November 29, 2006
Precinct analysis: SD07

I was going to save this one for later, but given the mostly fawning profile that just ran in the Statesman, plus my own recent tweaking of him, I suppose now is as good a time as any to analyze the performance of Dan Patrick in SD07.

To be honest, I wasn't planning to even run the numbers in this one. The district is pretty monolithic, and it's not like Patrick's opponent (and onetime financial backer) Michael Kubosh ran any sort of campaign against him, so I didn't think there'd be anything of interest there. But I reached the end of the State Rep districts and had a little extra time on my hands, so I figured what the heck.

And I'm glad I did, because I didn't get the result I had expected. I thought Patrick, given his celebrity status, universal name recognition, and (let's be honest) high charisma level, would be the pacesetter in his district. I fully anticipated seeing him at the top of the heap.

I was wrong. By any reasonable measure, Patrick's performance was mediocre when compared to his fellow Republicans. Take a look at how he stacks up to the statewide and countywide candidates:

Candidate Votes Pct Opponent Votes
Abbott 125,195 74.23 Van Os 43,457
Hutchison 123,420 73.60 Radnofsky 44,270
Combs 123,070 73.37 Head 44,672
Dewhurst 120,539 72.93 Alvarado 44,731
Kaufman 120,491 71.80 Pierre 47,326
State GOP 118,883 71.65 State Dem 47,049
Cong GOP 118,480 71.34 Cong Dem 47,607
Patrick 117,975 69.19 Kubosh 52,531
Keller 117,578 70.32 Molina 49,629
Bacarisse 117,377 70.71 Shike 48,630
Patterson 117,042 71.41 Hathcox 46,848
Staples 116,591 70.72 Gilbert 48,277
Ames Jones 115,698 70.48 Henry 48,456
County GOP 114,251 69.01 County Dem 51,297
Willet 110,812 67.60 Moody 53,100

Recall that every statewide race save for Keller-Molina had a Libertarian in it as well; there was no Lib in SD07. I'd guess that Patterson and possibly Staples would have surpassed Patrick otherwise. Patrick did do slightly better than average at the county level, but then so did Kubosh - he garnered more Dem votes than everyone except for Sharp, Moody, Garcia, and Green.

Note also that the combined GOP Congressional vote exceeded Patrick's total. This provides a nice comparison, since every precinct in SD07 is also in either CD02, 07, or 10. Here's how that broke down:

Candidate Votes Pct
Poe 24,289 74.72
Binderim 8,217 25.28

Patrick 22,514 69.07
Kubosh 10,084 30.93
Culberson 61,433 68.22
Henley 28,614 31.78

Patrick 60,749 67.05
Kubosh 29,854 32.95
McCaul 32,758 75.25
Ankrum 10,776 24.75

Patrick 33,443 74.61
Kubosh 11,382 25.39

Patrick got a teensy bit more votes than McCaul, but Kubosh got almost as many votes more than Ankrum, so the percentages favor McCaul, who as with the statewides and like Culberson and Poe had to contend with a Lib candidate as well.

Want more? Here's how Patrick compares to the various State Reps who faced a contested election:

StateRepGOP Votes Pct StateRepDem Votes Pct
Harless 14,885 74.62 Khan 5,064 25.38
Patrick 14,896 73.54 Kubosh 5,360 26.46

Murphy 8,234 66.70 Thibaut 4,111 33.30
Patrick 8,094 65.47 Kubosh 4,269 34.53

Wong 1,965 53.76 Cohen 1,690 46.24
Patrick 2,049 57.80 Kubosh 1,496 42.20

Woolley 19,806 71.75 Brann 7,799 28.28
Patrick 19,461 69.34 Kubosh 8,605 30.66

Spivey 186 31.79 Hochberg 399 68.21
Patrick 193 33.33 Kubosh 386 66.67

Bohac 2,336 63.79 McDavid 1,326 36.21
Patrick 2,283 61.60 Kubosh 1,423 38.40

Riddle 22,384 70.23 N-Turnier 9,487 29.77
Patrick 22,177 69.54 Kubosh 9,713 30.46

Total GOP 69,796 70.03 Total Dem 29,876 29.97
Patrick 69,153 68.87 Kubosh 31,152 31.13

The totals are smaller here because some of the State Rep districts in SD07 were uncontested. Patrick did do better than Sylvia Spivey and Martha Wong. I think that's the definition of not saying much.

The point I'm making here is that despite everything that he had going for him, Dan Patrick performed only slightly better than the average anonymous downballot Republican judicial candidate. He got only a few more votes than the second tier Republican statewides, who had to contend with greater dropoff and third-party candidates. He failed to match any of the three Congressmen (in a year where Congressional approval levels threatened to dip below those of the Ebola virus) and most of the State Reps. In short, the only remarkable thing about his performance was that there was nothing remarkable about it.

And remember, he was running against a fringe candidate who did no visible campaigning and reported zero dollars raised during the race. Really, if anything stands out in all these numbers, it's how much better than the other Dems Michael Kubosh did. Some of this can be explained by the lack of a Libertarian to serve as the not-Republican alternative, but not all of it. At the statewide level, there were generally about 5000 votes cast for the Lib in the SD07 precincts. You'd have to transfer all of those votes and then some (about 1000 more for the lower tier races, 3000-4000 for the top four) to Kubosh to balance things out. Maybe Kubosh did pick up all those votes, I can't say for sure. As there was no reason to vote for Michael Kubosh, the one explanation that makes sense to me is that there was a small but dedicated group of people who just wanted to vote against Dan Patrick. Didn't matter who the alternative was as long as it wasn't Danno. Kubosh was the beneficiary of that. Who knows, maybe if Kubosh had been a real candidate who ran a viable campaign, he might have done even better. I don't expect to find that out in a district like SD07, but maybe we will someplace that isn't so brightly red, say statewide. (Not that such a thought has ever occurred to Danno. Oh, no, not him.)

Anyway. You just never know what the numbers will say. That's what makes this so much fun. Tune in tomorrow for another installment in this series.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 29, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack