Castro will decide this month

We should know soon if there are two Democratic challengers to Sen. Ted Cruz.

Rep. Joaquin Castro

After Joaquin Castro exhorted a room full of Dallas-area activists Sunday to mobilize against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, a man asked the San Antonio congressman the most pressing question: “You gonna run?”

A grinning Castro said he would make a decision on a Senate campaign by the end of April.

“Beating Ted Cruz in Texas is a tough hill to climb,” he said. “We’re going to need all the energy we can get.”

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, already a candidate to challenge Cruz, was making his pitch to Cowtown voters.

“The fact that you have a member of Congress that’s already announced and filed, and another member of Congress who is weeks away from making his decision, that is a sign of health and vitality,” O’Rourke said before his campaign stop. “This is becoming a two-party state.”


The potential of two Democrats vying to meet Cruz in an uphill battle has the party faithful excited. Cruz is the most popular Republican in Texas, and beating him will be tough for anyone, let alone a Democrat in a GOP-controlled state.

“Competition is good,” said DeSoto City Council member Candice Quarles, who attended Sunday’s march. “A competitive Senate race will get Democrats excited again. If you want it, you’ve got to earn it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Quarles said the fresh faces of Castro and O’Rourke would inspire younger voters who have grown tired of the same faces that often discourage new involvement in the political process.
State Rep. Victoria Neave, who in 2016 upset incumbent Republican Kenneth Sheets in Dallas-based House District 107, said voters were excited about both candidates.

“People are excited about the change we can have here in Texas,” Neave said. “Both of the candidates are exciting and they are getting people engaged. Anytime we have dialogue and discourse about issues in our community, it’s a good thing.”

I’ve discussed the primary question before, mostly in the context of it being Beto O’Rourke versus some nobody or nobodies that he could (hopefully) crush as a warmup exercise. A primary against Castro would be a whole ‘nother thing. No question, it would energize a lot of people, it would bring a ton of attention to the Democratic ticket, and it would be great exposure and experience for the winner, and quite possibly for the loser if he’d consider a 2020 challenge to John Cornyn as a Plan B. And right now at least, everyone is being cordial and focusing on the big prize. Castro and O’Rourke have been appearing at events together and openly talk about their respect for each other. But let’s not kid ourselves, primaries are competitions in which someone wins and someone loses, and the more competitive it is the harder and more personally everyone takes it. This isn’t an argument against Castro getting in – by all means, if that’s his intention, he should go for it – just a reminder that the laws of primary elections have not been repealed. Whatever people are saying now, if Castro/O’Rourke does happen, they will all be glad when it’s over.

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19 Responses to Castro will decide this month

  1. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Castro says we need all the money we can get, Beto says we will win it with volunteers and hard work.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I wonder if Joaquin will remind those rich donors that his brother wants to bring the unwashed masses in public housing to THEIR neighborhoods, to culturally enrich them, up close and personal, and help lower the crime rate in their affluent areas, because people who live in public housing (and their friends) are more law abiding than the population at large.

  3. Thanks for your honesty says:

    Bill, your characterization of low to moderate income individuals who avail themselves of the opportunities afforded by low income tax credit housing, or “public housing”, as “culturally enrich(ing)” coupled with your suggestion they’re “unwashed” and prone to crime betrays not only a fundamental lack of understanding of how low income housing functions in the state of Texas and who lives in such developments (number one employer of residents? WalMart. Number two? HISD. Unwashed masses indeed.) but a really blatant and malicious racism.

    I am glad that Kuffner welcomes a chorus of differing opinions on this page- I frequently read and am occasionally enlightened by the comments here- but you have crossed the line from reasonable disagreement to balatant racism.

    In some ways I wish all opponents of housing for low and middle income folks could be as honest as you and come right out and use phrases like “unwashed” “cultural” “masses” to show their “concerns” for what they really are, but I am nonetheless apalled that sort of overt racism is welcome here.

    I know you’ll clutch you’ll pearls at the accusation, but let me assure you that being stripped of the dignity of a chance for adequate housing in a neighborhood generally of your choosing is a lot more painful than being called out as a racist.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Racist? You’ll really have to stop phoning it in and put more thought into your post next time.

    1) The majority of Americans on welfare are white. Isn’t that why Trump won? All the unwashed masses voted for Trump?

    2) All cultures have value and are equal.

    Surely the good people of River Oaks, and Highland Park would welcome the cultural enrichment that comes from public housing residents, both white and people of color, being rehomed into their neighborhoods, right? I’m saying that Joaquin should remind those rich donors of his brother’s good works in that area. Should be good for fundraising, right?

  5. Thanks for your honesty says:

    I’ll take “phoning it in” over cynical obscurantism any day.

    1) That the majority of recipients of public assistance, housing and otherwise, in this country are white is true, but not at all germane to your response, and while I admire the move as a piece of rhetoric, I suspect you know it. As evidenced in your later rather tired quip about River Oaks and Highland Park you clearly mean this to be about the residents of subsidized and public housing in Texas’ urban areas, and that is a majority minority population. No one, you especially, would understand your initial comment to be about poor white folks being “rehomed” in high opportunity areas, and so this entire point is superfluous at best (what does this have to do with Trump?) and cynical at worst.

    2) Umm sure though I cannot imagine what that has to do with you stoking old racial fears for political point scoring. I suppose maybe you just “phon(ed) in” this platitude as an obscurantist move vis a vis the accusation of racism? Honestly I’m at a loss on that one.

    You’re not a Democrat, which is fine- to each their own- so I don’t know how firm your grasp is on the character or priorities of Texas’ Democratic donor class (that you seem to think it’s centered in River Oaks and Highland Park is instructive in this regard) , but I really don’t think Joaquin’s connection to his brother’s commitment to a diversity of neighborhood options for low and moderate income housing, would be a deal killer, as I don’t know many of those dedicated Democratic donors are swayed by the sort of bigoted NIMBY rhetoric so frequented leveled at Secretary Castro during his time with HUD and (QED above) beyond.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    OK, well, where is Texas’ Dem donor class located, if not in River Oaks? Copperfield, maybe? Copperfield donors already know the enrichment that comes from having public housing residents in their community. Remember the Deputy Goforth shooting? Yeah. Who wouldn’t donate for more of that?

    And what does Trump have to do with this? You intimated that “unwashed masses” somehow equals a slur for non whites, and thus exposed some kind of code word racism. I pointed out the fallacy of that argument by pointing out that the unwashed masses swept Trump (an actual anti-people of color racist) into power.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a libertarian, which explains why I agree with Kuff maybe 15-20% of the time, and disagree with the good folks over at Big Jolly occasionally. Of the two, I prefer Kuff’s blog because he does his research, hits on more topics of interest to me, and with more detail.

  7. Thanks for your honesty says:

    Quick request for clarification: Shannon Miles, murderer of Deputy Goforth, had a criminal record going back to 2005 and as such would be ineligible for public housing (assuming at least one such conviction from the 2000s was either violent or drug related) and in fact would be disallowed from even visiting friends or family in a public housing development, much less living with them. Now nothing would necessarily keep him from staying in a LIHTC financed or HCV accepting multi-family development, but I’m curious if you could explain why you assume Mr. Miles’ residence was public housing. If that’s a documented fact I’d actually be very anxious to see the citation as that would indeed be a pretty shocking example of residents of public housing menacing the community in an egregious and tragic manner.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Miles lived with his mother, in Copperfield, in a house owned (at the time) by the Houston Housing Authority. That news was shocking, and I’ll look for cites. It’s been a while since that was in the news.

  9. C.L. says:

    @Bill… you’re getting served, brother. You should just stop.

  10. Thanks for your honesty says:

    With all due respect the area in which Shannon Miles and his mother lived was well outside the Houston city limits and thus the jurisdiction of the HHA (which hasn’t owned single family homes in several years anyway) and in the jurisdiction of of the Harris County Housing Authority, which has no properties anywhere in Precinct 3 (the precinct in which Copperfield is located) and only operates one single family development at all, which is over in Greater Greenspoint, so at the risk of crying “fake news” I would be dubious of reports Mr. Miles’ mother lived in a publicly funded home.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Concerned says:
    August 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Blockshopper, which shows the property owner info (though not always current) shows “Houston City Housing Auth” for Miles’ house. Since when do housing authorities provide entire single family homes to people?

    A look at the houston blockshopper site shows a bunch of single family houses owned at some point by HHA.

  12. Flypusher says:

    You’ll need plenty of $, volunteers, and hard work, because this is a steep unhill battle. If they’re lucky, Trump will keep giving them free political ammo with his screwups and badly veiled bigotry.

  13. Thanks for your honesty says:

    It is my understanding that HHA owned and leased single family homes at some point, but ended the program entirely in late 2011 as it wasn’t working out. (I’m not familiar with the vagaries of all of HHA’s programs, but I knew that one ended years ago and it appears, from the data you provided, that happened at the end of 2011) What I imagine happened was those homes were offered with the same sort of allowances made to accommodate lower to moderate income individuals operative in standard multi family LMI units. Either way anyone living in those homes at the time of sale would have to either have to refinance with the new owner or, much more likely, move elsewhere as most private lenders aren’t interested in providing subsidized mortgage terms out of the goodness of their hearts, and as such while I don’t feel like chasing down the tax records right now, it seems overwhelmingly likely Miles’ mother either leased or financed the home with a private owner or bank rather than having received it as part of an HHA administered program. It’s also worth noting that housing authorities, and all manner of public entities, sometimes purchase property for the same reason lots of other people do: as real estate investments, and don’t utilize those lots for public or subsidized housing.

