January 16, 2008
When the Eighties attack, and other stories

A few news briefs of interest...

State Rep. Juan Garcia, who won a close race to unseat longtime Republican Gene Seaman in 2006, will face a former Democrat in his re-election bid. In honor of his blast-from-the-past opponent and his equally old-time support staff, Garcia's campaign put together a little video salute to them. It's pretty darned funny, especially if you're a fan of cheesy 1980s pop culture (as if there's any other kind). See it here.

Over in CD10, Dan Grant is touting an endorsement from 2006 canididate Ted Ankrum:

"Dan is the only Democrat in the race who can beat Mike McCaul," Ankrum said. "He is uniquely qualified to redirect the tax dollars being squandered in Baghdad to our own communities in Brenham, Bastrop, and beyond. Simply put, he is the right choice for all of us in this year that promises dramatic change."

Ankrum served three tours of duty with U.S. combat forces near the DMZ in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Navy Commendation Medal among many other tributes during his distinguished military career. His fourth tour of duty in Vietnam was as a special advisor to the South Vietnamese military leadership in the Mekong Delta. In 2006, he ran an aggressive campaign against Mike McCaul, winning 42 percent of the vote despite being vastly outspent by the multi-millionaire incumbent.

"Dan has been on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he knows that the best way to honor our brave men and women there is to bring them back home to the families and communities where they belong," Ankrum said.

Ankrum said Grant's grasp of a wide range of issues makes him the right man at the right time as Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans search for candidates who want to change the culture of incompetence and corruption that have characterized Washington, D.C. during the incumbent's time there.

Ankrum's stronger-than-expected showing on a shoestring budget in a district that the Democrats avoided like the plague in 2004 earned him a lot of respect, so that's a nice endorsement to have.

Meanwhile, Grant's opponent in the CD10 primary, Larry Joe Doherty, has some pretty decent fourth quarter fundraising numbers to report. Given how many hot races there are out there, both for March and November, there's a lot of eagerly-awaited reports today.

Speaking of which, Joe Jaworski reports a total of $450,000 raised last year:

Proving that he will have the resources to make his case for independent leadership and positive change, Joe Jaworski today filed his latest campaign finance report, showing more than $450,000 raised to date in his Texas Senate race against a 20-year incumbent legislator known for his multiple votes in favor of term limits -- except for himself.

"I'm gratified by the overwhelming support coming from ordinary Texans who want change, not more of the same," Jaworski said. "Their willingness to invest in the new direction will pay off when they elect a new state senator who puts their concerns first and Austin politics last."

Jaworski's report for the period ending December 31 shows that he raised $204,660.51 during the second half of 2007. His total raised in the race to date is $454,922.74 from 795 donors, with an average contribution of $555.88 and including a $13,000 loan from the candidate. His fundraising has continued on pace during the first two weeks of the current year.

Not too shabby.

The Houston Business Journal takes a look at Michael Skelly in CD07. I particularly liked this bit:

Like most Republicans, Culberson favors a free-market approach to energy instead of heavy, inefficient government subsidies. He supports drilling in the Colorado Rockies, the North Slope of Alaska and any other proven reserve in the United States.

"The free market will take care of developing alternative energy sources far more quickly and far more efficiently than government regulation," he says. "No one needed to pass a law to tell Toyota to build the Prius."

Skelly actually agrees, noting that energy is not an either/or issue.

"We need all the energy that we can get," he says. "Our track record is that when we focus on an issue we're generally successful at solving it."

Skelly believes the primary energy plank in his campaign platform will appeal to, and attract contributions from, old-money oil and gas constituents.

"Houston, and the people who have done well in energy, understand energy in a way that other people don't," he says. "In renewable energy you have to understand conventional energy. It's not an accident that Houston is very successful in the renewable energy space -- it's because we understand energy."

Nice contrast. The full text of the article is here.

Phillip Martin is taking a look at the state of the State House races this year. He's got a look at unchallenged Republicans and unchallenged Democrats, with more to come soon. Check them out.

And finally, Texas Lawyer (subscription only) notes the following remarkable occurrence in Dallas County:

There was a time not long ago in Dallas County when a candidate had to be young, naive or just plain crazy to run for a state district court bench as a Democrat. But ever since November 2006, when a bunch of optimistic Democrats took the criminal and civil courthouses by surprise and swept more than 40 sitting Republican judges out of office, primary candidate slates have changed.

Judging by the candidate filings, which closed on Jan. 2, the shoe is now squarely on the other foot, politically speaking. While the Democratic primary slate is littered with former judges, associate judges and incumbents (two of whom took office in 2004 before the landslide), the Republican slate has no incumbents trying to retain their jobs or defeated incumbents attempting to reclaim a bench.

Instead, the GOP slate includes first-time judicial candidates and unsuccessful 2006 candidates.

Note that this does not mean that there are no Republicans running for the bench in Dallas County, just none who are or once were judges themselves.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2008 to Election 2008
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