Even for me, it's a little early to be thinking about most of the 2010 races, especially for the State House. But I'm glad it's not too early for some folks, such as Annie's List. Here's an email they've sent out about their first endorsed candidate for the 2010 cycle:
We are proud to announce our endorsement of Loretta Haldenwang for State House District 105 in Irving. Loretta currently serves as the External Affairs Director of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is respected by community, business and political leaders alike.
Loretta spends each day working in her community to promote small business successes, better schools and scholarship opportunities, access to affordable healthcare, common sense transportation solutions and more. She is also no stranger to the proceedings of the Texas House of Representatives after working for two legislative sessions for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) as a District Director and Legislative Analyst.
House District 105 sits in the Northwest corner of Dallas County and includes almost all of the City of Irving. It is currently represented by an eight-year incumbent Republican named Linda Harper Brown. However, after nearly losing to an underfunded perennial candidate in 2008, reliable Republican sources have leaked that Linda has been told by the Republican leadership that it is time to retire. The self-described anointed replacement is Irving Republican Councilwoman Beth Van Duyne, a well-known far-right extremist with a colorful record on the council.
Like many urban-suburban districts that we have won in the last 4 years, House District 105 has a rapidly evolving demographic composure. Now a majority-minority seat, Democrats have performed better on the ballot every election cycle. However, in a low-turnout mid-term election, we will need a well-funded, professionally run campaign with a candidate who can relate to all Irving residents.
We have no doubt Loretta is that candidate. And as the daughter of a neurologist and a microbiologist, she is no stranger to setting ambitious personal goals and working hard to make them a reality. She is an impressive and articulate woman who possesses the skill set, savvy and stamina to be our endorsed candidate in House District 105.
With sine die just around the corner (and God willing, no special session), we may start to get some answers to the questions about which legislators might be running for higher offices. One of them is State Sen. Letitia Van de Putte, who has been talking about a run for Governor. That subject comes up in this interview she did with BOR's Phillip Martin. As you might expect, she's rather coy about it, and says she needs to discuss it with her family, but I notice that she mentions her potential primary opponent Tom Schieffer a couple of times, all critically, and that sounds to me like something a candidate would say. We'll know in the next week or two, so check it out.
So apparently the head of the GOP is in town tonight to help raise money for US Rep. Mike McCaul, who apparently isn't taking any chances for next year. No, not this guy - nobody cares about him. I mean this guy, also known as He Who Must Be Apologized To. Is there a brighter star in the Republican Party these days? Why, we may soon find that his image has appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich or something. It could happen, you know. Anyway, I can't wait to hear what he had to say at this event. Should provide fodder for months to come. BOR has more.
Clay Jenkins is a candidate for County Judge in Dallas. He's running in the Democratic primary against the incumbent, Jim Foster, who knocked off the Republican incumbent in the 2006 countywide sweep, in a race nobody expected him to win. (This is why we say Run Everywhere.) I don't normally get involved in that kind of race outside of the Houston area, but Jenkins was a big supporter of Rick Noriega last year, and any friend of the Noriegas i a friend of mine. Rick and Melissa are hosting an event for Clay Jenkins at their place this Sunday - details are beneath the fold - so if you'd like to know more about Jenkins and what's going on in Dallas, come on out to the Noriegas' house on Sunday and find out.
Finally, the Republican primary for Governor becomes interesting.
With plans to join the GOP primary with Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, said today he wil announce as a candidate for governor the week of July 4.
"I want to run for governor because there's one major problem in this state that no one seems to be addressing, and in of fact they are completely avoiding it, and that was quite evident in this legislative session as well, and that's the question of illegal aliens in Texas."
Berman was likely bolstered in his desire to run for Governor by an opinion from AG Greg Abbott back in March that said a sitting State Rep did not have to resign his seat once he announced his intent to run for Governor. Obviously, he'll have to file for one or the other on January 2, so this may wind up being a bluff. But Leo's just crazy enough to do it, so don't count him out. With him and Ron Paul disciple Debra Medina in the race, I really hope that the next batch of polls takes into account the fact that there are more than two candidates in the race. I can make a case for them skimming votes from either Perry or KBH, but however you see it, they could have an effect, maybe even force a runoff. And wouldn't that be fun? Stace has more.
Barbara Radnofsky talks to Gardner Selby about her intent to run for Attorney General in 2010.
