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June 08, 2005

A Tale of Two Governors

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Or rather, two people that you may never even be able to vote for. In the Pink teases us with hints that one of her sources (which have to about as good as the ones that said Rick Perry was a homo-sech-ual) is saying that John Sharp is considering getting into the hot Gubinatorial action on the Democratic side, which would of course, give Chris Bell something to do when not issueing press releases. (but do check out Chris's Post below.)

In other non-news, I'm posting in the extended entry the automated reponse I received from the Kinky campaign after I sent their webmaster a note asking about RSS feeds for their blog. That has got to be the only campaign where automated messages generate news.

From: info@kinkyfriedman.com
Subject: Thank you for contacting the Kinkster

Thank you for contacting the Kinkster! As you can imagine, we are awash with emails and are trying to get back to everyone in a timely manner. We do appreciate your input and will respond to everyone just as soon as possible.

If your question is concerning the petition:
We cannot start collecting signatures until after both the Republican and Democratic primaries are over. That will be sometime in March of 2006! Also, the only people eligible to sign the petition to get Kinky on the ballot are people who have not voted in EITHER the Republican or Democratic 2006 primaries, so please tell your friends not to vote in the primaries. Save the last vote for Kinky.

Where we need help most: At this time, we need everyone to spread the word about Kinky. Tell your friends, your coworkers, complete strangers on the street, EVERYONE about Kinky and let them know he is serious about being governor of Texas! Download the "Save My Vote for Kinky" pledge form and collect pledges. Encourage everyone you know to board this pirate ship, as we set sail for the governor's mansion!

Contribute to the campaign: "A fool and his money are soon elected." -
Kinky Friedman. The two major parties spent $100 million dollars in the last campaign. $100 million dollars! We need donations of all sizes to help us make this campaign a reality. Kinky's no fool. He can win it all, and he will do it wholesale.

To contribute, go to
Or, For mail contributions, please send to:
Kinky Friedman Campaign
PO Box 293910
Kerrville, TX 78029

May the God of your choice bless you.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at June 8, 2005 01:12 AM | TrackBack


here's my dream ticket:

SEN -- bill white; GOV -- jim turner; LT GOV -- paul hobby; AT GEN -- ron kirk; COMP -- john sharp; LAND -- david bernsen; AG -- charlie stenholm; RR -- sherry boyles

Posted by: lonestar liberal at June 8, 2005 11:18 AM

Here is my two cents on the Gov race. If I had to put money on it, I see KBH as the next Gov. of Texas. I am sure many disagree, but thats just my thought.

I think that if Democrats are smart, they will spend their money on House and Senate campaigns. There are so many seats to pick up. If we have a House and Senate that wont pass gay hate bills and continues to kill women's rights, then it does not matter who the Gov. is. I think that while we let Good-hair, KHB, and Caroyl Keeton rylander strayhorn I knew her 7 names ago spend millions, we can pickup house seats.

Posted by: Grube at June 8, 2005 12:19 PM

I tend to agree with Grube...a statewide pick-up may be nice but we should concentrate heavily on regaining the House and giving Pete Laney (or how about Senfronia Thompson...she's been there as long as he has!) the gavel. It may take a couple of cycles but this should be the main goal. Does anyone have any news/progress about the Texas Democratic House Campaign Committee?

Posted by: RN at June 8, 2005 01:54 PM

but with the state house as gerrymandered as it is now, i think it's more likely to win a statewide race than have a net gain of more than three in the house next year or one in the senate.

Posted by: lonestar liberal at June 8, 2005 04:33 PM

Last I had heard about the House Committee they had hired some guy to cordinate all the campaigns.

Posted by: Grube at June 8, 2005 04:38 PM

Texas House seats are not gerrymandered. (Considering the new definition that the GOP gave to Gerrymandering in 2003, anyway). Democrats can win the 13 seats needed to swing the Texas House back if we concentrate on these races.

Doesn't it make sense to statewide candidates to focus Democratic power on swing districts? The only way we begin to win is to start persuading people, and I think local Texas House races are the best place to start.

Posted by: Red Dog at June 8, 2005 05:07 PM

I agree with Red Dog.

