March 12, 2008
A look at the Democratic runoffs

Not a whole lot of runoff action this year. There just weren't that many more-than-two-candidate primaries - having no Democratic-held open-seat State House races was a factor there - and of course the big field Senate race everyone was watching ended with Rick Noriega getting a majority, thus obviating the need for overtime there. There will be two runoffs on my ballot this year, plus three more elsewhere that interest me, so let's take a look at those.

1. Railroad Commissioner If I live to be 100, I'll never understand how Mark Thompson got 48% of the vote in this race. He had no obvious constituency, no money, no campaign organization, no endorsements, and no "simple name" advantage that otherwise might have helped him in a high-turnout, low-information election. I can understand "Mark Thompson" beating out "Waldemar von Zedwitz" and "Belvedere Jehosaphat", but why would someone who felt compelled to pick a name from a hat favor "Mark Thompson" over "Art Hall" or "Dale Henry"? If he'd been first on the ballot everywhere - which was not the case - I could see him finishing first, but not by that much. This is truly one of the most bizarre results I've ever seen, and I hope someone some day comes up with a plausible explanation for it.

Anyway, the conditions that existed in March will not exist in April. It'll be the hardiest of the hardcore turning out for the extra frame, and when they do I hope they'll course correct and pick Dale Henry to be the nominee in November. Henry is easily the most qualified candidate and will give the Democrats their best shot to win. If you plan to vote again next month, please cast that vote for Dale Henry.

2. 80th District Court (Civil) With Adrian Garcia winning his three-way primary outright, this is the one countywide runoff, with contenders Marc Isenberg and Larry Weiman each collecting 35% of the vote. I'm comfortable voting for Larry Weiman in this one, as I think he has the better resume, and he was on the ballot in 2006 before it was cool to run for judge as a Democrat. Unlike the RRC runoff this is a contest between qualified candidates, but I think Weiman is still the better choice.

Not on my ballot, but still of interest:

3. Justice of the Peace, Precinct 8, Place 1 It's Jeff Heintschel versus Dee Wright for this Republican-held open seat. I know nothing about these two except that the Chron endorsed Heintschel. If you can make a case for one or the other, please feel free to do so.

4. District Attorney, Travis County I liked Rosemary Lehmberg before, and I see no reason not to support her now over Mindy Montford.

5. Congressional District 32 I am persuaded by this BOR diary that Eric Roberson is the best candidate here.

There are other races in other places, but these are the ones I know about. The Republican side has some interesting matchups, including those for Harris County DA, CD22, and HDs 52 and 144, but I'll leave that to them to sort out. If there's a race somewhere that you think is important that I've overlooked, please let me know. Thanks.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 12, 2008 to Election 2008