October 21, 2005
HD48: Baxter to resign

The race for HD48, which was decided by 147 votes in 2004, just got more interesting as incumbent Todd Baxter has announced his resignation as of this November.

"I am stepping aside because my family and my professional career come first," said Baxter, 37. "My wife and I are expecting our second child this spring, and I am looking forward to spending more time with my family. As I prepared for yet another winning campaign, I realized the full cost of elective victory was the lost time with my family and professional endeavors."

Baxter's move sets up a special election in the coming months that could give the winner the benefit of incumbency, however brief, heading into a November 2006 contest for a full two-year term. The winner of the special election would serve until Baxter's term is up at the end of 2006.

Baxter's full statement is here (link via BOR). As the Statesman piece notes, Baxter was a TRMPAC poster child, and both of his Democratic opponents (Andy Brown and Donna Howard) have been pounding on him to return the dirty DeLay money. I suppose either Baxter decided he was unlikely to prevail in 2006, or maybe he just figured it wasn't worth the aggravation, which is certainly understandable.

The BOR thread speculates on whether Baxter's exit will help Democrats take the seat. Maybe, maybe not. If you look at the other race totals in HD48, you see that while it went mostly Republican, two Dems (Jan Patterson and Margaret Cooper) carried the day there. This is a fairly evenly-matched district overall - in contested races excluding Baxter/White, the vote totals are 346,189 R to 310,347 D, or 52.7% to 47.3%. From where I sit, that makes this a tossup, with the outcome to be determined by the candidate and his or her GOTV efforts.

You can argue that Baxter was damaged goods and thus an easier target for Brown/Howard/whoever. That's true, but he's also a known quantity with some district-friendly votes on his resume, in particular his opposition to toll roads. The two Democrats who got majority support in HD48 were both running for open seats. He may have been the lowest performing incumbent in that district, but he still won in the end. In general, I'd rather not have to compete with incumbent's advantage.

We'll see when Governor Perry schedules the special election, since the time frame he picks may give a clue as to whether or not he calls another special session on school finance, and if so when that would be.

Gov. Rick Perry can set a special election sometime between the end of November and May. Perry spokesman Robert Black would not speculate Thursday on the election date, because Perry had not received official notice of Baxter's resignation.

Relevant election laws are here and here, for those of you with more aptitude for legal interpretation than I. For what it's worth, if Perry calls the election for May, I'd say that's a clear sign that he intends to put off school finance until 2007. The earlier the date, the more likely he'll call a session in 2006. Just my opinion.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 21, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Baxter's gone, for which Donna Howard and Andy Brown can each claim a partial victory.

Rick Perry and the Republicans recruited Perry's campaign contributor Ben Bentzin to run, and after "searching his soul" for a full 24 hours, he announced this afternoon.

The only candidate worse than Bentzin now would be Kelly White, who ran against Baxter last year and would have won (she came within 200 votes) if she hadn't been as arrogant and inept as her opponent.

Howard is the best candidate to take on Bentzin but even Andy Brown would be better than Rick Perry's pro-voucher, anti-choice campaign contributor.

Posted by: d on October 21, 2005 4:53 PM

Vouchers = parental choice in education.

You can only be against parental choice in education if you dislike both parents and education.

as for 'anti-choice' ... LOL ... think of the irony of slamming vouchers and whining about someone being 'anti-choice' ... THE BIGGEST ANTI-CHOICE PEOPLE IN TEXAS ARE THE THE OPPONENTS OF SCHOOL VOUCHERS!!!

Posted by: e on December 11, 2005 6:31 PM