January 19, 2006
Who's the Democratic frontrunner for Governor?

Over on the Quorum Report, Republican consultant Royal Masset is claiming that Felix Alvarado is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

For reasons known only to themselves the Media have focused mostly on the Democrat gubernatorial primary race between *Chris Bell* and *Bob Gammage*. *Does anyone remember Victor Morales?* In the 1996 Democrat primary race for US Senate Victor easily defeated Congressmen *Jim Chapman* and *John Bryant*, Those Congressmen were a lot better known than the lackluster Bell and Vichy-like Gammage. There a lot more Hispanic voters in the Democrat primary today. It is possible Felix Alvarado, a school Assistant Principal from Fort Worth, will self-destruct. But if he doesn't I predict he'll win in the primary.

I make it a habit of not trusting anyone who says "Democrat" when he means "Democratic", but beyond that, let me throw another name out at you: Leticia Hinojosa. Remember her? She was going to be the Democratic nominee for the newly-drawn CD25 because her surname was a natural advantage against Austin-based Lloyd Doggett. Didn't work out that way. Not only did Doggett win by almost a 2-1 margin, he would have won if you subtracted all of Travis County from the final vote, and he beat Hinojosa in her home county, Hidalgo.

Doggett, of course, had a huge financial advantage, while Bell's finances are much more modest. On the other hand, Bell has racked up numerous endorsements from prominent Hispanic politicians, as Doggett had; Alvarado doesn't have an Endorsements page on his website, so as far as I know there's no one backing him. And finally, as The Jeffersonian points out, Morales had a compelling story to tell as a first-time candidate that carried him to an improbably close race against Phil Gramm in 1996. Alvarado has already run longshot campaigns for Congress in 2004 (against Kay Granger) and 2002 (against Smokey Joe Barton). He's not doing much campaigning, while both Bell and Bob Gammage are spending a lot of time in South Texas. Is there anything more to this thesis that Masset and now apparently Paul Burka are expounding beyond "Hispanic name = Hispanic voters"?

Finally, a few words about this SurveyUSA poll of favorable/unfavorable ratings for all the gubernatorial candidates. It seems to me that much of the criticism that has been levelled against the recent survey of CD22 would apply here. In particular, a survey of "registered voters" doesn't tell you a whole lot about the ballot preferences of Democratic primary voters. How do we know, for example, that much of Chris Bell's negative rating in that poll doesn't come from Republicans, who have reason to dislike him for his ethics complaint against Tom DeLay? I just don't see a whole lot of conclusions that can be drawn from this.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Felix Alvarado is from Fort Worth, while Victor Morales has actual ties to South Texas. Plus, looking at the county canvass report from the 1996 Democratic Primary, while it certainly is true that Victor Morales won big in places like Hidalgo, Cameron, Webb, Bexar and El Paso, he also won pluralities in Harris, Jefferson, and Travis Counties. John Bryant won big in Dallas and Tarrant but had little strength anywhere else, while Jim Chapman did well in rural areas. In short, Victor Morales was a strong candidate who had appeal everywhere in 1996. Would anyone say that of Felix Alvarado today?

UPDATE: Both Greg and PerryVsWorld are reporting that Felix Alvarado is now off the ballot, because the check for his filing fee bounced. Oops. No news link yet, I'll check in the morning. If so, we'll never know if Royal Masset was full of it or not.

To be clear about what I said above, I was simply asserting that the SUSA poll told us nothing about the upcoming Democratic primary, because the sample was not of Democratic primary voters. That's the only population that matters for this primary election, so polls of registered voters are meaningless on that scale. When we get such a poll, we can talk.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 19, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Alvarado, as a full-time educator, apparently can only campaign on the weekends. It seems he has little in the way for funds for traveling to Democratic events (like the SDEC in Galveston earlier this month.)

Royal Masset is smoking rocks if he thinks Felix can win the primary. His sister actually stands a better chance of winning hers. Felix Alvarado could, however -- with as little as 10% of the vote -- force a runoff between Bell and Gammage. He will probably draw more than 10%, which is why I think a runoff is quite possible.

And I wonder if that scenario might keep one of the independents from making the ballot in November.

Posted by: PDiddie on January 19, 2006 4:32 PM

Even if I was smoking "rocks" I still wouldn't think Alvarado had a chance in hell to win.

p.s. What are "rocks"?

Posted by: John Cobarruvias on January 19, 2006 7:21 PM

Alvarado's filing fee check bounced. He won't be on the ballot.

Posted by: seth on January 19, 2006 9:48 PM

I guess he should have followed up with Western Union...

Don't worry about "rocks" John. You're a Democrat. It's the job of the Republican Party and the cops to handle the importation and distribution of those.

Posted by: Se Habla on January 19, 2006 10:25 PM

Perhaps it is the wise guy/smartass who thinks he has all the answers that should be Governor. Oops, he is. With as much energy and time that is going into a "bounced" check Alvarado wrote, it's no wonder Perry doesn't have time to focus on important things, like the way he calls extra sessions just to spend my hard earned dollars. Yes, I pay my taxes and pay his salary. But hell, I pay my own damn salary!

If Alvarado can take the blame for what may not even have been his own fault, although he is taking the bullet for it, then why doesn't a white man take responsibility for his own screw ups!

Let's give the foreign guy a chance! It's better than giving a white man more support.

Posted by: Roberto on January 20, 2006 7:56 PM

Alvarado probably would have won but now we'll never know. I have to wonder why someone like Felix, who can't manage his own checking account and knowingly writes bad checks, can hold a job as a Texas school administrator. Most professions have ethical standards.

Posted by: Royal on January 20, 2006 11:55 PM

Royal, this is loyal. You seem to keep to keep coming back to the same argument. How could Alvarado write a hot check and work as a school administrator? Dude, give it up already. Have you ever bounced a check? Has anyone ever had to cover you for a check? Now that we are at it? You seem to ignore the fact that he DID have funds when the check was written. In case you don't know, two plus two is not five. Maybe you should go to Alvarado so he could teach you a few things.

Posted by: Loyal on January 22, 2006 1:45 PM