December 08, 2005
Filing news: More, more, more

It's hard to keep up with all the candidate filing news, rumors, innuendos, and so on, but I'm doing what I can. Let's see what's out there.

Via Karl-T, there's a third person in the GOP gubernatorial primary, a fellow named Larry Kilgore, who plans "to submit to Biblical law given to us by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ." Whatever works for you, I guess. If he breaks 5%, I'll be impressed.

Turns out that Barbara Radnofsky will have a competitor for the Democratic nomination for Senate, one Darrel Reece Hunter. Don't know a thing about him, but as long as there's a contested primary there's news that has to get reported, and for ensuring that Radnofsky's name will be in the papers at least once this March, I thank him.

Over in Travis County, there's now a Libertarian candidate in the crowded HD48 special election. We already know it's going to a runoff; perhaps the L person will have an effect on who makes the cut. And there's some news on the HD47 Dem primary as well.

There are two new State House candidates in Harris County. Via Stace, Kingwood resident Dr. Diane Trautman, a college professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, will be challenging Joe Crabb in HD127. Crabb beat back Charlotte Coffelt by a 70-30 margin in his slightly more than 70-slightly less than 30 district last year (high score: Ted Poe with 75.1%; low score: none other than Crabb himself at 70.4%). The first step here is to get this district closer to 60-40 and go from there. We'll see how Dr. Trautman does on that.

Meanwhile, Greg informs me of a challenger in HD150 of all places, a woman named Dot Nelson-Turnier. I say "of all places" for HD150 (which is about as red as Crabb's HD127) because as far as I can tell looking through the historic election returns on the Secretary of State page, there hasn't been a Democrat on the ballot for this seat since at least 1990. As with HD127, the first step is to make the place a little more purple. Having a good candidate on board for State Rep is the way to start.

By the way, according to Greg, there are still 62 unchallenged Republicans at this point, which is to say there are 25 declared Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents and open seats. In Harris County in 2004, eight of the 14 GOP incumbents did not face a Democratic opponent (two had Libertarians and one had an independent). So far, I can think of seven challengers for the now-13 GOP-held seats (11 incumbents plus the open HDs 126 and 133), meaning only six have free rides so far. Not too bad, but I hope we'll improve on that some more.

Elsewhere in the State House, Aaron Pena and his Hidalgo County colleagues are all in, as is Pena's East Texas friend Jim McReynolds. I'd expect both McReynolds and (as previously noted) Veronica Gonzales Toureilles to have potentially stiff Republican competition. (UPDATE: Oops, I got Veronica Gonzales confused with Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles. Thanks to Marie in the comments for noting this, and for pointing out that Rep. Gonzalez Toureilles is also likely to have a strong Republican challenger.)

The Jeffersonian has some Congressional news, with a few things worth highlighting. One is that Henry Bonilla in CD23 may have one or even two Democratic challengers, and two is that Shane Sklar picked up a nice endorsement from the Texas Farm Bureau's AGFund PAC.

The Texas Farm Bureau Friends of Agriculture Fund (AGFUND) has endorsed Democrat Shane Sklar, a fourth generation rancher from Edna, in his race to unseat Republican Congressman Ron Paul.

“The farm and ranch leaders of the County Farm Bureaus in Congressional District 14 have overwhelmingly recommended the endorsement of Shane Sklar,” said Kenneth Dierschke, president of AGFUND and Texas Farm Bureau. “Currently, there are no active farmers and ranchers in the Texas Congressional Delegation. When Shane goes to Washington, he’ll take along a great understanding of agricultural issues.”

Dierschke said Sklar also has a broad understanding of the problems facing the District 14 and all of Texas.

“His willingness to tackle tough problems with innovative solutions will be a positive,” Dierschke said.

Nice, and sensible, since Sklar is a rancher and would be the first such person from Texas in Congress since Charlie Stenholm (who also got the AGFUND nod in 2004) was defeated.

Gardner Selby picks up on the Victor Morales rumors.

Victor Morales, the once-obscure Crandall schoolteacher who steered his pickup around Texas in a failed 1996 challenge to U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, lost a Dallas-area House race in 1998 and lost another Senate try in 2002. Now he's weighing a run against first-term U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo in the Democratic primary.

Morales, with roots in Pleasanton, near San Antonio, said he's intrigued, though "I never have needed the limelight."

