Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

John Sharp

Cornyn clueless about KBH

Like everybody else, Sen. John Cornyn has no idea what his senior colleague in the Senate is going to do. And also like the rest of us, or at least us bloggers, he’s willing to speculate wildly about it in public.

Cornyn, who also chairs the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, has pleaded with her not to resign early. After all, if there’s a special election to replace Hutchison, Democrats would have a golden opportunity to pick up the seat, with a strong field including Houston Mayor Bill White and ex-Comptroller John Sharp. Cornyn would rather be safe than have to spend millions playing defense.

With only 40 Republicans in the Senate and the soap opera in Minnesota almost surely a lost cause, Cornyn doesn’t want to risk any more GOP-held spots any sooner than necessary.

“We certainly can’t afford to lose that [Hutchison] seat,” he said.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee boss says he’s wary of White, who is “running a very serious race” and has raised gobs of campaign cash.

“He’s definitely on my radar,” Cornyn said.

With all the jockeying already going on in the Senate race to replace Hutchison, when does he think she will resign her seat?

“My guess,” he told Texas reporters at his Senate office today, is that Hutchison will resign “this fall sometime.”

That would allow Perry to appoint an interim senator and allow a special election to take place in May 2010 instead of this November (which would happen if she resigned this spring or summer).

But Cornyn readily admits that he has no inside info.

“There’s only one person who knows,” the San Antonio Republican said, “and it’s not me.”

Familiar sentiment, no? I’ll say again, I think she stays because she doesn’t want Rick Perry to appoint a replacement, but who knows? Join the club, John.

The Senate fundraising scorecard so far

Here’s what you see for candidates for the US Senate in Texas for the 2009-10 election cycle. I’ve removed the two incumbents plus candidates from previous cycles who are sitll filing finance reports.

Republicans Name Raised Spent Net Cash Debts ======================================================= Ames Jones 49,800 30,369 164,662 0 Shapiro 34,077 99,226 310,407 16,500 Williams, M 206,335 92,377 113,957 51,426 Williams, R 348,081 90,479 388,628 200,501 Total 628,293 412,451 977,654 268,427 Democrats Name Raised Spent Net Cash Debts ======================================================= White 1,867,163 472,119 2,131,638 32,890 Sharp ??? ??? ??? ???

Putting it another way, Bill White raised three times as much as the four Republican candidates combined. Take out the loans, and it’s more like five times as much. He also has more than twice the cash on hand.

So, yeah, I think you can say the Democratic candidates have the early financial lead. Admittedly, Florence Shapiro is hamstrung by the current legislative session; her second quarter numbers will likely be weak as well, especially if there’s a special session. I don’t think it would have made that much difference, however.

And of course all this is before we take into account what John Sharp did. The FEC still doesn’t have Sharp’s details, but BOR’s David Mauro has the scoop:

$515,155.00 – Total contributions other than loans
$514,955.00 – Net contributions other than loans
$2,001,678.10 – Loans made or guaranteed by the candidate

I was sent PDFs with this info shortly thereafter, so I’m sure the FEC page will be updated to reflect this information. The good news for Sharp is that if you subtract the loan money he still outraised the four Republicans. Needless to say, though, that’s nowhere near as impressive as the huge haul he said he had at the deadline. No wonder he clammed up completely after that.

Now this is just the first quarter of a cycle that I believe will go on for at least two full years; more if KBH loses in either race in 2010 and decides to stick it out in DC. Maybe White can’t maintain this pace, maybe Sharp can pick it up; for sure the Republicans, especially Shapiro, can do better than this. As Joe Sheehan likes to say at the Baseball Prospectus, you can’t judge a team’s season by the first few weeks. We’ll know soon enough who will have the funds they need to compete.

Texas secession: Views differ

Looks like Rick Perry has found his audience for secession talk: Ron Paul Nation.

If you don’t feel like sitting through that (can’t say I blame you), Bud Kennedy gives the capsule review:

[Paul calls] secession “very much an American principle” and criticizing the idea of “one nation . . . indivisible” as something thought up by a “socialist.”

Secession is nothing new for Paul, who has waxed poetic in previous videos about an independent Texas with no income tax, no military draft and no interest in any military presence outside Texas.

I think that all pretty much speaks for itself, so for the pro-America response, here’s John Sharp:

I think that would be more salient as part of a gubernatorial campaign. Timely, too – is anyone really going to remember any of this in 2011 or 2012 when that Senate seat is finally on the ballot? Be that as it may, good on Sharp for stating what should be the obvious. Burka has more.

TYD convention

Sadly, I am no longer young enough to be considered a “Young Democrat”. But I’m still young enough to tell you about the Texas Young Democrats convention going on this weekend in Austin. Here’s actual YD George Nasser with the details.

The Democratic youth vote in Texas went up over 300% in 2008. Want to know what this surging demographic is up to next? Catch the movers and shakers of the Texas youth movement at the Texas Young Democrats Convention in Austin this weekend.

The convention will kick off Friday night with a fundraiser for the TYD at the Thistle Cafe from 7 to 10pm. Speakers will include state senator Leticia Van De Putte and Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie. The convention itself will run from the morning of Saturday, April 18 to noon on Sunday the 19th, at St. Edwards University’s Ragsdale Center. Guest speakers for the convention will include Bill White and John Sharp, as well numerous representatives from various issue groups and the Texas Democratic Party.

Also be sure to join the Texas College Democrats following the convention for lobby training at UT at 6pm in preparation for Monday’s TCD Lobby Day.

For more information, hit up the convention web site at http://www.campaignwindow.com/tydconvention or email the Texas Young Democrats at [email protected]

So there you have it. Now get off my lawn and get yourself over to the convention already.

White rakes it in for his Senate bid

Among other things, today is the deadline for federal candidates to report their campaign finance status. Of the many contenders for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat, whenever that becomes available, I think it’s safe to say that Bill White had the best start to the year. From his press release:

Mayor Bill White reported contributions totaling more than $2.6 million in just over 100 days since launching his U.S. Senate campaign, according to a report filed with the Federal Elections Commission today.

More than 1,400 Texans contributed through March 31st, the end of the filing period. The contributions for the filing period totaled more than $1.8 million.

Campaign Finance Chair Scott Atlas said, “The outpouring of support from donors and volunteers has been simply amazing. The energy around Mayor White’s campaign shows Texans believe in his ability to bring people together and get things done. People want their next senator to be a voice for our state’s future.”

So far, none of the Senate incumbents or hopefuls have their reports up on the FEC disclosure page, so I can’t give you the details yet. However, Gardner Selby has some information.

Democrat John Sharp topped five other candidates or prospective candidates for the U.S. Senate in cash on hand as of March 31, though his camp didn’t say this afternoon how much of the $2.4 million he piled up since Jan. 1 came from loans. His loan chunk—perhaps tapping Sharp’s personal wealth—may be left to show up when his report, filed with the Federal Election Commission, surfaces online.

Another Democrat, Houston Mayor Bill White, had $2.1 million cash on hand at the end of this year’s first quarter; he’d taken no loans.

Among Republicans, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams had $388,628 cash on hand; a haul fueled by $200,000 in loans he gave his exploratory committee. State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, had $310,407. She was trailed in her bank balance by two members of the Texas Railroad Commission, Elizabeth Ames Jones with $164,663 and Michael Williams with $113,957.

As Selby notes, we can’t fully judge Sharp’s total till we know how much of it was loaned by himself to the campaign. It’s possible he did better than any of the Republicans and yet still fell well short of White, and it’s possible he outraised White, though to be honest if he’d really taken in $2 million or so, I’d have expected him to be shouting that from the rooftops. We’ll know soon enough. In any case, as BOR notes, the two Dems are way out in from of the Rs – heck, all of them put together can’t match either Dem. That may change if a David Dewhurst or a Greg Abbott jumps in, but for now, it’s a nice position for the Dems to be in.

Other reports of interest, all Congressional:

Pete Sessions, who has been in the crosshairs of the DCCC lately and whose district is trending strongly Democratic, had a good quarter with over $200K raised and almost $900K on hand. Sessions has always been an able fundraiser, no doubt why he’s chairing the NRCC this go-round.

– Mike McCaul doesn’t have a report yet. He already has a well-heeled challenger and a DCCC bulls-eye on his back, but he’s also filthy rich and will not be outgunned financially.

John Culberson had a decent quarter, with $100K raised, though only a modest $70K on hand. He didn’t leave anything in reserve after his expensive re-election fight last year, and though I think he’s likely to skate this time around, I’ll bet he invests some time in restocking his coffers.

Sheila Jackson Lee didn’t raise much, and spent more than she raised, but she starts the year with over $400K on hand, which may give pause to anyone looking to primary her.

– The benefits of running for President, having a national following, and being stalked by Borat not having an opponent in the last cycle: Ron Paul has over two million dollars on hand, despite raising almost nothing and spending nearly $250K.

– Randy Neugebauer in CD19 doesn’t have a report up yet, either, but according to the CREW crew, he wants to use his campaign funds to pay for the use of his yacht to fundraise for his campaign. Just click over and see for yourself. The yacht is anchored in DC, in case you were wondering (as I was) what the heck one would do with a yacht in Lubbock.

– Former Congressman Jim Turner, who was drawn out of his seat in the 2004 Tom DeLay re-redistricting, still has over a million bucks on hand. Which in theory he eventually needs to dispose of in some fashion, either on another campaign of his own or by giving it to other candidates.

That’s all for now. I’ll add to this as I see more reports.

Schieffer jumps in

We have a candidate, one not named Kinky.

Former U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer of Fort Worth has just announced he is taking his first formal step toward seeking the Democratic nomination for governor during a Texas Independence Day press conference in the State Capitol.

“At the very time when Texas desperately needs leadership, people worry that we are experiencing a crisis of leadership,” said Schieffer, the younger brother of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer.

Schieffer, who was still overcoming a bout with laryngitis, said he and his wife, Susanne Silber Schieffer, made a final decision about the race on Sunday.

Schieffer, 61, has been moving toward becoming a candidate since returning to Texas at the end of the Bush Administration in January after serving as Bush’s ambassador to Australia and Japan. The Schieffers traveled more than 4,000 miles around the perimeter of Texas in a homecoming road trip that reacquainted them with potential voters.

[…]

Before becoming a diplomat in the Bush administration, Schieffer was an investor in the partnership that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1989, with Bush and Edward W. “Rusty” Rose. Schieffer served as team president for eight years, running the club’s day-to-day operations and overseeing the building of the Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington.

Politically, Schieffer, a Fort Worth attorney, was identified with the conservative-moderate wing of the Texas Democratic Party during the 1970s and 1980s and was active in the campaigns of such high-profile Democrats as U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Gov. Mark White and Fort Worth Congressman Pete Geren. He was elected to the State Legtislature in 1972, at the age of 25, and served three terms.

OK, technically, Schieffer is still exploring, and won’t officially make up his mind for another two or three months. My guess is that unless someone who can lure away much of his financial support comes along, he’s in for real. You can read Schieffer’s prepared remarks here (PDF). Glenn Smith reacts favorably. McBlogger was already on board – he sees Sen. Van de Putte as a better fit at Lt. Guv. I can certainly see the merit in that, though if she decides to go for the top spot it certainly won’t break my heart. EoW is still skeptical, but willing to hear what Schieffer has to say. Vince is more skeptical.

I think LizeB summarizes the issue with Schieffer as succinctly as possible:

I’m having a tough time getting my mind around not regretting voting for Bush 4 times and wanting to be Dem candidate for guv.

I suspect we’ll hear the name “Tony Sanchez” a lot in the coming weeks. I can deal with Schieffer’s Bush associations – as McB says, there’s a lot of Dems out there who have them, and we need to come to terms with it. I’m pretty open-minded on this – I’ve advocated welcoming exiles (self-imposed and otherwise) from the Republican Party to our ranks, including as candidates. Schieffer’s much less of a concern on that score. What does concern me is that Schieffer is a man from a different era, coming home at a time when the state and the Democratic Party don’t look anything like his heyday. I want to know what Schieffer has to say about today’s issues, today’s direction of each party, and today’s solutions. I once said that I couldn’t “shake the feeling that [John] Sharp is a 1990 candidate wanting to run in 2010”, but at least he’s run for office in this century. I need to know Schieffer isn’t an oldies act, because that just isn’t going to do the job. He’s got the Lone Star Project on his side, and that will help address some of these issues, but that’s just a start. I look forward to hearing more, and the sooner the better.

UPDATE: BOR has video.

PPP on the Texas Senate race

Public Policy Polling follows up its snapshot of the Republican GOP matchup for Governor with a poll of Senate possibilities.

We tested Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and state Senator Florence Shapiro on the Republican side against Houston Mayor Bill White and former Comptroller John Sharp on the Democratic side.

Abbott, who has not announced plans to seek the seat, appears to be the strongest initial candidate. 43% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of him compared to only 25% that view him negatively. He leads Sharp 44-36 and White 42-36 in possible contests.

Dewhurst is almost as strong, with a 43/30 favorability breakdown. He leads Sharp and White by slightly more narrow margins than Abbott, 42-36 over the former and 42-37 over the latter.

It seems inevitable that one of those heavyweights will get into the race if there is indeed a vacancy, but we also tested Shapiro to see how competitive the contest would be if the GOP ended up nominating one of the less well known candidates who have already made their intentions to seek the seat known. Shapiro leads White 37-36 but trails Sharp 37-34, an indication the race could pretty much be a tossup if a more well known Republican doesn’t run.

It appears that Dewhurst or Abbott would be an early favorite, but it’s worth noting that Sharp and White have a lot more room to grow in terms of name recognition. 43% of the electorate has no opinion of White and 41% has none of Sharp, figures much higher than the 27% for Dewhurst and 32% for Abbott. That gives them an opportunity to define themselves positively with the voters who haven’t formed an opinion about them yet.

As Matt notes, the first problem with this is that it ignores most of the announced Republican candidates for this race. There’s no reason to believe Dewhurst or Abbott will jump in to this race, though there’s no reason to think they won’t, either. All we know now is that they haven’t given any indication. What I take from this is that the “Known R versus Unknown D” races show about a six or seven point lead for the R, while the “Unknown R (Sen. Shapiro is an announced candidate) versus Unknown D” races are basically tossups. Looking at the full report (PDF), the partisan breakdown is given as 44R/38D/18I, so in some sense this is just a recapitulation of party ID. And it does suggest that in a race between equally-funded candidates, Texas is indeed a competitive state.

Of course, that leads to the other problem with this, which as the first commenter on the PPP post noted is that we won’t have a two-person race, we’ll have a cast-of-thousands special election. That’s assuming KBH does resign at some point, whether before or after the November of 2010 election. There is still the possibility that she could lose the GOP primary, or remain in the Senate and then lose the general election for Governor. In which case, this election won’t be till 2012, and any poll taken now is even less useful than usual. So while this data point has some usefulness, I wouldn’t consider it predictive in any meaningful sense. It’s fun, and that’s fine as it is.

Van de Putte profile

Really nice article in the SA Current about San Antonio’s Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic caucus leader and a rising national star who had a pretty busy year in 2008 and may be headed for bigger things next year.

In January, she delivered the Spanish-language response to George W. Bush’s final State of the Union Address. In February, she block-walked on the West Side with Hillary Clinton. In June, she set the stage for Clinton’s withdrawal from the presidential sweepstakes by striking a unifying tone at the Texas Democratic Convention. The following week, she joined 11 other Latino leaders at a Washington meeting with Barack Obama to discuss his relationship with the Latino community.

In August, she co-chaired the third night of the national convention, bringing down the curtain on a night when Obama secured the Democratic nomination and Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered his acceptance speech. In October, Texas A&M University Press published Latina Legislator: Leticia Van de Putte and the Road to Leadership, an examination by UTSA political-science professor Sharon Navarro of Van de Putte’s pioneering role as the second Latina senator in Texas history. In December, San Antonio mayoral hopeful Julian Castro publicly introduced Van de Putte as someone who “might be the next Democratic candidate for governor.” That same month, her office had to deny persistent rumors that Barack Obama planned to offer her a position in his administration. And Van de Putte herself has hinted that she might be open to a 2010 run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.

[…]

In recent years, Texas has been brutal to Democrats in state-wide races, and while Van de Putte points out that such a run would be easier for her now that her kids are grown (her youngest is a 19-year-old college student), she doesn’t seem particularly eager to leave the Texas Senate.

“If I can still have that passion in something else, then that’s what I’m going to do,” she says. “But, really, what drives me is my family and the kids. I’ve got great freedom. I have a wonderful district that’s allowed me to do stuff, and they’ve voted me in for another four years, and I’m going to use the voice.”