    Either way it’s a bit of a red herring as what we can agree didn’t happen is a low income development was placed in Copperfield under HUD high opportunity area mandates into which Miles’ mother moved and in which he subsequently (illegally, per HUD regulation) lived. I have full faith in confidence in the Conservative media ecosphere that had that been the case they would have been lighting their hair on fire and calling for Secretary Castro’s resignation, pillory, and removal from Washington tarred and feathered on a rail. The line between Deputy Goforth’s murder and the encouragement of subsidized units in high opportunity areas is, as such, either so tenuous as to be more of a broken dash or, more plausibly, nonexistent.

  14. C.L. says:

    @Thanks for your honesty. Beautiful. .

  15. Bill Daniels says:


    You point out that the HHA ended the experiment in buying up houses and moving in taxpayer funded people. Why would they end that experiment if it was working well?

    Also, you seem fixated on “low income developments.” That isn’t what Castro’s brother Julian did during his time at HUD. He focused his efforts on moving Section 8 recipients out of the city, into the suburbs, by increasing the government rent contribution and offering “mobility counselors” to help those Section 8’ers move to places like Plano and Frisco.

    “Starting in 2012, the agency sweetened Section 8 voucher payments, and pointed inner-city recipients to the far-flung counties surrounding Dallas. As government-subsidized rentals spread in all areas of the Metroplex (163 ZIP codes vs. 129 ZIP codes), so did crime.

    Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently had to call in state troopers to help police control it. For the first time, violent crime has shifted to the tiny bedroom communities north of the city. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and break-ins, including home invasions.

    Moreover, a study of a similar experiment called “Moving to Opportunity,” performed during the Clinton administration, found “no consistent detectable impacts on adult economic self-sufficiency or children’s educational achievement outcomes, even for children who were too young to have enrolled in school at baseline” and that the data “did not show any signs of the large drop in violent-crime arrests.”

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results. Bill Clinton tried this. Obama used Castro to try it again, and each time, the same result: crime goes up in the areas where Section 8’ers are relocated.

  16. Thanks for your honesty says:

    The extent to which I find this dialogue productive and want to keep it going through a holiday weekend is equal to the extent to which I feel you accurately characterize Secretary Castro’s priorities during his time in office, so I’m not going to go back and forth much more. (Particularly not about “Moving to Oppurtunity”, which you correctly highlight as an extremely interesting piece of research, but in terms of usefulness for policy, well… Ask ten experts what the policy lessons to learn from MTO was/is and get ten different answers.)

    However before I wish all well and leave the thread I’d like to see your article from Lifezette which… Well…. They have White House press credentials now so who am I to judge, and raise you some light reading on the actual facts of the supposed connection between housing choice vouchers (“Section 8”) and crime. I doubt Dr. Lens is quite Lifezette material, but I personally find his research pretty compelling in this regard.

    Happy Easter, gut yontiff, good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy.

  17. Pingback: Would a contested primary for Senate be bad for Dems in 2018? – Off the Kuff

  18. Neither Here Nor There says:

    I find myself agreeing with something Bill Daniels wrote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results.”

    Why oh why do the Republicans believe that if you give tax breaks for the rich that it will create jobs.

    I will also point out that looking at only one thing that may occur when Section 8 housing moves to areas is like the blind men attempting to describe an elephant.

  19. Bill Daniels says:


    Trump has a simple, multi pronged strategy to bring back jobs, that isn’t pure free market capitalism, but should work anyway.

    Lessen the regulatory burden: make it cheaper to do business in the US.

    Lower the tax rate for repatriating money from overseas. A smaller percentage of something is better than a big percentage of, well, nothing.

    Lower taxes. Lowering taxes enables consumers and businesses to keep more of what they make, and that money gets spent, or invested. Either way, good for the economy.

    Punitive taxation for companies that offshore manufacturing, then import products. I’m not totally on board with this, but I’m digging the public shaming Trump has done to bring this issue to light. Whether you like him or not, he’s really effective using the bully pulpit.

    ZOMG! What about those evil tax cuts for the rich? Well, there’s 47% of America that is paying NO federal income tax. Cutting taxes for them is already a done deal, in fact, thanks to EITC, some of that 47% actually are tax positive……they make money on the income tax system.

    That leaves the 53% that pay tax, and if you cut the tax of those 53% in the same percentage, then the folks who PAY the most, will get the most benefit out of the tax cut. That isn’t evil.

    You and your buddies order a pizza. Y’all pay for it, and some guys forgot their wallets, others can only kick in pocket change, but you pay for the bulk of it, plus tip because you are loaded.

    The manager comes back and tells you you overpaid and hands you some change back. Is it evil and wrong that you, the guy who chipped in the most for the pizza, gets the bulk of the change?

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