January 16, 2006
Reactions to the CD22 survey

Not to go all David Broder on you, but I think both sides have a point here in their reactions to the recent survey of CD22.

"The numbers I saw were encouraging," [Democratic candidate Nick] Lampson said. "They show that the people of this district want a representative who will make headlines for the right reasons, like improving homeland security, fiscal discipline and education.

"There is a long time between now and Election Day, and we're going to continue working hard for every vote."

Lampson should be encouraged, but I daresay he was encouraged before this survey came out as well. There are many good reasons for that: CD22 was drawn to be modestly less Republican than before, it has some movement in the direction of the Democrats on top of that, DeLay has a history of underperforming in his district, and for the first time ever, he'll be facing a candidate who is well-financed and reasonably well-known from the beginning of the campaign. All of that before we even mention his ongoing legal problems in Austin and the Abramoff investigation in Washington.

I don't believe, by the way, that the outcome of DeLay's money laundering trial in Austin will be the determining factor in this race. Sure, if he's convicted he's toast, though if that happens what it really means is that Lampson will wind up running against someone else. But even if he's acquitted, he's still not necessarily in the clear electorally. Beyond the possibility of the feds turning to him in l'affaire Abramoff, it's also possible that too many people have already given up on him. He may well win back the people who have moved from supporters to undecideds, but that may not be enough. Too early to tell on this, of course, and there are too many variables in play. All I'm saying is that there's more to this election than what happens in Travis County.

Meanwhile, once you get past the puffery here, there is a point to consider:

In the face of those challenges, DeLay's spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said, "from fundraising to grass-roots volunteers, Congressman DeLay is seeing more support than at any time in his 20 years in Congress."

"He is proud to run on a record of faithfully representing conservative Texas values, and voters in this district will take this into consideration more than any media poll," she said.

This survey, taken at a bad time for DeLay - you have to admit, though, he's had an awful lot of bad times lately - is still a single data point. I don't believe Republicans were undersampled, but it could have happened. The best way to feel more confident about what's going on here is to get more polling done, so we can see trend lines and compare assumptions about partisan ratios. The more, the better.

Finally, on a side note, The Daily DeLay has some feedback from folks who called the local TV stations to complain about their extreme wussiness in refusing to run the anti-DeLay ads.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Charles, what do you think are the odds that the DeLay trial won't happen before the general election in November? The State hasn't yet filed its brief in the Austin Court of Appeals (it's due tomorrow), and then DeLay's brief will have to be filed, and the court of appeals probably will hear oral arguments before writing an opinion. And then, the losing party will have a chance to file a petition in the Court of Criminal Appeals. I wouldn't yet predict it's likely, but it's very possible, that the appeals won't be decided in time for the trial to take place before the general election.

Posted by: Jeff N. on January 16, 2006 12:29 PM

Jeff - Good question. There's also still the question of Jim Ellis and John Colyandro's appeal, which I believe is pending before the CCA. Team DeLay has filed an amicus brief for them. My best guess based on hazy recollections of earlier stories is that the CCA will act on this in the summertime, but take that with a grain of salt. I think the appeals will be dealt with before November, but perhaps not the trial itself. I'm just guessing, so don't hold me to that.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2006 1:03 PM

Won't hold you to it; nobody knows how or when the Travis County trial will play out. DeLay's lawyers were swinging for the fences by trying to wrap it all up before the end of January, but that would've been highly unusual.

Posted by: Jeff N. on January 16, 2006 1:41 PM

Fantastic as always, but I must return to the factor that no outside observers seem to recongize - The presence of an amazing amount of diverse downballot activity in the Democratic party throughout the district.

Fort Bend County, for example, has not run this many candidates in over 20 years, including our first Indian and Pakistani nominees. African-American county commissioner Grady Prestage is running opposed for the first time in recent memory. Ditto for State Rep Dora Olivio (who may in fact have a close primary race against Steve Brown). Also remember we have a Hispanic District Clerk candidate and a Hispanic D.A. candidate who is also an especially aggressive campaigner.

I wonder when these factors will get some much deserved press...

Posted by: Mark B on January 16, 2006 3:26 PM

The Daily DeLay site you linked to has a great question by Stephen who asked which of the TV Stations ran the Swift Boat Ads.

Very Different Standards on Purpose.

And a reason some people are turning away from TV for news and going to other sources.

Like here.

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on January 16, 2006 3:59 PM

What do you expect Shannon to say? She is DeLay's press secretary (and a fine looking one at that) and is about to see her job go down the toilet with Tom.

Hell, if DeLay would crap in her hand, she would call it gold.

Posted by: John Cobarruvias on January 16, 2006 8:27 PM

Charles, many regards! Can't comment on this stuff anymore, though, I'm involved in a number of campaigns and I don't want to have to write a disclaimer everytime I post! :^D

I'll be running links to OffTheKuff at a number of blogs and websites, though!

Posted by: ttyler5 on January 17, 2006 2:33 AM