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Stephen Takach

Congressional runoff stories

A couple of Chron stories about area Congressional primary runoffs for your perusal.

CD14:

Sometimes [CD14 GOP candidate Randy Weber] mentions that he was designated the most conservative member of the Texas House during his two terms in Austin.

“We don’t knock on a lot of moderate doors, because my message doesn’t really resonate with them,” he said.

[…]

Felicia Harris, whose reserved, no-nonsense style is in sharp contrast to the voluble Weber, said she has been knocking on doors, as well – thousands and thousands, sometimes between 200 and 400 a day.

“Our grass-roots game is the same as it’s always been,” she said at her campaign office in a League City strip center.

The lawyer and former Pearland city councilwoman, a graduate of Texas A&M University and South Texas College of Law, said she has a more youthful outlook than her opponent.

“I’m 42 years old. He’s almost 60,” she said. “Nothing wrong with age differences, but it’s a different perspective.”

It is, or at least it can be. I don’t really expect that Harris would vote any differently than Weber – the story doesn’t mention any disagreements the two have on issues – so it’s all a matter of style. Weber’s style is apparently to only talk to people who already agree with him. Unclear if Harris is the same way or not, but I doubt she’d say otherwise in the heat of a primary runoff. Much better to vote for Nick Lampson in November and get someone who’d do his best to represent the whole district, wouldn’t you say?

CD36:

If neophyte political candidate Stephen Takach was unaware that politics ain’t beanbag, as the saying goes, he’s fully aware now, thanks to his Republican primary runoff experience in the newly created 36th Congressional District with an opponent whose campaign strategy is unorthodox, to say the least.

Steve Stockman, 55, who served one term in Congress in the 1990s, spurns most public events and candidate forums and rarely talks to news media. Instead, he has blanketed the East Texas district with fake tabloid newspapers emblazoned with such headlines as “Stephen Takach drove family friend into bankruptcy,” “Gunowners Furious as Takach sides with ‘gun grabbers’ ” (Sheila Jackson Lee, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi) and “Takach smears Stockman for taking care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken father.”

Takach, 50, said last week that he mentioned in a mailing that Stockman had declared bankruptcy in 2002. According to the account in Stockman’s “Times Free Press,” the candidate had to declare bankruptcy because he quit work to tend to his father’s needs – ergo Takach was smearing Stockman for caring for his father, “a World War II veteran who served his country fighting the Nazis.”

“The people that know me are just livid,” Takach said. “They are so upset.”

[…]

Most of Takach’s positions are doctrinaire Republican: against the Affordable Care Act, against amnesty for undocumented immigrants, for traditional marriage, against abortion.

He pointed out that he and his opponent hold similar positions on a number of issues – issues that are closer today to the tea party-infused GOP mainstream than they were when Stockman was in Washington. Back then, Stockman supported a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, as does Takach.

What we learn: Being a better person does not necessarily make one a better Congressperson. As with CD14, and with every other Congressional Republican from Texas, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Takach and Stockman on the issues. Having not been raised by wolves, Takach will be less embarrassing, though even Steve Stockman may have a hard time outdoing Louie Gohmert these days. But that’s about all it means. Sadly, CD36 was drawn to elect a Republican, so there’s a decent chance Stockman will get his return engagement to Congress. You ought to get to know Max Martin anyway.

As of the end of early voting, no story has been written on the Democratic runoff in CD07. I know, it likely won’t matter in November, but if you wanted to highlight a race in which the two candidates did actually differ on some issues, and for which there’s been no lack of, um, material for a story, I don’t know how the Chron could overlook this one right in their own back yard. Finally, I have to agree with David Nir that the Democratic runoff in CD34 deserved a hell of a lot more attention than it has gotten. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have done much about that, either. I sent Filemon Vela an email asking to do an interview way back when I first geared up for the May primaries and the Congressional districts had been settled, but he never replied. I didn’t try to contact Denise Saenz Blanchard, and once the May primary was over I was too busy and distracted to try either of them again for the runoff. I’ll try to reach the nominee for a November interview, but you know how it goes. The CD33 race has understandably gotten a ton of coverage, but this one should not have slipped under the radar.

Endorsement watch: Who’s your fourth choice?

The Chron endorses a new candidate for the CD36 Republican primary runoff.

Two survivors emerged from the crowded May Republican primary race to fill the new congressional seat for U.S. District 36, one of four new congressional districts added to the Texas delegation in Washington as a result of the 2010 Census.

The remaining candidates are Stephen Takach, a political newcomer from Baytown with deep roots in the district, and Steve Stockman, a former one-term congressman who upset veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks in the 1994 Republican sweep.

We urge District 36 Republican runoff voters to cast their ballots for Takach. The runoff winner will face the unchallenged Democratic primary winner, businessman and pilot Max Martin, in November. The sprawling district encompasses Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin and Liberty counties in East Texas, as well as Chambers County and a portion of east Harris County.

Remember, this was the race in which the Chron had made a three-way endorsement for the May primary. As none of those three made the cut, they had to dig a little deeper for the runoff. Given that one of the two candidates left standing was the notorious whackjob Steve Stockman, the choice was easy if not obvious when they started. Hey, you endorse from the pool of candidates you have, not the pool of candidates you wish you had.

Of the other runoffs – and I’m going off the top of my head here, so jump in and make whatever additions or corrections are needed – the only other one I can think of where the Chron’s first round choice was eliminated was the HD137 primary, in which the Chron originally recommended Joe Madden. Since the May field was as they called it an “impressive slate of candidates”, their second choice will hardly be a consolation prize. Beyond that, the Chron did not make a choice in CD07, HCDE Precinct 1 Position 6, or Constable Precinct 2, so we’ll see if they get around to it this time. For all the other races I can think of, the runoff candidates include the Chron’s pick from May. On the Democratic side that includes Paul Sadler and Cindy Vara-Leija; for the GOP that includes David Dewhurst, David Medina, and Carl Pittman. Again, if I’ve missed anyone, let me know.