Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Inter-Blue Fratricide for Texas 7th U.S. Congressional District

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

I haven’t done a roundup on the Texas 7th U.S. Congressional District race because Republican incumbent John Culberson is not retiring, and he won his two most recent races by 56.2% to 43.8% in 2016, and 63.3% to 34.5% in 2014. That’s not exactly swing district territory, but Clinton carried the district in 2016.

Because of that, Democrats seem to be taking a real run at the seat with four different Democrats pulling in between half a million and a million in fundraising for the race. That’s some pretty serious cheese.

Even more surprising: One of the Democratic candidates is Laura Moser, a pro-abortion woman and part of #TheResistance, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s list have both come out hard in the race.

Against Moser:

EMILY’s List is dumping big money into an upcoming Democratic primary in Texas’s 7th Congressional District, pitting the women’s group against a pro-choice woman who was, in the months after the election of Donald Trump, a face of the resistance.

Laura Moser, as creator of the popular text-messaging program Daily Action, gave hundreds of thousands of despondent progressives a single political action to take each day. Her project was emblematic of the new energy forming around the movement against Trump, led primarily by women and often by moms. (Moser is both.)

It was those types of activists EMILY’s List spent 2017 encouraging to make first-time bids for office. But that doesn’t mean EMILY’s List will get behind them. Also running is Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a corporate lawyer who is backed by Houston mega-donor Sherry Merfish. EMILY’s List endorsed her in November.

The 7th District includes parts of Houston and its wealthy western suburbs, and Merfish and her husband, Gerald Merfish, are among the city’s leading philanthropists. Gerald Merfish owns and runs a steel pipe company in the oil-rich region and Sherry Merfish, who worked for decades for EMILY’s List, is a major donor to the Democratic Party and to EMILY’s List.

Actor Alyssa Milano, another face of the Trump resistance, is backing Moser, and plans to drive voters to the polls as a campaign volunteer. “I like EMILY’s List a lot but I feel like they missed the boat on this one,” Milano told The Intercept. “Laura is a proud progressive Democrat and her values are the values of the majority of the country, which is evident by the success of her grassroots campaign and her broad base of support.”

The Houston district is one of scores where crosscurrents of the Democratic Party are colliding. Democrats, who in the past have had difficulty fielding a single credible candidate even in winnable districts, have at least four serious contenders in the race to replace Republican John Culberson. Moser, who has more than 10,000 donors — more than 90 percent of whom are small givers — and cancer researcher Jason Westin make up the progressive flank, while Fletcher and Alex Triantaphyllis are running more moderate campaigns. Triantaphyllis, a former Goldman Sachs analyst who doesn’t live in the district, has the backing of some establishment elements of the party.

“Alex T has been open about being the chosen candidate of the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee],” said Daniel Cohen, president of Indivisible Houston, who is not endorsing any particular candidate.

For “more moderate” and “establishment” read “Clinton-approved.”

Indeed, until 2017, Moser was living in Washington, where she worked as a writer, and only recently relocated back home to Houston. Her husband, Arun Chaudhary, a partner at Revolution Messaging, which did media and email work for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, hasn’t gotten around to updating his bio, which still suggests that he “lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, son and daughter.”

And that seems to be the real reason the Democratic establishment has come down on her in the primary like a ton of bricks:

Indeed, the Democratic Party seems more than willing to block and purge candidates that don’t toe the line.

It seems it doesn’t matter how pure your progressive credentials or positions are, if you’re the wrong kind of people. Those not already approved by mega-donors and the Clinton machine need not apply…

Quick Impressions: Texas Sixth Congressional District

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

After Joe Barton’s naked selfies leaked, he announced his retirement, leading to yet another hotly contest U.S. congressional race. The Sixth district runs from Arlington down through Ellis and Navarro Counties. It used to be Phil Gramm’s seat, but in a very different geographic configuration, and is solidly Republican.

Unlike several of the other U.S. congressional races I’ve covered this year, this one has a clear favorite.

Republicans

  • Ken Cope: Plus: Ex-military background. Minus: Finished fifth against John Cornyn in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary, which suggests he’s not a serious candidate.
  • Shawn Dandridge: A black Republican with a military background who hates Obama, Dandridge is Cisco-certified and getting an MBA; an interesting background. “Shawn also has been a small business owner and real estate investor since 2008. He has rental properties in three states that have a value of close to $1 million.” That suggests he may have State Rep race money, but not U.S. congressional race money (he’s raised $5,126.)
  • Thomas Dillingham: Not in the district yet. Though he has an interesting Facebook story…
  • Shannon Dubberly: Another guy with ex-military background (counterterrorism, even), who has raised $51,465. Potential dark horse.
  • Jake Ellzey: Another ex-military guy, one who stands out a bit due to one notable endorsement: Rick Perry. That’s a good endorsement, and he’s raised $71,943. Potential dark horse, and right now probably the favorite to make the runoff with Ron Wright.
  • Deborah Gagliardi: Owns her own engineering and architecture firm in a year it’s good to be a woman running for office. “When the City of Arlington spent taxpayer dollars courting a contractor with a history of over-budget, poorly constructed projects, Deborah fought to expose them. If elected, her first priorities will be not only to fix the existing infrastructure in District 6, but to overhaul how infrastructure is built and maintained. High-cost, low-quality vanity projects will be a thing of the past.” Running for U.S. Congress to fix local infrastructure indicates a fairly imperfect grasp of federalism. Plus her campaign news page is blank, suggesting a certain lack of attention to the race.
  • Kevin Harrison: “Founder & President of West Coast Bible College & Seminary.” Maybe he has some ability to self-fund and an in with religious conservatives (though not reflected in the FEC reports, which shows no money raised). Potential dark horse.
  • Mel Hassell: A cipher with no website.
  • Mark Mitchell: A perennial candidate that’s lost a number of state rep races, there’s no reason to believe he’ll be competitive in a heavier weight class.
  • Troy Ratterree: Using a Facebook page as your campaign website is not generally conducive to victory.
  • Ron Wright: Current Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector who has earned the endorsements of State Senator Konni Burton and several others, and right now is the favorite for the seat, despite the bow ties and not having raised any money as of the last FEC reporting period, presumably because of how late Barton dropped out.
  • Democrats

  • John W. Duncan: Gay guy who works for “he largest local non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization in North Texas” and is married to a gay Christian minister. Raised $21,143.05.
  • Jana Lynne Sanchez: A former journalist, so naturally she’s a Democrat. She’s endorsed by the Dallas AFL-CIO, so she’s the establishment candidate in the race, to which she’s raised $137,832.08, the most of any candidate thus far.
  • Levii Shocklee: Navy veteran. No bio on his website.
  • Justin Snider: Locksmith and Bernie Bro.
  • Ruby Faye Woolridge: Lost the race to Barton in 2016. She has a lot of party experience and has raised $92,121.60. Woolridge is black, and the district is just under 21% black, and just over 22% Hispanic, which sets up a black/Hispanic interparty brawl between Woolridge and Sanchez.
  • Expect Wright to be the favorite, but if he doesn’t get his fundraising in gear, Ellzey or another dark horse could lap him. I expect whoever comes out on top in the GOP primary to easily handle Sanchez or Woolridge in the general.

    It’s Another “Trump Can’t Win” Compilation

    Sunday, January 28th, 2018

    It’s been one of those days, when even lazy blogging material is hard to come by, so here’s another “Donald Trump Can’t Win” supercut:

    LinkSwarm for January 26, 2018

    Friday, January 26th, 2018

    President Donald Trump is pitching America at Davos (and evidently doing well). Meanwhile, a lot of this week’s news has focused on the still-developing FBI scandal, which will probably wait until the next Clinton Corruption update.

