Posts Tagged ‘David Dewhurst’

Adventures in Painful Advertising: David Dewhurst Edition

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Ah, Team Dewhurst: Find an issue no one cares about, then run it into the ground. Their latest attack ad (or attack viral video) doubles down on all the unsuccessful attacks in his previous ads.

“Hey, let’s take a popular Disney song and ruin it! That will get people to vote for us!” Buzzfeed wonders if it’s the worst political attack ad of all time.

Dan Patrick has been a state senator since 2007. If Team Dewhurst has made an ad actually attacking that record, rather than Patrick’s business dealings in the 1980s, I haven’t seen it.

It’s like no one on the Dewhurst team actually understood why the Cruz team flash ads were so effective in the 2012 race. Hint: They made you chuckle rather than cringe.

I can’t think of another campaign team that spends so much time and money on ineffective attack ads as Team Dewhurst. It’s becoming more and more obvious that Buddy Barfield wasn’t the biggest problem with Dewhurst’s 2012 campaign…

A Look at the Dewhurst/Patrick Runoff

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

With so much Obama Administration scandal, sleaze and general fail, I haven’t devoted as much time to the statwide primary runoffs as they deserve. The Lt. Governor’s race in particular offers up the interesting dynamic of well-funded incumbent David Dewhurst getting trounced in the primary by state senator Dan Patrick. So here’s an update on the latest race news, which is lamentably heavy on who did what while owning a Houston business in the 1980s.

The two debated:

There has also been a lot of back and forth on two Dewhurst attack ads against Patrick:

There’s the little problem of Dewhurst accusing Patrick of having changed his name to “hide from debts.” In fact, Patrick had used the name Dan Patrick as a his working name since 1978, discharged all his debt in bankruptcy filings in 1987, and legally changed his name from Dannie Gobe to Dan Patrick in 2003. This is a case where the Dewhurst campaign connected two dots that simply weren’t connected for the sake of an attack ad. No wonder the claim got rated “Pants on Fire.” (On the other hand, Politifact also dings Patrick for suggesting they rated the entire ad as untrue, rather than just that one part of it.)

Politico also noted that Patrick discharged the payroll taxes debt in 1989. (Consider this your periodic reminder that Politico is considerably more trustworthy when the issue in question features no favored Democrats to protect…) Here are Patrick’s responses to the charges, where he also touches on tax problems Dewhurst’s companies had in the 1980s as well, and his own response ad:

Speaking of that second Dewhurst ad, Dewhurst supporter David Jennings dings Dewhurst for shirtless picture of Dan Patrick taken at a charity event. In fact, all the unflattering photos in that ad strike me as more than a little bush league.

As for the “hiring illegal aliens” charge Dewhurst has leveled:

  • Jerry Patterson tried using it in the primary, and it got him nowhere.
  • The idea that a restaurant or club owner in Houston might have hired illegal alien help shocks absolutely no one these days.
  • While if true, it does show a certain amount of hypocrisy on Patrick’s part, the charge is stale enough, and documentation of it so scanty, that I don’t see it being a successful line of attack for Dewhurst.
  • Dewhurst also spent an additional $600,000 on attack ads. It’s strange to see Dewhurst doubling down on the same tactic that backfired so badly in his race against Cruz. While there’s a bit more meat to the Patrick charges than the Cruz ads, I just don’t see the payoff putting so much money into attacks over business decisions Patrick made a quarter-century ago during the oil bust.

    Other race news:

  • Patterson endorses David Dewhurst. That’s a good pickup for Dewhurst (certainly a lot better than the Craig James endorsement in the 2012 Senate race), but I don’t think it moves the needle.
  • Dewhurst picks up the endorsements of Battleground Tea Party of Texas (who I don’t know much about, except they’re from the Clear Lake area) and the Pearland Tea Party.
  • 1980s Savings and Loan scandal figure W. Harold Sellers was involved in helping Patrick buy a radio station. Patrick says he didn’t know about Sellers loan issues, which were eventually settled.
  • I’d love to bring you news on this race that doesn’t revolve around business decisions in the 1980s, but I’m not seeing much…
  • Texas Lt. Governor’s Debate Tonight at 7 PM

    Friday, May 2nd, 2014

    Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst will be debating tonight at 7 PM.

