Friday, December 16, 2005

Gammage And The State Of The Governor's Race

I think Bob Gammage is going to add another interesting dynamic to the Governor's race. Not just in the Democratic primary but overall. We have a possible fight in the Republican primary, a race in the Democratic primary, and, of course, Kinky "The Kinster" Friedman waiting in the wings. I say possible fight because Carole Keeton ETC's campaign is, as Dave McNeely says, floundering:
Flounder (n.) -- A fish with both eyes on one side, which lies in the sand to hunt prey; (v.) The status of to the Carole Keeton Strayhorn campaign for governor.
The interesting thing to see will be if Carole ETC drops out will Gov. Perry fade to the background during the primary season. In other words does he need a primary opponent to keep in the media or will it allow time for the challengers to catch up?

Below is the coverage from around the state of Bob Gammage's filing:

HChron, Fmr. local lawmaker to run for governor
DMN via DentonRC, Former Texas justice gunning for Perry's seat
Star-Telegram, Dems get 2nd gubernatorial hopeful
Express-News, Newest Demo hopeful sees Perry as the competition

A synopsis of the coverage is basically that all the articles mention Gammage's prior political jobs and his railing on Gov. Perry and the Republicans for their corrupt actions. Three of the four bring up the fact that Bob Gammage was one of three arbitrators to decide how much the lawyers for the tobacco lawsuit should be paid.
In 1998, he was one of three state arbitrators selected by then-Attorney General Dan Morales and a friend, Marc Murr, to get Murr millions of dollars in fraudulent legal fees from the state's $17.3 billion settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.

The arbitrators recommended Murr be paid $260 million, a figure that was all but wiped out later by a national arbitration panel, which accepted arguments from other lawyers that Murr did little, if any, work on the case.

Morales and Murr both pleaded guilty in 2003 to federal mail-fraud charges stemming from the case. Morales is now about halfway through a four-year prison sentence, and Murr was sentenced to six months in prison.

Gammage said Morales and Murr lied to the arbitrators, who acted on the alleged evidence they were presented.

"I don't know why it would undermine my anti-corruption campaign. They were the corrupt ones, and they went to jail," he said.
The two questions I have about this are, did Gammage benefit from this in any way and who were the other two judges and what do they say about it? If he didn't benefit in any way and he did nothing wrong, like he says, this shouldn't matter.

The Perry camp was pretty much quoted with the same line in all the stories:
Dismissing the criticism, Perry spokesman Robert Black said he hopes "Mr. Gammage has more to offer Texans than petty partisan attacks."
Here are a couple of the lines from Gammage that I though were interesting:
"Here's my first campaign promise: As governor of Texas, I will make policy in the state Capitol, not in the Bahamas."


Gammage said he would address specific issues later during a formal campaign announcement. He calls himself "pro-choice, pro-guns, pro-Bill of Rights, pro-family and pro-privacy."


He faulted Perry for a slow response to school funding problems and blasted the governor for developing a plan influenced by wealthy donors with whom he had just taken a Caribbean cruise nearly two years ago, including John Nau of Houston, head of one of the country's largest beer distributorships.

Perry's school funding plan included a tax on bottled water, "but it didn't put any tax on alcoholic beverages - imagine that," Gammage said.
Gammage seems to have a kind of legitimacy to bring to the Democratic primary that's wasn't there before. It's probably because his state political experience that does that. I'm not saying he's gonna or should win, all I'm saying is that by the way the press covered just his filing yesterday, they are at least acting like there's something to write about on the Democratic side now. With that in mind if the Democrats have a good, spirited, battle and Bell can beat Gammage that can only help him, during the general election, with his own legitimacy, having beaten someone like Gammage. I like Chris Bell and the fact that he stepped out early and was talking to Democrats about this race when nobody else was. But primaries are for culling the herd and now whoever steps up and makes the best case to Democrats in Texas gets to take on Gov. "MoFo", "Goodhair" Perry.

Here is Chris Bell's latest attack on Perry via BOR, Chris Bell Rails Against Gov. Perry's Executive Order to Enhance College Readiness Efforts

The humorous part of Gammage's filing yesterday was that Dewhuesrt got pushed aside


At 12/16/2005 5:50 PM, Blogger Perry Dorrell, aka PDiddie said...

I attended the Harris County Dems Holiday Party last night, and Gammage was a late arrivee. Before I could go over and greet him and ask him a couple of questions that I have, his associate John Effinger intercepted me and said, "There's nothing there".

In the spirit of the holidays, I chose not to make our initial meeting one of confrontation, but the truth is, that answer just doesn't cut it.

What I'd really like to know is where Bob Gammage has been since the Republican fundamentalists and assorted right-wing freaks have taken over in Texas, and what makes him qualified to lead the fight now.

At 12/18/2005 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just quoting Kelly Fero, perhaps THE BEST Democratic strategist in Texas, that Gammage could give the party a boost.

"If you're looking for a seasoned candidate who knows the issues backwards and forwards, has an outstanding public-service record already, has been at the heart of major battles facing Texas, whose integrity is unchallenged, who knows how to run a statewide race, then you can't do any better than Bob Gammage," Fero said.

Apparently a lot of people in Texas know and respect Gammage already. He certainly doesn't seem to have any difficulty drawing a crowd everywhere he goes. Guess he's been doing grassroots work in the last few years... you know, the kind where the work is hard (but appreciated) and doesn't always get your name in the paper.

It does actually win a lot of friends and supporters though.


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