Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October surprises (and other campaign updates)

-- Republicans who voted a straight ticket in Harris County are waking up this morning with some buyer's remorse.

A $25,000 political contribution from the owner of a strip club being sued by Harris County lawyers found its way, via the Harris County Deputies Organization, into the campaign coffers of the man challenging Sheriff Adrian Garcia in November, according to campaign finance reports.

Ali Davari, who with his brother Hassan Davari owns a handful of prominent local strip clubs, including Treasures, Gold Cup and Trophy Club, gave $25,000 to the deputies union political action committee on Oct. 15. It was the only contribution the organization received during the time period covered by the report, which was filed Thursday. The union donated the same amount, in its only listed expenditure, to Republican Louis Guthrie's campaign a week later, earmarking it for political advertising.

Guthrie reports receiving a $25,000 check from the union on Oct. 9; Guthrie's campaign manager Sara Kinney said the campaign listed that date because that was the date on the check. HCDO Vice President Eric Batton could not explain the discrepancy in the dates. 

You had plenty of opportunities to educate yourself on the candidates in this race, people. Adrian Garcia loves accelerated deportation; that makes him the Republican, even though there's a D behind his name. We have known since before the May primary that Guthrie is corrupt beyond comprehension.

Remington Alessi is the only decent option. Try to fix this with your friends and neighbors in the remaining days.

Update: John, in his inimitable style, has more.

-- Henry Cooper hosted his opponent, Rep. Jessica Farrar, on his KPFT radio show, Proyecto Latino Americano, last night. I can't wait to listen to the archived recording.

-- Keith Hampton has been endorsed by every newspaper in the state. Even the wildly Republican ones like the San Angelo Standard-Times, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and the Amarillo Globe-News. Hampton was in fact the only Democrat some of these papers endorsed. Yet another reason why Republicans shouldn't vote a straight ticket.

Are you paying attention, Republicans?

-- Max Martin had an interview with Khambrel Marshall of KPRC-TV, and participating in it with them was my friend Aimee Turney of the League of Women Voters. Pay close attention at the 4:50 mark when Martin talks about the Republican who ran in the primary that told him they were voting for him. When your only other option is Steve Stockman, you just have to hope the voters of CD-36 are smart enough to figure it out.

(By the way, you can also download the League's Voter Guides available in English and Spanish for the positions on all candidates on your ballot. The best source of information available anywhere. Much better than anyone's slate card in your mailbox.)

Update: I should have also included this link to the debate/discussion between CD-09 candidates Vanessa Edwards Foster (G),  Libertarian John Weider, and Republican Steve Mueller. No Al Green sighting.

-- The TexTrib's poll revealed a surprise: Green candidate Chris Kennedy with 6% of the vote in the Texas Railroad Commissioner's race.

As you see, that's the one with a Democrat in it; the other TRC race does not. What do you suppose this portends for these races left uncontested by the Democrats, like the Texas Supreme Court?

I have taken great exception to the polling conducted by the Texas Tribune in the past, but these late results seem to have a bit more sanity baked in to them.  Note, though, that projecting the Lite Gov field for 2014 is a waste of effort. Long-range prognostication is typically where this poll fails.

But the question prompted by these numbers: is it possible that the Democratic rank-and-file is getting the message? That is, to send a message to the Democratic insiders?

I'll be very anxious to to see these results next week.

Update: Via Greg, this from KHOU...

The poll shows (President Obama) leading in Harris County with the support of 46 percent of surveyed voters, compared to Romney’s 42 percent.  Libertarian Gary Johnson cracked the survey with 2 percent.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Paul Sadler’s 44 percent leads Republican Ted Cruz with 42 percent in Harris County.  With a 3.5 percent margin of error, that’s a statistical dead heat in the largest county in Texas.


Nonetheless, the poll revealed that large numbers of voters allied with both parties are breaking away from casting straight-ticket ballots in two high-profile races.  In both campaigns, Republicans and Democrats are eschewing party loyalty to vote against candidates who’ve been hit with waves of bad publicity.

Republican crossover voters are helping push Democratic Sheriff Adrian Garcia to 51 percent in this survey, compared to Republican challenger Louis Guthrie’s 32 percent.  Another 13 percent were undecided.

On the other hand, many Democrats told pollsters they’re voting for Republican district attorney candidate Mike Anderson, who’s polling at 41 percent.  Nonetheless, Democrat Lloyd Oliver is close behind with 35 percent.  Another 19 percent are undecided.   That number is especially striking because Democratic Party leaders were so embarrassed by Oliver’s candidacy they tried to remove him from the ballot.

“What we’re seeing is a much more significant ticket-splitting among Republicans than Democrats,” said Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst who supervised the poll.  “I don’t know if that’s because they’re more bipartisan, or they simply are more capable and more likely to make that choice, which is not easy to do on an e-Slate ballot.”

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