    Dewhurst trailed Patrick badly in the Lt. Governor primary, so he has the most to gain from a good showing. Unfortunately for him, his debates with Ted Cruz showed him to be a bad debater. Unless he’s managed to radically improve his debating skills, this could be the final nail in his coffin…

    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.
  • Cost Per Vote for the Texas Primary

    Thursday, March 6th, 2014

    The Texas Tribune has a fascinating chart up showing the cost per vote for Texas races.

    A few highlight:

  • Wendy Davis spent $4,172,161.26 to garner 432,056 votes, or $9.66 a vote.
  • Greg Abbott spent $8,109,379.17 to garner 1,219,831 votes, or $6.65 a vote.
  • David Dewhurst spent $4,093,809.73 for 376,164 votes, or $10.88 a vote.
  • Dan Patrick spent $4,891,374.86 for 550,742 votes, or $8.88 a vote.
  • The highest amount per vote was spent by Republican Chart Westcott for state House District 108, spending an eye-popping $1,197,762.24 for a measly 3,709 votes, or $322.9 per vote (which did get him into the runoff). Second biggest amount spent for vote? House Speaker (and Tea Party foe) Joe Straus House District 121 (R) spent $2,578,942.72 to get 9,224 votes, or $279.59 a vote. I guess Straus’ special interest backers consider it money well-spent.

    Most effective use of money? The two sitting Supreme Court incumbents who didn’t spend anything:

  • Jeff Brown received 820,558 votes for zero spent.
  • Phil Johnson received 731,247 votes for zero spent.
  • Incumbency + Ted Cruz Endorsement = millions, evidently (at least in judicial races).

    Now I’m going to post this just to get myself to stop playing with those figures…

    A Quick Overview of Primary Results

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

    A very brief look at last night’s primary results:

  • John Cornyn won, but couldn’t break 60% against a field of underfunded challengers.
  • The Democratic Senate runoff is going to be between the big-spender David Alameel and the LaRouche candidate Kesha Rogers.
  • As expected, both Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis won their gubernatorial primaries. But Abbott garnered 91% and over 1.2 million votes, the most of any candidate for any office. By contrast, Davis got 432,000 votes and won 79% of the vote against underfunded challenger Ray Madrigal, indicating a distinct enthusiasm gap despite Davis’ nationwide MSM cheer-leading corps.
  • Dan Patrick’s early lead over incumbent David Dewhurst in the Lt. Governor’s race held up. Patrick pulled in 550,742 votes for 41.5% of the vote, while Dewhurst got 376,164 votes for 28.3%. Maybe Dewhurst can carpet-bomb the runoff with money, but that’s an awful big gap to make up. We knew that Dewhurst losing to Cruz in 2012 hurt him; now we know how much.
  • Ken Paxton takes the lead into the runoff with 566,080 votes over Dan Branch’s 426,561.
  • Glenn Hegar is hovering right at the threshold of beating Harvey Hildebran outright in the Comptroller race.
  • George P. Bush garnered 934,501 to win the Land Commissioner primary…or over twice as many votes as Wendy Davis.
  • Sid Miller (410,273) and Tommy Merritt (248,568) are heading for a runoff for Agricultural Commissioner, leaving Joe Straus ally Eric Opiela out in the cold.
  • All the Ted Cruz-endorsed Supreme Court incumbents won their races.
  • Super-tight runoff in U.S. House District 23 between Francisco “Quico” Canseco and Will Hurd to face Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego. Canseco held the seat before Gallego, and whoever wins the runoff has a good chance of taking the swing seat back.
  • Katrina Pierson was unable to unseat Pete Sessions in U.S. House District 32, garnering 36.4% of the vote. As I feared, Sarah Palin’s endorsement came to late to truly capitalize on it in fundraising.
  • Matt McCall did even better, where he and another challenger kept Lamar Smith at 60.4% in U.S. House District 21. Though they won their primaries, Sessions and Smith might be vulnerable to further challenges in 2016.
  • As far as I can tell, every U.S. or statewide incumbent Republican either won or is leading their race. Except David Dewhurst.
  • 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…

