All right, enough time in the funk for me. Let's look back at a few of the things that went well, a few places where we need to do (much) better, and a few opportunities for 2006.
First things first, I'm really thrilled about Chet Edwards. I wish he had more company, but if I had to pick the most egregious of the Endangered Five's opponents, it would've been tough, but Arlene Wohlgemuth would have come out on top. She was the perfect opponent for Chet - a true wingnut, disliked in Waco for her stance regarding pollution in the lake there, and presenting a big target on her back for sponsoring the legislation that kicked 150,000 children off of CHIP. Edwards hung that around her neck like the millstone it deserved to be, and I think it really hurt her. He earned his victory. Of course, he'll continue to be vulnerable in 2006. That's still a GOP-friendly district, and maybe next time the Republicans will run someone who isn't so scary against him. At least by then he'll have the usual incumbent's advantage and will be tougher to beat. He'll be under the gun, though, make no mistake about it.
I'd like to see all of his outgoing colleagues run for office again in 2006. Not for their old seats - if they didn't win them this time, they won't win them as challengers, so they may as well let someone else give it a try. I'd like to see at least three of them take a shot at the State Senate, say Lampson versus Tommy Williams, Sandlin versus either Kevin Eltife or Todd Staples, and Frost versus John Carona. Stenholm would make a great Ag Commish candidate, but if he prefers a more local race he could take on Robert Duncan. I wouldn't say any of them would be favored, but if the Democrats are going to make a serious push statewide in 2006, they need as many serious candidates on the ballot as they can get.
The State House offers some interesting possibilities. Assuming all results remain as they currently are, there were more Democrats elected with less than 60% of the vote than there were Republicans by a 17-11 margin, but all of those closely-elected Democrats did it while up against a homeboy President who racked up 61% of the vote statewide; for their Republican counterparts, their close victories came with that gale force as a wind to their backs. Who do you think will be in the stronger position in 2006 when the conditions aren't quite so extreme?
And take note of Sarah's comment here Hubert Vo's victory, even if it eventually gets overturned on instant replay, should send a pretty loud message to both Democrats and Republicans in Harris County. Allen Blakemore's words may prove more prophetic than he thinks. Moldy Joe Nixon in particular ought to be concerned. I'll take a look at some of the other possibilities in my next entry, when I examine some county data.Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 03, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack