From that perspective, there is something to be said for Lissa Squires' approach of taking the strongest position possible and unapologetically charging forward. But while her anti-corporate rhetoric may help rally the most liberal members of the Democratic base, it is neither a winning strategy nor the way to best represent Houston. But Squires' moderate Democrat opponent, James Cargas, seems excellently suited to reflect the district's energy industry.
"Moderate" is the new word Cargas learned to describe himself the last couple of weeks, and the newspaper swallowed it whole.
Oh, they did pick one liberal female upstart candidate against the established "moderate" candidate... but then, Ms. Squiers' mother's name isn't Sheila Jackson Lee.
The paper's e-board is just doing the conservative thing here, though; lining up behind pretty much every other establishment "moderate" in this race.The Chronicle has had some hilarious outcomes trying to pick winners in this cycle, so this endorsement might wind up as more a curse on the Cargas folks than the blessing they will be trumpeting.
Squiers led Cargas 40-34 at the end of the day in May, an upset all by itself. Runoffs, as we know, are all about getting out your vote, and with the other Blue Dog coming in third with 24% and promptly endorsing his canine brother, it remains to be seen if Cargas can get Phillip Andrews' supporters back to the polls.
To that end, Cargas has spent heavily on robocalling from Ohio and Florida outfits. Odd he couldn't hire a Houston or even Texas firm to do that, isn't it? In this respect he'll make a typical Congressman: spending other people's money out of state. But on the flip side of that, he's run over $5000 in ads in community newspapers. I should also mention that he's collected many donations from the elite class, including $500 from former city councilman and mayoral candidate Peter Schlumberger Brown. In my previous posting on his SEC filing I noted that most of his contributors have the letters CEO and M.D. and so forth behind their names.
This race is a classic 1% versus 99% showdown. The Corporate Democrat against the Community Democrat. One from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, one from the Republican wing. Progressive and Blue Dog.
But it's also about the Oil and Gas Man versus the Single Mom.
This self-proclaimed energy lawyer for the energy corridor refuses to get bogged down in partisan wedge issues, but instead emphasizes Houston's position as a national leader in the medical and energy industries.
In the midst of our natural gas boom, this founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats could be a strong voice for the Houston economy, showing that the oil and gas industry isn't merely a Republican institution, but a broad and important economic driver that deserves attention from the entire political spectrum.
And even if he doesn't win in the general election, putting forth a candidate like Cargas can remind voters in the district that there are plenty of Texas Democrats who support fracking, will bring federal grants to the Texas Medical Center, and put Houston before party.
Update: You see that part in the last paragraph about Texas Medical Center grants? The 7th CD does not contain the TMC. The interim maps, drawn by the court for this election, place it mostly in the 9th, with a sliver in the 2nd. That's just lame fact-checking. Saying Cargas is going to "bring federal grants" there has all the weight and significance of saying I'm going to be bringing federal grants there.
The Chronicle has humiliated themselves -- and completely devalued their endorsement process -- by transcribing the words Cargas said in the e-board meeting and publishing it as their endorsement.
I wonder how much he paid for that. I'll post a little more about the two Chronicle men who conducted this sham -- managing editor John Wilburn and writer/blogger/Tweeter Evan Mintz -- next week.
So let's summarize: if you support fracking, if you think Keystone XL is a good idea, if you think the oil and gas companies need to stay on the government teat -- maybe even suck a little harder -- hey, then CarGas is your boy.
Do you really think there will be any difference in a James Cargas policy on Metro and mass transit in Houston as opposed to the John Culberson policy?
I probably shouldn't remind you -- some people might consider it 'sniping' -- of the Watergate-style bumbling espionage, the foul dirty tricks, the battery-acid blog posts from the Cargas campaign's morbidly obese communications director -- as in paid, a measly $800 for the privilege -- and the sneering, contemptuous sense of entitlement James Cargas has repeatedly demonstrated toward the woman who dares challenge him for the primary nomination.
And Hector Carreno gets all offended when I call him a Republican. It's just laughable, isn't it?
The funniest thing was his "Formal Complaint" last week to HCDP chair Lane Lewis about the county party's facilities being used by Squiers for a planning meeting on how to beat Culberson. The Cargas campaign's godfather hilariously thought it was a strategy session against his client. If we needed another reminder that Carreno's reading comprehension was a little suspect, we got it.
(Aside to Hector: it's not bigotry to call you a poor practitioner of the English language. It is not lying to point out your associations with the wealthy, the powerful, the conservative, and the corrupt. Go cry into your $10,000-a-month Rolodex.)
Yes, I have made my position pretty clear in the race from the outset. Next week, and on through Tuesday evening the 31st, we'll find out what the people think. Whether the voters of CD07 want John Culberson Light, or a real, actual Democrat is still to be determined.
Yep, my mind was made up a long time ago. What about yours?