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From the “Predictions that didn’t quite pan out” department

While I maintain that only fools make predictions, not all predictions themselves are foolish. I think I did pretty well on mine, all things considered. But not everyone fared so well. For instance, in the comments to this post, the following prognostication was made by someone named Craig Klein:

Sheila Jackson Lee is in trouble in this election and no one seems to know it… Least of all her!

There have been significant demographic shifts in District 18 since she last had a Republican opponent.

Inner city neighborhoods in the Heights, Garden Oaks, Mid-Town and elsewhere have been redeveloped and incomes have risen.

Also, the # of African Americans living in the district has stayed basically flat while the # of Hispanics has grown by 65,000.

There were a total of 150,000 votes cast in the district in the last election.

Plus the fact that there is a significant amount of disillusionment with Sheila amongst African Americans, as illustrated by Marcus Davis’ considering running against her earlier this year.

John Faulk, the Republican opponent, got a late start but, is working the street hard.

Since she has an opponent this time, she’ll give up 40 to 50k votes to Republican voters, many of whom vote straight ticket. Then Faulk just needs a 50% of the new hispanics and new high income whites in the district and he’s won!

Sounds great! How’d it turn out?

U. S. Representative District 18 John Faulk REP 21,685 17.50% 39,000 20.34% Sheila Jackson Lee DEM 99,548 80.35% 148,204 77.31% Mike Taylor LIB 2,658 2.14% 4,475 2.33%

Boy, missed it by that much.

I don’t want to spend too much time on this, since it was obviously silly. But as this will serve as my kickoff post for precinct data review, there are a couple of things to note. One, Jackson Lee won nearly as many votes this year as were cast in CD18 in 2004, and her percentage was better than it was 2006, when she won with only 76.62% of the vote. So, you know, so much for Craig’s theory. It’s actually even worse than that, since there were over 110,000 straight ticket Democratic votes cast in CD18, which as you can see would have put Jackson Lee over 50% even if those were the only votes she’d gotten. And she still got 70% of the remaining votes, so pretty much no matter how you slice it, this was a no-doubt-about-it race.

One last thing: Though Barack Obama got more votes in CD18 than Jackson Lee did (150,226 to 148,204), so did John McCain get more than John Faulk, and McCain’s total was high enough at 43,109 to keep Obama’s share of the vote lower than Jackson Lee’s in the straight two-party matchup. Obama got 77.7% of the R/D share, Jackson Lee 79.2%. Maybe there’s still a desire by some to primary her in 2010 for having supported Hillary Clinton this year, but I’d say these numbers show an awful lot of forgive-and-forget. And if that isn’t happening, there’s no way you’ll get her out before she’s ready to leave on her own terms. This is her district.

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  1. Kevin Whited says:

    Do we now have to add “primary” to “gift” and other nouns that have unfortunately become verbs? 🙂

    Obviously, Faulk’s supporter on your website was … umm… overly enthusiastic (a polite term). But I’ll give Faulk credit for going out and actively campaigning in an unlikely district, and for talking to audiences that Republicans often shun. The area GOP is going to need to do more of that in the coming years.

    Indeed, I have great respect for citizens in any party who run such unlikely races and go talk to all sorts of voters. Keyboard warriors often urge “run everywhere” without any real understanding of the time and resource commitment involved.

  2. Baby Snooks says:

    Don’t be too sure it’s “her” district. There is still the “challenge” that presented itself through Marcus Davis. And some anger over her stating she would commmit her delegate vote to Hillary Clinton despite the fact her constituents had overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama. Quietly, discreetly, politely, she has been told by her constituents that they come first. And if they don’t, neither will she and she may be facing a real challenger instead of the threat of a challenger from the African-American community in 2010. She did a lot of damage to herself through her loyalty to Hillary Clinton. And that is something that doesn’t show up in the returns. But might in 2010.

  3. JJ Monkey says:

    It seems like all 6 Harris County Congresspeople “own” their districts. I saw the Chronicle report on “lessons” of the election assert that somehow the Republicans have gerrymandered their Congressmen into office. But the fact is that G. Green, A. Green and Jackson-Lee have no way of being challenged by Reps, just like Culberson, Poe and McCaul have no way of being challenged by Dems.

  4. Mike says:

    Something tells me the Dems are going to have bigger issues to tackle than trying to run candidates as retribution for how various people voted in the 2008 Democratic nomination. If Sheila Jackson Lee is an effective representative for her district *in general*, I would say spend your time and money doing something more constructive than trying to replace her. We have a lot of work to do trying to turn this entire state blue – I say avoid infighting unless she is really incompetent or ineffective.