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October 17, 2004

Southern Political Report Weighs in on Texas

By Byron LaMasters

A reader emailed me the "US House Outlook" for Texas from the Southern Political Report (subscription service). If you don't want to read the whole thing, they basically say this:

Likely Democrat: TX-25 (Doggett)
Toss-Up: TX-1 (Sandlin), TX-17 (Edwards)
Leans Republican: TX-2 (Lampson), TX-19 (Stenholm), TX-32 (Frost)

I'm not quite sure why TX-25 is on the list. It's a 70% Democratic district that was decided in the Democratic primary - Doggett ought to win it easily. I'm equally surprised that TX-22 isn't on the list. Sure, DeLay is favored, but I expect the DeLay / Morrison race to be significantly closer than the Doggett / Klein race.

As for the others, it shows me further evidence that Sandlin is probably running the strogest campaign after Edwards. I think that Edwards narrowly leading Wohlgemuth by a few points, that Sandlin is running just about even, and that Frost and Lampson are running a few points behind with Stenholm running further behind - possibly double digits at this point. I could be wrong, but that's my gut feeling on the state of those five races. Click on the extended entry for the Southern Political Report analysis of the Texas races:

"Texas 1 (Texarkana, etc.) The race between four-termer Max Sandlin (D) and ex-Judge Louis Gohmert (R) "is closer than expected," say Lone Star observers, with each side touting a poll showing it slightly ahead. A Sept 7-9 poll by Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal (D) gave Sandlin 47%, Gohmert 43%, although a journalist says "Bush should carry Gohmert across the line." Toss-up.

Texas 2 (Nacogdoches, etc.) In the race between four-termer Nick Lampson (D) and former judge Ted Poe (R), "Both sides think they're winning," says an editor. The new district lines help Poe. There are some unions in the district, which should help Lampson. If Kerry enjoys a post-debates respectability, it could also help Lampson. A Sept. 19-21 Harstad Strategic Research poll (D) gave Poe 41%, Lampson 37%. Leans Republican.

Texas 17 (Waco, etc.) Seven-termer Chet Edwards (D) is in a tough race with state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R). One operative (R) says she's up four or five points in her polling. A newsman says private, non-partisan polling gives Edwards the lead. And Edwards is hitting her hard for votes in the state legislature to reduce the number of children eligible for health care assistance and to deregulate college tuition, a no-no in the College Station area. "It's the most competitive race" in Texas, says the journalist. Toss-up. "

Texas 19 (Abilene/Lubbock) In the battle between 26-year veteran Charlie Stenholm (D) and freshman Randy Neugebauer (R), demographics in this newly-formed district trumps experience: It's Neugebauer 48%, Stenholm 39%, says a Sept. 27-28 Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll; Neugebauer 52%, Stenholm 29%, says a Sept. 15-23 Scripps Research poll. Local observers expect a closer race, but it still Leans Republican.

Texas 25 (Austin, etc.) Well-credentialed and well-funded Becky Armendariz Klein (R) has little chance of beating Lloyd Doggett (D). "He's in a race," says an Austin lobbyist, "but he'll win it." Rumor has it that she's slated for a spot on the Federal Communications Commission. Likely Democratic.

Texas 32 (Irving, etc.) The race between 13-termer Martin Frost (D) and four-termer Pete Sessions (R) "is getting really ugly," says one observer. "It's a very
aggressive campaign on both sides," says a journalist. When Frost scheduled Peter Yarrow, of the folk-singers Peter, Paul and Mary, to headline a fundraiser, the GOP brought up Yarrow's 1970 conviction on child indecency charges. Frost dis-invited Yarrow, but now GOPers are urging him to give back money from any advance ticket sales. Frost accuses Sessions of opposing important homeland security measures, such as air cargo screening and reinforced cockpit doors. The GOP's internal polling shows Sessions leading "outside the margin of error," says an insider (R). Other polls also show Sessions leading. Frost's ace in the hole could be Hispanic voters, but their turnout rate is low. Leans Republican."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 17, 2004 05:47 PM | TrackBack


I think the feeling in the Waco area is that Edwards will win. He is really popular here. The uncertainty comes from the new parts of the district, which are to heavily favor Republicans.

The heavy investments from third parties for Wohlgemuth show just how bad her campaign is doing. She's behind in fund-raising and down in the polls with outside groups trying ot elect an "outside" candidate. Seven times out of 10 having a third party run ads for you backfires by making you look weak.

Since were pretty close to election day, I'm going to be covering this race as close as I can on my blog Common Sense since it is a hometown concern.

Posted by: Nate at October 17, 2004 09:14 PM

Texas 25, Doggett may win but you got to admire Becky Armendariz Klein. She is running a good race (better than his) and she has a better understanding of the District. In the long run, she would be a much better representative than Doggett for this district. Too bad so many Dems (and Rs for that matter) will not cross party lines for the best candidate.

Posted by: RUR at November 1, 2004 12:15 PM
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