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Joe Crabb

Interview with Joe Montemayor

Joe Montemayor

We turn our attention this week to some of the Democratic candidates who are running in Republican-held districts. First up is Joe Montemayor, who ran for HD127 in 2008 against Joe Crabb and is running for it again this year against nominee Dan Huberty. Montemayor is a Navy veteran and retired ICE agent, and now owns a small business in Crosby. Here’s what we talked about:

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You can find a list of all interviews for this cycle on the 2010 Elections page.

Here comes Addie

Timing is everything in this life.

[Former Houston City Council Member Addie] Wiseman tells me she is going to run a full and vigorous campaign to replace State Rep. Joe Crabb. Details are still being worked out, she didn’t have a campaign manager or a treasurer when we talked. However, she said she’s well prepared and feels this is really a good fit for her.

Wiseman was term-limited out in 2007, so this opportunity is coming along at a good time for her. There had been some talk that she might run for Jerry Eversole’s seat on Commissioner’s Court next year when he steps down, but apparently that’s not the case. I expect she’ll have as good a shot as anyone to succeed Rep. Crabb.

Elsewhere in election news, freshman State Rep. Marisa Marquez of El Paso, who ousted longtime Rep. Paul Moreno in a Democratic primary last year, may have a primary opponent oh her own, and State Sen. Dan Patrick says he is running for re-election next year. I don’t know that this “answers weeks of speculation that he might be appointed to or run for” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the event she steps down, but it is suggestive, since he was under no real time pressure to announce his re-election bid. Still, if KBH does resign and Rick Perry comes a-callin’, do you think he’d say No? I don’t.

Finally, the word today is that Diane Trautman has announced she will run again for Harris County Tax Assessor. I haven’t seen a press release or anything, but it’s been mentioned a few times on Twitter – I’m guessing she said something at today’s HCDP Brown Bag Lunch event – and there’s now a Facebook page for her candidacy. I’ve heard of another possible candidate for this office, but I don’t know where that person stands as yet.

Crabb not running for re-election

Republican State Rep. Joe Crabb, whose district is HD127 up in Kingwood, is not running for re-election next year.

The announcement came when he briefly spoke at the Crosby Alumni Association Reunion dinner.

Crabb represents District 127 in the Texas House of Representatives.

“It has been 18 exciting years,” Crabb said, “but after 49 years as a Methodist preacher and 26 in the military reserves, it’s time to move on to the next years which will include some fill-in for some pastor friends, some business ventures and much more time with the family.

“We moved to Crosby toward the end of WWII. Other than our parents and church, your friendship contributed the most to our values. We did all our public school education here in Crosby and will always be Crosby Buffaloes at heart,” Crabb said.

HD127 is solidly Republican. Diane Trautman made a nice run at it in 2006, helped by the fact that Crabb was never all that popular within the GOP – he’s drawn primary challengers, usually winning with less than 60% of the vote, for several cycles – but this is a safe seat for the Republicans. Stace, who notes that there have been retirement rumors around Crabb for years, has more.

Is redistricting reform about to become a reality?

Patricia Kilday Hart reports that Sen. Jeff Wentworth’s redistricting commission bill has a chance this session, thanks to the change in Speaker.

Wentworth, who presented his bill to the Senate State Affairs Committee, tells me he has confirmed pledges from six of nine Senate committee members to vote for his plan to turn congressional redistricting over to an independent commission. He gave a compelling — if lengthy — argument at State Affairs today for a new congressional redistricting mechanism, noting that lawmakers of both parties have been guilty of overreaching, vengeful actions that lead inexorably to expensive court appeals every decade.

He’s optimistic about his chances in the House, since it died there last session since “Craddick personally killed it.” Here’s the story: Wentworth had pledges from more than a majority of the House committee, but chairman Joe Crabb told him Craddick had instructed him to sit on the bill. Wentworth then collected signatures form 20 House chairman in support of his bill, but Craddick wouldn’t relent. Why? Wentworth says Craddick instructed him to go read ”Craddick vs. Smith” — a 30-year-old lawsuit over Craddick’s mistreatment during redistricting at the hands of Democrats. (Wentworth’s bill doesn’t touch legislative redistricting, but oh well, ….)

Could Texas really go a less bloody form of congressional redistricting? There were two opponents at Monday’s hearing — the executive director of the Republican Party of Texas, and a witness purporting to represent the Republican County Chairman’s Association (turns out his group hadn’t actually taken an official position on the bill.) Still, things are looking up for Wentworth: Joe Straus was one of the signatures on his letter supporting the bill last session.

Wentworth also claims that Gov. Rick Perry “wants to sign this bill.”

The bill in question is SB315. On the one hand, if this is ever going to happen, this session seems like the time for it – there’s some balance between the parties in the Lege, the GOP can see that they’re in trouble longer term and may want to do what the Dems probably wish they did back in the early 90s. On the other hand, this strikes me as the sort of thing politicians may want to give lip service to but not actually act on; both sides may hear it from their respective bases, as each may have reason to fear they’ll lose ground under this kind of arrangement. That last sentence from Hart’s report gives me pause, I’ll admit. But we’ll see. This ought to make for some interesting public hearings, if nothing else.