Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"New players pour resources"

"to help Harris County Democrats win."

Gotta love that:

Little-known Texas organizations that support Democratic candidates are pouring money and personnel into Harris County at seldom-seen levels for the Nov. 4 election, with the help of a few wealthy statewide donors and national labor unions.

Although some of the money is sluiced to the Texas Democratic Party or other counties, the work is part of an unprecedented push to aim resources at Houston-area elections through two groups run by a Washington-based director: The Texas Democratic Trust and the Lone Star Fund.

Together they have raised about $3.3 million in the last 18 months, apart from money each candidate has collected, according to state Ethics Commission records.

Free your wallet and the rest will follow (apologies to En Vogue).

In 2006, the same groups and donors helped Democratic candidates sweep out of office the Republican district attorney and Republican judges in Dallas County.

Now, the stakes are even higher in Harris County, the state's most populous, which provides a fat slice of the vote in statewide races.

That slice has historically been around 18 percent of the total of Texas votes, but in the Democratic primary in March -- with swollen turnout all over the state -- it was 27 percent.

Twenty-seven percent of the the Texas Democratic vote was cast in Harris County.

Democrats were tossed from Harris County administrative and judicial offices in the 1994 and 1996 elections and have not recaptured any posts. But surveys, the voter roll and other indicators suggest that the Republican voting advantage in the county has melted to near nothing.

Republican Party donors show no sign of matching the Democrat (sic) effort of operating apart from their party. Instead the GOP is using the same strategy it followed with success in 2006 and previous elections — funneling money from influential donors through the state and local parties.

Lots more good news in that article for the chances of having a two-party system in the nation's third-largest county again.

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