January 05, 2006
Filing news: Democratic missed opportunities

I said in the last post that even though Democrats did an excellent job getting candidates to run in Republican-held State House districts, they did leave a few opportunities untaken. I'll take a look at those here.

What I did was I went back to the Harvey Kronberg candidate spreadsheet that I downloaded while it was still publicly available and sorted it by the "Dewhurst-Sharp" column, which gave the percentages for each district from the 2002 Lite Guv race. There were 40 districts where Dewhurst scored 60% or less. Of those, the following 12 do not have a Democratic candidate in 2006:

Dist Incumbent 2004 % DD% GB% SW%
30 Geanie Morrison 100.0 43 71 65
09 Roy Blake 56.9 48 66 59
05 Bryan Hughes 62.0 51 68 62
18 John Otto 54.6 54 69 62
72 Scott Campbell 57.2 56 77 66
101 Elvira Reyna 100.0 56 60 58
24 Larry Taylor 100.0 57 68 64
68 Rick Hardcastle 100.0 57 76 69
25 Dennis Bonnen 66.0 58 69 67
14 Fred Brown 100.0 59 71 69
13 Lois Kolkhorst 100.0 60 70 66
44 Ed Kuempel 100.0 60 72 67

"2004%" is the vote percentage the incumbent got in 2004. DD% is Dewhurst's 2002 percentage, GB% is Bush's 2004 total, and SW% is an average of the percentages gotten by the other three GOP statewide candidates.

Obviously, some of these are better opportunities than others. Geanie Morrison is a fluke - John Sharp is from Victoria, which is where her district is. Scott Campbell is out in West Texas, and he did so poorly because of drunken driving and indecent exposure charges hanging over him at the time. As it happens, his Democratic challenger from 2004, Jeri Sloan, is running against him again, but this time as an independent. Make of that what you will. Hardcastle, Bonnen, Brown, Kolkhorst, and Kuempel are not in districts that anyone would claim are competitive. I doubt there's much of a Democratic pool from which to recruit in Seguin (where Kuempel resides) or Brenham (Kolkhorst) anyway. It'd be nice to see that taken up as a project by the Democracy for Texas folks, if they aren't already working on it, but for now, I can't see any blame attaching here.

So that leaves Blake, Hughes, Otto, Reyna, and Taylor. Otto's a freshman who ousted Dem Jim Ellis. It's a shame to see him get a free ride, as it is for Blake after his relatively narrow win last time. Hughes won a bit more comfortably, but with that 51% score for Dewhurst you'd still like to see him challenged.

The one that surprised me here is Reyna. I hadn't ever thought of her as being in an even moderately competitive district, but she's in Dallas County, which has been trending Dem lately. The Dallas Dems did a pretty good job recruiting overall, though, so I'll cut them a little slack here and hope that they have better luck with this one next time.

(Note: I had an earlier draft of this post which included HD114's Will Hartnett as a missed opportunity. The Dems who have filed page still doesn't list a challenger for him, but the Dallas Dems page does. I'll go with the county folks and hope this is just an oversight and not a paperwork snafu.)

Finally, as for Taylor, his isn't all that competitive a district, but with the Galveston GOP making a stronger push for control of that county, it would have been nice to make them play a little defense there, especially since Craig Eiland did not get a GOP opponent. Maybe next time.

In the end, if this is all I have to complain about, it again speaks well for all the effort that went into getting people onto ballots. Assuming I can ever get a clear handle on what the full GOP lineup is, I'll do the same thing for them.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 05, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

I considered a run against Hughes in HD5. He is beatable, but his money is neverending from the leadership. Instead I will continue to work with him on education issues and hold him accountable for every single vote when he gets through.

I would not have chosen the D route in this HD, though. They cannot win it. The gerrymandering has piled up the R's big time. Just ask Max Sandlin.

Posted by: sabestian on January 5, 2006 10:38 AM

Not that it matters anymore, but Taylor has his issues. Most of them centered on his close ties to DeLay and questionable campaign funds.

I pointed out a few here.

Posted by: max on January 5, 2006 11:05 AM

hey kuff, one thing that disturbed me at last night's dfa meetup was how many judges that we've left unchallenged. i tend to look at our judicial system as the main body that desperately needs reform, and i don't understand why we don't challenge more R judges.

are you noticing the same pattern in counties besides tarrant?

Posted by: anna on January 5, 2006 12:27 PM

Anna - I can't speak for everywhere, but it's certainly the case that Harris County has a ton of uncontested GOP judges. It's likely to stay that way until folks perceive the partisan gap closing at the countywide level. Hopefully, the good recruiting job at the State Rep level (9 of 13 incumbent Rs have D opponents) will help push the index up enough to make some people think that 2008 could be the year things really change.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on January 5, 2006 1:14 PM