August 03, 2007
Primaries everywhere you look

All of a sudden, the news is full of primary challenges for various legislative seats in Texas. We'll start with SD11, where Sen. Mike Jackson now has more to worry about than just Joe Jaworski. From QR, via Vince:

Texas Medical Board member and former SREC member Tim Turner plans to challenge state Sen. Mike Jackson (R-Laporte) in next year's party primary.

Turner said that he's a couple of weeks away from making an official announcement and that he still needs to talk to a few more key folks before making a final decision. However, he said he was "95 percent" certain that he would enter the race.

The Clear Lake business consultant said that he was approached by a group of party leaders last year who made it clear that they want change. Jackson's defense of the new business margins tax was what most rankled him, Turner said.

He referenced a June 29, 2006, article in the Pearland Journal where Jackson was quoted at a luncheon as saying, "Most people are OK with higher taxes. It's the Realtor businesses and big smoke stack industries that get upset."

"I don't know what world he's living in," Turner said. "Most people are not OK with higher taxes. I most certainly am not."

While I generally think that contested primaries for open seats, or for the right to take on an incumbent, are good things for a party, this is the kind of primary that often isn't so good, at least for a seat that's even remotely at risk. You can already see this shape up as a nasty battle over issues of orthodoxy. It's one thing for a safe seat - say, SD07 - but when you're staring at an attractive and well-funded candidate on the other side, with a modest but not mountainous partisan lean in the district, and you can see the potential for trouble on the horizon. Which, needless to say, is fine by me in this case. Bring it on, Tim!

For what it's worth, both Jackson and Turner were involved in the abortive DeLay ballot replacement selection process. What effect, if any, that may have in the primary, I couldn't say. But keep it in mind, since we know how factionalized the GOP got during that process.

Next, we hop over to SD10, where Todd Hill reports on some rumors.

Sources close to me here in Tarrant County all but confirm that we are likely to have two Democrats vying for the opportunity to take on liquor industry sponsored Republican Kim Brimer for the most Democrat leaning state senatorial district in all of Texas.

Although I know the names of the individuals likely to step forward and run I will not reveal them at this time.

Todd thinks a contested primary here would be bad. I strongly disagree with that - this is exactly the kind of place where you want it, because it will prolong the media coverage cycle, and because it will force an early and sustained focus on identifying core supporters, whom the winner will be able to tap into for the remainder of the race. Sure, there's always a risk of a substance-free mudfest that turns people off, but them's the risks. Let 'em fight it out, I say. And while I'm at it, let me strongly endorse blank's comment about why this race matters. SD10 is very winnable. Whatever happens, let's not screw up the opportunity we'll have there next year. That's really all I ask.

Lastly, PDiddie excerpts from a Capitol Inside story that talks about a couple of State House primary possibilities here in Houston:

While Houston school board member Greg Meyers tests the waters for a race as a Republican against Democratic State Rep. Hubert Vo, Democrats are debating whether they should try to clear the deck for outgoing City Council member Carol Alvarado in the district that State Rep. Rick Noriega appears ready to give up in order to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

The hottest potential primary race that appears to be shaping up in the state's largest city could pit State Rep. Kevin Bailey against Armando Walle in a litmus test of the Democratic incumbent's loyalty to Republican Speaker Tom Craddick. Walle is the community liaison for U.S. Rep. Gene Green and chairman of the Harris County Tejano Democrats.

Walle's interest in this race has been known, or at least talked about, for a few months now. I think he'd be a much stronger challenger to Bailey than John Reyes was last year. And as this is a safe Democratic seat, it's fine for there to be a challenge, especially on a crucial point such as support of Tom Craddick. I'm very interested in this race.

Alvarado supporters hoped she'd have a clear path to the Democratic nomination in HD 145. But the uncontested primary race that Alvarado forces envisioned has apparently run into some potential obstacles with State Reps. Jessica Farrar and Ana Hernandez reportedly resisting. While Alvarado has the baggage of an ongoing investigation into a scandal involving pay raises and bonuses for several employees when she was mayor pro tem, the problem that other Hispanic state lawmakers in nearby House districts appear to have with her possible candidacy for Noriega's seat seems to center more on her association with consultant Marc Campos.

The longtime Democratic strategist supported Hernandez's main rival in a special election battle for a seat that opened when Joe Moreno died in a car wreck in 2005. Farrar was arguably Hernandez's most influential supporter in the special House race. Campos has also drawn the ire powerful Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia for opposing her in a past race and backing Alvarado aide James Rodriguez against the candidate she favors for the open council seat. Alvarado has been a Campos client as well.

Make of that what you will - Campos himself wasn't terribly impressed. My best guess is that Alvarado can have that seat if she wants it. We'll see how it plays out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 03, 2007 to Election 2008

And while I'm at it, let me strongly endorse blank's comment about why this race matters.

Thanks from props Kuff.

Sure, there's always a risk of a substance-free mudfest that turns people off, but them's the risks.

Unfortunately, from what I know of the potential candidates, I fully expect the substance-free mud to fly.

Posted by: blank on August 3, 2007 5:26 PM