  • Trump vs. the mainstream media:

    The country’s top news organizations have targeted Trump with an unprecedented barrage of negative stories, with some no longer making much attempt to hide their contempt. Some stories are legitimate, some are not, and others are generated by the president’s own falsehoods and exaggerations. But the mainstream media, subconsciously at first, has lurched into the opposition camp and is appealing to an anti-Trump base of viewers and readers, failing to grasp how deeply it is distrusted by a wide swath of the country.

    (Hat tip: Chuck Glasser at Instapundit.)

  • Liberals on shutdown fight: “Our leaders betrayed us!” Stephen Green: “Welcome to our world.”
  • Why Schumer’s shutdown gambit failed: “Seeing the media commit itself to plainly stating the facts and resisting its usual role as the Democrats’ built-in spin machine was genuinely refreshing.” More:

    Democrats love to pretend that the media doesn’t routinely shield them from inconvenient truths. But the freak-out that ensured the second that shield was removed exposed just how badly they rely on positive press coverage to accomplish their political goals.

  • West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (who recently filed for re-election): “We do need a wall.”
  • “NFL Ratings Plunge As 23 Million Fewer Viewers Watch Divisional Playoffs.” How’s that anthem protest working out for you? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • 5 Great Floor Finds at SHOT Show 2018.” Including this mainly so Dwight sees the bit on the 1400 round full-auto BB gun, which I know scratches an itch of his… (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Minnesota Public Radio releases statement that no, actually, Garrison Keillor is a complete perv. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • The lights are going out in Europe:

  • Andrew Sullivan commits heresy by noting the obvious: sex is not a social construct.

    For today’s progressives, humans are the sole species on this planet where gender differentiation has no clear basis in nature, science, evolution, or biology. This is where they are as hostile to Darwin as any creationist.

    And this is stupid. The alternative explanation — that these core natural differences between men and women have been supplemented by centuries of conscious oppression — is staring us in the face. The fascinating conundrum is where one ends and the other begins. How much of this difference is natural and how much is social? That is the question. And the answer is a tricky one. Is the fact that the vast majority of construction workers are male and the huge majority of nurses are female a function of sexism or nature? Is male sexual aggression and horniness a function of patriarchy or testosterone? Is the fact that women now outnumber men among college graduates a function of reverse sexism or nature?

  • You might want to scratch Vang Vieng, Laos off your tourist destination list. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “I love you…you love me…very, very slow-ow-ly…”
  • Did Charlie Geren Operative File a False CPS Report Against Primary Opponent?

    Thursday, January 4th, 2018

    This lawsuit alleges that an operative of Joe Straus ally Rep. Charlie Geren carried out one of the nastiest dirty campaign tricks of recent memory against primary opponent Bo French:

    Today Bo and Sheridan French filed suit against Charlie’s campaign staffer and well known democrat, David Sorensen, in a story that is very disturbing and challenges our sense of decency.

    On Friday February 26, 2016, 4 Days before the primary, CPS, along with a FTW police officer, showed up at the French residence with a complaint that their son had suffered a broken rib and allegations of physical abuse from Bo against the children. This was followed by repeat visits to the home on Saturday and Sunday. Oddly, once the election was over on that Tuesday, they never showed back up.

    The Frenches have filed a civil suit against Sorensen, claiming he filed the report with CPS, with the intent to gain an unfair advantage for the Charlie Geren campaign in the final days of the primary. The suit claims: Defamation/Libel; Business Disparagement; Intrusion of Seclusion; Invasion of Privacy; and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

    According to the filing, Sorensen put his scheme into effect by supplying a false report to CPS claiming Mr. French’s youngest son had suffered broken ribs and that the son was not provided adequate medical care. It was further falsely reported that the police had responded to domestic abuse calls at the French residence in the past. CPS’s internal investigation found that the Frenches’ son never had any broken ribs and that the police had never at any time been called to the French residence. After nearly a year the CPS proceeding was closed without any further investigation of the Frenches, but not until after Mr. French lost to Sorensen’s employer in the primary election.

