HD-52: The General Election Campaign Begins

Posted in Commentary, Election 2008, HD-52, Williamson County at 4:22 pm by wcnews

It was a mild surprise that Bryan Daniel won the GOP runoff in HD-52 yesterday. As mentioned previously, it seemed GOP voters in Williamson County had been immune to the conventional wisdom of modern political campaigns. Like voting for candidates that with the biggest bankroll. That no longer seems to be the case, at least from last nights results in the runoff. Dee Hobbs the candidate with the local ties, who campaigned clean, raised most of this money from local donors that gave in small amounts, and received the backing of the two candidates that failed to make the runoff lost. Instead the GOP voters in Williamson County voted for the insurance agent, the Gattis-backed candidate, the candidate of big money statewide donors and lobbyists, who finally succumbed to a pathetic dirty trick in the runoff.

Whether this was a “machine” pick is not immediately clear. This could cause more of the infighting inside the WCGOP. While both of these candidates were conservative, Daniel appeared to be the “DeLay-style” conservative, and playing dirty against a local son, might hurt him in November. Daniel plays to the religious/cultural conservative fears, and was obviously the choice of Tom Craddick in this race. With Daniel in the house, and Craddick and Republicans still in charge, that would mean toll roads and the TTC, among other disastrous issues, are still on the agenda. It will be interesting to see how those Republicans in Williamson County, who were so outraged with Daniel’s dirty campaign trick,will react in November. Will they hold their noses and vote for Daniel or vote for the better qualified candidate Maldonado?

BOR has this recap of the runoff:

Republican Bryan Daniel defeated Dee Hobbs in the runoff. Daniel will now face off against Diane Maldonado, who is expected to be an extremely strong candidate in the fall. Daniel was the more politically extreme of the two candidates, which is unlikely to help him in the upcoming general election considering

1. HD 52 in Williamson County is trending Democrat, and
2. The larger independent block are much more likely to align with Maldonado’s politics than Daniel’s.

Maldonado has strong support in the community, strong name ID, and is already running a top-notch campaign. Daniel has an uphill battle right now — and we need to do our best to keep it that way.

While it appears Maldonado has some advantages, it does not mean there’s smooth sailing ahead. If Daniel will result to campaigning dirty against a Republican, it’s pretty much a guarantee he’ll be in the gutter sooner or later in the general election against Maldonado. Especially since this is seen as a needed seat for Craddick to keep the gavel.

The demographics, along with independents and moderate Republicans being willing to give the better qualified, better known Democrat a chance in this race, will no doubt help Maldonado’s chances. Also keep in mind all those non-voting registered voters who came out in March. Those were not newly registered voters, they were voters that hadn’t been voting in elections, and they voted Democratic in the primary. These a people disgusted with the way they’re being governed. As this AAS piece shows, there wasn’t a big influx of new voters nor much of a GOP crossover vote, as some had speculated.

His breakdown—the first hard comparison of voters this year and voters in previous primaries—also suggests there was no surge in newly registered voters despite excitement about the GOP and Democratic presidential contests. Also, most Latino primary voters and most young primary voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary.

People who hadn’t been voting came out to vote and with all those voters now identified it will be much easier to get them back to the polls in November. With voter registration efforts already picking up in the county and set to continue until the deadline in October, there’s sure to be many more registered Democrats by November.

No matter all of the good news there’s still a long way to go until November. Maldonado’s opponent will be well-financed, with his statewide connections, and will attempt to win this seat by running a dirty campaign. That is no surprise, Democrats have come to expect that. Especially when they have a good chance of winning and are right on the issues facing the voters. If Daniel thought he could win the race on the issues he wouldn’t need to resort to dirty campaigning.

As it stands right now we have Democrat Diana Maldonado, a well qualified candidate, and well respected member of the Round Rock ISD school board. She is committed to and has a proven track record of improving public education. Is committed to bringing affordable heath care to Texas families and children. As well as solving our transportation problems, is against the TTC, and is for making higher education more affordable. That is in sharp contrast to the right-wing, Craddick-funded candidate, who supports toll roads, and vouchers, and will only bring more of the same divisive politics, and disastrous policies to the middle class in Texas which we’ve all come to dislike. There will be a clear choice for change in November, and Maldonado is that choice.

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