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June 12th, 2005:

Analysis of HD47

As promised, I’ve done a fuller analysis of HD47, the State House district which has just been abandoned by incumbent Republican Terry Keel. You can see all of my data in this spreadsheet. Here’s an executive summary.

Overall, as expected, this is a moderately Republican district. Here’s the breakdown for the statewide races, including the contest in the 21st Congressional District:

GOP Cnd Votes Pct Dem Cnd Votes Pct ======================== ======================== Bush 40,955 53.31 Kerry 35,872 46.69 LSmith 39,020 56.20 RSmith 30,409 43.80 Carillo 38,173 53.87 Scarboro 32,685 46.13 Keasler 38,959 53.00 Molina 34,545 47.00 Brister 39,657 53.61 Van Os 34,318 46.39 Total 197,797 53.73 Total 170,365 46.27

Note: Of HD47’s 51 precincts, 46 are in CD21, and the other five are in CD25. The spreadsheet combines the CD25 votes with CD21 (overall totals are 40,053/32,945, or 54.87%/45.13%), but I’m just showing the CD21 result above. As you can see, about a seven point advantage to the GOP. Note that all results given here are for two-party totals. The data downloaded from the SOS website appears to only include the top two votegetters.

Things are a bit different at the county race level, though. The six races include four judgeships, Travis County Sheriff, and a Constable race:

GOP Cnd Votes Pct Dem Cnd Votes Pct ======================== ======================== PKeel 40,589 54.80 Yelenosky 33,475 45.20 Pemberton 37,145 50.35 Henson 36,634 49.65 Green 35,332 47.75 Patterson 38,660 52.25 Anastas's 34,291 47.00 Cooper 38,661 53.00 McNeill 37,139 52.08 Hamilton 34,168 47.92 ThKeel 31,787 50.01 McCain 31,768 49.99 Total 216,283 50.34 Total 213,366 49.66

(Note: The Constable race between Thornton Keel and Richard McCain covered 44 of the 51 precincts.)

Now that’s a swing district! I don’t know what the dynamics were in these races, but the message should be clear: The right Democrat can win here.

There’s one last factor to consider. Terry Keel ran unopposed in 2004. Since I can’t do a two-party comparison, let’s see how he did in terms of percentage of total turnout. I’ve included all the Republicans in this district who did not have a Democratic opponent; Lawrence Meyers and Cheryl Johnson, both Court of Criminal Appeals justices, had Libertarian opponents.

GOP Cnd Votes Pct ======================== TeKeel 49,075 62.22 O'Neill 47,203 59.84 Green 46,677 59.18 Johnson 43,749 55.46 Meyers 42,988 54.50

You want an illustration of why you need to contest races, there you have it. The best percent-of-turnout performance among the contesteds was Bush with 51.92%. Only Patrick Keel (51.46%) and Scott Brister (50.28%) reached a majority (the combined Lamar Smith/Becky Klein vote was 50.78% of turnout). All other candidates lost between 1 and 10 points from their vote percentages.

What conclusions can we draw? I think based on his actual 2004 performance that Terry Keel would have won reelection with something like 55 to 57% of the vote had he had a viable Democratic challenger. Also based on that performance, he’d be a solid favorite in 2006, but not quite a lock. His non-lockstep voting record would be on balance a plus for him, but his assassination of the campaign finance reform bill HB1348 plus his bizarre mini-meltdown over HB268 at the end of the session would provide some fodder for whoever took him on. Opening this seat up is a tremendous boon for the Democrats, and raises the profile of this race greatly.

Now that I’ve figured out how to extract this kind of data efficiently, I hope to do more of this sort of analysis in the coming weeks. If you’ve got any requests, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Death in the Star Bock family

Some sad news from Galveston.

Because of his wife’s death, a Galvestonian in a trademark battle with the Starbucks coffee chain has temporarily closed the bar where he sold Star Bock beer.

LeAnne Romano Bell, 58, died Thursday at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said Houston attorney John Egbert, who represents Rex “Wrecks” Bell, a musician and owner of the Old Quarter Acoustical Cafe in downtown Galveston.


In an e-mail message to Egbert, Bell said his bar will be closed indefinitely.

Bell issued an apology to the musical groups that were scheduled to perform at his bar in coming weeks.

“I don’t know how long I will be closed,” Bell said. “I promise all my fans, friends and customers that have supported us for the last nine years that I will reopen the OQAC if I can somewhere find the strength and somehow not die from a broken heart.”

Egbert said funeral arrangements for LeAnne Bell were pending.

My sincere condolences to Rex Bell.