January 17, 2004
Filing wrapup

Yesterday was the filing deadline, and with the Supreme Court's refusal to grant an injunction against the new Congressional map pending an appeal to that court, the election will go forward under it. Let's see where we stand now.

In the Houston area, Rep. Chris Bell now has two primary challengers, while Rep. Nick Lampson filed in the new 2nd CD.

Lampson is unopposed in the Democratic primary for the new 2nd District that stretches from Beaumont to east Harris County. But it has a heavily Republican voting history, and six Republicans are in the GOP primary to run against Lampson in the Nov. 2 general election.

Bell is running in a district that probably will stay Democratic, but he faces a strong primary challenge from Houston Justice of the Peace Al Green and lawyer Beverly A. Spencer.

No Democrat is running in the new 10th District, which stretches from west Harris County to Austin, but eight Republicans will battle in the primary that effectively will decide who goes to Congress.


Bell, a first-term white congressman, will face a stiff test in the Democratic primary from two black candidates -- Green and Spencer -- in a new 9th Congressional District that gives African-Americans a better chance of winning than in the 25th District Bell now represents. Under the redistricting plan, the new 25th stretches from Austin to the Mexican border.

The winner in the 9th will face the victor of the GOP primary between entrepreneur A. Hassan and lawyer Arlette Molina, both of Houston.

Republicans contended that the new 9th District and the altered 29th, represented by Democrat Gene Green of Houston, improved the chances for minorities to win election. Democrats responded that minority influence was weakened in other parts of the state and that the real Republican motive was to force white Democrats from office.

Green, however, did not attract a Democratic or Republican opponent in the 29th. Former state Rep. Diana Davila-Martinez, who had been mentioned as a possible Green challenger, did not file for the seat.

Green's largely Hispanic district was redrawn to move him out of it as well as increase the number of Hispanics living in it. But his existing district also is heavily Hispanic, and he has won it since it was created a decade ago. He has rented an apartment inside the new boundaries and has pledged to buy a home there if he is elected, as now appears certain.

Republican primary candidates seeking to take on Lampson in the new 2nd District are lawyer Andrew J. Bolton of Spring, businessman George Fastuca of Houston, businessman Mark Henry of Spring, businessman Clint Moore of Spring, police officer John Nickell of Houston and former state District Judge Ted Poe of Humble.

In the 10th District race, the GOP candidates are former state District Judge John Devine of Tomball, rancher Pat Elliott of Brenham, former Houston City Councilman John Kelley, former federal prosecutor Michael T. McCaul of Austin, attorney Dave Phillips of Cypress, mortgage banker Ben Streusand of Spring, public relations director Brad Tashenberg of Katy and banker Teresa Doggett Taylor of Austin.

FYI, Teresa Doggett Taylor is not related to Rep. Lloyd Doggett, though she did run against him once. The Baytown Sun has a long article on Rep. Gene Green, who is their once and former representative. Like Green, Rep. Ron Paul is unopposed in the 14th CD.

At the last minute, Rep. Max Sandlin filed for reelection in the 1st CD.

Incumbent Max Sandlin, D-Marshall, filed for re-election in District 1 within the last 30 minutes before Friday's deadline. However, in information from his campaign office, he said the decision was the "most difficult and heart-wrenching" of his career.


The new map moved Longview and Tyler out of Congressional District 4 and into District 1. U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, a longtime congressman from Rockwall who recently became a Republican, represents District 4. Sandlin represents District 1.


"When (U.S. Rep. Tom Delay) and his minions orchestrated this bald-faced redistricting power grab, they destroyed a 100-year-old community of interest in Northeast Texas," Sandlin's statement said. "They split the counties where I was born and raised away from the county where I built my career and currently live, and they put me in the position of having to surrender constituents that I deeply care about and who have honored me with their support and friendship.

"To the new residents of District 1, I want to assure them that I will work hard to give them effective representation. And to my dear friends who are no longer in the first district, I want to promise them that as long as I sit in the U.S. House, I will be your representative."

No Democrats filed to run against Sandlin in the March 9 primary.

However, the Republican race is more crowded.

Longview lawyer John Graves filed on Friday along with Larry Thornton of Cushing. The Republican Party of Texas' Web site listed Thornton's occupation as "administration," and there was no phone number to contact him.

The other Republican candidates in the March 9 primary are state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center; former appeals court Judge Louie Gohmert of Tyler; San Augustine business consultant Emily Mathews; and Nacogdoches ophthalmologist Dr. Lyle Thorstenson.

There's a lot of activity in San Antonio:

Four Republicans, including three from the San Antonio area, lined up in hopes of taking on incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, in District 28.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez has a Republican challenger, Roger Allen Scott , 29, who works in marketing and business development. Gonzalez's ex-wife, Becky Whetstone, has announced her intention to run as an independent for the District 20 seat.

For the newly created District 25, which stretches from Austin to Hidalgo County, former Public Utility Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Armendariz Klein of Austin filed at the last minute against a fellow Republican and two Democrats already in the race.

A San Antonio native and Gulf War I veteran, she immediately drew a heavyweight backer: Gov. Rick Perry, who said, "I look forward to hitting the campaign trail on her behalf."


The reconfigured District 28 held by Rodriguez covers Eastern and Southern Bexar County and Guadalupe, Wilson and Atascosa counties. It also extends south to part of Webb and all of Zapata County.

Although considered a safe Democratic district where voting-age Hispanics and African Americans outnumber Anglos of voting age by more than 2-to-1, four Republicans filed to run.

They include Gabriel "Gabe" Perales, a retired federal administrative law judge who was the GOP nominee Rodriguez defeated in 2002.

He's joined by Chris Bellamy, a Helotes aerospace businessman; James Hopson, a CPA and tax attorney from Seguin; and Laredo attorney-banker Francisco "Quico" Canseco.

Rodriguez, seeking a fourth term, faces an opponent in the Democratic primary Henry Cuellar of Laredo, a former Texas secretary of state Rodriguez backed in 2002 when Cuellar narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio.

Bonilla's sprawling District 23 extends from the Northwest Side southwest to Webb County and northwest to the outskirts of El Paso.

He had considerable help from GOP mapmakers last year who removed nearly 100,000 Hispanic Webb County voters, who generally support Democrats, and replaced them with predominantly Anglo Republican voters in Kerr, Kendall and Bandera counties.

Two Democrats filed for the right to challenge Bonilla anyway: San Antonio professor Joe Sullivan and Boerne attorney Virgil Yanta.


[Rep. Lloyd] Doggett decided to run in the new District 25, and he faces former State District Judge Leticia Hinojosa of McAllen in the Democratic primary.

Former PUC Chairwoman Klein will face Regner Capener of Mission in the GOP primary.

Everything else was pretty well known already, with Frost v. Sessions in Dallas, Stenholm v. Neugebauer in West Texas, and Edwards v. (most likely) Wohlgemuth in Waco. The Morning News has some more info, plus a handy chart that shows who's running where.

Finally, on an administrative note, this will be the last Killer D's entry that isn't about the court case. Future election-related stories, no matter how often the new map is mentioned, will go in the Election 2004 category.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 17, 2004 to Killer D's | TrackBack