So the Republicans are offically worried about a Dallas-style sweep of the local elections, especially the judiciary, but they're doing their best to maintain a stiff upper lip.
That fear is reinforced by local Democrats vetting and policing their candidates this year, resulting in a full, diverse-looking slate of opponents. Then there's the possibility that Barack Obama could win the presidency and have coattails long enough to shatter the local Republican judicial monolith.
Coattails and parties matter a lot in the 26 races for family, civil and criminal district courts. Judicial candidates cannot discuss specific cases, which makes campaigning generalized and vague. Few voters have the time or means to investigate each judicial race.
"The reality is that in down-ballot races, people don't know who the candidates are," said Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.
It seemed to be about party affiliation in November 2006, when more than 40 Republican judges in Dallas County were evicted from their benches. Now, some Republican jurists there are switching party affiliation before they run for office in 2010.
I don't know if you noticed, and I don't intend this as a criticism of story reporter Mary Flood, but there's a critical piece of information missing from this article: Polling data. With all these high-profile countywide races going on, in a year where Democrats have expressed confidence in their ability to break the longstanding Republican hegemony, with all the expectations of an Obama surge in turnout, and with all the spending and advertising and organizing in the county, you would think someone would want to be able to objectively measure where things stand right about now.
So I have to ask: How is it that two weeks before Election Day we haven't had one single public poll of Harris County? Of course, we really haven't had all that much polling of Texas in general, so I suppose I shouldn't wonder about this. But really, how is this possible? Is there nobody who wants to know about this?
Actually, I'm sure that there have been polls taken, by various campaigns. I've heard of one recently, which was favorable for the Democrats. But it's not for public consumption, and I know nothing more about it than its existence, so I can't even offer a novice level critique of it. Usually, when I post an item like this, someone who has this kind of information available will email me to tell me about it, usually off the record. So I may wind up getting some answers to my questions, even if I can't share them. I hope that won't be all that there is, but I fear that it will.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 21, 2008 to Election 2008