    Interview With Texas Lt. Governor Candidate Jerry Patterson

    Saturday, March 1st, 2014

    Friday night, I was finally able to get an interview with Texas Land Commissioner and Lt. Governor candidate Jerry Patterson, which I’d been meaning to do for quite a while. Below is a pretty close transcription of the interview (or as close as I could make it with my 45 words-a-minute fingers).

    Lawrence Person: What do you see as current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s biggest mistakes in office?

    Jerry Patterson: His biggest mistake is not a mistake but a shortcoming, that being having no ability to lead and motivate both voters and members of the senate. We all make mistakes, but shortcomings are more serious than mistakes.

    Lawrence Person: Likewise, what qualities or policies do you think separate you from Dan Patrick and Todd Staples?

    Jerry Patterson: Policy-wise, there’s very little difference. Between me and Dan, my story is not going to change from day to day and venue to venue. I feel no compulsion to tell you what I think you want to hear to like me.

    As for Todd, I’m a little more of a risk-taker, I’m bolder, and I’m less consultant-driven.

    Lawrence Person: What, if any, procedural changes would you make in running the Texas state senate?

    Jerry Patterson: The first thing I’m going to do is roll the tape of the evening Wendy Davis carried out her filibuster, and make sure all the Democrats who helped encourage that riot are not in charge of committees.

    I will also make it easier for the Lt. Governor to recommit bills from one committee to another.

    Lawrence Person: The Lt. Governor has tremendous influence over the composition of the Legislative Budget Board. What specific background and qualities would you seek in those you would appoint to the board?

    Jerry Patterson: They need to be fiscal conservatives, and they need to be resistant to those who blow smoke into places you don’t usually see it, and they need to have those qualities on a consistent basis.

    Lawrence Person: How did the Concealed Handgun bill come about, and how hard was getting that passed?

    Jerry Patterson: It had been attempted several times before. I sponsored it in 1993, passed it, and Gov. [Ann] Richards vetoed it. But it wasn’t a real CHL bill, it was just a referendum on whether to pass a CHL bill. In 1995, we have a new Governor, George W. Bush, who won in part because he promised to sign a CHL bill if it came to his desk. In 1995, I was sole author of SB 60, the CHL bill. It was a difficult task. We had a lot of Democratic support, and a lot of Republican opposition. It was made more difficult when Selena [the Tejano signer] was shot and killed by a deranged woman in Corpus Christi. But I told wavering legislators I would campaign against them if they did not live up to their commitment. Then I had to deal with hostile points-of-order to kill the bill. I was the chair of the conference committee, and I hired parliamentarians with a meticulous knowledge of the rules to make sure I didn’t make any mistake that would allow opponents to overturn the bill with a point-of-order. I think the final vote in the senate was about 22-8. And that included five yeas who wanted to vote no, but knew their district wouldn’t be happy.

    Lawrence Person: What do you think are the most essential actions Texas needs to take to secure the border?

    Jerry Patterson: There are several. We have to first realize that this is a three-legged stool: border security, assimilation, and immigration reform. You cannot have border security without immigration reform, and you cannot have immigration reform without border security. We have to stop birthright citizenship, we have to stop this bilingual ballot nonsense. You know what my name is on the Spanish-language ballot?

    Lawrence Person: No, what?

    Jerry Patterson: It’s Jerry Patterson. We need to do what the GOP platform calls for: biometric ID card for non-residents, no amnesty, a guest worker program with no path to citizenship. We need to focus on coyotes, narcotraffickers, terrorists, felons. That’s where our resources should be used, not chasing kitchen help.