“We have several well-qualified candidates [for governor and senator],” [Taking Back texas co-founder DeeJay] Johannessen says. “She’s served her constituency well and would be a good candidate.”

[Sen. Mario] Gallegos believes that Van de Putte would alter the game in Texas simply by making a bid for higher office.

“She would get crossover voting, not only because she’s female, but because of the leadership role she’s taken all these years,” he says. “She brings a fresh outlook on things and I think that’s what people are looking for. There’s no doubt in my mind that if she decides to run for the U.S. Senate, or whatever position she decides to run for, that she’ll be able to get her share of the votes.”

I noted the possibility of a Van de Putte candidacy for Governor last week, and nothing I’ve heard since then has changed my perception that she’d generate a lot of excitement if she did run. She doesn’t start out with a lot of money in her campaign coffers, but reading that piece it’s clear she’d have a lot of resources to tap into, including perhaps the President himself. She won re-election last year, so she would not have to give up her Senate seat to make a run for Governor in 2010. Obviously, if either Bill White or John Sharp changed course from the Senate race, that would likely change her calculus. But as things stand now, perhaps the stars are lining up for Sen. Van de Putte to take a crack at it next year. Count me as one who’d be delighted to see this. If you count yourself as well, you can join the Draft Leticia Van de Putte for Governor Facebook group, which has 150 members at the time I published this, and make your preference known. EoW and BOR have more.

Poll Texas

Public Policy Polling is doing a poll of a different kind – they’ve got an online poll up asking their readers where their next poll should be. One of the three choices is Texas – Senate and Governor – for 2010. I’m not sure who they’d match up against whom, especially for the former, but on the odd chance that they’d do a Bill White and/or John Sharp against Rick Perry or KBH for Governor, I’ve cast my ballot for a Texas sample. If you agree, go tell them yourself.

UPDATE: Postcards has some info about potential polling matchups.

White gets to a big fundraising start

I was pretty sure Bill White would be able to raise a ton of money for whatever office he wanted to run for next. So far, that’s true.

Houston Mayor Bill White raised more than $640,000 in his first 15 days campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, according to a federal campaign finance report filed Saturday.

White, who announced his campaign in December, also donated $120,287 to his effort and began this year with $737,000 in the bank. All the money raised by White for his Democratic campaign came from individuals.

The only other Democrat in the prospective race so far, former Comptroller John Sharp, did not create a campaign committee until Jan. 2. He will not report any fund-raising numbers until April.

That ought to be an interesting comparison. I have no idea if there’s enough room for two high-profile Democratic Senate candidates to raise the kind of dough they’ll need for an election whose date is unknown. Will people tell them to come back when there’s a date set? Or will they want to be in on the ground floor and hope to bigfoot the other guy out of this race? Heck if I know, but White’s got the early marker down. He’s got more cash than anyone else in the race so far. I don’t know how much that’s ultimately going to help for this particular race, given its dynamic, but it sure can’t hurt.

Cisneros for Governor?

Last week, Harvery Kronberg posted an anonymous analysis of former San Antonio Mayor and Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros as a Democratic candidate for Governor in 2010. I’ve put a copy of it here (rich-text format document) for ease of download. Todd Hill at BOR goes into this at some depth, so I’ll leave the heavy lifting to him. For now, I’ll say that while the BOR commenters were more negative than positive to the idea, I think on balance Cisneros would be a decent candidate. I’m less worried about his baggage than some, on the grounds that if Rick Perry is the Republican nominee, he’ll go negative on whoever the Dems put up, and if it’s KBH the Democratic candidate will have to do the same. I don’t think we’ll get any more or less a negative campaign with Cisneros on the ticket, it’ll just be a matter of what gets said. Finally, if neither Bill White nor John Sharp changes his mind about what race to run, Cisneros would at least qualify as someone with statewide name recognition and fundraising potential. If those two are out, we could certainly do worse than Henry Cisneros; we may wind up doing worse regardless. What do you think?

Kay and Rick on the money

Well, there was never any doubt that they’d be swimming in cash.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison moved nearly $8 million into her state campaign finance account last year — a high-stakes signal that she is committed to running for Texas governor in 2010.

In December she transferred most of that money from her U.S. Senate campaign account, according to campaign finance reports released Thursday. She started the year with $7.9 million in the bank.

