Wednesday, January 29, 2020

HD-28 and Democrats' irrational exuberance

Alan Greenspan's catchphrase about the 1996 stock market dot com bubble certainly applies to the nationwide hype that built up around the special election in Fort Bend County, concluding yesterday with a very predictable result.

How predictable was it?

A container ship full of establishment Democrats should have seen it coming, but didn't.  The orgs with too much money shot their wads like it was Pride Week.

Up through the final days, the race is attracting a remarkable amount of money for a state House contest, starting with Gates himself, who has loaned his campaign over $1.5 million and been able to easily outspend Markowitz. To be sure, though, the Democratic effort has been well-funded, with Markowitz raising over $800,000 since July 1 and benefiting from six figures of outside spending.

A majority of Markowitz's money has come from state and national groups with an interest in flipping the Texas House. Her biggest donors have been the House Democratic Campaign Committee and its national counterpart, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which have each given her well over $100,000. The DLCC's investment is nearing $200,000 after it infused $125,000 into her campaign last week to help pay for a last-minute ad buy on broadcast TV.

Markowitz has also been massively boosted by Forward Majority, a national Democratic super PAC focused on flipping state legislatures. The group has been easily the biggest known outside spender in the race, unloading over $400,000 on TV and digital ads, mailing and polling.

A dozen of the highest-profile state and national Dems -- Beto O'Rourke, Julian Castro, Texas House minority leader Chris Turner; and presidential hopefuls Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Mike Bloomberg -- spent their political capital for ... another long-shot gamble in November?

All three House specials held serve yesterday.  Anna Eastman replaces Jessica Farrar and Lorraine Birabil steps into Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's old chair, so the magic number for Pink Dome Donks is still nine.  The real change happens with a right-wing freak like Gates taking the place of John Zerwas, who was, in my own experience, as principled a Texas Republican as you could find.  He understood in 2013, for example, that expanding Medicaid was the right thing to do (he's a anesthesiologist, after all).  He could have been Speaker instead of Dennis Bonnen had he wanted the job.  I would think there are very many in Austin today who wish that he was.

Gary Gates can't carry John Zerwas' jockstrap.  He's a Trump Republican.  And as Michael Li of the Brennan Center noted, HD28 was drawn for the "vote red no matter who"-- be it Zerwas or Gates -- constituents who live there.

It would be best if Team Blue focused its efforts elsewhere than here.  Because if they can't take the statehouse back in the autumn, this district will have to wait several more years as it purples up into 'more competitive'.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

LMAO! That is classic!

“ The orgs with too much money shot their wads like it was Pride Week.”