    Geren vehemently denies the charges:

    The Forth Worth Star-Telegram has more on the story, including that Sorensen worked for the political consulting firm Murphy Nasica.

    Geren has also criticized a Facebook page French put up mocking former Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn.

    French and Geren are fighting a rematch in this year’s District 99 Republican Primary.

    Quick Impressions: Texas Fifth Congressional District Race

    Thursday, December 28th, 2017

    This is the seat Jeb Hensarling announced he was retiring from a couple of months ago, meaning most of the candidates have had to scramble to get campaigns off the ground. The Fifth Congressional District runs from southeast Dallas all the way down to Nacogdoches, and is so safely Republican that Democrats didn’t even bother to field candidates in 2014 and 2016. This race features both a former and a current State Representative, neither of which is likely to be the favorite.

    Republican U.S.

  • Danny Campbell has a military background (a plus), but no evident political experience or a proven ability to self-fund.
  • Sam Deen is another veteran, and as a serial entrepreneur, he might be able to self-fund, but it’s unclear he has U.S. Congressional race money at his disposal.
  • Lance Gooden currently represents the 5th state House district. Gooden and Stuart Spitzer have spent turns knocked each other off the Republican primary, with Gooden winning in 2012 and 2016, and Spitzer winning in 2014. His Empower Texans ratings have been all over the map (29% in 2011, 89% in 2013, 42% in 2017), and they’re not fans. Irritatingly, Gooden’s webpage currently features a donation form you can’t bypass to find out such trivia as his stand on issues…
  • Charles Lingerfelt doesn’t have a web page, only a Facebook page, where he’s been endorsed by former Dallas Cowboys Lineman John Niland. Well, that’s something…
  • Bunni Pounds is Hensarling’s former fundraiser, and he’s endorsed her, so she should be a serious contender.
  • Kenneth Sheets is the former state rep in the race. Another impressive military resume, having served as a marine in Fallujah in 2007. He used to represent the 107 state congressional district, where he racked up a reasonably conservative record until he lost to Victoria Neave by less than 900 votes in 2016. A law partner, Sheets should be able to self-fund, and he got endorsed by Empower Texans in 2012.
  • There’s a candidate named David Williams…with no webpage. Sorry, got nothing.
  • Jason Wright was Ted Cruz’s eastern regional director and Cruz endorsed him. A serious contender.
  • Democrat

    The only Democrat running is Dan Wood, a former DA for Kaufman County and a former city councilmen for Terrell (population around 15,000). Wood has raised $27,737 so far in the election cycle, getting a jump on Republicans who came in after Hensarling’s announcement. Except a competent but losing campaign.

    I expect this race to come down to come down to Pounds and Wright, with the two state reps on the outside looking in, though if I were to pick one of them to edge into the runoff, it would be Sheets.

    Quick Impressions: Texas U.S. Second Congressional District Race

    Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

    I was going to do one big roundup of competitive Texas U.S. Congressional races, but the more I started digging in, the more I thought each race deserved its own entry. So let’s start with the Second Congressional District.

    Republican

    This is the retiring Ted Poe’s seat in northern Harris County. It looks like an interesting race, because there appear to be several potentially credible candidates:

  • Houston businessman David Balat looks like he has the money to compete (he’s already raised $155,965) and has been lining up endorsements.
  • Ex-Navy SEAL Daniel Crenshaw is drawing some attention in his first race with a compelling personal story. Losing his right eye to an IED in Afghanistan, Crenshaw also has that Moshe Dyan visage thing going for him:

  • Another U.S. veteran is Jonny Havens, who’s also a lawyer, formerly with Baker Botts, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Texas. He might have enough money and pull to run a competitive race,
  • State representative Kevin Roberts has experience and name recognition. (Empower Texans is not impressed with his legislative record.)
  • Kingwood businessman Rick Walker. I actually received an email from his social media team touting his candidacy, so he has more campaign infrastructure than many candidates at this point.
  • Kathaleen Wall doesn’t seem to have a website up yet, but she’s well-heeled and well-connected, always a good combination, and was active into trying to take down Joe Straus lieutenant Charlies Geren. Plus I suspect 2018 will be a pretty good year for women running for office.
  • Just missing the cut: Justin Lurie. Venture capital background, so he could potentially raise the money necessary, but he’s a bit young and has more issues than endorsements or events at this stage.