Radnofsky said Thursday she's going to run next year for attorney general, starting with an Austin fund-raiser Tuesday featuring nine Democratic state representatives (all 74 Dems were contacted, Radnofsky said, but most may be session-swamped).
Reminded that the past three Democratic aspirants for attorney general drew no more than 44 percent of the November vote, Radnofsky replied: "You're mired in the past."
Radnofsky stressed research gathered last year suggesting that Texas voters are identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans. Tracking polls analyzed by the Gallup organization found that 43 percent of Texans see themselves as Democrats compared to 41 percent of Republicans.
"The face of the state has changed," she said.
That assumes, of course, that Radnofsky or whoever the nominee is can raise the dough needed for that. She seems to be taking a step in that direction.
New-hires on her side: Fund-raising consultant Jim Cunningham of Kentucky, pollster Andre Pineda of Los Angeles and direct-mail consultant Kevin Geary, who heads the Philadelphia office of the Baughman Group. Radnofsky said she's hunting for a TV advertising consultant.
Separately, I've heard chatter that other Democrats could yet test the waters for AG including state Reps. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, Pete Gallego of Alpine and state Sens. Royce West of Dallas and Kirk Watson of Austin, the party's AG nominee in 2002. Republicans in the mix could include Ted Cruz, the state's former solicitor-general (who's already raising money and exploring a try), state Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas and Justice Dale Wainwright of the Texas Supreme Court.
Radnofsky said she'd be happy not having a major primary opponent. Referring to the perennial Universal City candidate with a dancer's name whom she beat in a 2006 runoff, she said: "If the only opponent ended up being Gene Kelly, that'd be OK."
Like everybody else, Sen. John Cornyn has no idea what his senior colleague in the Senate is going to do. And also like the rest of us, or at least us bloggers, he's willing to speculate wildly about it in public.
Cornyn, who also chairs the Senate Republicans' campaign committee, has pleaded with her not to resign early. After all, if there's a special election to replace Hutchison, Democrats would have a golden opportunity to pick up the seat, with a strong field including Houston Mayor Bill White and ex-Comptroller John Sharp. Cornyn would rather be safe than have to spend millions playing defense.
With only 40 Republicans in the Senate and the soap opera in Minnesota almost surely a lost cause, Cornyn doesn't want to risk any more GOP-held spots any sooner than necessary.
"We certainly can't afford to lose that [Hutchison] seat," he said.
But the National Republican Senatorial Committee boss says he's wary of White, who is "running a very serious race" and has raised gobs of campaign cash.
"He's definitely on my radar," Cornyn said.
With all the jockeying already going on in the Senate race to replace Hutchison, when does he think she will resign her seat?
"My guess," he told Texas reporters at his Senate office today, is that Hutchison will resign "this fall sometime."
That would allow Perry to appoint an interim senator and allow a special election to take place in May 2010 instead of this November (which would happen if she resigned this spring or summer).
But Cornyn readily admits that he has no inside info.
"There's only one person who knows," the San Antonio Republican said, "and it's not me."
There's little question Republicans are looking to target Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), who could face yet another tough re-election in his solidly conservative Waco-based seat. The question is who his opponent will be.
Both experienced and inexperienced Republicans are preparing their Federal Election Commission forms in Texas' 17th district, encouraged by a strong showing by poorly funded 2008 nominee Rob Curnock.
Curnock held Edwards to 53 percent of the vote, despite receiving almost no support from the national party. Curnock, a small-business owner from Waco, plans to run again and hopes this time he'll receive more support from national and local party leaders.
I think the story of these two elections is in the three biggest counties: Brazos, Johnson, and McClennan. In 2004, Edwards barely eked out a plurality in Brazos, got clobbered in Johnson, and won big in McClennan. In 2008, Edwards won a solid majority in Brazos, improved noticeably in Johnson, and won a smaller majority in McClennan.
His improvement in Brazos, I believe, can be largely attributed to an overall improvement in Democratic performance there. John McCain got almost exactly as many votes as George Bush did, while Barack Obama added over 4000 votes to John Kerry's tally; meanwhile, Curnock did almost as well as Arlene Wohlgemuth while Edwards increased his total by 5000 votes. While there were probably a few Wohlgemuth voters who switched to Edwards in 2008, for the most part there were just a lot more people voting Democratic.
By contrast, Edwards' improvement in Johnson is all him. McCain gained 1800 votes over Bush, and Obama added 600 to Kerry's total, leaving their percentage almost identical to 2004, while Curnock lost 1500 votes and Edwards added 4200. Clearly, Curnock was a weaker candidate than Wohlgemuth, who was also from Johnson County and surely benefited from being a hometown girl, but Edwards did more than just take advantage of that difference.
