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October 26th, 2002:

Vote early and often

I voted yesterday, making it to the polling place a few minutes before they were scheduled to shut down at 4:30. There were a few other voters there, including one that I overheard who had not used the eSlate machines before but seemed to like them. I didn’t quite go straight Dem – Jack Cato, the Republican county treasurer is an acquaintance of mine, so I generally vote for him. There was a minor constitutional amendment (our state constitution covers all sorts of esoterica) and an HISD school bond issue, both of which I voted for.

Tiffany voted today and reported a decent sized crowd – she was on line for about 15 minutes. The early voting site is a “multipurpose metropolitan center” with a fairly tiny parking lot. Usually, I just park across the street in the lot for a large and mostly underused strip center. Tiffany and others had to park there and cross the street in the rain because over a dozen canvassing candidates had camped out in the center’s lot. She was pretty cheesed about it. The security guard at the center chased a few of them off, but it didn’t make much difference.

It’s been rainy and miserable all week, so the fact that early turnout has been strong is a good sign. Stay tuned.

Hispanics and Kirk

Ron Kirk was in town again, this time at a campaign event designed to drum up Hispanic support.

In Houston, several Hispanic leaders turned out for the Kirk event at Don Carlo’s Restaurant near Hobby Airport with the same message: Hispanics should get to the polls and vote a straight Democratic ticket.

“The beauty of this ticket is, it’s Texas,” said [Rep. Ciro] Rodriguez, a San Antonio Democrat. He was referring to the “Dream Team” of Kirk, who is black; gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez, a Hispanic; and lieutenant governor candidate John Sharp, who is white.

I’ll be at the local Tony Sanchez headquarters on Monday calling voters. I plan on asking about pushing the other Democratic candidates as well. I’ll report back if there’s anything interesting.

Meanwhile, early voting continues to be strong in San Antonio. Via the newly permalink-enabled Tom Spencer.

Bad dog!

An English setter pup on a hunting trip stepped on a shotgun and shot his master in the ankle. Fortunately, the only serious injury suffered was to his dignity:

[Michael] Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog.

“That’s the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool,” he said.

The day after the shooting, he and friends walked into a restaurant in the nearby town of Lemmon, S.D., population about 1,600.

“Everybody in town knew about it. As soon as I walked into the restaurant, they said, ‘You’re the one.’ ”

I’m reminded of a story that Jay Johnstone tells in his book Temporary Insanity. One day pitcher Dave Stewart was arrested in his car with a transvestite hooker who went by the name Lucille. Johnstone writes that the hard part for Stewart was facing his teammates after such an embarrassing incident. His teammates handled it with an appropriate level of tact and decorum: The next time Stewart entered the clubhouse, they serenaded him with a chorus of You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me, Lucille. I suppose Michael Murray can take comfort that at least so far he hasn’t had any musical accompaniment.

Political ad uses image of WTC

Republican Congressman Lamar Smith is airing an ad that uses an image of the World Trade Center as it burned following the September 11 terrorist attack.

San Antonio ad man Arthur Emerson, whose agency cut the commercial for Smith, defended the spot, which started airing earlier this week in San Antonio and Austin.

Emerson called the ad “tastefully done,” using a long shot of the twin towers that lasts for “only a couple of seconds.”

It tells voters that Smith has fought for beefed-up homeland security in the face of the country’s war against terrorism, Emerson said.

Smith is chairman of the Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

“It’s a hurtful tragedy that hit us,” said Emerson, of the Groves Rojas Emerson agency. “The commercial shows that we’re still standing (because) it shows the Empire State Building.”

Smith has come under criticism for the ad, but is unlikely to suffer any fallout from it as his district is solidly Republican. Without seeing the ad, I can’t say if he’s crossed any lines. I do think he’s living a little dangerously, since he could surely make the same points he wants to without using an image that will upset some unknown number of people. On the other hand, he’s also bought himself some free publicity. So who knows?