January 30, 2008
A closer look at SD17

I see that Cory disagrees with my assertion that SD17 is "somewhat purple", based on the spreadsheet I had linked to earlier. Fair enough. Here's a more detailed look, which as you can see is still a bit of a work in progress. I'll summarize the relevant data here:

GOP candidate Votes Pct
Abbott 87,643 61.51
Hutchison 88,162 61.46
Dewhurst 85,510 60.54
Combs 85,388 60.42
Patterson 81,029 58.31
Staples 78,889 56.77
Ames Jones 78,321 56.61
Keller 79,830 56.43
Perry 58,089 55.43
Willett 74,538 53.95

Dem candidate Votes Pct
Moody 63,630 46.05
Bell 46,669 44.57
Molina 61,641 43.57
Henry 60,041 43.39
Gilbert 60,077 43.23
Hathcox 57,932 41.69
Head 55,943 39.58
Alvarado 55,739 39.46
Radnofsky 55,305 38.54
Van Os 54,836 38.49

I threw in a Perry-versus-Bell comparison as well just for the heck of it. As you can see, across the board Dem performance was a point or so better in the district than statewide. To my mind, anyplace that Bill Moody can draw 46% of the vote is at least somewhat purple, so I'll stand by my assessment. As I said before, it'll take a chunk of money for any Dem to have a chance. But I do believe that chance exists, if the candidate and the funding exist. We'll see how that goes. And as The Professors note, the Republicans may have to deal with a little internecine squabbling to keep their hold on this one. So who knows what might happen?

Finally, here's a little update on who may or may not run from the Chron:

Former Harris County Republican Chairman Gary Polland, state Rep. Charlie Howard, R-Sugar Land, and state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, have said they will consider a Senate race.

Sportscaster and former Houston Oilers football player Spencer Tillman of Sugar Land, who also had been weighing a race, is out of the running because he doesn't live in the district.

Janek said he had talked with Tillman about running but failed to double check his residence.

"I'm not trying to engineer it (the election date)," he said.

The district has a Republican edge, but Hochberg said it has been "trending less Republican, more Democratic" in recent years.

In a special election, Republicans and Democrats run on the same ballot. If the special election were held on Nov. 4, however, House nominees would have to choose between running for re-election or for the Senate.

Hochberg is unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face a Libertarian opponent in November. Howard has two opponents in the GOP primary.

As we know from the Vilma Luna situation, should either Hochberg or Howard (assuming he wins his primary) resign to run for Senate, both Rs and Ds would get to nominate candidates to run to replace them. That would benefit Rs more than Ds, as Hochberg's district is much purpler than Howard's.

UPDATE: WWLBJD thinks the Rs are favored here, but likes the Dems' chances more against Howard or Polland.

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

As I said, it could just be a matter of semantics.

I will say this: Having the election in November could really help any Democrats chance now, especially since it looks like an unenthusiastic Republican camp will be looking at McCain on top of the ticket.

I like Hochberg, I think he'd make a fine Senator. I'd be especially interested to see the results of a Hochberg/Polland showdown with Mayor Bill in Hochberg's corner and Dan the man in Polland's corner.

Probably would never happen, but man would it be fun to watch.

Posted by: Cory on January 30, 2008 8:17 AM

It sounds like semantics to me too, but Democrats do hold CDs (Lampson & Edwards) and HDs (Barrett, Garcia, etc.) a bit redder than this one. So, I think it's in range for possible pick up.

Posted by: blank on January 31, 2008 11:27 AM