January 13, 2004
Filing news

Rep. Gene Green, whose 29th CD is still a Democratic stronghold even if it no longers includes his house, will buy a house in the new district and file for reelection there. He may also have company in the primary.

Under a Republican-backed congressional redistricting plan, Green's residence near Bush Intercontinental Airport became part of the 10th Congressional District, which stretches to Jefferson County.


U.S. representatives are not required to live in their districts, but Green said he has rented an apartment inside the 29th in east Harris County and will buy a house there if the new boundaries withstand the court appeal.

Green, a Democrat, is the only candidate who has announced so far in the district. The filing deadline is Friday.

Former state Rep. Diana Davila Martinez is considering running for the seat, which her husband, former state Rep. Roman Martinez, ran for when Green was first elected in 1992. Davila Martinez lost a December runoff to Adrian Garcia for Houston City Council District H.

The district has a history of voting strongly Democratic, and no Republican has filed or announced for the GOP primary.

Davila Martinez was most recently a runnerup in the Houston City Council elections, finishing second behind Adrian Garcia in my district, District H. I don't believe Green will have any difficulty winning the primary against anyone.

Over in Austin, Rep. Lloyd Doggett is poised to pick up support in his effort to win the new 25th CD.

Twenty elected officials from cities in western Hidalgo County on Monday endorsed U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's bid for the newly configured 25th Congressional District, which the Republican-led Texas Legislature drew for a minority candidate to win.

Various public officials from the cities of La Joya, Sullivan City, Granjeno, Palmview and Peņitas added their endorsement of Doggett, who faces former state District Judge Leticia Hinojosa in the "bacon-shaped" congressional district that stretches from east Austin to the Rio Grande Valley.

"I really appreciate the confidence you placed in me, and I assure you it will not be displaced," Doggett told a roomful of supporters and new endorsers.

Much of Doggett's support in the Valley has come from these small cities west of McAllen.

Many people from the area earlier had backed State Rep. Ismael "Kino" Flores, D-Mission, who once considered the race but pulled out due to a lack of campaign donations.

Flores, who attended Doggett's event in La Joya but remained behind the scenes, is considering endorsing Doggett for the open seat that Republicans maintain could be won by a Hispanic candidate.

"We're not quite ready to do that, but we've had several conversations," Flores said last week, adding that, "I have more in common with Doggett" than Hinojosa.

This could go a long way towards filling that 10,000 vote hole that we discussed earlier. It also blunts the impact of State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos' endorsement of Judge Hinojosa.

Rep. Charlie Stenholm will make it official - he's running in the new 19th CD against freshman Rep. Randy Neugebauer.

Although Stenholm, D-Abilene, told an audience Thursday night he wasn't announcing his intentions yet, his venues for Tuesday left no secret. The 13-term legislator told the Taylor County Democratic Club he would announce at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Briarstone Manor in Abilene and that afternoon in Lubbock.

''Now you can figure out where we're going to be running,'' he told the crowd of about 35. Lubbock and almost all of Abilene are in the 19th Congressional District, as drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in October after a fierce months-long partisan redistricting battle. Stenholm used to represent San Angelo and Abilene in District 17. The new map groups San Angelo, Midland and Odessa in District 11.


Stenholm had weighed the option of running in the 13th Congressional District, where he lived all of his life before his election to Congress and where he and his son still farm. The 13th District is anchored in the Panhandle and includes the Wichita Falls area and several northern Big Country counties.

The northernmost part of Abilene near Lake Fort Phantom Hill is in Jones County and the 13th District.

In his talk to the Democratic club, Stenholm also made public his endorsement of retired Gen. Wesley Clark for the Democratic nomination for president.

He said Clark as a candidate could ''play well'' in Texas, though he said he harbors no illusion that any Democrat can best Republican President George W. Bush in his home state.

Not announcing where he's running yet but also endorsing General Clark is Rep. Martin Frost. Make of that what you will.

Not really on point here but I didn't feel like doing a separate post for it: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is raising money for an as-yet-announced candidacy in 2006, despite $5 million in the bank and no obvious opponent should she run again for the Senate.

She hasn't drawn a serious challenger since before the turn of the century. She's not sure what government job, if any, she'll want when her current tour of duty ends in 2006.

Nevertheless, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, already sitting on more than $5 million in political money, is riding the fund-raising circuit this week.

In Houston on Monday night, in Dallas tonight and in San Antonio and Austin on Thursday, supporters are toting their checkbooks to events called "A Special Evening with Our Senator."

How does a safe incumbent with no election in sight and who is unsure about her own political future manage to get money from people?

Simple: She asks, said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors politics and money.

"She is a powerful senator, and so she is going to draw the money in as long as she keeps asking for it," Noble said. "If she believes she needs it, they have to give it."

GOP consultant Ray Sullivan of Austin offers the positive spin on the phenomenon.

"Reliable Republican donors will almost always support a George W. Bush or a Rick Perry or a Kay Bailey Hutchison because they support what they've done in their respective offices," said Sullivan, a former Bush and Perry aide.

Hutchison said Monday that she always raises money long before an election "so I would not have to do everything at the end."

"I never do put goals on it," she said when asked how much she hopes to raise this week.

And, she added, there is "no pressure whatsoever" on potential donors.

Most of the money will sit in her campaign account as she decides on her future. Some will be used to raise money for Republican senators and candidates running this year.

Although this week's checks will be made out to the Kay Bailey Hutchison for Senate Committee, there is no guarantee the money might not wind up used in a Kay Bailey Hutchison for something else -- perhaps governor -- campaign.

Hutchison has made no decision about seeking re-election in 2006 and has left the door open to challenging Perry in the GOP primary for governor.

"I just haven't thought about it at all," Hutchison said about the issue everyone else in Texas politics has thought about. "I just haven't decided. But the last thing I want to do is decide to run (for Senate) and not be fully prepared."
For Hutchison, there are multiple choices. She'd be a shoo-in for re-election. She'd be a strong candidate for governor, even against Perry. She'd be a can't-miss for making big money if she opted for the private sector.

Hutchison's fourth option, which could dictate decisions on the others, is more fascinating. Assume President Bush wins re-election. Assume New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008. Assume the Republicans feel the need to put a woman on the ticket.

Condoleezza Rice. Elizabeth Dole. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Know any others?

And, gender politics aside, any powerful senator from Texas is always going to be on a midsize list of potential running mates.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Many assumptions, many years to go. It's all soft-focus-lens stuff on KBH from there, with a note that Governor Perry will be washing his hair during all future Hutchison events. Wake me when she makes up her mind.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2004 to Killer D's | TrackBack

Curious ... can KBH use money raised for her Senate campaign in a run for Gov? I know there was an issue when Morales was contemplating a run for Senate or Gov and essentially opted for Gov because that's the only place where he could use his leftover funds. Not sure if the same rule works in reverse.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on January 13, 2004 12:31 PM

Yes. Hutchison can definitely use the Senate fund for a gubernatorial race.

Texas campaign money cannot become federal campaign money automatically. Federal campaign money can become Texas campaign money.

Texas state campaign money has less stringent requirements (unlimited) while federal money has a $2000 cap.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on January 13, 2004 4:30 PM