Post-primary analysis from around the internet – and more thoughts on the primary

Posted in 2010 Primary, Around The State, College Tuition, Commentary, Election 2010, Insurance Reform at 1:23 pm by wcnews

Kuff has a wrap up from all the blogs that matter.

One interesting back-and-forth going around is how much, if any effect, the teabaggers had and who the winners and losers were on Tuesday.

Burka thinks that the teabaggers and wing nuts had little impact, Bad day for conservatives: the anger that wasn’t there.

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.

This guy agrees, Perry victory not due to anti-DC anger.

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.

Some of the biggest losses for the GOP was the stiuation with incumbent Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo, and the problems it causes for the party’s Hispanic outreach, GOP incumbent Victor Carrillo blames loss on “Hispanic surname”.

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.


2010 Primary – final thoughts

Posted in 2010 Primary at 5:47 pm by wcnews

I thought going into the GOP primary for governor, in late 2008, that Kay Bailey Hutchison would eventually have trouble for two reasons: she has no personality and she hadn’t had to run a serious campaign in years. I think she ran expecting a coronation, and when that didn’t happen Hutchison and her campaign didn’t know what to do, and it showed.

49% of the voters in the GOP Primary voted for someone other than Gov. Perry yesterday.

The “teabaggers” had some effect in the GOP Primary. Will they show up for Perry/GOP in November?

Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar will no longer be on the State Board of Education.

The Texas Tribune has a great 2010 Primary Elections page.

Windham wins race for Williamson County Democratic Party Chair

Posted in 2010 Primary, Williamson County at 9:57 am by wcnews

[UPDATE]: Greg Windham is reporting on his Facebook page that the WC Elections Office called him and said “there are still 144 ballots votes to count”. So this race is still not official yet.

It was really close and Windham won by a margin of 18 votes.

PAUL STEMPKO . . . . . . . . . 2,882 49.84%
GREGORY SCOTT WINDHAM . . . . . . 2,900 50.16%

Congratulations to Greg Windham.

There will also be a runoff in the GOP Primary in HD-52 between Larry Gonzales and John Gordon to see who will face incumbent Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) in November.

Here are the Final (Unofficial) Results for all Williamson County races.

More on yesterday’s election later. Also a


Elections Results – Williamson County and Texas

Posted in 2010 Primary, Williamson County at 10:13 pm by wcnews

Williamson County here.

Statewide Secretary of State here.

Currently in HD-20 Schwertner has 56% of the vote.

In HD-52 Gordon leads Gonzales 41% – 38%.

In the race for WCDP Chair Stempko leads Windham 54% – 46%.

[UPDATE]: AP calls HD-20 for Schwertner.


Where to Vote, Primary Voting Locations – Williamson County, March 2,2010

Posted in 2010 Primary, Williamson County at 6:15 pm by wcnews

Election day information from the Williamson County Elections Department:

If you know your precinct number here’s a list of polling locations.

Also here’s a list of sample ballots by precinct number.

If you are unsure of your precinct  you can find it at this link from the Secretary of State’s web site of  call the County Elections Department at 943-1630.

Also not a few precinct changes in Cedar Park and Hutto:

Order Adjusting the Boundary Precincts 254, 273, 277 and 293 (Cedar Park)
Order Creating Precinct 201 (Cedar Park)
Order Creating Precincts 402 and 403 (Hutto)

WilcoDemocrats.org has a list of local Democrats on the ballot and a link to a questionnaire from the two candidates for Chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party.


Final early voting totals in Wililamson County

Posted in 2010 Primary, Williamson County at 4:17 pm by wcnews

Here are the final numbers [PDF] from early voting compared to 2006. Registered voters in 2006 were 200,285 for a 3.38% turnout in early voting, compared with  for a 230, 122 and 7.54% turnout in early voting.

2006 2010
Day R D Total R D Total
Tuesday 403 69 472 1,330 256 1,586
Wednesday 368 75 446 1,075 278 1,353
Thursday 421 54 475 1,087 238 1,325
Friday 468 86 554 1,323 285 1,604
Saturday 324 62 388 923 227 1,149
Sunday 85 18 103 408 88 496
Monday 544 115 659 1,219 252 1,471
Tuesday 588 112 700 381 65 446
Wednesday 556 125 659 1,482 261 1,743
Thursday 684 132 816 1,818 370 2,188
Friday 1,286 197 1,483 3,417 624 4,041
Totals 5,736 1,045 6,781 14,463 2,944 17,407


Williamson County early voting numbers through 2/24

Posted in 2010 Primary, Williamson County at 12:53 pm by wcnews

Here are the early voting totals [PDF] for the last two days in Williamson County. Tuesday’s numbers were uncharacteristically lower because of the weather and early closing of the early voting polling locations.

