March 30, 2008
KTRK on Skelly versus Culberson

Here's the video from a story Miya Shay did on Thursday:

I'd argue that Jim Henley was a serious challenger to Culberson in 2006, but obviously Henley didn't have Skelly's fundraising capacity. Believe me, that makes a difference.

You can pretty much see Culberson's entire campaign in this story. It's going to be one part "I widened I-10 for you!" and one part "Vote for me or the Democrats will take over Harris County and maybe the world!" Miya commented on this on her blog:

One interesting note about Culberson, he is telling supporters that this is one of the toughest races he'll face. In addition to an interesting letter to supporters online, he told me yesterday that he sees the District 7 race as a "Firewall" for county wide Republicans. "I believe that if we don't get my re-election numbers into the 60s percentage, then every Republican in Harris County could lose." Culberson says that's why the Democratic party is running such a rich guy, basically to beat him down.. and bring the Repub party along. In essence, he says he can still win his seat, while Harris County Repubs lose all of theirs. He also says that if his winning percentage isn't high enough, John Cornyn could lose his Senate seat. So basically, in his view, the survival of the Republican ticket depends on re-electing him... and thus, donating money to make him competitive against Skelly.

That is a pretty neat trick, setting himself up as The Most Important Candidate In The County, which naturally means all good Republicans should give him money and work for his re-election. Note too that Culberson is setting the bar a lot higher for himself than what Jared Woodfill thinks he's going to clear. I'm thinking a little message coordination might be in order here.

One more thing from Miya:

Skelly is expected to report at least $750,000 cash on hand, and Culberson is targeting at least $260,000.

As we know from the February reports, Skelly had a 5-1 cash-on-hand advantage, showing $400K to Culberson's $80K. If both make the numbers Miya mentions - and note that Skelly "expects" $750K while Culberson is "targeting" - hoping for - $260K - that still means Skelly doubled him up ($350,000 to $180,000) for this period, again in COH. I'm liking the trends so far.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 30, 2008 to Election 2008

Are you KIDDING me?
Culberson is claiming CREDIT for the Katy Freeway construction???

Posted by: Melissa on March 30, 2008 8:00 AM

"I believe that if we don't get my re-election numbers into the 60s percentage, then every Republican in Harris County could lose."

Given the general attitude towards the Harris County Republican Party on the part of a growing number of Republicans, Culberson may not be far off the mark with regard to his being the "poster boy" for the party at this point but what he doesn't realize is that he isn't the "poster boy" he wants to be. The West Side is not real amused by the widening of I-10 and the use of condemnation to force landowners to either take what they were offered or enrich one attorney in particular according to some who of course got them much more but of course also kept quite a bit of it himself or by the total lack of any real influence on the Westpark switcheroo by Metro. As nasty as he was, sometimes the nastiness worked for the citizens and Tom De Lay would have just pulled the plug on the money train if you will pardon the pun.

When Republicans have tired of Republicans, that spells trouble. And Culberson in particular is going to have trouble convincing his constituents that he serves them best simply because he is a Republican.

This is going to be a "hold your nose" election but there may not be enough Republicans willing to do so.

The mantra for a growing number of Republicans has become "anyone but a Republican" instead of "anyone but a Democrat."

Posted by: Baby Snooks on March 30, 2008 9:17 AM

As a Republican in Rep. Culberson's district, I would agree with a lot of what Baby Snooks wrote. He's putting a lot of eggs in the Katy expansion basket and I think he's finally figuring out that not all of his constituents really thought the Katy expansion was done well. Ask someone whose home in Spring Valley was condemned whether the extra lanes which allow the residents of new Katy area developments to get home faster were worth it. Johnny C. needs to remember which area is in his district and which isn't anymore.

You could almost feel sorry for the guy. He ramrodded the expansion through after getting lots of support from developers out in Katy who wanted a something done quickly. Screw below grade construction, like some areas of 59 and Beltway 8 got. Forget integration of a rail line into the design - clearly too forward looking for a Luddite like John. Those things take time, and the developers, er, John didn't want to take time for a GOOD solution, just a quick one. And then after all that, Katy gets shifted out of his district. Yep, you could almost feel sorry for the guy...if he weren't such a smug son of a gun.

Also in the past few days I've seen a few Culberson bumper stickers on the cars around the neighborhood. That's interesting because in the past 2 election cycles, you haven't seen much of anything in the way of campaing material until much later in the year because he didn't feel the need to campaign.

At this point I still think he wins because of his district but he'll be under 55% of the vote.

Posted by: Patrick on March 31, 2008 8:42 AM
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