June 07, 2006
I confess to being nervous about Rep. Chet Edwards' re-election chances. He's in a really red district (66.3% Republican in 2004, according to the SOS redistricting reports), he narrowly beat a flawed candidate, and with fewer high-profile races this year, he ought to command a bigger focus from the state GOP.
On the other hand, Edwards is as sharp as they come, his current opponent is a newcomer to the district and lags far behind in fundraising, and as we know, 2006 is sure to be a less hostile electoral climate for Dems in Texas. For what it's worth, all of the national forecaster types are currently rating this race as either Lean Democrat or Democrat Favored, and not putting it in their list of most hotly contested seats. Nate has the rundown, plus a brief email response from Edwards' opponent Van Taylor, whom he interviewed back in May. I'll be worried about this one till the polls close, but I'm not as worried as I thought I'd be. Let's hope I stay that way.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 07, 2006 to Election 2006
As a resident of the district, I am always nervious about Chet's chances every election. I honestly think that if Republicans had had the sense to elect Dot Snyder rather than Arlene Wohlgemuth in 2004 that she might have won. Dot is a well-respected local Republican from the Waco area and Arlene was the crazy woman from up north.
That said, I'm not sure how well this Van Taylor character is playing in the district. He has two big strikes against him. He's a carpetbagger from Plano with no roots in the district, and he is spending his inherited Exxon wealth. This isn't exactly the right year to be the heir to an oil fortune.
In Van's favor is the fact that he is an Iraq war vet. But I'm not sure how much that is going to help the Republican side as Americans are souring on the war. I honestly think it would help a Democratic candidate more than a Republican one because Democrats can speak truth to power whereas Republicans more or less have to follow the White House lead and cheer the war.
There was a good profile of Van Taylor in the Waco Tribune a few days ago, about how folks in his newly adopted hometown of West aren't exactly taken by him. I'll see if I can dig it up.
In any event, don't write off Chet Edwards. He owns this district. My wife is a doctor who has a number of nursing home patients who she visits. She says Edwards has in intensely loyal following among the local elderly who he really visits and works with. These are the folks who really vote. So we'll see.