There are a lot of contested Democratic primaries this year, more than most of us can remember there being in a long time. For the most part, this is a good thing, as many of these contests indicate a greater interest in running as a Democrat, especially statewide. But not all primaries, and certainly not all primary candidates, are created equal. Some of them feature one candidate that is clearly superior, and some feature candidates who would represent a step backwards if they were to win. My blogging colleagues and I in the Texas Progressive Alliance are evaluating all of the contested legislative, Congressional, and statewide races with the intent of highlighting some of those where the choice is especially clear. We have identified the following candidates as those we support unanimously:
Rick Noriega, United States Senate
Joe Jaworski, State Senate, District 11
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, State House, District 147.
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, State House, District 148.
State Rep. Paul Moreno, State House, District 77
Armando Walle, State House, District 140
Brian Thompson, State House, District 46
I've included some more info about these candidates beneath the fold, but one thing to note is that each of the State House candidates has a Craddick-backed opponent. I know it feels like the defeat of House Speaker Tom Craddick is just a matter of time, but he isn't going down without a hell of a fight. And that's a fight we can't afford to lose, because any step backwards would be devastating.
I trust everyone is familiar with Rick Noriega. I have interviews scheduled, or in Jaworski's case already published, with several other endorsed candidates, so if you want to hear them talk about issues you can. For more on Rep. Moreno, see Vince, who has a long list of El Paso officeholders who have endorsed him; for more on Brian Thompson, see his recent BOR diary. And if you want to help in a tangible way, there's our ActBlue page for them.
One last item to note is that this is not a final list. There are other races to consider, and I expect we will make some more endorsements shortly. Further, the lack of an endorsement in a given race is not an expression of negativity towards any candidate in that race. As I said, we have many races that offer more than one good choice.
Rick Noriega, United States Senate. On March 4, Texas Democrats have a clear choice for their nominee for U.S. Senate: Rick Noriega. Noriega has the experience necessary to serve as a United States Senator and to take on Bush lap-dog U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the fall. Faced with three token primary opponents, only one of whom is even running what could be called a "legitimate campaign," Noriega is the clear choice not only because he is right on important issues such as the war and CHIP, but because he is a true progressive who has a proven record of accomplishment for the people of Texas.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 15, 2008 to Election 2008
Joe Jaworski, State Senate, District 11. Joe Jaworski (D-Galveston), a former Galveston City Councilman, has taken a very strong stance on environmental issues which are especially important in Senate District 11 and statewide. Jaworski faces token primary opposition and will likely face State Sen. Mike Jackson (R-LaPorte) in the 2008 General Election. Jackson has one of the worst environmental records of any legislator in the entire Texas Legislature and has failed for several sessions to make any meaningful legislative headway on issues important to his constituents.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, State House, District 147. Coleman (D-Houston), is one of the leading progressives in the Texas House of Representatives, and has been at the forefront of important progressive issues including the Children's Health Insurance Program, reproductive freedom, and gay rights. A member of the House Democratic Leadership, re-electing Coleman is key to ensuring that the 81st Session of the Texas Legislature has a strong, progressive voice. Coleman faces a primary opponent.
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, State House, District 148. Farrar (D-Houston), is another strong progressive voice in the Texas House. Farrar was a leading voice in the 80th Texas Legislature on issues including the HPV vaccine, stem cell research, and against Governor Rick Perry's arrogant Homeland Security power-grab. Farrar is one of a handful of Democrats who voted against Craddick in 2005 and, as a result, was relegated to the Agriculture Committee for taking her stand. Farrar faces a former staffer from her office who is believed to be supported by anti-progressive forces in Austin. Farrar is a progressive leader and Texans across the state need her back in the Texas House in 2009.
State Rep. Paul Moreno, State House, District 77. Moreno (D-El Paso), is the Dean of the Texas House of Representatives and one of the House's strongest voices on civil rights issues. Moreno, a seasoned veteran of many progressive struggles, faces an unknown opponent with no experience in government. Moreno deserves re-election, and Texas needs Moreno's leadership on civil rights and progressive issues in the 81st Session of the Texas Legislature.
Armando Walle, State House, District 140. Walle (D-Houston), is seeking to unseat Rep. Kevin Bailey (D-Houston), who has been ineffective for his district on progressive issues. Unseating Bailey is a necessary step toward a new Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Walle has worked for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Gene Green, and has strong ties to his district and, we believe, will be a better voice for District 140 than its existing representation.
Brian Thompson, State House, District 46. Thompson (D-Houston), faces State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) who has cast a number of votes which are against the interest of her district. A win in this district is yet another step toward electing a new Speaker of the Texas House in 2009. Thompson, an attorney, has strong ties to his district and will be a much needed progressive voice in a district which, for too long, has been governed by a member who consistently votes against the interests of her constituents.