July 28, 2004
Morrison poll numbers

Hard not to get at least a little excited at these poll numbers.


Beattie Hamilton & Staff for the DCCC. Poll details unknown.

DeLay (R) 49
Morrison (D) 39
Fjetland (I) 7


DeLay is running 11 points behind Bush/Cheney (which means Bush is garnering 60 percent in the district). DeLay also runs poorly in Galveston County, which has just been added to the district. The theory is that the county, which was cut in half by DeLay's redistricting, is unhappy with the maneouver -- a theme echoed by every Texas Democrat I have talked to the last week.

Morrison's name ID is apparently non-existant, so there's room to grow.


Andrew D, Greg, and Sarah are all doing the happy dance with me.

I basically agree with Greg that most of Fjetland's support comes straight from DeLay - Fjetland did get 20% or so of the vote each time he ran in the Republican primary against DeLay. It'd be nice to turn some of those supporters, or to convince Fjetland that dropping out and endorsing Morrison is in his best interests, but I'm not going to sweat it too much.

I do believe that this year is the best chance to get rid of DeLay. Everything is going as well as it could be - Democrats are fired up, Galveston County voters have a beef with DeLay for his role in splitting them from the rest of the county, Morrison is as good a candidate as one could hope for, and of course there are all of DeLay's ethical problems. Maybe if he wins and later resigns the seat could be turned, but I'd have to give the nod to a less-encumbered-by-baggage Republican in that scenario. The time is now, that's pretty much all there is to it.

I got email from a friend today asking which Democratic Congressional candidates he ought to donate to. I ranked them in different ways for him, and listed Morrison first even as I characterized him as a huge underdog. Well, maybe I was wrong about calling him that. Consider this to be my penance for that.

UPDATE: MyDD notes that Common Cause and CREW have joined the outside-counsel chorus. It should be noted that Melanie Sloan of CREW drafted the complaint for Chris Bell. There's also a link to this AP wire story which notes that the Republican half of the jury pool from wihch the Ethics Committee could draw consists entirely of DeLay PAC money recipients.


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action committee gave $81,077 in the last decade to 10 Republicans who could be asked to investigate allegations that the Texas lawmaker misused his office.

[...]

Should the committee choose to investigate, it could appoint four of its members, two from each party, to conduct the inquiry.

Or the committee could assign the investigation to two of its members one from each party and one Republican and one Democrat from a larger pool. The pool, appointed by party leaders, consists of 10 members from each party.

All 10 Republicans appointed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., received money from Mr. DeLay's PAC, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan organization that tracks contributions. The donations ranged from the $545 to Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas to $20,000 to Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk.

Mr. DeLay has said the contributions do not create a conflict because, he noted, Democrats on the committee also have accepted donations from party leaders' fund-raising groups.

Mr. DeLay also said congressional watchdog groups that criticized his fund raising activities are tools of the Democratic Party.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's two PACs have given $55,000 to three Democrats in the pool since 2000, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.


That last bit would be relevant if Nancy Pelosi were being investigated, but she isn't. Tom DeLay is, and this is just another smokescreen on his part.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 28, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack
Comments

The necessary effect of unpacking Republicans out of gerrymandered districts is to make those districts more competitive. I'm glad you're finally doing the happy dance over the 2003 redistricting!

Posted by: Beldar on July 28, 2004 8:10 PM

Tell you what, Beldar - if Morrison beats DeLay, I promise to never say another negative thing about the 2003 redistricting again.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 28, 2004 8:24 PM

These numbers are very early and we haven't seen the boost we should expcet from DeLay new campaign against Subway. I can see the headlines now....

"Delay Calls for Americans to Unite Against Subway, Suspects French Ownership"

Citing a "similarly styled" sandwich shop called Le Metro in the town of Mons, Belgium, Tom Delay decried the apparent deception of the Subway's French origins.

Said Delay, "It's really simple once you get to digging. Le Metro is the term the French have given their subway system. Get it? Subway - Metro...it all makes since once you know what to look for."

When it was pointed out that Mons, is in Belgium not France, Delay explained, "Mons is in the French speaking part of Belgium. There are probably some more of these Le Metros inside France proper but I wouldn't know because neither I nor any member of my staff will step foot inside that country."

Delay concluded the brief news conference to announce there would be a protest at the First Colony Mall this weekend. An effigy of Jared Fogle would be burned at 10:30 sharp and autographed photos of Delay would be available with a $20 contribution to Delay's legal defense fund.

Once that gets rolling, look out.

But if Morrison were somehow able to knock Delay off, would it be poetic justice or irony? I missed a lot of my English composition classes at Trinity.

Posted by: Patrick on July 29, 2004 8:49 AM

The necessary effect of unpacking Republicans ... is to make those districts more competitive.

"More competitive" doesn't necessarily mean "competitive." If I draw a district which cuts my typical margin from, say, 75R-25D down to 60R-40D in order to raise another district from 45R-55D to 55R-45D, my district is "more competitive," but my seat isn't in any real danger.

I suspect DeLay's apparent weakness has more to do with his ethics troubles, and a backlash against his re-redistricting, than with any "necessary effects" thereof.


...out of gerrymandered districts...

Yes, the Federal courts who drew those districts are just overrun with partisan Democrats determined to gerrymander Republicans, and do anything else they can to put Republicans at a disadvantage, aren't they? Guess that explains the Bush v. Gore ruling....

Posted by: Mathwiz on July 29, 2004 2:22 PM

Mathwiz, if you trace through their history, you'll see that the Congressional districts as they existed before the 2003 redistricting were almost entirely the product of a gerrymandering done by the Dems in the 1990s when they were still the majority party in the state. The 2002 court decision you refer to was required to create two new districts based on the 2000 Census results, but it otherwise left the pro-Dem gerrymander essentially intact.

And that, of course, was both a large part of the reason that through the 2002 election, Dems continued to hold a majority of Texas' congressional seats in a state where they couldn't elect a single state-wide officeholder, and a large part of the motivation for the Republicans to try to redistrict (unsuccessfully in 2001, successfully in 2003) more comprehensively. Their intentions and the result were both unabashedly partisan, but that's the nature of the ugly beast.

Federal judges — perhaps with some exceptions, but as a general rule — recognize that as the least (small-d) democratic institution in the American political structure, they're the least appropriate and least well equipped branch to make essentially political decisions like those required for redistricting. And as a consequence, when they're required to step in due to a default by or a logjam in the state legislatures, they tend to make the minimum changes necessary in order to bring about a constitutionally adequate result. This is as it should be, regardless of which party's President appointed those particular judges.

Posted by: Beldar on July 29, 2004 2:58 PM

So then, Beldar, the Republicans simply re-gerrymandered the map in their own favor, didn't they?

Why?

Because they could.

So, they will have pretty much NO right to say anything once the Dems are back in power, and re- re-gerrymander the districts back against the Repubs.

We will do it, because we can. Why worry about what's fair or ethical, when the other side doesn't?

I, personally, will never forgive or forget this redistricting. Splitting my hometown into 5 different districts has been a serious attack upon me and my community, and I live for the day when we stick it right back in their eye!

Posted by: turnabout on July 29, 2004 3:55 PM

Yes, friend turnabout, partisan redistricting is a hyperpolitical and almost always a very ugly business. Both political parties are equally guilty of it. And you're right, fairness and equity don't have much to do with it (so long as its motivated by partisan rather than racial concerns). I fully expect that if the Dems are again the majority party in Texas after the 2010 Census, the sharp-toed kicking shoe will indeed switch to the other foot.

I'm not against reforming the system, although I'm not completely sold on any of the reform schemes that have been proposed. It's a genuinely thorny problem.

However, absent some meaningful reform, if partisan gerrymandering is to continue to exist, I prefer that it at least be done openly (as it was in 2003), and that it reflect the sharp knife-edge of small-d democracy by being left in the hands of our elected state officials (legislators, lt. governor & and governor), whose actions are indeed subject to review and indirect reversal by the voters. Punting the issue to the federal courts is in my view the worst possible solution, for reasons I've written about ad nauseum on my own blog.

Posted by: Beldar on August 1, 2004 1:52 AM

I think the 2003 redistricting was unconstitutional, whether declared so or not. I hope that most of you recognize that though gerrymandering is a bad political animal, at least it has limits: only in response to the census, every ten years. What the Texas redistricting means to me, more than anything else, is that it's apparently now permissable for parties to redistrict any time that it's in their interest, irrespective of the census. If this principle is followed to its logical conclusion (and, in politics, you can bet it will be) every time the State House changes hands, it's Congressional redistricting time! Not just in Texas, either, but potentially throughout the country. Can you magine living in a democracy where you don't know the congressional district you'll be a part of two years from now? Districts being redrawn, not every ten years, but every six years? Four years? Two years? What a nightmare! And a perversion of our democracy.

Posted by: Ryan on October 4, 2004 7:03 PM