There's a lot to talk about in this front page story about how the Texas GOP is going to focus its efforts on downballot races, but let's start by talking about the one thing the article doesn't bring up: Money. The Democrats have a comparable amount of it, and in many key cases they have a lot more. That's a sharp reversal of recent trends, and given how Democrats have been making gaisn while having a relative paucity of funds, it bodes very well for them. It's not just in the State House, either: Dems are at least competitive financially in three State Senate races. Reps. Nick Lampson and Ciro Rodriguez hold significant fundraising leads in their re-election bids, while Larry Joe Doherty and Michael Skelly have each raised over a million dollars and are being helped by the DCCC. The state and various county Democratic Parties, especially here in Harris, have far more resources than they're used to having. It's true that John Cornyn has a lot more money than Rick Noriega, and that Tom Craddick has a lot of cash he can slosh around. The point is that Dems are in a far stronger position on this front than they've been in years, and Republicans should not be assumed to be able to swoop in and dominate the endgame.
There's still a lot of money being raised at this time, too. The HDCC has a big fundraiser coming up on Monday the 20th at the Mithoff house with special guests Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Congressman Chet Edwards; I'll have more details on this later. At this point, if you've been watching TV at all, you know the airwaves are slowly but surely being saturated by ads, and that's what a lot of this late money will go into. It's almost like living in a swing state, which when you think about it is basically what Harris County is these days.
Now onto other matters:
Two national Internet sites that aggregate poll results -- Pollster.com and RealClearPolitics.com -- Monday showed voters nationally are trending toward Democrat Barack Obama for president. And Obama has a lead in enough states at the moment to collect more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
But the average of national polls that have sampled Texas show McCain has a commanding lead here with an average of more than 13 percentage points over Obama.
Neither presidential campaign has an organization in Texas designed to win the state.
Both field calls from the Texas news media through their national headquarters. Whatever Obama advertising Texans see on television arrives in their home as part of a buy on national programming.
[Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael] Williams, who is in a contest with little-known Democratic opponent Mark Thompson, said he believes concerns about Republicans not voting in Texas due to a dispirited McCain campaign were washed away when McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
"There's no doubt that there was an intensity gap between Democrats and Republicans prior to the conventions," Williams said. "With the selection of Governor Palin as Senator McCain's running mate, the intensity gap closed significantly."