Over in the Senate primary, Victor Morales has a small lead over Houston Congressman Ken Bentson and Dallas mayor Ron Kirk. This surprises me, since Morales (last seen during his 1996 race against Phil Gramm for this same Senate seat) has done nearly no advertising or campaigning so far. Heck, I'd forgotten he was in the race. Much as I admired Morales back in 1996, I'm not sure he's the one this time. It's still too early to call this race.
It should be noted that having Hispanics Democrats in the main races could be very bad news for the state GOP. Hispanics historically have not been much of a force as a voting bloc. Too many are unregistered, and too many who are registered don't vote. That could be changing, though. The lesson we learn from Orlando Sanchez's run for mayor in Houston is that Hispanic candidates will draw Hispanic voters, even (as was often the case with Orlando Sanchez) if the voters don't necessarily agree with the candidate's politics. The state GOP is hoping to capitalize on former Governor Bush's popularity with Hispanics, but I think they're going to take the historic opportunity to vote for one of their own.
Not that the Dems should get too smug about this. Governor Perry has good popularity numbers and will certainly play up his ties to the President. The GOP is also pretty adept at turning out its voters. There's no indication that Tony Sanchez or either Morales would have coattails, either, so John Sharp better make his own effort to court these voters if he wants to become Lieutenant Governor. Finally, while Orlando Sanchez may have invigorated Houston Hispanic voters, he still lost the race. Hispanic voters may have a lot of potential to determine political races, but as we know from sports, "potential" means "ain't done nothin' yet".Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 10, 2002 to Election 2002 | TrackBack