We’ll have more on this as the day goes on, but all this talk of anti-incumbency and “throw the bums out” really oversimplifies what’s going on out there. It’s an easy instant analysis, especially for the time-strapped broadcast media. But particularly as it concerns last night’s results, it’s such an overboard analysis that it’s not just meaningless, it’s actually misleading.
In almost every respect the big losers last night were national Republicans. Even in cases where the ostensible Democrat lost or suffered a setback — Specter in Pennsylvania and Lincoln in Arkansas — the Democrats emerged with a stronger or potentially stronger candidate.
More on this later, but Democrats come out of last night in about as good a shape as they could possibly have hoped for. And Republicans have to be wondering if they are up to surfing the expected 2010 wave.
Well the traditional media will always take to the simple explanation first. While each race made it harder for Republicans, none of these races became sure things for Democrats. If Lincoln loses to Halter in the Arkansas runoff, then the Democrats will now have a chance in all three of these Senate races – Arkansas, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Which wasn’t likely if these races went the other way on Tuesday. And, Last Night’s Big Loser: National Republicans.
In any case, that’s actually quite different from his father. I find Ron Paul’s politics awful and he’s a classic ideologue. But as a person he comes off as pretty humble and even unassuming, which I’ve always thought is the reason he manages to have a certain degree of crossover popularity despite his draconian and often ugly politics.
Now does any of that matter? Not necessarily, I guess. And when I mentioned this in the newsroom this evening a couple members of our team pointed out, rightly, that that sort of attitude is part and parcel of the Tea Party movement and really any anti-establishment movement for that matter. But even in a conservative state like Kentucky some measure of pivoting is necessary in a general election. And I wondered after seeing Paul whether he’s constitutionally capable of it.
But I am getting the impression that Paul — aside from just being very unlikeable in personal terms — may be a much more divisive figure than one might from any Tea Party candidate who snatches away a nomination from an establishment party figure. The PA Senate race was really hard fought. And Sestak is going to have to put in a lot of time making peace with Arlen Specter supporters. But a poll out yesterday showed that Grayson supporters in Kentucky simply hate Rand Paul in a way that goes way beyond the normal aftermath of a contested primary.
There are signs that numbers are looking better for Democrats. And as the health care rage starts to ebb and if financial regulation passes it may not be as bad as year as many may have thought for Democrats. With Democrats showing they can enact public policy that helps the American people, it will stand in stark contrast to the situation the GOP put us in the last time they were in power. Hopefully it will make voters think twice about putting them back in power in November.
Burka has drawn many conclusions, with caveats being made, about what transpired in the primaries in Texas, GOP in particular. BOR shoots them down, and much much more, The Republican Party Primary Runoffs: Paul Burka, Bob Perry, & Karen Hughes. With the more extreme right candidates winning the primaries in most of the GOP House races, including HD-52, some seem to think it’s a bad omen for Democrats November. Not me, I don’t think having the most extreme elements of the right dominating the Republican Party in Texas is good for them. The big question is can the Texas Democrats peel off enough of the many disaffected and moderate Republicans so they can win in November?
One of the most disaffected and put upon elements of the GOP coalition that was instrumental in getting them to complete control of our state’s government appears to be the religious right/social conservatives. They;re candidates to the SBOE this primary season took a beating. It seems the GOP in courting the more “libertarian”, formerly disaffected element that makes up the “tea party” types, they are neglecting the religious/social conservative element of their coalition. The key to me seems to for them to be able to bring in libertarians without neglecting, and more importantly infuriating, the religious/social conservatives in their ranks.
Although Democratic candidate for Texas Governor Bill White pointed this out last week, White challenges Perry: What’s happening to Texas students?, the Texas traditional media has finally decided to call out Gov. Perry, Whopper is too big to let pass. Although the title and the first couple of paragraphs on the rationalization for not calling out lies by politicians is enlightening, to say the least. (I’d like to see there “whopper” calculating metric, or how they decide which lies are “big enough” to point out.)
Politicians running for re-election are generally afforded some leeway on accuracy. [Emphasis added].
After all, similar to drinking while driving, speaking while stumping has been associated with any number of side-effects, from impaired judgment to short-term memory loss to feelings of grandiosity.
Campaign rhetoric is usually judged in this context. But, occasionally, the whopper spewed from the candidate’s lips, or those of a spokesman, is so big, it can’t be ignored. And it might be dangerous to do so.
Such was the case last week with Gov. Rick Perry and his spokesman, who claimed, despite voluminous evidence to the contrary, that Texas’ dropout problem isn’t that big of a deal.
In the face of years of research showing the rate upwards of 30 percent, and as high as 50 percent in some large urban districts, Perry’s camp insisted it was only about 10 percent.
“The percent of students who enter high school and eventually earn a diploma or equivalent, or who remain in pursuit of a diploma or equivalent, is 90 percent,” Perry spokesman Mark Miner told the Chronicle’s Gary Scharrer.
The number prompted laughter from a few, including Republican state Rep. Rob Eissler, chair of the House public education committee.
“Yeah. That’s not what I base my stuff on,” said The Woodlands lawmaker, who believes the figure is about 30 percent. “You’ve got to categorize that as a bit campaign rhetoric. If our dropout rate were just 10 percent, I’d be feeling a lot better.”
The governor, meanwhile, seemed to blame at least part of Texas’ embarrassing dropout statistics on untimely student deaths: “If a child dies, they count that as a dropout. I think that’s a little harsh,” Perry said.
Actually, according to the most recent Texas Education Agency figures, the number of deceased students reported in the 2006-2007 school year was 601, a tiny fraction of the more than 134,000 students who walked out of Texas high schools that year without a diploma.
Last week, Perry and his spokesman were responding to Democratic gubernatorial opponent Bill White’s claim that nearly 1 million Texas students have failed to graduate or get a GED on time during the past nine years.
The former Houston mayor may actually have undercounted the number of dropouts. According to Texas’ foremost authority on dropouts, the non-profit San Antonio-based Intercultural Development Research Association, more than 1.2 million students have been lost to attrition in Texas since 2000.
The total number lost since 1985, the year the state hired IDRA to study the magnitude of the problem, is more than 2.9 million.
The organization generally calculates that Texas public schools fail to graduate one out of every three students, with the percentage inching up to 40 percent for black and Hispanic students.
These numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention. They’re in line with what a diverse array of groups, from Education Week’s Research Center to the Manhattan Institute to the Libertarian-leaning Foundation for Educational Choice (formerly, the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation) have found.
It’s never too late to start and this is a great start in pointing out a huge attempt by Perry to cover-up his neglect of public education.
Gov. Rick Perry has always publicly stiff-armed federal stimulus dollars, even as he accepted billions to balance the state budget and tens of millions that he could award to constituents.
He even ignored state law and his own executive order that require all state agencies and institutions of higher education to be “accountable and transparent” by posting their stimulus spending reports on their Web sites.
Until Tuesday, that is.
After a reporter’s inquiry, the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division began posting reports, some of them months old, on its Web site. Perry’s spokeswoman, Katherine Cesinger, would not elaborate on why the governor chose not to follow the law that he expected other state officials to follow.
State Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco , who leads the House committee overseeing federal stimulus programs in Texas, said Tuesday that he isn’t surprised by the governor’s actions.
“Unfortunately, it’s a pattern of the governor publicly distancing himself from the federal stimulus while accepting the majority of the money,” Dunnam said. “They took $16 billion, and most Texans think they haven’t taken any of it.”
The GOP used the federal stimulus to balance the budget last session, most Texans need to know that as well.
A couple of things have become pretty clear in the GOP runoff in HD-52so far, these two candidates (Larry Gonzales and John Gordon) don’t like each other very much (hopefully is political and not personal), and the issues that matter to voters in the district don’t seem to be playing much of a part in either candidates effort. They attack each other, one saying the other is a meanie, the other saying his opponent is a shill for a rich corporate donor. And that’s where the conundrum comes in for the voters it seems. Do they go with the guy who’s going to run the same campaign Diana Maldonado’s losing opponent ran two years ago, or the guy with long ties in the county and an colorful record?
News 8 Austin has a report where one candidate accuses the other of attacking his wife, while the other denies he’s been bought.
From what EOW has heard the recount is over and the final tally is a 16 vote win for Greg Windham over Paul Stempko. Windham actually picked up one vote on his margin after the recount. More to come later.
