If the big Congressional target for Texas Democrats is Tom DeLay, then the big prize for Republicans - really, the only realistic prize - is Chet Edwards, the one person designated for redistricted extinction who survived in 2004. I'd been wondering when we'd start to hear about some action in CD17, and I see now that we have. I won't bother quoting from the story - Nate and The Jeffersonian have all that, plus their analyses. Suffice it to say that the five-pack of potentials consists of no one you've heard of, none of whom have held office before. Not that either of these is a handicap - for one thing, as Nate comments, Arlene Wohlgemuth's legislative record was more of a libility to her than anything, and as Cincinnatus points out, her high profile in Waco, where she was on the wrong side of a water dispute, didn't help her either.
Whoever the nominee is, you can be sure that he (all five named prospects are men) will have all the money he needs from the NRCC and the state GOP. As with Harris County, there just aren't that many viable takeaway targets for the GOP, so those few that do exist will get plenty of attention. I feel good about Edwards' chances, but it'll be a white-knuckle affair, and he can use all the help he can get. I'm sure I'll have a word or twenty to say on that subject in the coming months.
UPDATE: From an Edwards press release:
Jump-starting his reelection effort for 2006, Congressman Chet Edwards announced today that he is raising money at a record pace with over $560,000 in the bank, $250,000 more than in July 2003. He also raised $429,000 in contributions in only three months.
Last Friday, Edwards’ campaign submitted its “July 15th Quarterly Report” to the Federal Election Commission, detailing contributions and expenditures for the period covering April 1 through June 30, 2005. During the three month period, the Edwards campaign exceeded past “off-year” numbers by raising over $160,000 more than during the same period in 2003 and exceeding the campaign’s July 2003 “cash on hand” total by over $250,000.
“In our winning 2004 campaign, we raised and spent over $2.5 million. To raise enough money to be successful in 2004, we had to raise money early in the campaign cycle. We now have over a quarter of a million dollars more in the bank than we did two years ago, which is a good indication that we will not only meet, but surpass, our 2004 fundraising totals,” commented Edwards. “Of course, while I am pleased by this show of support and know that we will be well prepared for the campaign; working for our district has always been and will always be my first priority.”