August 12, 2004
Morrison in Austin

Say what you want about Richard Morrison, the man is fearless.

If fundraising is any indicator, Morrison shouldn't be brushed off too lightly: "For the people that said we could raise no money and money would be hard to raise, we've already raised more than $300,000, and we've raised more money than all of DeLay's [previous] opponents combined!" he told the cheering crowd. Of course, Morrison only has about half of that still in the bank. DeLay, by contrast, has already spent more than three times what Morrison has raised and still has about $1.3 million in cash on hand.

And the money must be translated into actual votes. Morrison cited a Democratic National Committee poll showing him about 10% behind, although he tried to spin that positively, saying that the 49%-39% numbers were not good for an incumbent. More troubling for Morrison: In the only poll that counts, an election, DeLay received 15,490 in an uncontested Republican primary back in March. On the Democratic side, Morrison and opponent Erik Saenz could only muster up 10,223 votes between the two of them, only 7,303 of which went to Morrison. Clearly, he'll need a staggering level of support from independent voters hard to come by these days in our politically polarized nation.

Still, don't try to tell that to Morrison or the people signing checks at Scholz. He's still convinced that hard work can take him over the top: "My attitude is, if Glen walked up to me right now and said, 'Morrison, I guarantee you a victory if we could cut off your right arm,' I'd say, 'Glen, go in there and get the machete and bring it out here cut it off.' That's what it's going to take from each one of you, that kind of dedication."

Via The Stakeholder. It's never a bad time to contribute to Morrison's cause. Houstonians may want to check out this fundraising brunch for him in September.

On a side note, I got a rambling and slightly bizarre email (sent to a mailing list I'm on) from Mike Fjetland, the independent candidate in this race. Here's part of his pitch, in which he tries to make the case that only he can beat The Hammer:

Democrats, who make up a maximum of 35% of District 22, don't have enough votes to elect a Democrat in a district gerrymandered by DeLay whose talents are limited except for twisting boundaries and dumping Democrats --(it's a 63% GOP district)....

BUT (importantly) Democrats DO have enough votes to defeat DeLay IF they combined their votes (35%) for the independent with Fjetland's existing moderate Republican base (20% he received in 2000/2002 GOP primary) = Fjetland stomps DeLay 55% plus (35% + 20% plus).

I guess you could claim that the two GOP primaries represent a poll that indicates 20% of the CD22 Republicans would be willing to vote for Fjetland. I'm not sure that this constitutes a representative sample, but there's a more fundamental problem with Fjetland's math. If as he asserts 65% of the voters are Republican, then 20% of those voters represents 13% of the total, which when added to his assumed amount gives 48%. That leaves 52% for DeLay, which needless to say is still enough for him to win. Fjetland would have needed 23% of the primary vote to get over the hump. Admittedly, that isn't that much more than what he says he got, but a quick check of the Historic Election Returns shows the following:

2000 Republican Party Primary Election

U. S. Representative District 22
Tom DeLay(I) REP 41,901 83.32%
Michael Fjetland REP 8,385 16.67%
Race Total 50,286

2002 Republican Primary Election

U. S. Representative District 22
TOM DELAY(I) REP 22,379 79.85%
MIKE FJETLAND REP 5,645 20.14%
Race Total 28,024

You can draw your own conclusions. No sale here, Mike.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 12, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

The only way that this race is even competitive is if one of the investigations breaks very badly for the majority leader and he is completely disgraced.

In that case, it wouldn't matter who the Dems were running or how much money he had -- they'd win.

Given that, shouldn't ya'll be directing more money/resources to races that are winnable?

Gawd, I can't believe I said that. Let me backtrack. Please, keep your attention on this race! Please empty your pocketbooks on this one! Do it! :)

Posted by: kevin whited on August 12, 2004 7:51 PM

Kevin, don't give away the "secret."

I've long thought Fjetland was crazy. Truly crazy. He's just nutty.

Posted by: ARG on August 13, 2004 2:08 AM

I gave Morrison a little cash, on the chance that what Kevin is afraid will happen actually happens. But I'm not putting very much into this race.

To be fair to Fjetland, he claims the district is only 63% GOP, not 65%. If you subtract the 20.14% that he got in the last primary challenge, that leaves DeLay with only 50.31%. Still a DeLay win, but close enough that a little more bad publicity for DeLay could theoretically put Fjetland over the top.

The real problem for Fjetland, though, is that he'd have to get all the Democrats plus all his primary voters, plus a little more. It's like Nader suggesting he could beat Bush, if only every Democrat in the country would vote for him instead of Kerry!

Posted by: Mathwiz on August 16, 2004 2:32 PM

I took the 65% figure from Fjetland's claim that CD22 is max 35% Democratic. However you juggle the numbers, though, we agree that he's making some crazy assumptions.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 16, 2004 3:04 PM