April 18, 2009
BAR for AG
Barbara Radnofsky has been talking about a run for Attorney General in Texas in 2010 for some time now; I had a conversation about it with her back in 2007. Today she officially announced her intent, making her the third Democrat to do so for a statewide office. She told me on the phone that didn't intend to do anything fancy at this point, and would be concentrating on fundraising for the next few months. She had previously filed her paperwork to run, so she can raise funds for her campaign.
As Vince notes, others have been in the mix for AG on the Democratic side: David Van Os, who ran for AG in 2006; Larry Veselka, who is currently on the list of candidates for the US Attorney position in Houston; State Sen. Kirk Watson, who has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for Lt. Gov.; and State Rep. Patrick Rose. Of those, I think the most likely to run is Van Os. While I would not mind seeing contested primaries up and down the ballot - we're going to have a ton of them here in Harris for county judicial races - if Van Os were to ask me I'd suggest he take a crack at the 3rd Court of Appeals, which could use a little more partisan balance. But that's just my opinion.
As far as her prospects, or that of any Dem statewide, I will say this. What we've seen in the last couple of elections has basically been two categories of statewide race: Well-funded R versus underfunded (or unfunded) D, and unfunded R versus unfunded D. We haven't seen well-funded R versus well-funded D since 2002, and I think we can all agree that the electoral landscape is considerably different today than it was then. In any event, in the races where both candidates are not well-funded, which I think represents the baseline vote for each party, the Dems have done better. If current AG Greg Abbott, who has a huge pile of money, runs for something else as he's rumored to want to do, Radnofsky would be in a position to start out roughly at financial parity with her opponent, most likely Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Given that she almost surely has higher name recognition to begin with, if she can build on the $1.5 million she raised in 2006 - say, double or triple that - this could be a pretty tight race. I'll be very interested to see what kind of numbers she posts for the January disclosures.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 18, 2009 to Election 2010
I'd actually like to see her run for the Senate - she would need the same bloc of voters for the Senate that she would need for the AG's Office. So, well, why the hell not?
I'd also like to see everyone finally get behind her. Not everyone was last time.
How fitting it would be for Kay Bailout Hutchison to lose to Rick Perry and then lose to Barbara Radnofsky.
This is, of course, the Democratic Primary as auction theory: The assumption is that an individual "well funded" D should run for a particular office against an R with not much more, maybe, less money.
Let's see now:
The D with the most money (1) should have the usual suspects for pollsters and consultants, (2) should address one over-hyped "issue" like "homeowner insurance rates" in blustery sound bites backed by a "white paper" full of bland analysis, and (3) should feed politically-correct euphemisms to the left, bend over backwards not to rile the right, all the while offering "comfortable words" in chapel to all the vested interests in state government, especially to cronies of and lobbyists for the self-same insurance "industry".
Of course, that industry's concession-tenders do not mind being a public whipping-boy as long as it is all just hot-air and empty threats.
They loved that little bit of theater when David Dewhurst threatened to run State Farm out of Texas before the well-funded "Dream Team" was crushed. Oh, and nothing actually happened to State Farm, or Enron, or anybody, just as nothing would have happened had the Dream Team won in 2002. Oh, did I mention that the Dream Team dragged the last of the Democratic majority in the Texas House down with them.
So, maybe, slate-making by auction is not such a great idea.
Auction politics are disgust an angry public and suggest that the Democratic Party, like the Democratic Primary and Democratic Coventions are largely shams, that the party competes mostly for money from corrupt or self-serving interestes, not votes, and is pretty much a charade.
Where does anybody think the money for an auction comes from?
The GOP in 2010 as in 1984 and 2002 will be running a campaign which sounds mildly extreme but that voters with no real competition will take to mean the GOP "really means what they say".
So, what if Democrats had one clear principle, one coherent platform, and one mutually supportive slate that voters could be sure Democrats would deliver on?
"...should feed politically-correct euphemisms to the left, bend over backwards not to rile the right, all the while offering "comfortable words" in chapel to all the vested interests in state government, especially to cronies of and lobbyists..."
You have in essence just described the philosophy of so many Democratic politicians. Bill White in particular. Quite a few have complained this past year about all the "favoritism" including Discovery Green, Ed Wulfe and the "San Felipe Park," 1717 Bissonnet, and more recently, Regent Square and Wilshire Village.
What did anyone expect when as soon as he was elected mayor the first time he announced a "Second Chance" fundraiser for all those who hadn't contributed to his campaign but who still wanted a chance to buy City Hall?
The Democrats aren't any different, it seems, to the Republicans with regard to the money and what it buys.
And what it buys is what they sell.
But the buyer is also a seller. The buyer then influences community and trade organizations and often buys endorsements from them as well.
And the vast majority of voters vote on the basis of those endorsements instead of looking at who may have bought both the endorsements and the candidate.
"So, what if Democrats had one clear principle, one coherent platform, and one mutually supportive slate that voters could be sure Democrats would deliver on?"
I have nothing nice to say about her former law firm or about many of her supporters, many tied to that law firm. But you know what? Barbara Radnofsky has a clear principle called ethics, believes in one clear platform called rule of law and offers a mutually supportive slate which is a sense that ethics and rule of law dicate a sense of equality for all of us in this state with everyone having a voice and an interest instead of just a few having a voice and an interest.
But that, of course, is why not everyone supported her.
Van Os lives in Bexar County, which IIRC is in the district governed by the 4th Court of Appeals.
But hey, the 3rd still needs a good Democrat or three.