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October 18th, 2004:

New anti-DeLay ad

A 501(c) group called Campaign Money Watch is raising money to run an anti-Tom DeLay ad in CD22. You can view the ad here, and if you like it, you can help them put it on the air. Obviously, there’s not much time here, so check it out.

For those of you in the Seabrook area, Jack notes that there will be a protest against DeLay today:

For those not working the polls, there will be a protest of Tom DeLay from 4:30-5:30 at the Marker 1 Marina 3101 Nasa Rd 1, Seabrook TX. This is close to 146 and Nasa Rd 1.

The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership will be hosting DeLay and discussing homeland security and video cameras installed on roads throughout the district. The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership has become increasingly right wing and this issue should be watched carefully.

We intend to go inside of the event (without signs) and hear what is going on. We will have signs. Bring your friends.

Jack’s stepson is on the Clear Lake debate team that is sponsoring tomorrow’s candidates forum, and he also says that DeLay will be ducking it. Who knew The Hammer was such a chicken?

Supremes order redistricting review

It ain’t over yet.

The Supreme Court handed Democrats a victory Monday, ordering a lower court to reconsider a Texas redistricting plan that could give Republicans six more seats and a firmer hold on their majority in the House.

The decision won’t affect next month’s elections, though any GOP gains on Nov. 2 could be wiped out later if the plan ultimately is deemed unconstitutional.


In a brief order, justices threw out a victory for Texas Republican legislators, and ordered a three-judge federal panel in Texas to reconsider the issue.

“I see this as the Supreme Court punting right before the national election,” said Richard Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School. “It buys the Supreme Court another term before it has to rethink the issue. Maybe by then we’ll have a new justice or two.”

The Supreme Court has been divided on how much politics should be allowed in redistricting. In a 5-4 ruling last spring, justices left a narrow opening for challenges claiming party politics overly influenced election maps.

The court said Monday that the Texas map should be viewed again, in light of that decision.


The three-judge panel that upheld the map in January said that Congress — not courts — has the power to bar states from redrawing districts over and over. That panel will reconsider its decision.

The cases are Jackson v. Perry, 03-1391; American GI Forum of Texas v. Perry, 03-1396; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee v. Perry, 03-1399; Travis County v. Perry, 03-1400; and Henderson v. Perry, 03-9644.

I do not believe that any GOP gains from the new map would be erased if it is eventually thrown out and the old map is restored. Other than Martin Frost, every single one of the endangered Democratic incumbents plus the retiring Jim Turner had been winning in districts that ran the gamut from lean-GOP to strong-GOP for years now. Once the advantage of their incumbency was removed, however, they’d have a very tough time winning it back, even in the old familiar places. And that was the point. As long as that new map was in place for this election, its main goal was accomplished. Democrats can mitigate that by holding at least some of their current offices (you can help, of course), but there’s nothing that any court can do now that will change the fundamental dynamic.

Endorsement watch: District Attorney

The Chron gets it right in endorsing Reggie McKamie for District Attorney as I hoped they would. This race is a big deal in Harris County. If you’re like me, living in uncompetitive Congressional and State House districts, it’s the highest profile race where your vote can make a difference. Winning that race, and winning a couple of the district court races will be a clear indicator that the Democratic Party is alive again in Harris County. I still hope to have an interview with McKamie in the next week or so (won’t be very relevant if it’s farther out than that!), so stay tuned.

An interview with Michael Fjetland

Michael Fjetland is running as an independent in the CD22 race against Tom DeLay. He’s run against DeLay twice before, both times in Republican primaries, garnering 16% of the vote in 2000 and 20% in 2002. I don’t think there’s any question about where my sympathies lie in this election, but I had the opportunity to ask Fjetland a few questions about his campaign, and I thought he gave some pretty interesting answers. Click on the More link to read the interview.


Early voting begins today

As of 7 AM this morning, the election has officially begun in Harris County and elsewhere. Early voting begins today and runs through next Friday, October 29. You can find all of the early voting locations here, you can verify your registration information here, and you can see who’ll be on your ballot here – choose your city and county, then fill in your address information. Note that it doesn’t include write-ins, so if you’re in CD10 please remember that there’s another choice available to you. I love early voting. It’s convenient, the lines are usually short, and you can pick your polling place. I’m still hoping to see some survey data regarding the city propositions before I vote, but I’ll cope if not. This is what we’ve been waiting for, folks. Let’s do it.

Big Xu

I know every right-thinking person is enraptured by the baseball playoffs at this time, but I want to note that I’ve enjoyed the Chron’s coverage of the Houston Rockets’ trip to China for two exhibition games against the Kings. This piece on “Big Xu”, the leading broadcaster of basketball in China, and this piece on the future of Chinese basketball were both good reads. Check them out.