July 03, 2003
Sandbagging Sanchez

Is it just me, or is anyone else gobsmacked by the following paragraph in this Press article on how Bill White and Michael "Boy Wonder" Berry are doubleteaming Orlando Sanchez:

Sanchez apparently will get a lot of that, because Berry strategist Allen Blakemore predicts the double-barreled attack will continue until November. According to the consultant, White and Berry have similar game plans. Each has a strong base, Berry with westside conservatives and White with left-of-center Democrats. Positioned in the middle is Sanchez, with moderate Republicans, independents and Hispanics. By Blakemore's reckoning, both White and Berry seek to expand their bases into the center at Sanchez's expense, so the joint strategy is to chop on him from both sides in a race to see who can make a runoff against Turner.

How in the world did Sanchez get to be "in the middle"? This is the guy who ran ads in the 2001 election that featured an endorsement from every breathing Republican politician he could get. Either Allan Blakemore is on crack (a possibility I cannot dismiss), or Berry has positioned himself even farther right than I'd thought.

"The positions that Sanchez is already taking, or in some cases not taking, make it clear he's not fighting for the votes on the right," analyzes Blakemore. "He's ceding those to Michael. Just like he's abandoned the votes on the left" to White. "Well, I think it's a flawed strategy to start without a base."

You're gonna have to give me some examples there, bub. If Sanchez is wooing moderates, I've not seen any evidence of it. And how exactly did Berry get to be the candidate with the base?

One of the juicier ironies of the White-Berry détente is that each side thinks it's using the other. White's folks are counting on Berry to split the Republican vote and provide a formula for him to make a runoff. Berry's strategists figure White will drive Republicans into his camp as it becomes apparent that Sanchez cannot win.

"I know Bill White's going through this fantasy about getting Republicans to vote for him," Blakemore chuckles. He notes that 25th District Congressman Chris Bell tried the same strategy in his mayoral race two years ago.

"He was getting traction until September," recalls Blakemore, "until Orlando put out the word, 'Oh, by the way, did I forget to tell you that nice young man with the lovely wife is a Democrat?' And they all went, 'Oh, my goodness,' and abandoned Bell."

This much is true, at least to me. I want to see Berry take votes from Sanchez, and I'm very worried about the Bell/Greanias problem. It would be fine with me if Sylvester Turner stayed in Austin all summer - I'm quite sure White would be the second choice of most of his voters. It's going to be a long summer to find out who gets to go through the agony of a runoff.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 03, 2003 to Election 2003 | TrackBack

The notion of Sanchez the moderate is just silly. How in the world did his campaign staff manage to float that and get it in print anywhere but the Comical? Tim Fleck should know better. But as an Orlando supporter, I'm glad the campaign got someone to bite on it. I didn't think Chris Begala did a very good job with press management in the last Orlando campaign, and I'm not sad to see him working for Boy Blunder this time around.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on July 3, 2003 6:38 PM

I think that the "Sanchez the moderate" stuff is Allen Blakemore talking and not Sanchez's people, but I do agree that it's unlike Tim Fleck to not deconstruct that sort of thing. Hey, it's a holiday week, maybe he was thinking about barbecues and fireworks instead.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 3, 2003 7:07 PM

By the way, Kevin, the answer to your earlier question is "Yes". Drop me a note.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 3, 2003 7:24 PM