June 25, 2004
McNeely on Morrison

Dave McNeely pays a little attention to Richard Morrison in the Statesman.

Morrison, who'll turn 37 on July 4, also lives in Sugar Land. Before and since winning a contested primary, he's campaigned all over the parts of four counties south and west of Houston that make up the 22nd Congressional District.

Morrison concedes DeLay is powerful but charges the power has been used more to help DeLay than his constituents. In particular, Morrison cites DeLay's longtime opposition to spending federal money to bring rail lines from Houston to Sugar Land, when many people and even several mayors in the area have requested it.

Part of DeLay's power comes from his stunning effectiveness at raising money to help other Republicans win and hold office. And his method of funneling corporate money into politics, not just in Washington but in Texas, has drawn the investigative attention of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.

DeLay dismisses the investigation by Earle, a Democrat, as a partisan witch hunt. As for Bell's complaint, DeLay called it frivolous and designed for political gain. But the House Ethics Committee decided Tuesday to investigate it anyway.

The 2002 GOP takeover of the Texas Legislature that DeLay helped engineer brought congressional redistricting that redrew Bell's district to elect an African American. Democratic activists from outside DeLay's district, incensed about the redistricting, plan to go door to door to help unseat DeLay.

Morrison said he's already raised more than $200,000, and hopes to top $1 million even though he expects DeLay to spend five times that much.

Morrison has been endorsed by unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who proved an Energizer bunny for some dormant Democrats. That's helped to bring national attention, through talk radio and CNN, which followed Morrison around for a day just before the Democratic convention.

Morrison, a plaintiff's lawyer like his father, who was appointed a Texas parks and wildlife commissioner by then-Gov. Mark White in 1983, knows his first political race is into the wind.

But he says area Democratic clubs are more pumped up than in years and that his candidacy at least has forced DeLay to run an active campaign.

"I think," Morrison said, smiling,"that he's taken notice of us."

This article has made me realize that Morrison is a year younger than I am. I'm suddenly reminded of that Tom Lehrer line, which is also sadly operable for me: "It is disconcerting to realize that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for three years." If you'll excuse me, I hear some Geritol calling.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 25, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack