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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Texas House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

With the field set in Texas, Charles Kuffner (who pens the excellent Off the Kuff, which has been around practically since the birth of the blogosphere) e-mails me to tell me which House races he thinks are going to be among the most interesting:

• TX-14: Shane Sklar vs. incumbent Ron Paul (Bush-Kerry: 67-33)
• TX-21: John Courage vs. incumbent Lamar Smith (Bush-Kerry: 61-39)
• TX-22: Nick Lampson vs. incumbent Tom DeLay (Bush-Kerry: 64-36)

As Kuff notes - and as the 2004 presidential margins make clear - these will all be tremendously difficult races, and winning even one would be terrific. I'll also add that even in big landslide years like 1994, you're lucky to see even 10% of incumbents lose (it's always much easier to win open seats). But to even have a chance, you've got to compete, and that's exactly what the Texas Dems are doing. Kuff also thinks we've got great candidates in several other races, and you never know where surprises can happen.

Speaking of which, on the state level in Texas, we are seriously kicking ass. Almost three times as many Republican incumbents are facing challengers as Dems. This just goes to show that you should never, ever write off a particular state just because it looks hopeless on the presidential level. Politics goes way beyond the race for the White House. Dean's fifty-state strategy looks like it's already paying dividends.

Lastly, Kuff points us to a new single-district blog: Tom DeLay vs. The World. The name alone is a great frame, and I look forward to reading the blog.

Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

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Thanks for the kind words. Couple points I want to add:

1. Sklar is going against Ron Paul in CD14. Paul ran unopposed in 2004 in a fairly new-to-him district, and he's nobody's idea of a moneybags - last I checked he had something like $150K on hand. Sklar is a farmer, something that the Texas Congressional delegation now lacks without Charlie Stenholm and Larry Combest, so he ought to get some support from ag interests. He's already got the Texas Farm Bureau endorsement.

2. Lamar Smith ran against a no-name perennial candidate (Rhett Smith, who is now on the GOP (!) primary ballot for Governor; he also ran for San Antonio Mayor last year) and barely achieved parity with the district's GOP index. He carried Travis County (Austin) by a 50-46 spread (there was another candidate in the race as well), and it's about 40% of the district. If Courage can win Travis and hold his losses in Bexar County, he can win.

3. Former right-wing wackjob Congressman Steve Stockman, who ousted 40-year veteran Jack Brooks in 1994 before being dumped by Nick Lampson in 1996, has entered the CD22 race as an independent. He may provide an attractive alternative for some wingnut voters. Hard to say, since he's been mostly below radar since 1998, and because he's such a freaking nut that predicting what he'll do is a fool's errand, but it's a favorable development for Lampson.

4. Finally, Bush's support in any district is a slight overstatement of GOP strength there, as he generally outperformed all other Republican candidates. The performance of the three other statewide Republicans (Victor Carillo, who won Railroad Commissioner 55.5-41-3.5 against a D and a Lib; Scott Brister, who won a State Supreme Court seat against David Van Os by a 59-41 margin; and Mike Keasler, who won a spot on the Court of Criminal Appeals 58-42) is IMHO a better measure of Republicanness in a district.

You can keep track of all Texas races at Texas Tuesdays. If you have an interest in any race, we welcome your input - it's a CivicSpace blog, so create an ID and join in. Thanks!

Posted by: kuff [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 02:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ron Paul has a primary challenge too from attorney Cynthia Sinatra. If Cynthia actually spends some money and hits Paul on his Iraq stance, she could surprise us all.

(Ron Paul, for those of you who don't know, opposes pretty much all foreign interventions, including the Iraq War)

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 03:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Another interesting development to keep in mind that may help the Dem cause in Tejas is that the widely popular (in some circles, anyway) Carol Strayhorn is running for Gov. as an independent. Rather has the potential of legitimizing the cause of other independent candidates statewide, and thereby cutting into the GOP support.

A guy can dream, at least. :-)

Posted by: swilldog [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 05:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As much as I disagree with Ron Paul (his stance on guns is wrong), I think his view on the Iraq war was a good one. He and I have arfed at each other over the years (until redistricting no longer made me a constituent). I would argue it was a tie.

I will vote straight Dem because my current rep. is John Carter (from Mars). Ugh, what an evil man.


Posted by: feloneouscat [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 09:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment