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Anyone But Craddick

Dave McNeely notes that the Democrats in the State House are aiming to elect a different speaker in 2005.

The Democrats, with large eyes, think they they might be able to beat six or seven incumbent Republicans, including two in Austin and Travis County. Democrats also know they have almost as many other seats vulnerable to Republican takeover.


Two scenarios on that replacement strategy:

•One is to build the Democratic minority up enough that a handful of Republicans who aren’t Craddick fans can join a coalition to elect a Democrat as speaker.

•The other possibility would be to have the Republican House members once considered ABC’s — Anybody But Craddick — decide among themselves which of their number is to be elected speaker with the Democrats’ help.

Tommy Adkisson of San Antonio, a Bexar County commissioner who once served in the Texas House, said that he and other Democrats are capitalizing on the national Democratic ticket to help raise money toward targeting key House races. He said that $65,000 was raised toward that end Sunday during an Edwards fund-raising visit to San Antonio.

Soechting hopes Democrats will have as many as five other fund-raisers in coming weeks — in Austin, Houston, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.

Soechting says there are few statewide races in Texas because major offices, such as governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, are chosen in nonpresidential election years.

So it makes sense to try to take advantage of the energy at the top of the ballot, even in Texas, to help races further down, Soechting said.

A lot will have to go right for this to happen, but it’s not out of the question. Democrats certainly know what’s at stake, with the DeLay redistricting scheme threatening five members of the Congressional delegation, and there certainly feels like there’s a lot of energy this year. I think there’s more now than there was in 2002, and there aren’t nearly as many distractions this time around.

That the Edwards fundraiser, which netted $600K for the Kerry/Edwards ticket, also raised $65K for state House candidates is a very good thing. I can’t help but think there won’t be so much corporate cash flowing to Republicans this time around, so the playing field ought to be a bit more level. (You know where to go if you want to find some worthy candidates to help out, right? Good.) It’d be very nice if Kerry and/or Edwards made an appearance or two in Texas that wasn’t simply about fundraising, but if that’s too much to ask for, I’ll say once again that the other original Democratic hopefuls would make fine surrogates. (Howard Dean will be at the HCDP‘s Johnson-Rayburn event on August 21, for those who might be interested.)

I guess what feels different about 2004 is that for the first time since probably 1996, Democrats everywhere in Texas know there’s a damn good reason for them to get to the polls. That won’t be enough to win a statewide election on its own any time soon, but we’re not aiming for that; not this year, anyway. The goal is to raise the tide enough to swamp as many smaller races as possible. Bush beat Gore by 59-38 in 2000. Get that margin to 55-42 or closer this year and I believe that goal will be in reach.

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  1. Mathwiz says:

    Get that margin to 55-42….

    You really think Badnarik will pull 3% this year, or are you expecting David Cobb to get on the ballot (or Nader to win his court case)?

  2. I was just adjusting each total by four percentage points, without thinking too much about who else might be on the ballot. I don’t expect any one of those three to get three percent, but the three of them together probably will.