Thursday, July 14, 2011

The scrum over CD-14

With this week's news that Dr. No will focus exclusively on his 2012 bid for the White House, a Cat 5 hurricane of speculation has erupted around the matchups for another coveted open seat in the Texas delegation to the US House. (This one, CD-14, hugs the coastline along Brazoria, Galveston, and Jefferson counties. Remember that there are four new ones thanks to the Census, and Republicans are falling over themselves already for them.)

Greg got there first and with the numbers, then posited this:

Put together a candidate that can carry Jefferson, get 45% or more in Galveston, and carry the Dem parts of Brazoria … and you might have a shot. That appears to be the showing that Sam Houston had in the district – also running in a Presidential year, I might add.

But it’ll take some doing and a candidate who can raise money within federal guidelines (ie – $2,500 a clip) and fill a bank account with at least a couple of million bucks.

Dr. Richard Murray concurred.

"A strong Democrat deeply rooted in Jefferson County would have a chance," he said.

Kuffner thirded that as he collected some of the speculation, and more blognostications -- including my own elsewhere on the day the news broke -- popped up like 'shrooms in the cow pasture after a downpour, and with nearly the same psychotropic affect.

(This really is the best part of talking politics; the horse race aspect. Who's in? Who's out? Who's a maybe? Who's got the sand to get it done? Throw some shit up against the wall and see what sticks. I just wish we could gamble on political outcomes with odds like they do in the UK.)

My first handful was hurling Joe Deshotel's name. He shot himself down with a way-over-140-character Tweet, though (here it is, misspellings and all):

New Dist 14 is 55% Republican. If Ron Paul would have been the sure Republican Nominee. I could have beat him because of crossover vote in Jeff County. However I would have been a one termer once a traditional Republican became nominee next time around. So I had decided to stay put, if the good people of District will give me the honor again. I also think there is a significant democratic undercount in Galv County as people continue to move back after Hurrican IKE.

That's a most accurate point: the right Dem can probably win the seat in 2012, but will lose it again in 2014 when Democratic voters go back into hibernation during non-presidential election cycles.

That scenario* has already happened before to some guy named Lampson, in fact. So while Mayor Joe Jaworski and state representative Craig Eiland get honorable mentions, it's important to note that they have an uphill climb even in the best circumstances next year -- Democratic resurgence due to Teabagger overreach, lengthy Obama coattails, GOP disillusion over their presidential options. Jaworski and Eiland have low name recognition outside Galveston County, not much fundraising prowess, and of course the district still leans a little red.

Lampson has the Blue Dog bonafides (sadly, probably an asset here) for independent conservative/crossover appeal, a decade of Congressional experience in two different districts that lap over and around the redrawn 14th, and would likely be a DCCC darling again, as he was when he won CD-22 in 2006. He can win CD-14 in '12. But '14?

The Rethugs, meanwhile, are staging another TeaBagger convention over the vacancy. Larry "Surfer Dude" Taylor, chair of the Texas House GOP caucus - yeah, the same ones that devastated the entire state in the just-concluded legislative session -- has expressed rabid interest to Paul Burka.

The rest of the crowded Republican field looks more like a jailbreak. Harvey Kronberg reports that SREC member and attorney Michael Truncale of Beaumont has already formed an exploratory committee -- listing supporters that include state Sen. Tommy Williams, Democrat-turned-Republican state Rep. Allan Ritter, and former Beaumont-area state representative Mark Stiles, yet another one-time Democrat. In the '90's he was one of Speaker Pete Laney's top lieutenants in the Texas House, but today Stiles is known primarily as a man whose work in the Lege was rewarded by having a men's prison facility named after him. A facility that houses mostly HIV-positive incarcerated people.

The sick, sad irony of that is only exceeded by former Congressman Steve Stockman -- best known for holding Lampson's spot in the old CD-9 while ending the political career of the legendary Jack Brooks --  throwing his feces at the sheetrock hat into the ring. From Stockman's Wikipedia entry:

In June 1996, Stockman and his campaign alleged that Houston Press reporter Tim Fleck trespassed in Stockman's campaign headquarters, which was also his home, and terrorized his wife. Fleck countered with a lawsuit alleging libel and slander. Both the charges and lawsuit were later dropped.[1][2]

On April 19, 1995, Stockman's office received a fax "at about the same time" touting the bombing in Oklahoma City, which was initially discarded. Stockman later turned that fax over to the FBI.[3] Following false news reports that the fax had been sent in advance,[4] federal officials later determined the fax was sent about 50 minutes after the bombing.[5] He was never implicated in any way in the bombing itself, but his critics said the reason that the militia movement trusted him was due to an article in Guns and Ammo Magazine proclaiming that the Waco Siege was a government conspiracy to “prove the need for a ban on so called assault weapons”.[6]

You just canNOT make this up. Stockman was batshit crazy before BSC renamed itself the Tea Party.

*Well, kinda. Lampson won in an off-presidential year with Republicans in CD-22 in complete and total disarray (Tom Delay's resignation/voter registration fuck-up, Shelley "Dracula Cunt" Sekula-Gibbs' short tenure) and then lost it back to Pete Olson in Obama's '08.

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