Tonight I was on a conference call, organized by Charlie Kuffner, with Richard Morrison and about a dozen other progressive bloggers talking about his campaign -- the one that did not stop with his defeat last November -- to represent the people of the 22nd Congressional district of Texas.
There was the occasional whiff of insecticide in the air.
But we didn't spend a lot of the time stepping on cockroaches.
Morrison spent an hour with us answering questions about how he can win in 2006, against DeLay or some other Republican, and assuming he advances from a potentially strong field of Democrats in the primary, possibly including another former Congressman. Besides the obvious (getting more votes, raising more money) he must do a couple of things much better in order to win: he must take on Tom DeLay in his own backyard, Fort Bend county, where the Majority Leader ran an appallingly low 52%; and he must not just run against the Bugman but he must run on some core issues important to the voters in the 22nd, which he identified as health care, mass transit -- specifically light rail -- and the environment.
He talked about the Catch-22 struggles he had last year ... that in the beginning, because his name recognition was nil, the Democratic power brokers wouldn't take or return his calls, and when he got them on the phone they wouldn't donate to his campaign because they had never heard of him or were waiting for a bigger name to jump in the race, and so on. But those are hurdles Morrison has already cleared for 2006. Thanks to his own hard work and the contributions of the Left Blogosphere and lots and lots of committed people, Morrison has name recognition and money starting to flow and the attention and the respect of the movers and shakers who make the difference in this early going. And because of his success -- and of course, the ongoing meltdown of La Cucaracha Grande -- there have been murmurings that another Democrat is going to take advantage of the water he has carried, jump in the fray and challenge a now-obviously weakened DeLay. Be that Gordon Quan or Nick Lampson or someone else, Morrison intends to run hard against any primary opponent. "I'm not 'considering' (the race)", he said.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I worked on Richard's campaign last fall; I donated money, made phone calls and handed out push cards for him at a Pasadena polling place on Election Day. And at least half a dozen voters at that precinct sought me out and recited some variation of: "You know, I voted for Bush and mostly all the other Republicans, but I couldn't vote for that a**hole DeLay, so I voted for your guy." The numbers bear out this diminished enthusiasm among the GOP, as Kuffner has more exhaustively detailed.)
I've spent a lot of space railing against Tom DeLay, and many others do it deeper and better, so in the months ahead I'll probably link to them and spend my time talking about Richard Morrison's news, views and issues.
One is the "birth tax". More on that later.
Update: Gary Beason at Southpaw has more.