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Prioritizing the target list

So now that we’ve had a tour of the possible targets for the Democrats in 2012, how would I prioritize them? Let’s start with the districts I’d call the Must Haves, and the Really Nice To Haves:

Dist Incumbent County ============================= 034 Torres/Scott Nueces 035 Aliseda multiple 041 Pena Hidalgo 078 Margo El Paso 101 Open Tarrant 117 Garza Bexar 017 Kleinschmidt multiple 054 Aycock Bell 105 Harper-Brown Dallas 107 Sheets Dallas 113 Driver Dallas

As noted before, 101 was drawn to be a Democratic district. All of the seats in the first group were won across the board by Democratic candidates in 2008, while the second group maxed out in the 48-49% range. I suspect that the three Dallas districts have gotten a little friendlier to the Dems since 2008, though we won’t know till they start voting. The other two may not be as gettable as the others, but 2012 is likely to be as good a year as any to try for them. Note that if we pick up all 11 of these seats, we’re only at 59 total, thanks to the Hochberg/Vo pairing, which is to say three short of where we started out in 2002. So what’s next on the list?

Dist Incumbent County ============================= 012 Open McLennan 045 Isaacs Hays 052 Gonzales Williamson 085 Open Fort Bend 102 Carter Dallas 112 Chen-Button Dallas 114 Hartnett Dallas 134 Davis Harris 149 Open Williamson

Here we come to districts where barring anything unusual I’d say Democratic candidates start out as distinct underdogs, though as above demographic changes since 2008 may make them a little bluer than they look now. The Dallas and Williamson seats will help provide a benchmark of where we really stand, and whether the Republican map is a work of genius or desperation. Candidate recruitment, and coordinated messaging could make a difference. Greg suggested that HD12 would be a nice fit for a Jim Dunnam comeback if he were so inclined, and I’m sure Patrick Rose would make an HD45 rematch competitive. It occurs to me that 2006 CD14 candidate Shane Sklar lives in HD85. He actually won the Jackson/Wharton combination in 06, so I hope he’s thinking about this. As for whoever runs against Sarah Davis, I would advise committing the phrases “She voted to cut $8 billion from public schools” and “She voted to cut family planning funds” to memory, and repeat them at least 100 times a day.

Finally, the seats that I don’t expect to be on the radar in 2012 but will be in future cycles:

Dist Incumbent County ============================= 032 Hunter Nueces 047 Workman Travis 064 Crownover Denton 065 Solomons Denton 066 Taylor Collin 067 Madden Collin 093 Nash Tarrant 096 Zedler Tarrant 097 Shelton Tarrant 108 Branch Dallas 115 Jackson Dallas 132 Callegari Harris 133 Murphy Harris 135 Elkins Harris 138 Bohac Harris 144 Legler Harris

Hunter’s seat, as noted, is mostly dependent on his own decisions – if he aims for higher office in 2012, it’ll be a hot race; if not, it may never be. The Harris districts will continue to morph as the population shifts and changes out west and around Pasadena. It’s possible some of these seats could be more competitive in an off-year race, and who knows what 2014 might look like. For the most part, I’m casting an eye towards 2016. I know, I know, that’s a long way off. But if I’m right, it ought to be a very interesting year.

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  1. […] Republican districts are more purple than I’d have expected, and much as is the case with State House districts, it may be that in a cycle or two a few of these guys could be imperiled. It’s harder for me […]