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Still pondering the Medina indy possibility

Ross Ramsey ponders the idea.

“I’m doing everything I can to assemble the resources necessary for a viable, credible campaign for comptroller,” she told The Texas Tribune. “If it comes to November and the money still hasn’t come in, I’ll have to pull my team in and say, ‘Okay, are these other offers real, and if they are, is this the path I should move down?’ ”

That could mess things up for the Republican in the governor’s race, whether that turns out to be Attorney General Greg Abbott, the fundraising front-runner, or Tom Pauken, the former state party chairman.

Medina collected 18.6 percent of the vote in that 2010 primary, which Gov. Rick Perry won without a runoff. Kay Bailey Hutchison, then a U.S. senator, got 30.3 percent of the votes. The point there is that at least some Republican voters have shown a willingness to listen to Medina. In fact, she is counting on those supporters now as she tries to attract donors for her 2014 efforts.

It looks like she’ll have to watch the motivations of those donors.

One way to win an election is to change the electorate. That’s not as nefarious as it might sound — banging on doors and getting likely supporters to the polls is a way of doing so. That’s changing the electorate.

Another way is to split the votes among more than two candidates. In primaries, that often forces runoffs. In general elections, third-party candidates can sometimes grab enough votes to change the outcome.


Maybe her mystery pledges like her politics and want her in charge; or they hope she will divert support from a Republican and improve Wendy Davis’ chances; or they really want Medina out of the way in the comptroller’s race. Whichever.

She could be the most interesting independent in Texas since Ross Perot.

As I said before, I just don’t know how seriously to take this. I don’t know who her mystery benefactors are, but it boggles the mind to think they might believe she could actually win as an indy. Maybe she and her money people are willing to take the chance on helping elect Wendy Davis, because that would be a live possibility, and surely they must realize it.

Look at it this way. Let’s assume there are five million votes cast in the election. That’s a high total, but about what we got in 2010; I am of course presuming the mix of voters would be different this time, but forget about that for a minute. Ten percent of the vote for Medina is 500,000 ballots for her. Add in another 100,000 for Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass – that’s two percent, right about what she got in 2010 – and what that all means is that Wendy Davis would need only 2.2 million votes to win. That is absolutely doable – Bill White got over 2.1 million in 2010 – even before you take into account demography, enthusiasm, Battleground Texas, the alienation of suburban white women from today’s GOP, and so on and so on.

Now, maybe Medina can’t get to ten percent, or maybe she takes more votes from Davis and fewer votes from Abbott than we might think. Maybe the overall vote total is higher. Point is, Medina’s presence would make the win total needed by Davis lower. Forget percentages and focus on vote total. More candidates means fewer votes are needed to win. Debra Medina could do more to help Wendy Davis win than just about anyone else in the state. I hope she and her backers never figure that out.

(Yes, I saw Robert Miller‘s post that implied the Mostyns were Medina’s backers. He has since walked that back. I don’t think there’s much more to be said about that.)

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One Comment

  1. Brad M. says:

    Please run Medina. I’ve already got my popcorn and soda ready to watch the fun on TV.