a Texas Tribune piece on the runoff between rich guy David Alameel and Larouchite Kesha Rogers for the Democratic Senate nomination. Fun as it would be to see Rogers upset Alameel, I don’t see it in the cards.
  • Finally, just in case you were unclear, Texas Monthly‘s Paul Burka is very upset that Republican primary voters continue to prefer actual Republicans over Republicans who act like Democrats once in office.
  • Here is who I will be voting for tomorrow (all of whom I expect to win):

  • Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor
  • Ken Paxton for Attorney General
  • Sid Miller for Agriculture Commissioner
  • Wayne Christian for Railroad Commissioner
  • Texas Statewide Race Updates for April 4, 2014

    Friday, April 4th, 2014

    My taxes and family health issues have curtailed blogging somewhat, so here are some statewide race updates, some of which stretch back to just after the primary:

  • The Weekly Standard covers the Abbott campaign.

    One Abbott supporter in Edinburg, former state representative Aaron Peña, is a Democrat-turned-Republican with strong ties to the valley. He says his fellow Hispanic Texans may vote Democratic, but they are traditionalists on cultural issues, including abortion. Davis may be popular with the liberal set in Austin, but she doesn’t offer much to Peña’s constituents, he says.

    Also this:

    Davis herself doesn’t appear to be making much effort to court the Valley vote, or any vote for that matter. She’s noticeably inconspicuous on the trail, and even friendly media have a hard time finding her.

  • Davis gives a speech in Midland to sparse attendance. “Davis showed up to an almost empty room but despite the crickets, she told me she felt comfortable.” Ouch!
  • How Davis benefited from her law firm doing government bond work while she was a state senator.
  • At least she’s changed her logo from the sinking ship, even if the new logo looks a little familiar…

  • Two Dewhurst aides quit amid campaign feuding about tactics.” This is not exactly the sign of a well-oiled campaign machine…
  • Paul Burka even goes so far as to say that Dewhurst is toast: “The reality is that Dewhurst has been politically dead since the night of the Wendy Davis filibuster, and he has no hope to retain his office. Unless something very strange happens, Dan Patrick is a lock to be the state’s next lieutenant governor.” I’d say he’s been politically dead since losing to Ted Cruz in 2012…
  • Rick Casey not only thinks Dan Patrick will win, he thinks “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will be more powerful than Gov. Greg Abbott.” Agree on the first, disagree on the second, mainly because Greg Abbott is a lot more formidable than Dewhurst. It’s an interesting piece, despite making (I believe) some subtly wrong assumptions about Tea Party politics.
  • State of play piece by Ross Ramsey.

    Movement conservatives in Texas — a label that includes fiscal and social conservatives, Tea Partyers and the religious right — seem to be forming up behind Dan Patrick, a state senator running for lieutenant governor; Ken Paxton, a state senator running for attorney general; and Wayne Christian, a former state representative running for railroad commissioner. Each finished ahead of the establishment candidate in his race — in Patrick’s case, the incumbent lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst.

    Ramsey also notes money switching to conservative challengers. Plus this: “Every Republican senator has probably given some private thought to state Sen. John Carona’s loss to Donald Huffines, and that kind of private thinking often leads to changed voting patterns.”

  • Dan Patrick endorsed by Buc-ees. If they throw in free fudge, this race is so over…
  • Mike Huckabee endorses Ken Paxton. That probably means more to Huckabee than Paxton…

  • 14 Texas state house republicans ask Dan Branch to withdraw.
  • Democratic Agricultural Commissioner candidate Kinky Friedman calls marijuana farms the future of Texas.
  • 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 little 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.
  • Texas Statewide Race Update for October 16, 2013

    Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

    Slowly but surely I’m digging out from my post-Worldcon backlog, so I hope to do more on various statewide races soon-ish (for certain values of “soon-ish” that work out to “before the end of the year”).

  • Greg Abbott reaches out to Hispanics.
  • He also promises to keep the Texas economy rolling.
  • Liberal fossil Paul Burka reiterates that Wendy Davis is doomed.
  • Battleground Texas is all in on Davis.
  • And speaking of Battleground Texas, proving they’re super classy, they made fun of Abbott being in a wheelchair.
  • Official Abbott announcement on Wendy Davis entering the race.
  • Abbott further said that he’s not worried about Wendy Davis.
  • Today Davis announced fundraisers in Conroe, Magnolia, and Waco. Ha, just kidding! She’s raising money in New York and Washington, D.C.. Good. The more money she takes from national Democrats, they less they can spend on races they might actually win.
  • Davis’ “true, natural constituency is the national, mainstream media.”
  • Davis used to be all-abortion, all the time, but that issue is now strangely missing from her speeches.
  • Longshot Tom Pauken is touting an Amarillo forum straw poll where he garnered 57% of the vote. Longshot Libertarian Kathie Glass came in second. I think these results are about as significant as that one straw poll Glenn Addison won in 2011.
  • Republican longshot Lisa Fritsch enters the Governor’s race. Here’s her website.
  • I do wonder why none of these longshots have considered taking on George P. Bush in the Land Commissioner’s race.
  • David Dewhurst calls for Obama’s impeachment. Somehow I sincerely doubt that U.S. Senator David Dewhurst would be making such a declaration…
  • Jerry Patterson suggests kicking four states out of the union. The piece notes this proposal was tongue-in-cheek. It also notes that Patterson was author of the Texas Concealed Carry law back in 1995, which I had forgotten.
  • Attorney General candidates Ken Paxton and Dan Branch roll out dueling legal endorsements.
  • Paxton campaigned in Midland.
  • Kinky Friedman is going to run for Agricultural Commissioner again as a Democrat, running on a marijuana legalization platform.
  • George P. Bush raised money for his Land Commissioner’s race in Dripping Springs.
  • Burka Gets Kinky

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013

    Liberal fossil Paul Burka is peeved that Kinky Friedman might run for office again. “When Friedman ran for governor in 2006, he helped make it impossible for Rick Perry to lose in a four-way race. By helping to divide the vote among four candidates, he enabled Perry to win with a pitiful plurality of 39%. I have no doubt that Friedman’s intention was to help Perry.”

    Burka calls another possible Friedman run “sick comedy.”

    A few points:

    1. When Friedman jumped into the 2006 Governor’s race as an independent in early 2005, it wasn’t a four-way race. It only turned into one when Comptroller Carole Stewart Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn realized that Perry was going to slaughter her in the GOP primary and dropped out to run as an independent.
    2. Watching the race unfold, I didn’t get the impression Friedman was running to ensure Perry’s re-election, but A.) Because he thought it would be fun to run for governor (and maybe even fun to be elected governor), B.) He was dissatisfied with the status quo, and C.) Given Jesse Ventura’s fairly recently election as Minnesota Governor, Friedman thought he could win as an independent. He was wrong, but it didn’t look like an inherently risible proposition when he ran.
    3. If Perry’s 39% was pitiful, what do we call Democrat Chris Bell’s 29%?
    4. By competitiveness standards, have Democrats run any “non-joke” candidates statewide in Texas lately?

    Now, I happen to agree with Burka’s assessment of Friedman’s political chances. But more interesting is the reason he feels the need to opine on them.

    Underlying Burka’s lament, and his obvious bitterness over Kinky’s candidacy, is the idea popular among his fellow liberal journalists that someone could have beaten Perry in 2006 if Kinky hadn’t split the vote. In some ways it’s a defensible position, as that was a “Bush Fatigue” wave year for Democrats and Perry was suffering from a number of self-inflicted wounds (toll roads, the Trans-Texas Corridor proposal, etc.). And maybe a popular, polished, well-funded Democratic candidate just might have had a chance to defeat Perry in 2006. Unfortunately for the Democrats (though fortunately for us), none was apparent on the scene in 2006. Or any time, really, since Bob Bullock and Ann Richards retired. Democrats didn’t come close to sending Perry home in 2006, and they haven’t any time since, letting him retire undefeated in gubernatorial contests.

