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June 13, 2005

Two More Dems Looking at HD 47

By Andrew Dobbs

With Keel's abdication of the increasingly competitive HD 47 has come a deluge of potential candidates. Initially three Democrats-- attorney and former Glen Maxey and Jim Dunnam staffer Hugh Brady, health care lobbyist and former City Council candidate Gregg Knaupe (pronounced "Nap" for the uninitiated), and Democratic activist and attorney Duffy Keever-- were rumored to be considering the hunt. Now two more have been rumored, and reporting rumors as fact is our business here at BOR .

The first is Texas DNC member David Holmes-- one of the youngest members in the history of the Committee and a tireless advocate for Texas' needs on the national Democratic level. He is also Hubert Vo's chief of staff and a great young Democrat. Having said that, as of right now 4 of the 5 rumored potential candidates are friendly acquaintences (or in a few cases, outright friends) of mine so I'll be keeping my cards close to my chest.

Second is Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair for Finance Dennis Speight. Speight is also a staffer for State Rep. Chuck Hopson and former president of the Texas Young Democrats. He lives in the district (I'm not sure about David, of the other three only Knaupe lives in the district), he and his wife are involved in local community organizations and he can raise money very well. He too would make an exciting candidate and great representative. He is also a friend of mine, so at the risk of sounding obsessive, I'll remind everyone of my caveat. I don't support anybody, I don't oppose anybody in this race at this point, particularly since no one is actually running.

Obviously my sources in regards to the GOP are rather paltry-- I have to read what the papers say. Gerald Daugherty (Travis County Commissioner) and 1992 HD 47 candidate Bill Welch (who, blast from the past, lost the GOP nomination to Susan Combs whose life in the Southwest Austin suburbs qualified her to be Ag Commissioner) are tinkering with running. We'll see how the race shapes up.

Keep tuned to BOR for all the news you could ever want on this and other developing 2006 races and be sure to let us know what you think about the proposed candidates.

UPDATE: I have been criminally remiss in not mentioning one of the biggest and earliest names floated, which slipped my mind until I was just reminded-- Jason Earle. Earle is the son of Travis County DA Ronnie Earle and head of community relations for Girling Health Care here in Austin.

Quorum Report is also dropping the name of former NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) director Jeff Clark. I am assuming that he would be a Republican (though if he is not, I'll be the first to say a Mea Culpa).

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at June 13, 2005 11:01 AM | TrackBack


It's time to hold Mayor Bill White accountable for his backdoor support of DeLay. What kind of Democrat sends videotaped messages on how great DeLay is. REMINDER: DeLay is a defender of sweatshops, and has multiple ethics violations from the Ethics Committee. All Democrats must stand up and make sure that White holds true to his promise to the Republican supporters and does not get involved in partisan races. White wants to run for statewide and as Democrats, it is our responsibility that we do not allow a Democrat who secretly supports the Republicans on the ticket.

Posted by: DemGirl721 at June 13, 2005 01:20 PM

I'll wait until the rumor mill quiets down. It looks like a couple of my buds are looking at this race as well.

Posted by: pc at June 13, 2005 01:43 PM

DemGirl721, what the hell are you talking about?

Is serving as chairman of the Texas Democratic Party not Democratic enough for you?
If I'm the Mayor of the 4th largest city in the country and the Majority Leader of the US House of Reps live in my town, you think maybe you'd like to work with him?

Seriously, if you don't like Tom DeLay, go campaign against him. I'll be right there with you. And last time I checked, DeLay won't be up for election for 17 months. Probably a good time for someone wanting to work with (but not wanting to campaing for) DeLay to offer support.

But don't hold it against someone for trying to work hard for the city that elected them. See the Houston Chronicle for the article on the billion dollars for we just received from the feds for transportation (including light rail) and tell me talking with DeLay was wrong. Democrats used to stand for creating social change for those too weak to change society for themselves, and Bill White actually working to make those changes should count for something.

What do you want Mayor White to do? Go around town bad mouthing him? That'll help with METRO funding.

"Secretly supporting the Republicans," give me a break. Bill White has spent his entire life helping and standing up for Democrats. If you don't believe that, I really don't know what else to tell you, other than here in Houston we appreciate and support leadership, not just partisan hacks.

Supporting politicans who work more for people than parties,

Red Dog

Posted by: Red Dog at June 13, 2005 02:00 PM

Thanks for the non sequitor, DemGirl. You'll have to show me evidence of Bill White praising DeLay, but I'll say this; Bill White fits the two qualities that make someone a good statewide candidate: he has done a very good job in Houston (he is a good and credible leader) and he can win the votes of people who don't usually vote Democratic. He'd be great.

As for the actual thing I wanted to post on, the thing that all of the possible candidates for HD 47 have in common is MONEY. Duffy Keever has a lot of contacts with the Edwards campaign and the national Kerry-Edwards machine (plus trial lawyers), Hugh Brady is a lawyer with a lot of contacts through Maxey and Dunnam, Knaupe and Earle are involved in the health care community and have lobbying contacts (and Earle has his dad's people, Knaupe his campaign people from this year's race), Speight does fundraising for the state party and despite its lack of COH is a reliable fundraiser (they aren't shutting down anytime soon) and Holmes has been a great organizer in the past. This would be a nasty race and the only encouragement is that most of the candidates don't live in the district and might run against Baxter instead.

As for me, my choice would have to go like this. First, who can win? The Democrat will have to be a moderate, pro-business Democrat with limited liabilities among the largely Republican base of the district. Keever's work for Kerry and trial lawyer connections and Earle's family name give him problems in this area. Brady's association with two liberal reps-- Maxey and Dunnam-- is likely to give him heartache. Holmes, Speight and Knaupe on the other hand have this down pat. Holmes is just a moderate kinda guy in temperament, Speight works for a moderate/conservative Representative now and Knaupe is a business lobbyist. All of them would do well.

I don't know these guys personally, but Knaupe's performance this year was fairly impressive. He also did a lot worse than he should have done. Speight still has yet to get the Democrats back on track completely in fundraising (though it is hard with now power) and might be a little too inside baseball for this. Holmes is more liberal than the others, but he should have contacts across the spectrum. Frankly, I think that David Holmes might be among the best choices for this seat.

On the GOP side I would think that Daugherty would be the most poised to win the nomination. THis would be an insider versus outsider type of race. True, Holmes is a staffer for a state rep (hardly too "outside") but he doesn't have the institutional basis of a County Commissioner. The smart money would be on Daugherty, but not by much. I hope all of them run (not necessarily for the same seat, however) and we turn Austin 100% blue.

Posted by: ZW Air at June 13, 2005 02:03 PM

Its a very good sign that nine months outside of the primary we have such a solid group of candidates for this open seat while the Republicans have only mentioned two or three names. Which potential candidates live in the district, besides Knaupe and Dennis Speight?

Posted by: David M at June 13, 2005 02:42 PM

Well, I'm glad the post is back on topic. Despite my smack down for my man BW, I'm heavily interested in the actual topic of candidates. Andrew knows Travis County better than I'd ever hope to, and I'm glad to hear the names Holmes and Speight being brought up. The new leaders of Democrats here in Texas will have to persuade voters that previously voted Republican to vote for them. It'll be easier with the name "Bush" no longer on the ballot, but still a difficult task. I look forward to helping whomever comes out of this as the nominee as we take back Texas for real Texans.

Good luck to all; I'll buy a pair of walking shoes to the winner so they can start going door to door for the General Election.


Posted by: Red Dog at June 13, 2005 03:53 PM

After talking to a certain state rep at pride the other day, I was told that his thoughts were that Brady might step aside and that Andy Brown had already set up a team and started lining up support. It's certainly wide open, but I expect there to be some shifting around in this seat and possibly to Baxters as well.

How about 6-0 in '06? Rallying cry for Travis County Democrats next year.