2006 2010
Day R D Total R D Total
Tuesday 403 69 472 1,330 256 1,586
Wednesday 368 75 446 1,075 278 1,353
Thursday 421 54 475 1,087 238 1,325
Friday 468 86 554 1,323 285 1,604
Saturday 324 62 388 923 227 1,149
Sunday 85 18 103 408 88 496
Monday 544 115 659 1,219 252 1,471
Tuesday 588 112 700 381 65 446
Wednesday 556 125 659 1,482 261 1,743
Totals 3,757 716 4,473 9,228 1,950 11,178

Jeff Maurice participates at candidate forum in Coupland

Posted in 2010 Primary, Commissioners Court, Election 2010, Landfill, Precinct 4, Williamson County at 6:19 am by wcnews

The Coupland Civic Organization hosted several candidates on Monday at the Fellowship Hall of St. Peter’s Church of Coupland. Candidates at the forum included the three candidates for Judge of the County Court-at-Law #3, Republicans Doug Arnold and Judge Randall Pick and Democrat Allyson Rowe. Also speaking were Jeff Maurice, Democratic candidate for Precinct 4 Williamson County Commissioner, and incumbent and unopposed GOP Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judy Schier Hobbs. (Maurice’s opponent in November, GOP incumbent Ron Morrison was invited and did not attend).

The Maurice campaign sent his prepared statement from the forum, which is linked below. In it he states he’s running because he “believe[s] in TRANSPARENCY, in LEADERSHIP, and in ACCOUNTABILITY”, which Precinct 4 is currently lacking.

Like many of my neighbors and friends, over the last three and a half years, I have become frustrated by the lack of leadership, initiative and effectiveness of our current commissioner, Ron Morrison.

He then goes on to cite several examples of Morrison’s non-involvement in key issues in Precinct 4 over the course of his term – the new landfill contract, transmission lines in Hutto, and county budget officer issue. But equally as bad is the neglect Morrison has shown to Eastern Williamson County.

Have you noticed the difference in the money spent on county parks when comparing the east side of the county to the west side of the county? Tens of millions of dollars from park bonds—again more debt—are spent on the west side of the county, with only a pittance going to the east side of the county. Where is the leadership from this precinct which helps us see a return on the taxes we pay—especially as compared to other parts of the county?

Maurice finishes by stating how he will differ from his opponent.

Whether we are talking about the transmission lines that are about to deface the Hutto area, having the county judge sit illegally as the county budget officer, holding the line on property taxes and on spending, running the landfill in a legal and proper way, raising the necessary questions about roads and the Trans Texas Corridor, or even merely being responsive to constituents and discussing their issues, I am a clear choice in contrast to my opponent.

This is not news for the constituents of Precinct 4. Morrison has been virtually invisible as a commissioner, and a rubber stamp for whatever County Judge Dan Gattis wants. I encourage all who reside in Precinct 4 to read the full statement here [PDF].


Teabaggers, starving the beast, and fiscal responsibility

Posted in 2010 Primary, Around The Nation, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Election 2010, SD 5, The Budget at 1:12 pm by wcnews

Reading over this Texas Tribune article on the GOP race in SD-5 it’s pretty clear it’s a race between which one would do the least harm.  As Kuff points out while current Sen. Steve Ogden is not ideal, Ben Bius would be infinitely worse:

I note that mostly as a reason to link to this Trib story about Ogden’s primary race, in which he faces a challenge from the right from someone who doesn’t really have a firm grasp on what’s in the budget. This pretty much said it all to me:

In an apparent attempt to solidify his more-conservative-than-Ogden bona fides, Bius has made the elimination of “generational welfare” a centerpiece of his campaign. “If we begin requiring drug testing for those trying to get cash payments for welfare and require them to be citizens of the United States and Texas, it’ll go along way toward solving our social problems,” Bius says. “My momma told me, you get what you pay for. If you want drug addicts, give them money. If you want illegal immigrants, give them money.”

