Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Easy on the WTF and not so much SMH (Harris County and across Texas)

As Charles has noted, there's good news here.

-- Kim Ogg over Lloyd Oliver for District Attorney, Steven Kirkland over Lori Gray for Judge of the 113th Civil District Court.

Sanity prevailed.  Ogg breezed with 76% while Kirkland built on an early-vote lead and hit 54%.  The good guys and gals won and the bad guys lost.

-- The biggest news locally was the Harris GOP chair going down in flames.  Paul Simpson, the challenger to Jared Woodfill, crushed the longtime incumbent 53-37 (with third candidate Wendy M. Berry getting the other 10).

I watched this play out over the last few days on Big Jolly's blog, and ony saw Woodfill coasting to re-election.  In working my precinct over the past couple of weeks -- when my health allowed -- I saw more signs for Paul Simpson than for anyone else (though Wendy Davis and Jerry Patterson ran a close second and third).  You know the old saying, though; yard signs don't vote.

It was Jolly's posts that fascinated me: his endorsement of Woodfill over Simpson (despite having denounced Woodfill repeatedly in posts in the past), his strident condemnation of the gay hatred running rampant among Woodfill-ites, his appearance at the Hate the Gay Marriage rally at HCRP HQ on Monday, particularly with this line...

The HCRP’s crazy uncle (Dr. Steven Hotze) even smiled at me – I winked at him – he blushed. No telling what he’s thinking right now.

You have to read all of that if you want to get a glimpse into the ironies, contradictions, cognitive dissonance, and outright hypocrisy that permeate the local Republican chapter.  Considering that the Harris County GOP is one of the largest in the country, not just the state, what's roiling and boiling them over is that the moderates seem to still have the upper hand.  Ed Emmett gambled big and won.  Two of the other county commissioners and a host of other GOP highlifes lost.  Emily Deprang at the Texas Observer...

Earlier (last night), I called Harris GOP chair candidate Paul Simpson the conservative Punxsutawney Phil because a win for him could signal moderation afoot. Simpson ran against 12-year incumbent Jared Woodfill for the third time on a platform of broadening the party base and easing off social issues—and he won. With nearly all precincts reporting, Simpson took 53 percent in a three-way race. Woodfill got just 37. This wasn’t a fluke, either. Simpson got a boost from big names like Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and raised $145,000 for a position that doesn’t pay a dime. It does, however, influence the state party’s direction. This should be interesting.

There is moderation among urban Texas Republicans; not so much the suburbanites and rurals.  Sarah Davis, the most liberal Republican in the Texas House, won her primary against her from-the-right challenger by 2-1.  That the Tea Party still holds sway outside the big cities is evidenced by all of the incumbent GOP state legislators who lost their primaries across the state.  Paul Burka:

On the Senate side, Bob Hall pushed incumbent Robert Deuell into a runoff. Konni Burton leads Mark Shelton into the runoff. Donald Huffines is leading incumbent John Carona. So far the only Empower Texans-endorsed candidate not to push through is Mike Canon, who lost to Kel Seliger.

As for the House, of the 20 or so key races I was following, the majority of those supportive of the leadership won (some key knockoffs were Linda Harper-Brown, a committee chair, Ralph Sheffield, Bennett Ratliff, and Diane Patrick). Of those incumbers backed by Empower Texans who were being challenged, Jonathan Stickland, Charles Perry, and Matt Schaefer won their races. Stefani Carter is in a runoff after coming in second (and running a poor campaign). Several Empower Texans candidates pulled through in the open seats as well--T.J, Fabby and Ted Seago led their races into the runoff, and Mark Keough won outright.

The Lege is going to get more red, but not because of Republicans in the metros.

Finally, some Congressional races to take note of.

-- CD-36 has a GOP runoff between Woodville mayor and dentist Brian Babin and Houston businessman and Tea Party favorite Ben Streusand.  One of these two will (probably) succeed Steve Stockman in Congress.  Once again, read all about them both at Big Jolly.  The Libertarian-turned-Democrat is Michael Cole, and there's also a Libertarian and a Green and an independent running.

-- CD-7's Democratic primary had a more predictable outcome: James Cargas over Lissa Squiers.  Cargas, one of the lousiest persons (not to mention aspiring politicians) I have ever encountered in any party, ran again this year just to spite his primary opponent.  He abandoned some of the sneaky, underhanded dirty tricks he pulled two years ago, and instead smeared a whole new truckload of slime.  Cargas underperformed the Democratic ticket in Harris County in 2012, and also underperformed the Democrats who have run in the district going back ten years, with 36% of the vote.  He managed that in an Obama presidential election year, too.

The over/under for Cargas' rematch with John Culberson in November is 33.3 -- the same number that John Martinez got in 2004.  I'm betting heavily on the under.  And as in 2012 (if I don't undervote it, that is) I'll cast a ballot for the Libertarian.


Gadfly said...

Unfortunately, the possibility of "moderation," what's true in Houston might not be so true in Dallas of the GOP, as shown by Huffines knocking off Corona.

Sadder yet — hello, Battleground Texas? — in a race where a decent Dem might now stand half a chance, nobody sought the Democratic nomination.

PDiddie said...

True enough. Dallas proper might be bluer than Houston, but the 'burbs might be redder. Might just be another function of poor turnout.

Is anybody with these insights into North Texas politics blogging about them, that you are aware? I can't find a smart, stable source.