Posted by: Karl-T at June 13, 2005 05:28 PM

Gosh, having recently moved to Austin from East Texas -- what a change Democratic politics out here is! I seem to know everyone running, or rumored to run, in the HD47 Primary...decisions, decisions...how does one choose?

Posted by: Matthew at June 13, 2005 05:53 PM

Only one thing matters right now: which Democrat can win the General Election. If you're thinking about anything else at all you're wrong.

This seat is the NUMBER ONE pick up opportunity in the entire state. ZERO Republicans sit in seats won by John Kerry - but Keel's seat was the closest, with Kerry garnering 47% of the district-wide vote.

I've done an extensive analysis of this district and put together mounds of data and research. A Democrat can and should win this seat. But it must be a candidate that can speak strongly for Southwest Austin and Travis County.

The west of the district is incredibly Republican. The eastern part is heavily Democratic. The swing part is an arc running from Circle C through Oak Hill up to Travis Country.

We must nominate a candidate who actually lives in the District, can cut the Republican vote and who can raises mounds of cash.

Finally - we must coalesce around a candidate immediately. We cannot have a contested primary for this seat. With Rep. Patrick Rose, Rep. Mark Strama, the challenger in HD48, and the Democratic nominee in HD47 all taking money from the same pie, we are going to KILL OURSELVES if we blow $250,000 beating up on each other in the primary.

We need to pray that a consensus candidate emerges as quickly as possible, otherwise we will beat ourselves and hand this seat to the Republicans gift wrapped.

Posted by: Rick Cofer at June 13, 2005 09:20 PM

Hopefully we are able to avoid primaries in both HD57 and HD48. In both races, we have the responsibility to put forth nominees who have the best chance to win the general election. This does not neccesarily mean we will have to compromise on ideology but if it does ... so be it. A moderate or even conservative Democrat is better than Baxter or whoever the GOP puts up in HD47 anyday of the week. Fortunately, Andy Brown was able to get organized early and get some key endorsements, and now it looks like he may have a cleared primary. Now its up to one of the names that have been floated in HD47 (Knaupe, Holmes, Earle, etc) to attempt to do the same so they can start raising the money they wil need to win in Nov 06.

Posted by: David M at June 13, 2005 09:45 PM

I have a great way to make the decision easy:

Don't live in the district. I live in the 50th and I doubt anyone will challenge Eddie Rodriguez, or if they did I wouldn't vote for them. Of course, I might be moving between now and then and we'll see what happens.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at June 14, 2005 12:05 PM

What do you mean by that?

Posted by: David at June 14, 2005 12:29 PM

It was just a good-natured dig-- I don't have to worry about actually picking a candidate because I don't have to vote. I can just tell all of them that I like them and I'll support whoever wins the nomination. If you have to vote, you have to choose. As it stands, I'll just cast my symbolic vote for the likely unopposed Mr. Rodriguez.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs at June 14, 2005 01:01 PM

Got it.

Posted by: David at June 14, 2005 01:46 PM

Just an FYI . . . David Holmes is not registered nor does he live in HD 47. In fact, I understand that he is supporting Dennis Speight, his fellow TYDer and colleague in the House.

Posted by: Annonymous at June 14, 2005 01:50 PM

Just a minute now, I think we are getting ourselves confused.

Baxter is in HD 48
Keel is in HD 47

Andy Brown and Hugh Brady were announced as running against Baxter in 48.

Jason Earle, Dennis Speight, and David Holmes were discussed here as looking at Keel's HD47.

Gregg Knaupe and Duffy Keever were looking at which seat again then? Let's get this straight.

Posted by: Karl-T at June 14, 2005 04:26 PM

House District 48 Announced Candidates:
Andy Brown

others considering HD 48 include Hugh Brady (not very likely) and Duffy Keever (I hear is less likely now).

House District 47 Potential Candidates:
Jason Earle
Gregg Knaupe
Dennis Speight

David Holmes has no intention of running and is supporting Speight.

Posted by: Annonymous at June 14, 2005 04:35 PM
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