Two reasons to hope he stays out of the limelight he allegedly disdains: One, as with a threesome running against Rick Perry, I say this would make it easier for Henry Cuellar to win. At the very least, Cuellar would be a near lock for any runoff, and I fear that the supporters of the two failed challengers would not turn out for the one who makes it. And two, remember what he said the last time he ran for office:

Victor Morales, who lost the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, said he will not run for office again as a Democrat.

"At this point in time, I am independent," Morales said, citing what he called lousy treatment by established members of the Democratic Party.

"I wouldn't run as a Democrat again," Morales told the San Antonio Express-News for a story posted on the paper's Web site Friday.

Until he gives a good explanation for the change of heart, I say stay away.

Here's another blog focused on the CD21 race. With a premise like this, it ought to make for some interesting reading:

Did you know that Lamar Smith doesn't really live in "his" Congressional district?

And why did you not know that, even though chances are you have voted for him in the past?

Ever thought about that?

I look forward to seeing some of the answers to that.

Rico reports a rumor that Craddick Dem Rep. Vilma Luna may choose to run for a district judgeship instead of re-election to her seat. That would not only mean the most likely arrival of Solomon Ortiz, Jr. to Austin, but also reduce by one the ranks of Craddick acolytes.

Finally, hot off of Carl Whitmarsh's presses comes word that former Houston City Council member and two-time Mayoral loser Out Of Town Orlando Sanchez will run against County Treasurer Jack Cato in the Republican primary next year. I actually know Jack from the local tournament bridge scene, so even though I hope there's a good Democrat to run against him in November, I'll be rooting for him to survive in March.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 08, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Great to hear that Vilma is on her way out... Ortiz Jr. is a progressive D from what I hear.

ANyone but Luna!

How can we contact ortiz Jr?

Posted by: Blue in S. Tx on December 8, 2005 11:13 PM

The campaign is excited and pleased to have a primary opponent. It gives us a great opportunity to showcase to the people of Texas why Barbara Ann deserves to be our next U.S. Senator, and it gives voters an opportunity to see that, as chairman Charles Soechting said at our most recent press conference, "The Democratic Party of Texas is behind Barbara" and that she is "the new face of the party in Texas."

Yesterday we sent out our most recent newsletter, detailing the ten proposals and positions mentioned earlier on this blog. It's posted at We also had a television interview on the show "The Constitution" with T.J. Baker.

Voters who are sickened by the climate of corruption and scandal are beginning to chip in with the kind of small recurring monthly donations that define a grass-roots campaign and that provide a powerful counterbalance to the big-money donations that are our opponent's life blood. If you have a moment to visit, I hope you'll also click on the "Contribute" link and assist our campaign, no matter how small or large the amount.

Posted by: Seth Davidson on December 9, 2005 7:55 AM

Solomon Ortiz Jr. said he wasn't running... but maybe he's had a change of heart.

And Veronica Gonzalez and Yvonne Gonzales Toureilles both may have Republican opponents.

Posted by: Marie on December 9, 2005 9:18 AM

Ortiz Jr. today said that he is not seeking re-election as Party Chair in Nueces. Why else would he not run unless he is seeking another office?
Go after Vilma... She needs to get taken out!

Posted by: Chavez on December 9, 2005 12:24 PM

you can contact Sollie @

Posted by: freckledtrout on December 9, 2005 6:38 PM

Greetings from Charlotte! I'm on my way from LA to DC and since I have always hated flying into Dulles, I am once again have a layover in some out-of-the way city at some ridiculous hour. Thank goodness for wireless broadband access. A few years ago, these layovers were very boring!

Anyway, since you brought up residency, I thought I'd mention that unless I'm mistaken - or, more to the point, unless something has changed recently - neither Henry Cuellar or Richard Raymond live in the congressional district they are hoping to represent.

I'll let your readers decide whether that's a technicality or a problem. Though I can tell you that when I asked about in my poll, 65 percent of primary voters in the district agreed with the statement "In order to represent me well, my congressman needs to live in the same district that I do" compared to only 31 percent who agreed that "My congressman can do a good job of representing me even if he lives outside the district."

Posted by: André Pineda on December 12, 2005 6:08 AM

This is Dot Nelson-Turnier. I agree that HD 150 may be red, but as you wrote, possibly only for lack of choice. 15,000 people did not vote at all for the House seat in 2004 rather than cast a vote for Riddle. The demographics in HD 150 scream out for Democratic leadership. Now it is here. The votes are here. Let's go get them.

Posted by: Dot Nelson-Turnier on December 13, 2005 12:12 PM