The House, because the seats are much smaller (about 1/5th the size of a Congressional or Senate seat) are harder to draw in "compact" ways such that they'd be partisan.

Imagine a pizza. Now imagine cutting it into four slices which have equal amounts of pepperoni and sausage pieces on them. Now imagine cutting the same pizza into twenty slices, and still with the same number of meat slices, and of course still "compact." It's harder to gerrymander into overwhelming-majority pepperoni and sausage slices that way!

Posted by: Jim D at June 8, 2005 08:19 PM

I'd be interested in seeing a list of 13 House districts that anyone thinks Dems have a realistic shot of picking up, because it doesn't exist.

I think the Rs did an excellent job of gerrymandering.

Add to that many Dems in the House don't want to run candidates against Rs they like that live in districts that could potentially be won like Haggerty's and Goodman's. Many House Ds like those guys and don't want them challenged.

As for the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee? I currently work for a Dem House member in a swing district and I've seen the guy they hired probably for a total of 30 seconds in the past four months. I haven't been impressed. He has a DC and Emily's List background and his attempts to put that DC experience to work in Austin have not been successful so far.

Posted by: Jobu at June 9, 2005 12:26 AM

I am not under any impression that we will have a majority in House for the 80th session. But I do think this is where we have to start. Jobu (or anyone), could you split the difference and pick 6-7 seats? How many D's do you think are vulnerable?

I just think our chances of getting a statewide are extremely poor. I would love to be proven wrong in Nov. 2006.

Posted by: RN at June 9, 2005 12:50 AM

Vulnerable Democrats:

Vulnerable Republicans:

But note that Otto, Hamilton, Goodman, and Wong all won by over 5,000 votes relatively comfortable margins versus the dozens or hundreds of vote margins that the vulnerable Ds won by. Baxter is the only R who won in a squeaker.

Posted by: Jobu at June 9, 2005 09:36 AM


Robert Talton and Joe Nixon are not on your list, and that's just in Harris County alone. Between now and '10, we can gain 13 seats.

If Hubert Vo can beat Talmadge Heflin, we can win anywhere. Concentrating resources on winnable races (judged by a scientific standard, like from the Texas Research Foundation), '06 could allow Democrats to pick up more than their share as the GOP implodes with ambition.

If we think we have better ideas and we think we deserve to win, get off your duff and work in a local Texas House race.

Cheesy line from Starsky & Hutch: "DO IT!"

Posted by: Red Dog at June 9, 2005 11:56 AM

I will be up in Waco in a few weeks to see former Rep. Mabry. I am going to see how he stands on trying to get his seat back which he lost to doc anderson. This is district 56 - Crawford, Texas is in this district.

Posted by: Grube at June 9, 2005 01:14 PM

Also throw Elvira Reyna in that list, along with Roy Blake, Jr. (won comfortably with a listless opponent in 2004), Scott "It Was Just a Massage" Campbell, Tuffy Hamilton, Terry Keel (who has a Ray Allen problem-- he doesn't live in his district b/c he's shacking up w/ a much younger woman), Geanie Morrison (whose district is getting ever more minority-oriented), Sid Miller (who barely won in 2002 and had no opposition in 2004) and Gene Seaman (whose district is also getting more and more minority-oriented and is likely to draw top-flight opposition).

That's 17 people right there. Also figure that among the other 60 Republicans there will be a few that make stupid mistakes or end up deciding not to run again or whatever and you are looking at a potential for 20-25 competitive races in 2006. If we win 7-10 of them, we'll be taking some statewide offices and Craddick will be dead as a doornail (particularly if Vilma Luna and Al Edwards, both of whom have primary opponents lining up now, are gone). Then we'll just be a handful away for 2008.

Remember that Craddick et al. started their full court press to take back the House in about 1994 and it took them five tries to get it right. In 2004 we started about like they did-- less than we hoped for, but still a start-- by beating Stick, Mercer and Heflin. And we won't lose as many this time: those races that were listed as "vulnerable Democrats" aren't so vulnerable. Gonzales-Toureilles and Liebowitz are in majority Democratic districts; if Frost, Homer, Hopson, McReynolds (as well as Hochberg and Farabee, who should also be on that list) could win in 2004 when they were dealing with Bush at the top of the ballot and Ardmore just a year behind them they'll win in almost any circumstance. Vo and Strama will have their own headaches to be sure, but they'll win reelection the same way they were elected in the first place-- grassroots politics and hard ass work.

In the end, we have a shot (an outside shot, to be sure) at taking back the House in 2006. We will gain ground, and if we do well we'll be sitting pretty for 2008.

Oh, and whoever the House hired I wouldn't worry about. The real heavy lifting will be done by Ed Miller, Kelly Fero, Christian Archer, Mustafa Tameez and James Aldrete. With those guys on our side we are in some of the best hands possible.

Posted by: ZW Air at June 9, 2005 03:28 PM

If anyone thinks the D's can get a net gain of more than two seats in the House next year, they're living in a fantasyland.

Gonzales-Toureilles and Leibowitz district's are demographically Democrat but in actual turnout they are much closer. R statewides got 51.7% of the vote in Gonzales-Toureilles district and 51.4% in Leibowitz.

Reyna? Sharp got 43.5% in that district in 2002. In Nixon's district Sharp got 40%.

Everyone knew about Campbell's indisretion last time around and he cleared 60%.

And where is the Democratic Party going to get the money to fund 25 competitive races? Will the trial lawyers fund that many races? A lot of those incumbents listed are in urban districts where campaigns can cost $700,000. The Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee raised about $350,000 last cycle.

Who the heck is Ed Miller? I've been working campaigns here forever and don't know an Ed Miller. Don't forget Dean Rindy who is actually the consultant for Jim Dunnam and the Texas House Democrats.

I think the D's need to be realistic and focus on holding their incumbents and maybe picking up a couple of seats elsewhere. Anything else is wishful thinking.

Posted by: Jobu at June 9, 2005 03:55 PM

$700,000.00? Dude, you are well on your way to being a political consultant by throwing out those kinds of numbers. I personally know Hubert Vo didn't spend $300K, and I'm guessing from the map your looking at that his district qualifies as an "urban district." And we won.

What Democrats need is shoe leather. Out work and out think these shady reps. I'd set the over under on Democratic seats at 2. And by the way, I don't live in Fantasyland, I live in Texas.

Posted by: Red Dog at June 10, 2005 02:17 PM

For Districts 48 and 50 in Austin, 700k is a reasonable number. Thats what Kelly White spent, and Todd Baxter spent $1 million.

Posted by: David at June 10, 2005 04:30 PM

Vo may have spent $300K in 2004, but he'll need twice that much to defend it in 2006. Leibowitz is a $700K race. Baxter's race will cost at least that much as well as Strama's. Keel's seat will cost $700K if D's try and take that one. Those rural EastTexas seats cost upwards of $300K these days. David Bernsen spent $700K in his primary loss to Allan Ritter last year. John Mabry spent upwards of $400K.

Knocking on doors is crucial, but if you're not in the mailbox or on TV and radio and your opponent is, you're dead meat.

Posted by: Jobu at June 10, 2005 04:56 PM


We don't need to worry about House Dem Campaign money going to Leibowitz, he's a self-funder. Leibowitz also spent slightly less than 700k last time around (about 610k). I haven't seen any state rep. on television here in SA since as long as I can remember.

I do think these numbers are slightly inflated though, since Leibowitz was running against an incumbent. Also remember that THE reason that Mercer initially won in '02 was because the Dem candidate, Raul Prado, was a crook who got arrested a week before the election.

As a matter of fact, the only non-citywide/statewide candidate I remember running TV ads here was Van De Putte's opponent last time around. And those ads were on cable TV... late at night... between infomercials. As far as radio goes, I don't remember hearing any radio ads for Leibowitz last time around, but they could have very well been on Spanish radio.

Posted by: Cincinnatus at June 11, 2005 03:00 PM

Ken Mercer ran cable ads. Leibowitz ran broadcast TV in the last week of the campaign.

Posted by: Jobu at June 11, 2005 08:07 PM
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