Archive for the ‘Election2010’ Category

Lubbock Republicans Nominate Tea Party Radicals

Here are my thoughts on the Republican Primary runoffs for HD83 and HD84.

I think it’s a shame that Lubbock lost its legislative clout by losing Delwin Jones in HD83.

It’s even more of a shame that Delwin lost to a lie designed (no doubt by Perry’s downstate consultants) to appeal to racism. The lie was that Jones voted for a bill to give scholarships to illegal aliens. It’s not true, but it got people who respond to that sort of racist code language to the polls. You can see the spike in early vote numbers between last Monday (when the story broke) and Tuesday.

The Jones campaign didn’t handle their response to the lie well at all — they got down in the mud with Charles Perry and flung ridiculous charges. (No one would believe that Perry is a liberal, for example.) Those that blame the loss on the Jones campaign are also right, to a point.

It only took around 9,000 voters to send Delwin Jones packing in the runoff. Because of this, lots of folks have been asking me about the possibility of a Democratic or Independent candidate this year in HD83. Neither is possible, because they would have had to file in January, and no one did. A write-in candidacy may still be an option, and I’m looking into the law around that issue.

As far as the HD84 race between Mark Griffin and John Frullo, this image pretty much sums up my opinion about that:

Pratt's Puppet

Pratt’s Puppet John Frullo won thanks to the organizational help and publicity — not only from Pratt’s far-right talk radio show, but also from the i-didn’t-send-it-but-wrote-the-content “poison pen” mail piece — from his #1 fan.

Now the HD84 campaign between the wackiest Republican option and Democratic Party candidate Carol Morgan promises to be an exciting one.

In short, I believe the combination of shady campaigning and Tea Party activism put the most extreme right-wing candidates forward in HD83 and HD84. Moderate Republicans, and perhaps even some conservative ones, are not happy right now.

Your thoughts welcome in the comments.

Carol Morgan Website Launch

Carol Morgan, Democratic Candidate for Texas House District 84, has her campaign website up and running!

Carol is already comfortable with new media tools (Carol Morgan facebook, Carol Morgan twitter), but her new website provides a consolidated way for her to connect with supporters. The website has her platform, qualifications, and opportunities for you to volunteer. Also, she writes regular blog posts on her campaign website, making her the most accessible HD84 candidate by a wide margin.

And of course, the always-important online fundraising via actblue is available as well.

If you’re sick of the Republican crop of HD84 candidates and their pissing match to see who is the furthest to the fringe right, then Carol’s website will be a welcome change.

Leonard, Landtroop, and Isett — Oh My!

Today is a big day for local election news.

First, Lubbock City Councilman John Leonard has announced that he will run in the Republican primary for Lubbock County Commissioner Precinct 4, currently held by Patti Jones. Leonard’s push last week to modernize the Lubbock City Charter in a hurry makes more sense in light of this announcement: he’s trying to make it look like he’s accomplished something while in office. I believe that Leonard is a problematic candidate who has lost support even among his base, and a challenger in either the primary or the general will stand a good chance against him.

Next, Representative Joe Heflin (Texas HD85) could be facing Jim Landtroop, the guy he beat the first time around (in 2006), assuming Landtroop wins the Republican primary in HD85 (which is very likely, in my opinion). My prediction for a 2010 Landtroop/Heflin rematch is an even bigger win by Heflin, who has done a wonderful job representing his district in Austin.

Lastly, today KCBD and Pratt on Texas both broke the story that Carl Isett will not seek reelection for Texas HD84. This news is HUGE. With no incumbent, the seat is wide open. With the right voter turnout effort, this house district could turn blue in 2010. We just need some qualified candidates to run an exciting Democratic Party primary in this district to get the ball rolling. I don’t know of any Republicans who have stepped up to run in Isett’s place, but perhaps today’s official announcement will reveal someone in that role. If not, I believe that “unknown Democrat” versus “unknown Republican” in this district will make a very close race.

2010 is shaping up to be an exciting year in Texas politics.

Let’s Talk HD83

Primary season is almost upon us. Now is the time to prepare by becoming informed.

The Texas Tribune has — conveniently in one place — all the info for Texas elected officials you need to get started with an analysis of them. Check out Delwin Jones’ House District 83. Take the time to zoom in on the map of his district within the Lubbock city limits. Notice that middle-finger-looking portion running up from South Loop 289 to 19th Street just south of Texas Tech? My understanding of that funny-shaped foray into Tech Terrace is that it was a fine piece of gerrymandering to keep former Lubbock Mayor Windy Sitton from being able to challenge Carl Isett for HD84, our inside-city-limits house district.

This quirk of HD83 brings me to my three main points for this upcoming February/March Primary elections:

1) Delwin Jones will be the Chair of the House Redistricting Committee in 2011. Republican Primary voters would be foolish to vote Delwin out when he wields so much power. Delwin Jones’ primary challengers (two so far) can’t offer advantages like that for our area.

Meanwhile, I’m holding out the possibility that Delwin will use redistricting to cap his career in an honorable way by un-gerrymandering our area as much as possibile. A dude can dream, can’t he?

2) Delwin Jones is an unstoppable juggernaut of incumbency. He’ll leave office when he retires, not before.

3) You don’t need to vote in the Republican Primary to “protect” Delwin Jones against his challengers. If you’re on the fence about which primary to vote in, see point #2 — he’s whupped all the challengers he’s had over the last decade. There are also compelling reasons to vote in the Democratic Primary this time — several statewide races that are contested, for example. Also, our area’s strength within the Party is determined by governor-year turnout. If you want to see a stronger Democratic Party and a real two-party system in our area, then participate in the Lubbock County Democratic Party Primary to accomplish that goal.

I think Delwin’s got the 2010 primary locked up. Tell us what you think in the comments!

A Tale of Two Facebooks

With the evolution of social networking websites comes a whole new set of awkward social situations.

My latest has to do with two gentlemen who are both candidates for Lubbock County Sheriff in the Republican Primary: Don Carter and Kelly Rowe. Both are capable, professional people with whom I have worked in the past. Because we were already facebook friends, I have been invited to join each campaign’s facebook presence.

What’s a well-meaning dude to do? I won’t be voting for either of them because I don’t vote in the Republican Primary. However, I don’t want to offend either person — each group I join will show up in my news feed, which all of my friends, including Don and Kelly, can see. However, if I ignore an invitation, I risk being rude.

Further complicating things is the issue of support. Does joining a group or becoming a friend/fan on facebook imply support? For example, I’m Randy Neugebauer’s facebook friend not because I support his re-election, but because I want to participate in the discussion accompanying my Congressman’s remarks on facebook. (If you’re reading this and are on facebook, you should do the same.) So, I honestly don’t think that facebook association implies support, but I can already imagine future-Rove running attack ads against future-Obama for facebook friending future-Ayers.

I’m probably overthinking this stuff, but it’s only a matter of time before online drama becomes mainstream political drama. In fact, we might be at that point already, given the Young Republicans President’s offensive facebook comments becoming news a few months back, not to mention the whole Sarah Palin “death panels” smear that began on her facebook page. Celebrity twitters and IM chats are already fodder for the 24-hour news cycle as well.

For my immediate situation, I will accept the invitation to both groups and hope that Don and Kelly don’t hold it against me. Good luck fellas; I hope you both run campaigns that you can be proud of.

The People’s Watchdog: Jeff Weems for Railroad Commissioner!

Jeff Weems announced his candidacy for Texas Railroad Commissioner today in Austin, and he was in Lubbock tonight for his very first campaign house party. I got a chance to meet him, and I am impressed.

With Jeff Weems we have a candidate who knows the oil and gas industry inside and out from the point of view of all the involved parties — the companies, the rights owners, the citizens. He is running to return the Texas Railroad Commission to its proper regulatory, unbiased role. He will make the Commission do its job.

The Texas Railroad Commission was created as a watchdog for the people (originally farmers vs. railroad companies, but now utilities in general vs. the little guy). Under Republican rule it has become a do-nothing agency that always rules in favor of the pipeline company or utility company (in that order) — 59 decisions in a row, even.

Jeff spoke passionately about the need to regulate out-of-control fracking that’s going on in Texas. Fracking is where a million+ gallons of water are pumped underground to crack underground rock formations and release trapped natural gas. (The Bluedaze blog by TXSharon is one of the best resources out there for discovering the many dangers of fracking.) This technique is used commonly in the Barnett Shale area around Ft. Worth, and it’s causing all kinds of problems — even earthquakes. The water used in fracking is so chlorinated and otherwise polluted that it can never be potable, and in fact is so toxic that it can’t even be used for subsequent frack jobs. On top of all that, eminent domain claims — which go unchallenged and unregulated by our TX Railroad Commission — are literally running allowing pipelines to run through people’s front yards in the Ft. Worth area.

Weems also talked about the epidemic of wasted natural gas caused by aging equipment in the field. Such waste is bad for the companies, bad for the environment, and deprives the State of Texas of millions of dollars in tax revenue — enough to cover all of SCHIP, in fact. This is another area where a regulatory nudge from the TX Railroad Commission could do wonders for our State.

The negotiations between cities and utility companies on natural gas prices are another area where the Commission needs to change its ways. If a municipality and a utility company can’t work out a price, the dispute comes before the Commission, which hasn’t met a utility company it didn’t like. This phenomenon explains why Houston’s natural gas costs consumers 4 times what ours does out here in Lubbock.

Another major area of reform is with the Commission itself. Texas Railroad Commissioners can accept campaign contributions any time except when the legislature is in session. They serve six-year terms. That means that they can accept money years before or after elections. I believe that it gives the appearance of bribery and corruption, especially with the current Commission receiving big donations from the companies it rules in favor of. Weems wants to make the Commission obey contribution rules like judges, who can only accept contributions near an election.

Weems took a couple of appropriate jabs at his opponent Victor Carrillo. His inaction on the above concerns was mentioned, as was his unethical use of campaign funds to travel to Israel with Governor Perry in 2006.

There is a lot of damage to be undone and positive work to be accomplished on the TX Railroad Commission. The Commission is a powerful check on abuses of power by the energy industry, and the Texas GOP knows this. They run candidates for Commisisoner who do nothing while waiting to run for higher office (e.g. Michael Williams), and they take every opportunity available to limit, shrink, or eliminate powers of the Commission. In the last legislative session, they were nine votes shy of putting a constitutional amendment up for vote that would replace the 3-member Commission with one lone Commissioner.

Jeff Weems is who we need fighting for the people on the Texas Railroad Commission.
Jeff Weems on Facebook

What Senate Race?

According to the Texas Tribune (one of my new favorite sources of news, by the way), Kay Bailey Hutchison won’t resign from the Senate until after the health care and cap-and-trade debates are over in the Senate.

This is the key point regarding her decision:

The filing deadline for next year’s elections is January 4. Waiting until after that date effectively forces everyone else on the ballot to run as if the dominoes won’t fall.

Her decision to wait is already gumming up the works of the Republican parade of advancement in Texas. The Lt. Governor and Attorney General are staying put, as are the others seeking those positions.

The two leading Democratic Senate candidates John Sharp and Bill White are basically unaffected, since both campaigns have indicated that they will run whenever the seat opens up. Whether now or 2012, they’re still in campaign mode.

And, in the meantime, Perry and Hutchison continue to take shots at each other. I love it.

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