    Lawrence Person: Any final thought or message for BattleSwarm Blog readers?

    Jerry Patterson: I’ll always be honest with you, and I won’t change what I say to get your vote.

    Thanks to Jerry Patterson and his staff for taking the time to do the interview.

    I have another interview with Lt. Governor candidate Dan Patrick which, do to technical difficulties on my part, I’m still trying to complete. Once that’s done I’ll put that up as well.

    Texas Lt. Governor’s Race: State of Play and Update

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    The Lt. Governor’s race presents plenty of irony, namely in that it features incumbent Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, whose lost the 2012 Senate race to Ted Cruz, and three statewide office holders, all running as staunch conservatives, who endorsed Dewhurst over Cruz in that race.

    Dewhurst’s strengths and weaknesses are the same he displayed in that race. On the plus side, he’s run and won high-profile statewide races, he’s Independently wealthy and thus can self-fund to an extent others can’t, and he helped govern Texas during a time our prosperity, job creation and fiscal discipline have been the envy of most states. On the negative side, conservatives have long had numerous gripes about Dewhurst, complaining that he gives too much senate power to minority Democrats and gives them too many committee chairs, and that he thwarts conservatives in many ways great and small. As I wrote at the time, “Dewhurst occupies that vast gray area between a RINO (think Arlen Specter before he went The Full Benedict) and a real movement conservative.” The 2012 Senate race also showed that Dewhurst is a remarkably poor debater and off-the-cuff speaker who does not seem to think well on his feet, and losing to Cruz damaged his political reputation. His social media outreach was poor during the Senate run, but seems to have improved for this race. As in the Senate race, Dewhurst has garnered the lion’s share of business group endorsements (with Staples second), and the clear majority of newspaper endorsements (hardly a plus for most conservatives).

    State Senator Dan Patrick has a solid conservative record, but also a bit of a reputation as both a hothead and (as a former sportscaster) a something of an intellectual lightweight who has been dinged by some for poor debate performances. (I did a phone interview with Patrick that may or may not see the light of day due to a technical malfunction; in my brief interview he seemed bright, articulate, and knowledgeable about the Lt. Governor’s role in managing the senate and staffing the Legislative Budget Board.) Patrick was widely seen as a foe of Dewhurst during the 2012 Senate race, but ended up endorsing him at the last minute. Patrick is widely perceived as the primary choice of many social conservatives, and was prominent in the fight for the anti-TSA groping bill (which he sponsored) and the anti-sanctuary cities bill. The fact that both Jerry Patterson and Todd Staples have been attacking him in ads suggests he is indeed in second place behind Dewhurst. He has has been endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Young Conservatives of Texas, several evangelical ministers, and the late Bum Philips (Patrick was a sportscaster during the Luv Ya Blue heyday of the Houston Oilers in the late 1970s and early 1980s).

    Jerry Patterson, the incumbent Land Commissioner, came into the race with the most buzz among and support among Texas conservative insiders, but that doesn’t seem to have translated into sufficient polling popularity with voters, with Patterson sitting in fourth place in the latest poll. Patterson gets a lot of credit for having written the bill that became the Concealed Handgun License law, and received an A+ rating from the NRA (Dewhurst, Patrick and Staples all received As). Several Texas conservatives I respect are firmly in the Patterson camp. Patterson has been endorsed by Dick Armey and Ron Paul.

    Todd Staples, the incumbent Agricultural Commissioner, comes in at third place in the most recent poll, well behind Dewhurst and Patrick, despite having raised the second most money in the race behind Dewhurst. Staples also has a reputation as a solid conservative, and as a state senator penned the state defense of marriage clause. At 50 he’s the youngest of the four candidates by a decade. He’s been stressing border security, on which he did some work from the Agriculture Department. Staples has been endorsed by Nolan Ryan. and some property rights groups.

