October 13, 2007
McCall speaks, and other items

Rep. Brian McCall, one of the main challengers to Tom Craddick last session, gave a talk at UT on Thursday. Michael Hurta was there, and he has a report on the many interesting things McCall said. Check it out.

In other Speaker-related program activities, the Observer looks at a couple of sure-to-be-hot Democratic primaries in South Texas:

Rep. Aaron Pena (D-Edinburg) represents District 40. Rep. Kino Flores (D-Hidalgo) represents District 36. Both have been repeatedly rewarded by Craddick for their loyalty. Flores chairs the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, while Peña chairs the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Pena is facing a rematch against Eddie Saenz. Saenz is an engineer that ran against Peña in 2004 in a race that featured plenty of mud, money, and bad blood. Pena trounced Saenz in that race, winning 63.45 percent of the vote. At the time, Saenz ran at Pena from the right. This time, Pena has a record that can be attacked from the left. It remains to be seen whether Saenz can make the transition and do the shoeleather campaigning necessary to win. Saenz has already garnered the endorsement of the mayor of Edinburg, according to his blog. Pena also has a blog. This one will be fun to follow. Watch as both candidates blog maddeningly right up until the Texas Democratic primary on March 4.

Former teacher and probation officer Sandra Rodriguez has announced her intent to challenge Kino Flores. Rodriguez has the benefit of being endorsed by the well-funded Annie's List. Her husband, Fernando Macias, is a former state district judge. Here's a good preview of the race from the McAllen Monitor. Rodriguez' best asset is her opponent. Flores has made plenty of enemies in his solidly Democratic district with his heavy handed approach, including a public feud with local power broker Billy Leo. Rodriguez has already attacked Flores for skipping votes on important Democratic issues such as voter ID and helping to enable a leadership that has actively tried to kick children off of CHIP.

Flores was a Dishonorable Mention on the Best and Worst Legislators list for this year. I know he's not well liked within the Lege. We'll see how that plays out.

Finally, getting back to McCall, Karen Brooks reports on a push poll being done against him.

A volunteer for Plano GOP Rep. Brian McCall got an odd and what must have been hilarious phone call from a "pollster," I'm guessing over the weekend or maybe late last week.

The guy wanted to know if she'd ever heard of "Tommy Craddick," and what was her impression of him?

That, in itself, is pretty funny - given that nobody outside of Segway really knows the House Speaker's son. Wild guess is that the caller actually meant the speaker.

Tommy. It's just, you know, more folksy-like. And a lot more likeable than his other nickname, Absolute Powers.

Then the caller asked if she'd ever heard of "Brian McCall" and what was her impression of him?

The plot thickens.

A little bit later, the caller asked the volunteer if she would still be favorable if she knew that Brian McCall had voted against property-tax reductions - or something like that - and McCall says he voted for them.

At any rate, the real interesting part here is that the company making the calls is Promark Research, Inc., out of Conroe, Tx. - a company known in several states (Colorado, Montana, West Virgina, to name a few) for doing push polls. In political races, they always side with Republicans. I can't, in fact, find any documentation of them siding with a Dem in a race.

This is important only that it stands to reason that whoever's paying them to push poll against McCall is not doing so in the name of a Democrat. The Craddick mention was another tip-off which then, my dear Watson, lead me to guess that they're Craddick fans.

McCall hasn't even filed for speaker. Which must mean they're polling for a primary opponent, a Craddick-friendly one.

I'm a trained observer, and vaguely brilliant, granted. But could they be any less discreet?

How about something like ....

"Don't you, like, totally think Brian McCall is a punk-*ss chump? And isn't the speaker, like, a really cool guy? Right? Totally."

If only calls from pollsters were like that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 13, 2007 to That's our Lege