Friday, July 22, 2005

Run Every Race, Oh Yeah

Over the last few days a debate has started among some Texas Democrats about whether or not we should run candidates in every race. Even if, as some say, a Democrat has no chance of winning that race. My thinking on this is absolutely, we must have a candidate in every race on the ballot. It's just a good policy. If we are going to be an opposition party, we must oppose the other party, especially when they have all the power. What if the shoe-in candidate turns out to be a bad candidate or has a skeleton in the closet that comes out before election day? Another thing I hear quite a bit from those coming in to help out in Williamson County is that the Libertarians always have a candidate in every race, why don't the Democrats?

The whole discussion started with the news that state Senator John Lindsay is retiring with this post from gregsopinion, St. Senator Lindsay ... Out!. I believe it was this part here that prompted the response:
For Democrats, the goal here is simple ... run someone and make sure they're out on the streets walking, talking, and dropping lit where nobody's home. An active campaign may well be a losing effort in a district that tends to go 75-25 Republican. But this is possibly the best shot to see the district go 30, 35, or maybe even 40% for a Democrat. If Joe Nixon's the nominee, we've got a real opening here to do some good for the party overall.
The response from Marc Campos was this, Big Bad John, SD 7. Most of the editorial is about Sen. Whitmire's filibuster. But it ends with this:
Yesterday, an internet opinion suggested that Dems field a candidate in SD 7. They said Dems can go from 25% to maybe 40% - from a severe a__ whipping, to a solid a__ whipping. Bad idea. It costs $1250 to file for state senator. Better idea to send that money to Ellen Cohen.
First of all as all, we in Williamson County know the filing fee is waived if you get your petition signed. Next as many others say later in this discussion, if you get it up to 40% Democrats in this senate district the vast majority of those will be voting for Democrats in other races. Here is the part from Greg's retort:
Without candidates, we are nothing as a party ... nothing. With only a half-slate of candidates, we're half a party (see how the math works, there?). A $1,250 donation to Ellen Cohen would indeed be a worthwhile investment. But a candidate pulling in up to 40% in SD7 is likely to get some crossover votes not only for themselves, but for countywide candidates. They're also more likely to get a few more volunteers out into the streets and onto the phones. These things all add up so that, eventually, the Ellen Cohens (and Hubert Vos and Scott Hochbergs) of the world are not quite as beseiged by allowing the GOP to pour a neverending stream of resources into a what few areas of opportunity they have as a party.
This battle will rage until, hopefully, the Democratic Party in Texas is back running candidates in every race and if not running or a huge part of our state government at least opposing the Republicans in every race. Charles Kuffner posted on this as well and had this to say in his post, it's a good wrap-up of the discussion so far:
If we truly care about our own values, we'll strive to bring candidates who promote them to voters who share them, wherever those voters may be. If we do that, I'm willing to bet we'll find that the support we get, both in terms of votes and donations, is greater than we think. We Democrats in Texas have been complaining about the national party hitting us up for cash for it to spend on races and candidates everywhere else. We should be treating our allies in places like SD7 the same way that we want the DNC to treat us.
That is the last point I want to make here. The DNC and the TDP's have both committed to a strategy of running candidates in every race:
This is Charles Soechting, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party. When I was elected almost two years ago I was told by "people in the know" that I was wrong to recruit candidates to run in races where we couldn't win. We were wrong to support candidates in places where we could not win. We were wrong to work with the campaigns of people like Hubert Vo because he couldn't win. Hubert's campaign managers, Karen and Mustafa, showed that good candidates can win in marginal districts. If you want to make sure that you don't lose a race don't run. The only sure way to make sure you fail is to not try. It is a guaranteed formula for loss, defeat, whatever you want to call it. Democrats do have limited resources and SD 7 would be a hard race----for one reason---the Republicans drew it to be hard! They drew it to be safe for R's. Thank God Sam Houston and others did not have the "play it safe" attitude that is all too pervasive in today's politics. I encourage every Democrat to recruit candidates to run in every race. We are poised to take advantage of the dishonesty and corruption in the Bush White House, the Perry administration, the ineffective Dewhurst Senate and in the Craddick Cartel. Do any of you seriously believe that the scandals of the R's will go away in time. The R's are dishonest crooks and we should be poised to defeat them. We should be prepared with candidates and have faith if not dollars that the voters are capable of figuring out that the party in power has abused the power. There is strength in honesty. We should all stand tall as Democrats and not allow a few to tell us who should and should not run, who is and who is not the right candidate but rather we should gather together and support all of those who believe in the principles which make our Party what it is-----Honest, Responsible and capable of governing. Democratically yours, Charles Soechting, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party
Scroll down in the OffTheKuff link for the Soechting comments. Let's discuss but in my opinion it comes down to the fact that what the TDP has been doing for the last decade or so hasn't been working and it's time to try something new. To continue doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insantiy after all.

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