    Not a leading candidates: the guy who thinks he’s already running for President

    Democrats

    The clear Democratic favorite here is Todd Litton, because as a lawyer whose worked in investments he can scrape up the money for a competitive race, to which end he’s already raised over $200,000.

    The candidate that ran against Poe in 2016 was Pat Bryan. He raised a whopping $4,465 in 2016. (Way to support your candidate, Democrats!)

    It’s a heavily Republican district and none of the Democrats running look capable of flipping it. Keep in mind that the early fundraising totals may be misleading, since Poe only announced his retirement November 7. We won’t get a real bead on race finances until Q4 results are released in January 2018.

    Deadline Filing Passes: Quick Impressions on Texas Statewide Races

    Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

    Monday was the deadline to file for the 2018 Texas primaries. You have to give credit to whoever in the Texas Democratic Party was in charge of candidate recruitment: unlike many previous years, “Democrats put up candidates for every statewide elected post, except one open seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, an initial tally of filings showed Monday night.”

    Here are my quick impressions of some of the more competitive statewide primary races to be fought between now and March 6.

    Democratic Governor’s Race

    See this post. The press is going to cover this as an Andrew White vs. Lupe Valdez race. I think there’s a 50% chance Grady Yarborough makes the runoff.

    Republican Agricultural Commissioner’s Race

    This race has already turned nasty, with incumbent Sid Miller and challenger Trey Blocker launching nasty Facebook attack ads at each other. One of Blocker’s consultants is Matt Mackowiak, who was just elected to a 2018-2020 term as Travis County GOP chairman unopposed, and whose Twitter feed I follow.

    Republican Land Commissioner’s Race

    Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has filed to run against incumbent George P. Bush. Patterson is going to have a real uphill fight to unseat Bush, since Patterson lost badly in his last race for Lt. Governor, coming in fourth in a four man race, and the Bush family machine has a legendary fundraising network, having raised more than $3 million in a down-ballot race in 2014. But various Alamo controversies and the fact that Bush has never run in even a slightly competitive race might give Patterson a chance to make the race close. Even so, Bush is still the heavy favorite.

    Tomorrow (hopefully): A look at competitive U.S. congressional district races.

    Have Democrats Found Their 2018 Paul Sadler?

    Saturday, December 9th, 2017

    After having gay leather bar owner Jeffrey Payne and perennial candidate Grady Yarborough as their ostensible gubernatorial frontrunners, Democrats finally seem to have lured someone who’s won at the county level to the race in the form of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Valdez was elected to her current post four times, so she has as much electoral experience as Wendy Davis had in 2014. However, she lacks Davis’ celebrity status outside the state, so she’s unlikely to draw anywhere near Davis’ fundraising dollars, surefire donations from Emily’s and Annie’s Lists notwithstanding. Valdez is also a lesbian, so she might split the gay vote (small as it is) with Payne.

    Also, Mark White’s son Andrew has thrown his hat into the ring as well. His myriad political experience includes…being Mark White’s son. That’s it. He’s also making all sorts of bipartisan noises, but when you read his positions, they’re thinly disguised Democratic Party boilerplate, such as supporting the DREAM Act and boosting “sanctuary cities.” He also trots out the “personally pro-life” and “safe, legal and rare” canards, which always amount to “bring on the partial birth abortions!”

