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October 29, 2003

Strayhorn Strikes Again

By Andrew Dobbs

Charles has this post about Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn's latest attack on Rick Perry. From the Houston Chronicle:

For the second time in two weeks, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn ripped into Gov. Rick Perry on Monday, blaming her fellow Republican for cuts in community college funding.

"Texas is great, but we can do better," Strayhorn repeated several times in an address to the Texas Association of Community College Trustees.


On Monday, Strayhorn repeated her earlier attacks against Perry over budget cuts in health care and funding deficiencies in the public schools and added community colleges to her list.

"The community college finance system was built around the notion that the state should cover instructional costs and the local (college) district should be responsible for providing the buildings and other facilities," she said.

"This administration, however, has not funded the formula at a level where the state's paying the full cost of instruction. Instead, community colleges through local revenues have been paying a chunk of instructional costs, as well as paying for facilities."


Strayhorn proposed two significant revenue-raising measures -- a $1 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax and video lotteries at racetracks -- during the legislative session last spring, but neither was adopted. Combined, she said, they would have raised more than $3 billion during the two-year budget period.

Strayhorn also criticized Perry for the "lost civility, the lost dignity, the lost honor, the lost effectiveness and the lost spirit of bipartisanship championed by then-governor and now President George W. Bush."

So it looks like the GOP will have a whole mess of primary battles on their hands in 2006. If Kay Bailey Hutchison stays in DC Perry v. Strayhorn will dominate the Governor's office, somebody will be fighting for the comptroller's office and at least a few prominent Republicans- Todd Staples, Susan Combs, Greg Abbott- have got to be thinking about moving up in the rankings. If Hutchison decides to run for Governor shift the fights around to her Senate seat and add Dewhurst, who really wanted to run for Senate in 2002 but settled for Lt. Gov. to enter the mix as well. They will spend a lot of time, money and effort fighting each other in a primary assuming that the general is locked up.

This is why we need very good candidates, very little contention in the primary and a solid fundraising effort between now and then so that the day after the GOP decides its candidates after a bloody primary season the Dems can start attacking them and building up their own profiles while the GOP struggles to tie up loose ends with the different factions. A good, moderate to conservative Dem like Jim Turner or John Sharp or John Montford could get support from GOPers who lost in the primary and can't stand their party's candidate. I think that 2006 has an opening for us and we need to start working now.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at October 29, 2003 01:16 AM | TrackBack


It's extremely rewarding to see how the tables have turned. In the old days of Texas politics, the Democrat primary was the only election that mattered - the general election was merely a formality. Now, the possibility of a Democrat winning the next gubernatorial election is so negligible that the only attention paid is in regard to the internecine struggle between Republicans Perry and Strayhorn.

Posted by: Mark Harden at October 29, 2003 08:09 AM

Well, Mark. The conservatives used to trounce the progressives in the Democratic primary. Now, they beat us in the general election. We've only had a couple of liberal/progressive Democratic governors in Texas history. I mean there's Ann Richards.... then before her you have to go back to the 1940s with Jimmy Allred. Progressives like Ralph Yarbough (1950s) and Sissy Farenthall (1970s) lost in the Democratic primary to conservative Democrats. When John Hill became the first progressive Democrat to win the primary since Allred in 1978, he managed to lose the governorship for Democrats for the first time in a century.

So, really, not that much has changed. Conservative Texans have realligned themselves into the Republican party and Texas is simply governed by conservative Republicans as opposed to conservative Democrats.

Posted by: ByronUT at October 29, 2003 10:25 AM

I agree with Byron's analysis. The Texas GOP is divided into the insiders (Perry, Dewhurst, Craddick) vs the grassroots (Strayhorn). Soon the GOP will divide into the rural wing, and the exurban wing.

Jim Turner, I think, will be in a good position to win some of those old conservative Democrats that we have lost in East Texas in 2006.I think 12 years of one party control in the mansion will be enough for Texans by then. A divided GOP will definitely help.

Sharp is out of politics. John Montford's job as Texas Tech Chancellor is political enough for him.

Posted by: pc at October 29, 2003 09:31 PM

first of all, garry mauro is also a progressive/liberal democrat. second, sharp says he is out, but i guarantee he runs in 2006

Posted by: David at October 29, 2003 10:25 PM

I was just throwing names out there real quick. Turner is my choice for the moment. Mauro would be a bad choice and Sharp is done for in terms of running, though I'd like to see him help run the show. We have to be moderate to even slightly conservative if we want to win in this state, but a moderate/slightly conservative Dem is better than a radically right wing Republican. If we let the GOP get bloodied and the moderate wing of the party feels like it is being screwed or the "business conservatives" rather than the "cultural conservatives" get short-changed than a moderate like Turner would be a good choice.

Posted by: Andrew D at October 29, 2003 11:11 PM

I think the Dems will go with fresh blood in '06. Rafael Anchia http://www.rafaelanchia.com/ will be the next Governor. Mark my words.

This talk of Demopubs makes my fur curl. Texas is surprisingly one of the most progressive states. We've just let it be high jacked. Get out the vote.

(the flashing ads on the left side of the page are annoying. Having Republicans in our state house is all I can take right now.)

I like some of the sentiments of the stray horn, but a stray horn doesn't seem to know much about economics. Gambling and cigarette tax as way to fund schools is pretty flimsy. Now the DCCCD wants to pass a bond issue that raises my tax even more. Where's all the money going. You should check out the discussion going on with the special session regarding school finance. I can't wait to hear what else stray horn says. Mh, does it make me not progressive if I see the waste and cronnism payoffs and don't think we need to hand over more money to those people? democrats don't need to hand over defense issues and fiscal conservatism to the republicans (although they aren't fiscal conservatives, they just play them on tv.. well actually everywhere else too).

It does look like she is setting herself up to run against Scary, I mean Perry.

Posted by: Green ProgCat at April 30, 2004 01:47 AM
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