Ogden brushes off the idea as cynical stereotyping of the poor — and wholly unnecessary in a conservative state that already has among the nation’s stingiest public doles. “It bothers me, because it’s kind of a code word,” he says. “I’m not sure exactly what he means by it, but Texas is the least-generous state when it comes to welfare. The majority of people on it are children. Another large category is people in nursing homes. Neither of these groups fit into the category of ‘generational welfare.’ … We have not incentivized anti-social behavior, but when you’re dealing with unemployed mothers with children, you have to do something. You can’t just say, ‘It’s not our problem – good luck.’”

Yes, it is a code word, and not a particularly subtle one. It’s weird being put in the position of defending Steve Ogden, who’s far too conservative to be the guy I want writing the budget, but that’s the state of the GOP these days. The alternative to Steve Ogden is someone who lives in a fantasy world. The sad thing is that Ogden’s experience and understanding of reality won’t be an asset for him in his race.

Yes it’s amazing that wanting to give poor people a hand up might cost a 20-year GOP incumbent their seat in the primary, but anything is possible right now with the Texas secessionists GOP these days. As this quote from the article shows the “Tea Party”, aka teabaggers, anger is focused mainly at the Federal government, and Obama in particular, and isn’t well-informed of the fiscal situation facing  Texas.

Bill Lyle, president of the Tea Party in Leon County, says he’s heard no particular buzz about the District 5 race and no outrage directed specifically at Ogden. “Honestly, we’re probably a whole lot less aware of the state situation than the we are of the federal, but I have heard we’re facing a $12 or $15 billion shortfall in the state,” Lyle says. “We want to get back to conservative roots and the Constitution. Whichever candidate is the most conservative, they’re going to get the vote. It’s going to boil down to who’s the most fiscally responsible and who will do the most to control the borders.” [Emphasis added].

And that depends on what the definition of being “fiscally responsible” means to a conservative, at this point that’s anyone’s guess. Given Mr. Lyle’s response he doesn’t appear to have an idea of how either one of these two would work to fill that $12 – $15 billion hole in the state budget, much less whether they’d do it in what he considers a “fiscally responsible” way.

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Bob Perry looms large in Williamson County GOP House races

Posted in 2010 Primary, HD-20, HD-52, Money In Politics, Williamson County at 6:05 am by wcnews

According to the eight day out reports, home builder and right-wing sugar daddy Bob Perry is making his presence known, contributing a total of $95,000 to his candidates in two local House GOP primary races. The largest single political donor in Texas tapped Larry Gonzales and Milton Rister for largess as they seek the Republican nominations for House districts 52 and 20.

In HD-52 it looks like a two candidate race between Larry Gonzales and John Gordon. Gonzales in the current filing raised over $83,000, $70,000 of that from Bob Perry ($40,000) and his wife Doylene ($30,000). Gordon is largely self-financing his campaign and spent just shy of $48,000 over the last filing period. The two other candidates, Alyssa Eacono (raised $7,000/spent $16,000) and Stephen Casey (raised $1,200/spent $2,300), are lagging behind in the money race.

In HD-20 there are three candidates spending and raising significant money – Milton Rister, Dr. Charles Schwertner, and Stephen Thomas.

Milton Rister raised just over $46,000 this filing period. Perry gave him $25,000 of that. Also giving to Rister were former GOP candidate for Governor Clayton Williams ($10,000), James Leininger ($2,500), and a variety of Oil interests – KOCHPAC ($1,000), Conoco Phillips ($1,500), and Chevron ($1,000).

AAS reports on HD-20 and that Dr. Charles Schwertner spent $123,000 on his campaign in the last month.

Charles Schwertner dished out more than $123,000 from Jan. 22 to Feb. 20, according to campaign finance reports.

The next highest spender, Milton Rister, spent about $34,000 in the same period.

Another candidate, Stephen Thomas, listed expenditures of about $32,000.

Patsy Williams, the final Republican in the race, had about $2,200 in expenses

This race is still likely to come down to a runoff. The question is, which two will make it?

[UPDATE]: Later this week it was reported that Stephen Thomas had received $25,000 from Bob Perry, which is the exact amount that Milton Rister received from Perry.  Thomas was also formerly the head of the now defunct TRCC, aka the home builder protection agency, that was setup to protect builders like Perry from lawsuits when they built sub-standard homes.

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