November 03, 2004
Statewide roundup

Chet Edwards was the only one of the five endangered Democratic incumbents to survive, as he topped Arlene Wohlgemuth by a 51.17-47.45% margin. Nick Lampson and Martin Frost came closest, but neither came particularly close; both lost by about 10 points. Lloyd Doggett cruised to reelection in the new 25th CD, so only one of the three must-defeat incumbents cited by Jim Ellis actually fell. For what that's worth.

Richard Morrison did put up the best fight Tom DeLay has ever seen, losing 41-55. Morrison carried Galveston County and did relatively well in Fort Bend. Only in Harris County did DeLay outperform the Bush/Cheney ticket. No other race was anywhere close. I did predict that John Martinez would do better than the 30% Democratic index in CD07, and I was right about that - he lost to John Culberson by a 64-33 margin.

There's good news in the State House, where the Democrats appear to have picked up a seat. Two Democratic incumbents lost - Dan Ellis in HD18 and John Mabry in HD56 - but three Democratic challengers won, all in exceedingly close races. Two of those races haven't been conceded yet, so anything can still happen, but if things stand as is the Dems have a gain. Leading the way is Mark Strama, who defeated Jack Stick in HD50 by about 550 votes. In San Antonio's HD117, David Leibowitz knocked off Ken Mercer by 500 votes. In the closest race of all, Hubert Vo knocked off Talmadge Heflin in Houston's HD149 by 52 ballots. Those last two will likely see a recount, as will HD 48, where Rep. Todd Baxter held off Democratic challenger Kelly White by 181 votes. If everything stands, the GOP delegation in Austin shrinks from 88 to 87 out of 150.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 03, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

FWIW and IMHO, Edwards' win absolutely, positively drives the final nail in the coffin on the Dems' nominally still-pending legal challenges to the current Texas congressional district map.

Posted by: Beldar on November 3, 2004 8:50 AM

The margin in Heflin/Vo is 52, sorry to be nitpiking, but if there was ever a time for picking nits...

Also, there are still overseas mail-in votes to be counted and provisional votes.

Posted by: Robert Booth on November 3, 2004 9:29 AM

Oops, fixed now. I was going from memory and mis-subtracted. Thanks!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 3, 2004 10:08 AM

I tried to tell Senor Martino Frosterino to do his trademark 8 foot diameter sombrero schtick 24/7, but no, he knew better. He thought for some reason that displaying a profound interest in the adolescent naked Pete Sessions was going to win votes. Something he got from Zogby about how 90% of people responding to exit polls in his district said they really enjoyed gladiator movies?

And why on earth didn't he climb into the forward turret of an M1A1 Abrams tank, to demonstrate how strong he is on defense? I mean, this guy is a complete amateur. Oh well, maybe Kerry needs an octopus fishing companion. Ta-RAY-za hates to bait her own hook, but i have to warn Senor Frosterino, all those gin-soaked white raisins make her really flatulent.

Posted by: abelard on November 3, 2004 10:41 AM

I agree with Beldar on the redistricting. Frankly I don't think it's worth the effort anymore because if we were to crank that bottle open again there's nothing really that would stop DeLay and Co. from just further fine-tuning the mess they've already made.

At least we can take some heart in Chet Edward's victory. Bush's home Congressional district remains in Democratic hands, despite the very best efforts of DeLay. Say what you want about Waco. I know I say plenty and I live here. But the City of Waco carried the day for Chet and the Democrats in Texas.

Anyone know what happens to Arlene now? Did she resign from the legislature to run for Congress or will she be back in Austin?

Posted by: Kent on November 3, 2004 11:19 AM

Wohlgemuth did not file for reelection in the State House - she had to, really, since she couldn't have run for both at the same time anyway. She actually did that before the final ruling on the new districts came down; I'll give her credit for having confidence, if nothing else. Republican Rob Orr is the new State Rep for Wohglemuth's SD58.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on November 3, 2004 11:52 AM

AP is reporting the margin as 38:

A friend on the Heflin campaign says that's the last official margin and the web is wrong.

Posted by: Robert Booth on November 3, 2004 2:48 PM

AP is reporting the margin is 38. A friend in the Heflin campaign says that's the last official count and the clerk's web site is wrong.

Posted by: Robert Booth on November 3, 2004 2:52 PM

Whatever the result in this year's District 149 race ends up to be, in the big picture, things are good.

Andrew Tran didn't even campaign and he got 45% of the vote.

Hubert campaigned hard - this is his first run for public office whatsoever, and the race is neck and neck. This even if he loses it opens up the seat on a psychological level to another challenger. And the demographics, ultimately, plus elbow grease, will win this.

This has been a very expensive campaign for Heflin's contributors. Vo spent nowhere near what Heflin did (per the 8 day before the election report, $365,564 vs $65,687), and look how well he did. I

Which leads to another point. Hubert's shown that you don't need experience or a huge sum of money to deplete the republicans resources. Ok,
$65K is pretty steep but not every Rep state rep is a 22 year incumbent and Chair of the House Appropriations committee. This race has somewhat higher stakes than most.

This is what we should do in other districts. Put someone up, get organized, campaign aggressively, and make the races costly in terms of time and money. Probably the races should be prioritized. But let's get some good people in the statehouse or at the least make the Reps work for their seats.

Posted by: Sarah Berel-Harrop on November 3, 2004 7:24 PM