    And so Burka’s great white whale escaped yet again…

    Texas Statewide Race Update for July 16, 2013

    Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

    Time permitting, I’m hoping to do regular updates on the 2014 statewide races in Texas the same way I updated the senate race. But with so many more offices and players, it’s going to take me some time to get up to speed.

  • Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial warchest has swollen to a formidable $23 million.
  • He also visited Longview, Wichita Falls, and Duncanville.
  • Todd Staples leads the money race for Lt. Governor, according to this fragment of the story that isn’t behind the Statesman paywall.

    Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, with $3 million in the bank, has the largest campaign treasury of the four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, according to the latest fundraising statements, which were due Monday.

    Thanks to a $650,000 personal loan to his campaign, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the latest entrant in the race, edged past Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in money in the bank — $2.1 million to $1.73 million — even though Dewhurst raised $1.2 million compared with about $100,000 for Patrick. The fourth candidate, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, raised $417,000, bringing his treasury to $1.3 million. Patterson said he hopes to raise $3 million in the next six months to remain competitive, and Dewhurst has a personal fortune that he can tap

  • The Texas Tribune has more fundraising roundup news. Tidbits:
    • State Rep. Dan Branch hasn’t even declared his AG run, but already has $4 million on hand, including a $5,000 donation from George W. Bush.
    • Barry Smitherman has over $1 million cash on hand for his AG run.
    • State Sen. Ken Paxton (honestly, I was just guessing he would make an AG run) has more than $1.6 million cash on hand. He hasn’t declared yet.
    • George P. Bush reported $2 million raised and $2.6 million on hand for his Comptroller run.

    I’ll be digging into the financial reports for all the major candidates when I get a chance (don’t hold your breath this week).

  • Democratic abortion diva Wendy Davis raised just under a million dollars…for her state senate campaign. No word on a governor’s run.
  • Even in-the-tank liberal fossil Paul Burka says Davis has no chance to win the Texas Governor’s race.
  • A David L. Watts, Jr. is running for Land Commissioner. His platform so far seems to be that George P. Bush isn’t conservative enough.
  • Paul Burka Discusses Ted Cruz, and Proves (Yet Again) He Doesn’t Understand Conservatives

    Monday, December 3rd, 2012

    So Paul Burka noticed that Senator-elect Ted Cruz picked conservative Chip Roy as his Chief of Staff.

    Sayeth Burka:

    What I find revealing about the choice of Roy is that Cruz–who has been making noise as a potential contender for the White House in 2016–appears to be putting his chips on the tea party as the future of the Republican party. In doing so, he is aligning himself with insurgents like Rand Paul and, of course, the chief insurgent, Jim DeMint, who helped fund Cruz’s Senate race.

    Is this a good bet? I’m dubious. The tea party has a lot in common with the old Ross Perot “United We Stand” bunch. These groups seldom have staying power. Granted, the Kochs’ involvement makes the tea party’s survival more likely, at least in the short run, but in the establishment almost always prevails. It may prove to be the case, though, that Cruz is so appealing that he can transcend the factionalism in the Republican party. The strength of the Republican field in 2016 is that it is filled with big names: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. Only Rubio and Cruz qualify as fresh faces, though, and that might be where the rank-and-file look first.

    Wait, let me get this straight: A conservative Republican Senator-elect, who worked at a conservative think tank, ran as a conservative, courted conservatives, and beat the overwhelming favorite establishment candidate while pledging to govern as a conservative, has now chosen…a conservative chief of staff?

    Sadly, Burka misunderstanding conservatives is nothing new. The idea that conservatives truly believe in low taxes, balanced budgets, and limited government seems entirely alien to Burka. When it comes to describing inter-Republican-Party dynamics, he’s like a color-blind man trying to describe The Wizard of Oz.

    And so instead of reaching the obvious conclusion, that Ted Cruz chose a conservative chief of staff because he’s a conservative, Burka prefers to envision imaginary 2016 horse-race jockeying.

    I could try to explain to Burka exactly why the Tea Party exists and what it wants, but I fear it would be like trying to teach the fundamentals of optics to a dog.