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Targeting Ardmoreites

As expected, the GOP will be putting up some challengers to Democrats who participated in the legislative boycotts during the last session. Here’s the scoop from San Antonio.

A group of GOP newcomers has targeted incumbent Democratic state legislators, thinking they can hang the albatross of breaking Texas Senate and House quorums around the Democrats’ necks.

Depending on what happens in March, some potential November races include Jim Valdez against District 26 state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Steve Salyer vs. District 118 state Rep. Carlos Uresti, Chris Shindler against District 116 state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, and Sandra Ojeda Medina vs. District 123 state Rep. Mike Villarreal.

The thinking of these Republicans is that voters will not look kindly on the Democrats who fled across state lines in a failed attempt to derail congressional redistricting.

Similarly, much could be made of Van de Putte’s unproven allegation that a Republican colleague slurred Mexicans during the divisive debate.

But despite those perceived advantages, some longtime local Republicans don’t see the merit in such a strategy. All of the districts lean Democratic, and none of the GOP hopefuls have proved they can raise the funds necessary to beat an incumbent.

At the same time, the Democratic incumbents now will run full-scale campaigns that could help raise overall Democratic turnout, making life more difficult for Republican judges on the countywide ballot.

All of these incumbents except for Mike Villareal (who won 63%-35% over a different Republican challenger) ran unopposed in 2002. The state House boundaries were redrawn in 2001 to create more favorable districts for GOP candidates, so many existing Democratic districts were packed. As such, I’m not particularly worried about these races.

If anyone should be vulnerable, it’s Sen. Van de Putte, who did not distinguish herself with that claim about a racial slur allegedly made by a Republican colleague. Her Senate seat would also be a bigger prize, especially if the Democrats snatch back SD 1 on January 20. Again, I’ll be surprised if she’s seriously challenged.

As for other locations, I know that someplace I’ve seen a link to a listing of candidates who have already filed for the March 9 primary, but I’ll be damned if I can find it now. Any help for my failing memory would be appreciated.

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  1. Linkmeister says:

    Don’t I recall that in general the Dems had gotten more of the sympathy than the Republicans had in those two fiascos, or was that nationwide rather than in Texas?

  2. The Dems pretty much had the newspaper editorialists on their side, if only because the redistricting effort was widely derided by them. Support for the Dems’ boycott was a bit stronger among their partisans than support for the GOP leadership was among theirs, as far as I could tell. I do think this was a bigger rallying point nationally than here – at the least, the boycott leaders were treated like rock stars on the fundraising circuit.