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Congressional news

Reps. Martin Frost and Pete Sessions will debate each other five times between Labor Day and Election Day. Those who can’t tell the difference between them by November have no one to blame for it but themselves. (via)

Max Sandlin gets endorsed by the NRA, gives a pretty good explanation for why he stayed in Texas instead of going to Boston, and has a nifty little animated ad for an upcoming fundraiser.

Lorenzo Sadun is getting some good press lately, in the Statesman and in the AusChron.

That AusChron article needs some quoting, as it covers three of the low-profile races in greater depth than every other newspaper in the state combined. We’ll start with Sadun, whom the author accompanied on a trip to Hempstead where he attended and campaigned at the town’s Watermelon Festival:

Sadun acknowledges being a bit out of his element, but says, “I’m learning to make this my element. If you’re going to represent people, you gotta understand who they are, and you don’t understand who they are sitting at UT. You find out who they are by going out to where they live, doing the things they do, and appreciating what they do. Whatever the results of this election, I’m going to come away from this with a much better understanding of where we live, and who we live with, than I had before.”

Next is Jon Porter, whom I’d previously mentioned here. He’s speaking to a group of people in the Killeen back yard of Bobby Grant, chair of the Bell County Democrats.

Porter lays out his philosophy to the small gathering: “The reasons that we’re doing this … going forward for a common ideal, for our common values, and our common values are that, in fact, America does work when Americans work; are that health care, access to good insurance, should be a right and not a luxury. We’re doing this because the national deficit is so out of control; the Democratic Party, despite being labeled as tax-and-spend liberals, are now the party of fiscal restraint, and we can prove it – back when we were in control, the deficit was lower, the debt was being paid off.

“Now, under George W. Bush and John Carter, the deficits have gone up. Each and every one of you owe more than $24,000 apiece to the national debt. My 21-month-old son owes $24,000 to the national debt. We are enslaving our children’s future. For what? Tax cuts for the wealthy. An unjust war built on a stack of cards and lies, where we’re losing lives every day, because the president and his people did not listen to their generals.”

I’ve supported the idea of campaigning on the deficit in Texas before, and I continue to believe it’s a message that can and will resonate. I’m glad to see Porter use it, and I’m equally glad to note that the earlier report of him having $22 on hand is considerably off – the AusChron piece credits him with $14K. Unfortunately, it also credits Rep. John Carter with $722K, which is nearly triple what the FEC report on him said.

Finally, there’s Rhett Smith, running against the not-related Lamar Smith and campaigning in Comal County.

Challenger Smith is soberly realistic about his candidacy, but looks for silver linings: “I think I have a better chance than John Courage did, and he was a heck of a candidate,” he says, speaking of the Dem who in 2002 garnered 25% of the vote against Lamar Smith in the old CD 21, which encompassed more of the Hill Country and less of Austin.

“I think there’s going to be a negative Bush/Cheney vote, and a negative Tom DeLay and Lamar vote. You know, Lamar is pretty shy about getting in the media, and perhaps that serves him well.” (Lamar Smith was asked for an interview about Rhett Smith, but a campaign spokesman would only comment, “He doesn’t know him, he hasn’t seen him, and he won’t vote for him.”)

Smith knows that to win, it will take more than Comal, where only one elected official is a Democrat. In fact, he’s banking on Austin. CD 21 has long covered western Travis County, but re-redistricting pulled it into the heart of the city, right across 38th Street from Central Market. “The new map [of this district] kind of favors the Democrats,” Smith says. “I think they were so greedy, DeLay and his crowd, of trying to dilute Lloyd Doggett and some of the other Democrats. But when you do that, you’ve got to shift people somewhere, so obviously you’re going to dilute Republican voting strength. They were just taking a gamble that they could have it all. …We’ve got to have a huge turnout in Austin/Travis County.”

From your lips to God’s ear about GOP redistricting greed biting them, Rhett. Anyway, check it out.

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One Comment

  1. Andrew D says:

    Rhett Smith is out of his mind. I first met him the Fall semester of last year when I was the PR Director for the UT Democrats and he called me to ask if he could speak to our club “about the upcoming race for president.” I said sure, and then asked which campaign he was with. In seriousness he answered “Oh, I am running for president.” He then showed up at our next meeting, a security guard from San Antonio, and proceded to announce his candidacy for president to a very awkward crowd. He left and next I heard he was running for congress.

    There is a chance I’ll be living in the 21st on Election Day and in that case I will be writing in someone else, voting third party or not voting in that race at all because he is out of his freaking mind.