    The Texas Tribune has a modestly irksome roundup of the race up. I couldn’t help noticing that one candidate the Texas Tribune omitted a picture for was the only candidate who had previously made it to a statewide ballot in November: Grady Yarborough, who in his 2016 Railroad Commissioner run did not do any worse (38.3% of the vote) than most statewide Democrats did in 2014. And he, like fellow gubernatorial candidate Cedrick Davis Sr., former Mayor of Balch Springs (in Dallas County south of Mesquite), who’s photo is also omitted, is black, while they included the picture of another longshot, distinctly pale former congressional candidate Tom Wakely. Another longshot mentioned in the piece, Dallas investment adviser Adrian Ocegueda (who I’m fairly sure is the only candidate whose webpage talks about contracts in virtual reality), also had his picture omitted.

    Other 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial candidates not even mentioned:

  • Garry Brown, an assistant for Williamson County commissioner Terry Cook (and formerly for Rep. Lloyd Doggett)
  • Joe Mumbach
  • Lee Weaver
  • The press seems to want to this to come down to a White/Valdez race. My guess is they’re half right. I’m betting White does get into the runoff due to the electorate’s lamentable but demonstrated tendency to support political dynasties. However, right now I’d guess that, despite hostile press gatekeepers to the contrary, Grady Yarborough is more likely to make the runoff than Valdez…

    LinkSwarm for December 1, 2017

    Friday, December 1st, 2017

    Welcome to another LinkSwarm! December already! I didn’t do enough to get ahead in 2017, because I was working hard merely to survive 2017…

    Think I’m going to do a separate “Democrats Behaving Badly” roundup tomorrow, by which time there should be another half-dozen accusations…

  • Donald Trump, champion deregulator?
  • The Al Franken scandal is hitting Democrats right where it hurts most: in their pocketbooks.
  • Harry Reid kills the judicial filibuster. Result? “Trump will get to fill the most federal judiciary vacancies in 40 year.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “WaPo reporter to Project Veritas: There may be no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia.” Now you tell us… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The welfare state should be abolished.
  • “McDonald’s Bun-Supplier Loses 35% Of Staff To Immigration Raids.”
  • He was just a Dreamer, dreaming of coming to America and stabbing someone in their chest 100 times and ripping out their heart.
  • John Hindraker: “Roy Moore for Senate! Enthusiastically.”
  • Professor: the fewer competitive congressional districts, the better.
  • China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army.”
  • Once again, liberals are outraged at a compact to cut down on voter fraud.
  • Philadelphia city councilwoman wants to see more constituents murdered.
  • ESPN lays off 150 people. How is that “All Social Justice Warrior, All the Time” format working out for you?
  • 100 Buzzfeed employees laid off. What happened next will shock you! (Hat tip: NolteNC’s Twitter feed.)
  • And the hits keep coming! “Music Mogul Russell Simmons Accused of Rape by Model, Then 17 Years Old; Now Accused by Second Woman.”
  • Time Inc. will be sold to Meredith Corporation for $2.8 billion in deal partly funded by Koch brothers.” Can the Koch Brothers make it suck less? Probably not, since they evidently won’t have any influence. I think Meredith overpaid by about $2.8 billion…
  • Croatian war criminal R. Bud Dwyers himself in court, albeit less dramatically.
  • Let colleges die.
  • Imagine being so unhinged and so geeky that you issue death threats to congressmen and their families over the “net neutrality” debate. Hope the 10 years in prison and the $250,000 fine were worth it for knocking $5 off your Netflix bill…
  • Social Justice has now reached the point in Olympia, Washington that police won’t even evict trespassers from railroad tracks. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Philly officer sold drugs stolen by corrupt Baltimore police squad.” Remind me again which party has controlled those two cities the last half century…
  • Feminist satire website to shutdown because it can’t out-crazy actual feminists.
  • Dogs > Cats.
  • Germany’s top 10 most surreal sites to visit.” (Last photo is NSFW.)
  • How hippies put on the worst music festival in history.