Gov. Rick Perry, who intends to seek re-election, will prove a formidable foe with $6.6 million in the bank so far, according to the reports. A political battle between the two could cost each of them more than $20 million.

Remember how many ads there were on the TV this past fall, even though the Presidential campaigns didn’t do much? We got off way easy compared to what this might be. Be prepared to be very sick of this in another year or so.

So does this mean that KBH is for sure running for Governor? She thinks she is, and I think she is, too. But I still think you never really know with her, and you won’t know for sure till she files for the primary. And even if she does run, it still doesn’t mean she’ll resign from the Senate first. Go read that Politico article again and see just how much KBH and her decision are in the spotlight. If it were just a matter of her winning next November, that would be one thing. But she has to win a Republican primary first, and I don’t see how she can afford to give Rick Perry that kind of ammunition to use against her. I just cannot imagine her resigning any time before March of 2010, if at all.

Which brings us to the eventual election, special or otherwise, to fill her seat. This bit from that Politico story is worth considering:

If Hutchison gives up her seat, national Republicans would likely move quickly to recruit their candidate and help raise money to ensure the seat stays in the party’s hands. But doing that would divert precious resources that would otherwise be used to help the party recover from two disastrous elections and defend four open seats in 2010.

“It’s more than a casual interest that we at least maintain 41 senators,” said Texas’ junior senator, John Cornyn, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He told reporters Wednesday that Hutchison might not resign if she pursues her governor’s bid.

Hutchison’s resignation likely would set off a primary battle between state and congressional lawmakers and state officials, according to local political operatives. A couple of prominent GOP names have also recently bubbled up as potential Hutchison successors, including state Attorney General Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

And even though Democrats would have a tough climb to win the Senate seat, some already have their eyes on it, including Houston Mayor Bill White. The national party would undoubtedly put a huge amount of resources into the race if winning it would get Senate Democrats to the magic number of 60.

The prospect of national money changes things in a couple of ways. For one, I think it renders the Rick Casey scenario essentially moot. If the election were this May, with the current field of Bill White, John Sharp, Roger Williams, Michael Williams, Florence Shapiro, and Elizabeth Ames Jones, I could imagine the two Dems splitting 45% and the four GOPers splitting the rest, with none of them breaking 20% and thus yielding an all-Dem runoff. That’s because none of the GOPers has a particularly high profile, so none of them would be likely to break away from the pack. A few million dollars, plus some big endorsements and whatever help the NRSC – conveniently chaired by Texas’ junior Senator – can offer goes a long way towards distinguishing one of these contenders. Under those conditions, I can’t imagine whichever one of them drew the golden ticket would not do far better than 20%; he or she would probably lead the field, and then win the runoff comfortably.

It gets a bit more complicated if a Dewhurst or an Abbott, both of whom have statewide profiles as well as a boatload of their own money, jumps in. Most likely, either one of them gets in because he’s the chosen one, or they both stay out because it’s made clear to them that they’re not. Dewhurst could still run anyway if he got piqued about it, but I wouldn’t expect that. Bottom line is that someone on the Republican side is going to have a ton of resources available. That person will be a huge favorite to win. We can spin theories and possibilities and what-ifs all we want, but that strikes me as the most probably outcome.

So given that one Republican contender will almost surely have the near-full force of the national and state parties behind him or her, doesn’t this change the math for the two Democrats? For one thing, we come back to the same question we started off with, which is how do you win the inevitable runoff? I seriously doubt either of them has an answer to that question right now. Sure, the national Dems will be there to help as well, but in a war of statewide turnout with a motivated Republican electorate, how do you win? I don’t have an answer for that, either.

Which brings me back to the question I keep asking: Why not try for Governor instead? KBH hasn’t won that primary against Rick Perry yet. She may stay in her seat through November of 2010 – or at least through September of 2010, which would be good enough for special election purposes – which would give you a second bite at the statewide apple if she beats both Perry and you. The national GOP isn’t going to care about that race. The issues won’t get tied up nearly as much in the state of the nation and the Obama administration, so you’ll have hopes for crossovers. Just based on the non-trivial chance that Perry takes the primary, I don’t see how this race doesn’t offer better odds of a Democrat winning. And yet here we are. It’s still a little too early to be officially worried about 2010, but it’s certainly not irrational to be.