    Are the polls accurate? Hard to say. At this point in the 2012 Senate race, people were predicting a runoff between Paul Sadler and Sean Hubbard on the Democratic side, and Hubbard ended up coming in fourth behind Addie Allen and the Grady Yarbrough juggernaut.

    Whoever wins the Republican runoff (which looks very likely at this point) will face Democratic State Senator Leticia Van de Putte in the general.

    Here is a debate between all four candidates:

    Now some video ads from all four candidates. Dewhurst:




    Now some race tidbits:

  • “Between Jan. 24 and Saturday, Dewhurst raised from others nearly $1.5 million — more than twice the amount drummed up in that period by the most successful of his competitors, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. Staples raised $650,000.”
  • Some of Dewhurst’s trail lawyer fund are also kicking money into his anti-Dan Patrick PAC: “The anti-Patrick PAC, Texans for Accountability, received $45,000 from Beaumont’s Provost Umphrey law firm, and a combined $25,000 from two women who identified themselves as paralegals for the Houston-based Gallagher law firm, headed by Mike Gallagher, former president of the Texas Trial Lawyer’s Association.”
  • Chart of advertising buys per candidate in statewide races.
  • The North Texas Tea Party issues no endorsement in the race.
  • All four candidates appear at a forum in Sugar Land.
  • KUHF panel thinks it’s a runoff between David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick.
  • David Bellow endorses Patrick.
  • Jerry Patterson’s attacks on Patrick are amounting to very little. I think the possibility that a sports bar Patrick owned in Houston in the early 1980s might have included illegal aliens among the staff is hardly going to come as a shock to just about any Texan.
  • Speaking of Patrick, an anti-Patrick PAC can’t even get its facts straight.
  • The New York Times weighs in on the race. It’s pretty much what you would expect
  • Patrick evidently had an amusing gay marriage typo on his Twitter account.
  • A look at Patterson’s support among Second Amendment supporters.
  • Waco Tribune interviews Patterson.
  • Staples campaigns in Plano.
  • The Austin American Statesman endorses Dewhurst.
  • Buddy Barfield/David Dewhurst Campaign Embezzlement Update

    Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

    Remember the accusations that campaign consultant Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield embezzled over $1 million from David Dewhurst’s Lt. Governor and Senate campaigns over a number of years?

    Well, the estimated total he’s accused of embezzling is now over $2 million, plus

    Barfield has agreed to turn over his lavish West Austin home and various business assets to Dewhurst to settle a civil lawsuit filed by Dewhurst last year to recover the funds. A final judgment executing the settlement was signed by a state judge in November.

    Sale proceeds from Barfield’s home, which has been listed at $2.8 million, will be pooled with the assets of Barfield’s businesses to repay Dewhurst’s campaign accounts for lieutenant governor and his 2012 U.S. Senate race. The home was valued at $1.37 million by the Travis County Appraisal District in 2013.

    In all, the judgment states that the David Dewhurst Committee and Dewhurst for Texas campaign accounts should receive $3,750,000 from the Barfield properties. It lists seven Barfield companies, including Alexander Group Consulting, which conducted campaign work for Dewhurst and other candidates.

    Evidently there is some fire behind all that smoke. (Also, it appears that Betsy Woodruff was right (and I was wrong) to describe Barfield as having embezzled “millions” plural rather than singular.) Also, this evidently doesn’t get him off the hook for possible criminal charges, which I understand are at both the state and federal levels (the latter for violating federal campaign finance laws for Dewhurst’s losing 2012 U.S. Senate race).

    Still unanswered is just how bad is David Dewhurst’s oversight that someone managed to steal $2 million from his campaigns and he didn’t notice for years?

    (Speaking of disorder in the Dewhurst campaign, according to this story I missed from last year, he evidently still owes vendors over $1 million from the Senate campaign. I sent out some queries Friday to the vendors named in the story to see if Dewhurst has paid those bills in the interim, but have yet to receive a reply from any of them.)