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Endorsement watch: The final four

At long last, the Chron has finished its endorsements, at least of State Legislature races. I’ve kind of lost track, but offhand I can’t think of any other races that they haven’t touched on yet. The final four contained a few surprises, two good and one bad.

  • State representative, District 126, Chad Kahn – A Democrat running for this open seat in the Texas House, Khan wants to focus on serving the FM 1960 area district by improving education, public safety and mobility. He supports a significant pay raise for teachers and believes creation science has no place in the public schools. The owner of a travel agency, Khan says the new business tax falls heavily on small-business owners without providing the support public education requires. He wants Texas to make maximum use of the federally subsidized Children’s Health Insurance Program to reduce the number of uninsured children.
  • State representative, District 127, Diane Trautman – The holder of a doctorate in education, Trautman is a former teacher and principal who now trains teachers who want to be principals. The Democratic nominee and a professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, Trautman wants to make education state government’s first priority, followed by greater access to health care and protection of the environment. Trautman, who lives in Kingwood, pledges to work to make government more ethical and transparent to voters.
  • State representative, District 129, John E. Davis – The Republican incumbent of this Clear Lake-Pasadena-La Porte district, Davis holds a seat on the important House Human Services Committee. While Davis at first defended cuts in the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the hiring of a private company to determine eligibility for state health services, he subsequently worked to restore full services to CHIP. Davis also acknowledges that the private company has underperformed, is liable for financial penalties and must swiftly correct its shortcomings.
  • State representative, District 150, Dot Nelson-Turnier – With a background in international banking and financial consulting, Nelson-Turnier is well-suited for service in the Texas House. The Democratic nominee, she is disturbed that Texas is at or near the bottom in almost every measure of society. If elected, she wants to focus on what she calls the “killer E’s,” education, the economy, the environment and equality. The Republican incumbent in this race, state Rep. Debbie Riddle, believes that state government should shrink and invest even less in social services than it does now, even as the state’s population doubles.

Let’s start with the non-surprise, which is to say the one out of these four I called correctly: Diane Trautman, whose endorsement was easy to see partly because she’s such a good candidate, and partly because the Chron endorsed the Democratic challenger in this race last time. I get the feeling that once you lose the Chron endorsement, it’s gone for good. Check back in 2008 (if necessary) to see what happens to John Culberson for a test of this hypothesis.

The two good surprises were the selections of Chad Khan and Dot Nelson-Turnier. I had thought the Chron would pick one from each party in the two open seat races, and I had thought their usual pro-incumbent preference would be enough to carry Debbie “Pit of Hell” Riddle over the finish line. (This may be another future test of my Once You Lose The Chron, The Chron Is Gone For Good thesis.) I am more than happy to have been wrong in both cases. Congrats to Chad and Dot for getting the nods.

The bad surprise is mystifying. Sherrie Matula is as good a candidate as you’ll find in any race this year. I think the key is in the reference to Davis’ “hold[ing] a seat on the important House Human Services Committee”. I don’t have the time to trawl through the archives right now, but that reminds me of the language they used in endorsing Talmadge Heflin in 2004 – as the chair of the Appropriations Committee, they didn’t want to lose his influence. Fair enough as a consideration, but frankly if the editorial board really believes that Davis has worked or is working to “restore full services to CHIP”, then they must have also believed Little Bunny Foo Foo when he promised the Good Fairy that his field mice-bopping days were over. If Davis actually did work on this, he failed miserably, and unless he intends to fire Accenture, he’s still part of the problem. Maybe if the Chron had sent someone to cover the Matula-Davis debate, they wouldn’t be so easily fooled.

So there you have it. I got 21 out of 25 right, and I’m happy to be wrong about three of those four. Anyone else surprised by these picks?

UPDATE: Once again, I forgot to link to the interviews I did with these candidates. Here they are:

Trautman
Nelson-Turnier
Khan
Matula

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One Comment

  1. cacafuego says:

    Debbie Riddel is a joke and should retire. She has not been the least bit constructive and is little more thatn an empty chair in Austin.