-- Secondly, that Henry Cuellar is going back to Congress without a runoff -- in the wake of glitches in the voting machines in his native Webb County -- is more than enough to make the conspiracy theorists salivate.
-- But the most shocking example of simple voter ignorance is that Barbara Radnofsky is in a runoff with Gene Kelly. Here's how Katie O'Harra, one of her associates at V&E, put it:
SHAME on Texas Democrats for allowing Gene Kelly-- who is a perennial joke on Texas politics -- to challenge Barbara Radnofsky in a runoff for U.S. Senate. Texas Democrats MUST get the word out regarding the importance of the upcoming runoff election on Tuesday April 11, 2006: a strong, viable candidate needs a decisive victory over a clown.
Barbara Radnofsky is a strong contender for the Senate seat currently occupied by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Barbara is campaigning throughout Texas with her well-considered positions on immigration, the Iraq war, veterans' affairs, health care, and other vital issues facing Texans and the nation as a whole. Barbara Radnofsky deserves your vote-- and she needs your efforts.
I personally have had the honor of working with Ms. Radnofsky for the last 20 years at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins. Barbara is earnest, hard-working, articulate, ethical and SMART. As a candidate, she would attract contributions, Independent and cross-over Republican votes, and dedicated volunteers. As our U.S. Senator, I know that she would make all Texans proud of her leadership.
By contrast, runoff opponent Gene Kelly is an octogenarian who has made four pathetically ineffective runs for U.S. Senate. This man doesn't campaign. Instead, his political "successes" rely entirely on "name recognition". Not recognition of his OWN prior successes, mind you, but the successes of Gene Kelly of "Singin' in the Rain" fame!
Sadly, as this runoff proves, Mr. Kelly DOES get political traction with his name. That is really the only possible explanation for his most recent election results. As reported February 17, 2006 in the Houston Chronicle: Gene Kelly refuses to spend ANY money on his race -- not his own money or anyone else's money. Kelly told the Chronicle in a rarely granted interview: "if somebody sends me a dollar I send it back."
Kelly also "shuns invitations to appear at candidate forums and bypasses opportunities to lay out his campaign ideas." Unbelievably, Mr. Kelly rejected a suggestion by the Chronicle that, as a candidate, he may have a responsibility to partake in a dialogue with voters.
So here's the bottom line: Do Texas Democrats want a joke candidate or a REAL candidate for U.S. Senate? Get your friends, family, neighbors, political clubs, and everyone else to the polls on April 11, 2006 to vote in the runoff. And visit Barbara Radnofsky's website and consider making a contribution and/or help in the campaign.
I'll be posting weekly about Radnofsky, her positions on the issues, and generally promoting her candidacy right up to April 11, in the expectation that Democrats can choose wisely.
Update: A message from the BAR campaign:
A reclusive candidate who doesn't talk to the media and avoids voters, Kelly has massive name recognition after ten failed attempts in fourteen years and runs solely off his name similarity with deceased Hollywood dancer Gene Kelly, whose moniker pulls up 19 million hits on Google.
Barbara decisively beat Kelly in the primary despite the fact that he was the party nominee against Hutchison in 2000. Running as a first-time candidate without primary polling, without direct mail, and without paid media, Barbara still took first place by a clear margin against a hunter in Texas and a deceased Hollywood icon.
She has carefully managed money, staff, and a statewide grassroots volunteer effort, and is well positioned to use her resources to win the runoff -- with your help.
Karl Rove, of course, would love to clone Eugene Kelly. He has run numerous races against Democrats and his name recognition is high enough to cause multiple runoffs and to even win the Senate nomination in 2000.
Once he makes the final cut, however, Kelly keeps playing dead -- to the glory and glee of the people he supposedly runs against. Against Republicans, he does no campaigning, avoids the media and Democratic events, and gives up without so much as a whimper. In his 2000 race against Hutchison he made no appearances, received no endorsements and only granted one interview. "I'm not doing anything different, to be honest with you," Kelly said in the runup to this year's primary, indicating that he plans to keep losing even as he tries to keep others from making a positive difference.
Texas Democrats need a fighter to take our state back and to keep fakers like Kelly from ruining our party. Barbara Ann Radnofsky has made 328 campaign appearances and received the endorsement of every major newspaper in Texas. And Kelly? Commentators describe him as a clown, a perennial joke, and an embarrassment to the party.
Barbara Ann fights for veterans' rights, for education, for better healthcare, and for Texans.
The dancer is dead, folks ... please don't let him kill the Party.