September 30, 2004
Looking ahead

Greg notes two entries by George Strong in which he indicates that Ken Bentsen will throw his hat in the ring for the Senate race in 2006, and in which the DSCC comes to town on behalf of already-all-but-declared candidate Barbara Radnofsky. Greg adds his two cents regarding the 2006 landscape.

I'm going to jump on in to the Who I Want To See Run In 2006 capades, but my target isn't the statewide races. I'm going to talk about who I want to see run for various Congressional seats. In doing this exercise, I'm going to make the optimistic assumption that all of the endangered incumbents win this year. Those who do wind up losing can run again if they want, or have their own crack at this or that statewide office - Charlie Stenholm, for example, would make a helluva candidate for Ag Commish if he finds himself looking for work next year. I'm also not mentioning CD06 and CD22 - as far as I'm concerned, Morris Meyer and Richard Morrison should run in 2006 whether they win this year or not.

The reason why I want to see people like the following run for Congress in these currently not strongly contested districts is twofold: One, with redistricting spreading the GOP voters out, some of them would be reasonably competitive with a good candidate and some money. And two, getting more Democrats to the polls around the state will only help the statewide candidates (and vice versa). What's not to like?

With that in mind, here's my lineup:

CD04: Barry Telford, who's retiring from the State House this year after nine terms, would be a fine choice to go after the fossil Ralph Hall (if Hall finally retires and leaves the seat open, so much the better). My first thought was Paul Sadler, the former State House member who lost a close special election race earlier this year to replace the retiring State Sen. Bill Ratliff, but his hometown is in CD01. Maybe we could persuade him to move from the city of Henderson to the county of Henderson and challenge Jeb Hensarling in CD05, but without a record in that area he'd not have any realistic prospects. Anyway, the moderate Telford would be a good counterbalance to Hall, whose increasingly quaint views cost him the Dallas Morning News' endorsement in this year's Republican primary. With all due respect to Jim Nickerson and his efforts this year.

CD07: Chris Bell. Or, failing that, Ken Bentsen. The redistricted CD07 is a very different beast than it once was, covering large swaths of Bell and Bentsen's old CD25 plus a sizeable chunk of Montrose (my previous house, near Montrose and Dallas, is in the new CD07). John Martinez, running on a shoestring, is getting a lot more signage in this part of the district than I'd have thought given his anonymity, and this is surely due to the area's deep Democratic roots. It'd be tough, but someone with money and name recognition could make John Culberson sweat.

CD10: Sherry Boyles. This idea is not original to me - it was suggested by Hope's husband Mike while Tiffany and Olivia and I were briefly in Austin last weekend. With all due respect to Lorenzo Sadun, who's run a fabulous race as the write-in, anyone who runs in CD10 in 2006 will curse the State Democratic Party and all the associated county parties as I have for essentially ceding this district to the Republicans this year. Sure, it's as GOP-tilted as other districts, and sure, it's hella expensive for media buys, but you know what? The GOP didn't get to where it is now by being afraid to run their candidates in what they knew were losing causes 30 years ago. Boyles has statewide campaign experience, a good resume, ties to Austin where she'd need to run strong to have a chance, and would make any Democrat in the district proud to vote for her.

CD14: John Sharp. After two straight close losses in statewide races (with the more recent one being less close), it's time for Sharp to do his part and let someone else carry the statewide flag. The best thing he could do for that person is to challenge Ron Paul and give all the Democrats in CD14 a reason to vote again. If there's anyone in this group that can raise money, it's John Sharp, and if there's anyone who can articulate a case for fiscal responsibility in government spending without going completely off a Paulesque cliff, it's Sharp.

CD21: Ed Garza. Garza is currently the mayor of San Antonio, though he'll be term-limited out in 2005 (I believe). I could see him running for a statewide office in 2006, but I'm not sure for which office he'd be best suited. If he wants to try something closer to home, taking on DeLay lapdog Lamar Smith would be doing us all a favor and would position him for bigger things in the future.

CD23: Richard Raymond. Raymond's a scrappy fighter with statewide campaign experience under his belt (he lost to David Dewhurst for Land Commish in 1998). His State House district is in Webb County. It probably makes more sense for a San Antonian to challenge Henry Bonilla, but I figure if the good people of Laredo were excited to finally get their own Congressman by supporting Henry Cuellar, they'll be ecstatic to do it again for Raymond.