Finally, McClennan presents an interesting case. Edwards won it by 23,000 votes in 2004, and was in net negative territory everywhere else. In 2008, he would have won even if all of McClennan's votes were thrown out, but he only carried McClennan by 16,000 votes, and that was with Obama getting 37% to Kerry's 33%. Here, Curnock's residency in Waco likely helped him. Similarly, a local issue having to do with water rights that Edwards tied around Wohlgemuth's neck back in 2004 was not on the table this time around. Unlike Johnson County, not being Arlene Wohlgemuth, especially not being Arlene Wohlgemuth in 2004, worked to the GOP's advantage.
Based on all this, I'd venture that Edwards will likely do fine in 2010, barring any national headwinds against the Dems. If the NRCC dream candidate of State Sen. Steve Ogden jumps in, that would make for a hell of a race, but Ogden is up for re-election himself in 2010, so he'd have to give up his Senate seat and his powerful spot as chair of the Finance Committee to do that. I don't know that a chance to maybe be in the House minority is worth that, but we'll see.
You can take what Bill White said about what Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison might have said about resigning her Senate seat to run for Governor, or what her spokesperson is saying now, however you want. I still believe she will not resign in time for a 2010 election. I say that because I think she wants to appoint her replacement herself and not let Rick Perry do it, and because I firmly believe in the principle that nobody knows what the hell KBH is going to do. I could, of course, be wrong, but that's how I see it. Actions speak louder than words, so I'll believe her when I see the resignation letter.
So about two weeks ago I got an email from a gentleman named David Smith, who is the proprietor of a website called Texans for Staubach, as well as the treasurer of a PAC by the same name, whose purpose is:
-To oppose the re-election of Governor Rick Perry
-To oppose the election of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to the office of Governor
-To promote the candidacy of Roger Staubach for the Office of the Governor of the State of Texas
UPDATE: Turns out The Rog is a KBH supporter.
Joe for Galveston
Statewide race for Earle?
The Senate fundraising scorecard so far
Everyone has an opinion on Kay and Rick
Keep your eye on the ball, Tom
BAR for AG
White rakes it in for his Senate bid
Kinky makes it official
Presidential results by Congressional district
DCCC targeting CD10
Dallas Dems look to 2010
Let the results speak for themselves
Meet Tom Schieffer
Kinky says he's getting ready to run
Schieffer jumps in
Help celebrate 27 for 27
One more PPP poll
PPP on the Texas Senate race
More SJL rumors
KBH leads Perry in early poll
Hey, you - wanna run for judge?
The case for Van de Putte
Van de Putte profile
More on Schieffer
The reason we need a credible Democratic candidate for Governor, in a nutshell
More big bucks for Bill White
Pete Sessions and the Taliban
Is KBH overstating her support?
Two challengers for Dunbar
White gets to a big fundraising start
Don't fear a fight with KBH
Kay and Rick, Rick and Kay
Cisneros for Governor?
Kay and Rick on the money
Waiting for KBH, the saga continues
The Speakership and redistricting
Sharp makes it official
Another Mayor for Senate?
Possibly my last post about the 2010 Governor's race this year
Your name here for Governor in 2010
More on Bill White's Senate announcement
White officially announces
Some sloppy Senate reporting
White for Senate
More Senate scrambling
Sharp is in for Senate, whenever that is
A look ahead to 2010 in Harris County
The Kay and Rick show gets ready to take it on the road
KBH forms exploratory committee
How steep is that hill?
Waiting for Bill
Lone Star Times calls on Dunbar to apologize
It'll be 2010 before you know it
Let the speculation for 2010 begin!
And for our next trick with the SBOE
KBH: Why not both?
Waiting for KBH: A step in the Senate
All John Sharp, all the time
Could we just write one big story and be done with it?
The definite possibility of a firm maybe
No she won't! Yes he will!
More on Ames Jones and KBH
The queue behind KBH
Waiting for KBH, the continuing story
A look ahead to the Council of the future
The Nation on the state of the state
Another Lyceum poll
Once again, why is Kinky Friedman still in my newspaper?
Perry says again that he's running again
Waiting for KBH: The next generation
More on the Perry 2010 plan
The thirty-nine percent solution
Why is Kinky Friedman still in my newspaper?
Don't do us any favors