Thursday, February 09, 2006

D Governor's Race, Primary Analysis & District 48

Chris Bell gets a nice endorsement from the A man of specifics:
"Education is the issue from Amarillo to the Valley," Chris Bell, a candidate in the Democratic primary for governor, told members of the Star-Telegram Editorial Board.

The reasons may vary from one area of the state to another -- financing and local property tax rates; the quality of the education offered; the drop-out rate, particularly among Hispanic students -- but the bottom line doesn't change: Schools are on most Texans' minds.

More money will fix some of the problems, but the former U.S. representative from Houston thinks that focusing solely on finance and not on overall reform is a mistake. He didn't hesitate to look beyond his Democratic challenger in the March 7 primary, Bob Gammage, to take a shot at what he sees as Gov. Rick Perry's lack of leadership on the issue.

"Perry's revenue-neutral proposals amount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," he said. "If you make public school reform the highest priority, maybe you should be out in front of it."
The Austin Chronicle has several good articles this week:

They have this article on the Democratic race for governor, Who Are These Guys? Most of it's a rehash of the same old stuff - they ain't got no money, no one knows them, the D's are giving their money to OTG. But at the end there are these two interesting paragraphs on "ticket-splitting":
Speaking last week to Democracy for Texas, Gammage referred to Strayhorn as his latest political gift of "dumb luck," because he believes her presence on the ballot will inevitably generate a lot of Republican ticket-splitters. "Once they vote for Strayhorn," he said, "they don't go back to straight-ticket voting down the ballot. And that means, whether we win the governor's race outright or not, we start to pick up swing races all the way across the state."

Democratic strategist Kelly Fero agrees: "Either way, with [Strayhorn and Friedman] or just one of them on the ballot, a lot of ticket-splitters will be created. That's good news for Democrats down ballot because it will break, or at least weaken a little, the Republican lockstep on straight-ticket voting." As the hopeful pundits see it, should Democrats manage to pick up some seats in the House, they'll have Carole and Kinky to thank for their good fortune. And should the presence of five candidates on the ballot prevent one from dominating, who knows if the surviving Dem might garner enough late-season momentum to make the final outcome interesting?
That's definitely something to keep in mind since we are a lot closer this election to "Run.Everywhere" than we have been in a long time.

Primary analysis of BAR v. KBH and TX CD-10, The Primary Colors: Part I.

They endorse Donna Howard again:
As we've said, Howard has been a school board member and a critical-care nurse, and has made education and health care the dominant issues of her campaign, which has been immediately visible and effective. She understands the predicament of the current school-finance system, its specific, often contradictory effects in her district and in Central Texas as a whole, and she will be an immediate asset to the regional delegation as well as to the Democratic minority in the House. More surprisingly, Howard's dominance in the initial vote confirms her effectiveness as a campaigner, and also suggests that local Democrats are energized by her candidacy as well as by the possibility of making a visible difference at the Lege. By contrast, Bentzin has become a less effective and less accessible campaigner in his second run for office, the inevitable consequence of his blatant submission to state Republican priorities.
More on Bentzin's problems here, Bentzin's Bad Connection:
Until his surprise acknowledgement that he had hired political consultant John Colyandro to work on his Senate campaign in 2002, Ben Bentzin had never been linked, either directly or indirectly, to the GOP campaign finance scandal that touched off a wide-scale criminal probe and a round of civil litigation.

But Bentzin's voluntary admission last month to Statesman reporter Laylan Copelin raises legal questions anew about the actual scope of a corporate-funded effort to secure a GOP legislative sweep in the 2002 election cycle and, in turn, hand U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay a GOP-heavy congressional redistricting map. Four years later, Colyandro stands accused with DeLay of felony money-laundering charges for their roles in the 2002 election.

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