That's a start. I wish there were more that I could make suggestions for, but some districts just don't have much of a Democratic bench that I can look to. Maybe I'm missing someone - feel free to name any names I've overlooked. What do you think?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 30, 2004 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

The 7th is a good one to debate if only because its within walking distance of my neighborhood. Not sure if I like the idea of Bell running in that one, though. Given how tight he has been with Pelosi, I think that makes it a tough sell in the swingable parts of the district. That said, his home is in the 7th, so I'd not put the notion in the realm of impossibility.

I think there's two models that work for us in this district:

  • A not-quite-so-liberal female candidate, or
  • A slightly more moderate male candidate
  • The key for the first is that a female candidate has a slight edge in making tougher jabs without risk of return fire (Inez Tenenbaum, Betty Castor or Stephanie Herseth, for instance). Any candidate will be wise to run on connecting Culberson to DeLay's hip and claim their own independence and willingness to represent the district, not Tom DeLay. Women candidates tend to come off as a bit gentler in doing this and its tougher to launch a broadside response at a 'dame' if you're Culberson. Win-win situation. As long as that somebody has some fundraising ability (a steeper challenge), it can happen. Barbara Radnofsky might want to add this to her "Plan B" list (she resides in the district).

    The male option has been more and more difficult to find ... at least ever since Mike Andrews hung it up. Wait a minute ... Andrews is only 60, lives in the district ... hmmmmm.

    Posted by: Greg Wythe on September 30, 2004 1:38 PM

    Of the folks on your list that I'm familiar with, I like your suggestions. Sherry Boyles was President of U.T. when I was an undergrad...I think she'd be a good candidate but there's another Sherri I also like for CD 10. Sherri Greenberg served in the Texas House for 10 years until she retired in 2001 and was replaced by Ann Kitchen. She's been teaching at the LBJ School ever since (I believe she left the Lege to take care of her husband while he was recovering from a car wreck and to spend more time wih her kids) but I don't think her retirement from politics is permanent. She might be branded too "liberal" for CD 10 but I think she has a lot of crossover appeal nevertheless...her background is in finance (UT/London School of Economics) and she's been a great champion for kids and teachers which suburban moms love. Better yet, her specialty is pensions and investments which could be very powerful if social security is a big issue at the time...
    Just a thought.

    Posted by: sarah on September 30, 2004 2:37 PM

    I've got to advise against your support for Ed Garza to run for Lamar Smith's seat or for anything. I live in San Antonio, and when he first got in as Mayor I expected him to be an honest voice independent of the backroom government endemic here.

    Alas. One of his first acts was to lead the dog team for Temple-Inland and the PGA in their application to build a massive golf course/hotel/younameit development over one of the most sensitive areas of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Perfectly good alternative sites NOT over the recharge were proposed, and rejected.

    In response, the citizens of San Tone collected nearly 100,000 signatures to force either a referendum vote or a recission of the enabling ordinance.

    In response, Garza led a quasi-legal recasting of the deal to get around the charter requirement and preserve the development without a public vote. He did this by getting Council to repeal the original ordinance and approving another ordince with an alternative legal structure that accomplished the same ends--implicitly thumbing his nose at the entire electorate, whose only recourse would have been to mount another petition drive.

    Naturally there were lawsuits, but the courts were too chicken to get into the gray area of what is or is not a "new and uniquely different" ordinance.

    Ironically, the PGA eventually pulled out because of continuing anger over the way the deal went down. But Garza's actions have revealed him to be just another suit for the deal-doing class. Don't buy from him.

    Posted by: Demo Memo on October 1, 2004 12:15 AM

    Follow-up to previous comment:

    If anyone wants to read further about the San Antonio PGA Village deal, you can Googleize "Temple-Inland" + PGA + "San Antonio".

    Here's a local citizen web site:

    Posted by: Demo Memo on October 1, 2004 12:31 AM

    Kuff --

    Co-blogger Byron and I had an IM exchange about a year ago in which the ever-brilliant Byron suggested that John Sharp take on Ron Paul.

    Look, Paul is an institution who can only successfully be challenged by another well-known candidate. Moreover, Sharp's money and reputation for common sense contrast well against Ron Paul's national fundraising base of wingy-wingnuts.

    Byron was right. John Sharp is probably our only hope in CD14.

    Posted by: Jim D on October 1, 2004 1:17 AM