The race to be the next Chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party will be recounted. At the end of election night with just under 5,800 ballots cast in the race only 18 votes separated the leader Greg Windham over Paul Stempko. The day after, Windham posted on his Facebook page that he had been contacted by the Williamson County Elections Office that there were still 144 ballots to be counted. Of those 144 ballots they consisted of both Democratic and Republican ballots, and those ballots are oftentimes not all counted. The additional ballots included overseas and provisional ballots. The overseas ballots, primarily the votes of deployed military personnel, were due Monday, March 8. Provisional ballots must be looked at individually by the Ballot Board. While the potential for enough Democratic votes existed to change the outcome, it was not likely.
The Elections Office posted yesterday the final outcome. With just over 5,800 ballots counted Windham’s lead over Stempko shrunk to 15 votes, from the 18 reported on election night. Stempko said in an email to supporters last night that he will officially request a recount on Monday.
I feel I owe this to my supporters, as well as to erase all doubt as to the integrity of the election night vote count.
I do not take this endeavor lightly.
Stempko said he will honor the final result and support Windham if the result does not change. “I have advised Greg of my intentions,” Stempko said, “and he graciously accepted my reasoning. Obviously (a recount) is not the result either candidate or Democrats in Williamson County wanted. But for the long-term benefit of our party and candidates moving forward it’s best that everyone is confident in the results of this extremely close race, (15 votes out of 5,805 cast).”
Hopefully whichever candidate wins will notice that neither received a “mandate.” The Democratic Party is a diverse party. We value that diversity and embrace it as a source of strength. We also value a good and vigorous debate, and working with differing ideas to bring about a consensus. If done correctly this election and recount may actually expand and strengthen our party, better positioning it to defeat the GOP in this county. This county has been missing accountability in its government for as long as anyone can recall. Reelecting Diana Maldonado, and getting Jim Stauber and Jeff Maurice on the Commissioners Court, and Teresa Duffin and Allyson Rowe to the County Court must be our most important tasks in the months ahead.
Let’s make sure this vote is counted correctly so we can move ahead united.
In HD-20 of the three viable candidates – Dr. Charles Schwertner, Milton Rister, and Stephen Thomas – Schwertner was the only one who didn’t receive large contributions from GOP Sugar Daddy Bob Perry. He self-financed his campaign. And for that reason he was probably the best of the bunch. At least he’s not beholden to a fat cat donor or special interest.
Round Rock Democrat Diana Maldonado is going to have to wait a little while longer to see who her Republican opponent is going to be in the House District 52 race.
With all GOP primary votes counted by 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, John Gordon and Larry Gonzales are headed for an April 13 runoff.
Throughout the primary campaign [John] Gordon, 63, touted his long history of involvement with Williamson County and the Republican Party. On Tuesday night he said voters recognized that experience and it paid of for him at the ballot box.
[Larry] Gonzales, 39, is a Round Rock resident and owner of Lazarus Graphics. He’s making his first run at elected office but, like Gordon, has previously worked as a behind-the scenes political foot soldier.
Other than the age difference between the two candidates this race sets up a lot like the run off in 2008. Gordon, like Dee Hobbs in 2008, is a long time Williamson County resident with deep roots here. He is also largely self-funding his campaign like Schwertner. Gonzales, like Bryan Daniel, is the slick newcomer to the county who is favored by the statewide money – with ties to the Perry’s, Bob and Rick, and the deposed Craddick faction in the Texas House.
This was supposed to be an unpredictable election due to the tea parties and the Medina candidacy. It was supposed to be an election in which angry conservatives rose up and smote incumbents. Nothing remotely like that occurred.
One of the undercurrents in this election was that conservatives disgruntled by Joe Straus’s defeat of Tom Craddick in the 2009 speaker’s race saw an opportunity to destabilize him by running hard-right Republicans against moderates on his team.
Most of the opposition didn’t come from the grass roots; it came from self-appointed kingmakers like Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Michael Quinn Sullivan. Incumbency proved to be mightier than ideology. The voter anger never materialized; it metamorphized into a brief infatuation with Medina and faded away after she self-destructed on the Glen Beck radio show.
