On challenging Ron Paul in CD14

Jason Stanford has a question.

So why aren’t we targeting Ron Paul again? The Texas legislature drew him the reapportionment equivalent of a target on his back. They took away some of his red meat territory and gave him Galveston and Jefferson counties, something which failed to raise Kuff’s spirits.


Kuff’s not the only one to think this is a non-starter. Everyone in Austin is waiting for relief from the courts or from Obama’s DoJ, and rumor is that the DCCC doesn’t even consider targeting Ron Paul a remote possibility. And yes, though unpopular Ron Paul does have name ID, and he can raise millions at the click of a mouse. And Obama only got 42% in 2008 in this district.

I think all of the arguments against targeting Ron Paul can be chalked up to entrenched pessimism. As I pointed out before, Democrats routinely win these kinds of seats nationwide.

But to really make a case, we’re going to have to see a path to victory in the numbers. First, the placeholder Democrats. Can your average numbnuts candidate do well? Luckily, we have a healthy sample of those, and Kuff breaks down the numbers.

Toss out the 2010 results. We can’t plan for a 100-year-flood every two years. And if 2010 is the new paradigm, we should all quit and sell gold. Those results are pointless either way. Moving on.

The apples to apples argument is statewide judicial candidate Sam Houston, who got 47.3% in the new CD14 in 2008, the last presidential year. Houston didn’t have much cash, was working against years of salesmanship about tort reform, and suffered, at least in the new CD 14, of the effects of a hurricane in Galveston, and he still came pretty close.

It is certainly not my intention to discourage anyone from taking on Ron Paul. I’d be delighted if someone did. My point in the writings Stanford cites is to provide some context, as I believe the partisan numbers in the new CD14 look better than they really are. My basis for this comes down to the trends in Galveston and Jefferson Counties, both of which are entirely within the new CD14, and which are about 75% of its total population. Take a look at how Bill Moody and JR Molina did in consecutive Presidential year and non-Presidential year elections:

County 04 Molina 08 Molina Change 02 Moody 06 Moody Change ================================================================== Galveston 46,065 41,996 -4,069 27,390 29,811 +1,421 Jefferson 48,351 46,024 -2,327 30,805 24,553 -6,252

Like I said, the trends are in the wrong direction. Moody was on the ballot last year as well, and his numbers (26,162 in Galveston; 24,539 in Jefferson) continue that trend. Galveston is a growing county, where most of the growth is coming from the northern, Republican suburbs like Friendswood and League City. Jefferson is a stagnant county made up of staunchly Democratic African-Americans and formerly Democratic Anglos, the latter of which are the bulk of the population and growing less Democratic every day. I hate to be a wet blanket, but I have higher hopes going forward for CDs like 06, 12, 31, and 32, where you can see the population trends be more favorable.

Again, I don’t want to write off any reasonable district. This one absolutely deserves attention, especially given its very different nature from the previous map. Looking beyond 2012, Paul won’t be around forever – he turns 76 this August – so regardless of what the past numbers look like, someone needs to be thinking about the future in CD14. I just want to be realistic about what we’ll be getting into.

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8 Responses to On challenging Ron Paul in CD14

  1. PDiddie says:

    An African-American Democrat with a track record of winning and a war chest — *cough*Joe Deshotel*cough* — might get this done in an Obama year.

  2. trowaman says:

    My issue isn’t the demographics, it’s Paul’s warchest. He’s got a national fundraising base of loonies who at the drop of an e-mail with the title “moneybomb” can get $2 million in a day. That’s the deturrent as I see it. It’s Paul, not the district.

  3. George Washington says:

    To all the people who say Mr. Ron Paul cannot win 2012; All You hear is, he has great ideas, he’s consistent, principled, has forecasted much of the economic problems years ago and wins many of the straw polls. But he’s unelectable. WHY! He’s the best man for the job and he’s got my vote!

  4. Gene Berkman says:

    Why are you so hot to defeat Ron Paul? He opposed Bush’s War in 2002 when John Kerry, Hilary Clinton and John Edwards were all rushing to support Bush’s war drive.

    Ron Paul opposes federal raids on medical marijuana clinics in California – raids which Sen. Obama promised to stop, but President Obama has continued.

    Ron Paul opposes conscription and draft registration. In the 4 years Democrats controlled Congress, they continued to vote funds for draft registration.

    OK, I know you don’t agree with him on everything. But to refer to his supporters as “loonies” is undignified on your part. But it hardly matters, since you cannot defeat Rep. Ron Paul.

  5. Gene – The word “loonies” was used in the comments, not my original post. I trust you see the distinction.

    I am not evaluating Ron Paul on his merits as a Congressman, I am merely discussing the electoral numbers of a newly-drawn district. It’s business, not personal. While there are some points of agreement I have with Rep. Paul, they are far outweighed by my disagreement with his economic policy positions, which I consider to be dangerous, wrong, and harmful.

    But again, this is all about cold-blooded electoral strategy. A Congress with 218 Democrats means Speaker Pelosi. A Congress with 217 Democrats means Speaker Boehner. Defeating Ron Paul means better odds of achieving the former, but that may not be the optimal way to do it given limited resources. It’s a discussion worth having.

  6. Ross says:

    Kuff, why on earth would you be happy with Pelosi? She is an utter piece of garbage, and has not one redeeming position on an issue. She hates the middle class, hates whites, hates business, and hates anyone who doesn’t agree with her. She’s vindictive, and epitomizes the liberal stereotype that hates the idea that someone, somewhere, might be doing something without permission from a petty bureaucrat like herself. Isn’t there a Tip O’Neill type out there somewhere that knows how to work with others (yes the Republicans need to do that too).

  7. I’ll agree to disagree with you about Pelosi, but my point is simply 218 = majority = Dem Speaker. That’s the goal, and the discussion I’m aiming for is the best strategy to help achieve it given the map that we have.

  8. Pingback: Ron Paul not running for re-election in CD14 – Off the Kuff

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