A bonus for Straus: One Republican he surely didn’t want to see in the House was former Legislative Council director Milton Rister, a longtime Republican operative and hatchet man who is close to Craddick and Dewhurst. Rister was running for the Gattis open seat, but Dr. Charles Schwertner won that four-person race without a runoff.
Perry pulled it out without a runoff for a simple reason: The Hutchison campaign was awful from day-one
Perry’s campaign definitely benefited from that theme, but there was no larger anti-incumbent theme in GOP Congressional primaries in Texas. All the members of the GOP Congressional delegation – except Ron Paul – that were in office during the Bush years are responsible for the current fiscal problems – TRILLIONS IN DEBT- at the national level, and they’ve spent the last year trying to shift that blame. But Perry’s anti-DC rhetoric never spoke to that, just about the recent attempts by Obama to fix the GOP mess.
Essentially the teabaggers in Texas are just a small part of the much larger “wing-nut” faction that has taken over the Texas GOP. But there was an interesting silence during the primary. Where were these current and former GOP elected officials and appointees, who were on Sen. Hutchison’s “Honorary Statewide Co-Chairmen“, during the campaign? Some of these folks are on the far right like John Carter and John Culberson. But none of those on the list whose names are preceded with “Hon.” were anywhere to be seen, or heard, during this campaign trying to drum up public support for Hutchison. It’s as if they didn’t want anyone to know they still supported her once her poll numbers, and Perry’s “unfair” DC insider smear started to take hold.
The Turnout in the GOP primary was more than double what it was in 2006 (665,000) vs. 2010 (1.48 million). Early on it was thought that a turnout like that would be bad for Perry and good for Hutchison. My initial thought is that it wasn’t a bunch of “general election Republican” voters that turned out in the GOP Primary but a bunch of folks who don’t usually vote in the GOP primary, or don’t vote at all. Many of them, (as we can tell from the results), teabaggers and Medina supporters, and those on the extreme right. But not the moderates and crossover Democrats that many thought would vote in the GOP Primary to help Hutchison in a high turnout primary.
But they did not vote anti-incumbent in Congressional races. They mostly agree with the wing nut in the Texas GOP Congressional delegation. Many of the incumbents, Perry especially, saw this and started taking advantage of that in their campaigns. Perry in particular took his message hard to the right, with talk of secession, the 10th Amendment, etc…, and we’ll have to wait and see how much he tones down that rhetoric for the general election.
As you now surely know, last night I was defeated (61% / 39%) in my statewide Republican Primary by my opponent, David Porter. Porter, an unknown, no-campaign, no-qualification CPA from Midland residing in Giddings filed on the last day that he could file while I was waiting in Abilene to bury my dad.
He has never held any elected office, has no geoscience, industry, or legal experience other than doing tax returns for oil and gas companies.
Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” — unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover although I did all in my power to overcome this built-in bias.
That would lead one to believe that a significant amount of the “new” voters in the GOP primary this year didn’t want to vote for a Hispanic, given the choice of voting for someone else, despite a candidates qualifications.
But the GOP has many weak spots and hopefully the Democrats will point them out – early and often. The top of the ticket on the GOP is the same as it was in 2006. There fore the age old question needs to be asked, are you better off today than you were four years ago? On many issues in Texas things have not only gotten worse, but much worse on many of the “bread and butter” issue like college tuition rates, insurance rates, education, and electricity rates just to name a few. While Perry has touted his corporate welfare as a boon, it usually doesn’t help working Texans bottom line. And Perry’s property tax scheme that was instituted just before the 2006 election has been a complete disaster. Most homeowners property tax bills have not gone down, and it has created a structural deficit of at least $10 billion per biennium for the state budget.
The questions surrounding the outcomes on Tuesday are:
where to the anti-incumbent/teabaggers/Medina voters go in the general election? Of do they just stay home?
Does Perry start to moderate his tone and move back to the HPV, corporate/Bush GOP middle?
If not what do the Bush/Baker/Hutchison Texas GOP voters do?
Can the Democrats, and Bill White in particular, finally run a great campaign in Texas that energizes their voters in a statewide year?
Those are a few of the questions that come to mind, I’m sure there are many more. But now both sides will go back to their respective corners and begin preparing for the fight to come in the Fall.