Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Harris County results, projections for runoffs, and November

This will be the last of these until shortly before May 22 (the primary runoff election date).  And what a relief.  As I've heard it said, the nation's third-largest county in terms of population has a civil and criminal court system larger than several small countries, and getting through the primary ballot -- where some civil and judicial races are left vacant -- is no small feat for the voter.

Sidebar: In the '90's I was a poll worker at a Republican primary voting location in River Oaks -- this was when ballots were still paper, and voter rolls were six pages of varying colors that the clerks had to separate into piles after the poll closed - and one overly-bejeweled woman turned around from the counter where she was marking her ballot and said with an indignant tone: "Why can't I just vote a straight Republican ticket?!"  I carefully explained that all the folks running were Republicans, and that she needed to pick her favorite.  For some reason this did not mollify her.

It's extremely difficult to make a determination beyond party affiliation about whom to select for any particular bench without knowing much about the attorneys running.  Because of the length of the ballot, many voters quit early, resulting in a high number of "undervotes", or races in which the voter picks no one running.  There's always a small -- usually tiny, in fact -- number of "overvotes", or persons selected in more than one race, which happens not on an e-Slate but on a paper 'absentee' or mail-in ballot, mostly used these days by non-ambulatory seniors.

So if you choose to examine the Harris County Democratic primary final results with me -- this is not the canvass, which certifies the election -- you can click on, then 'election results', then pick the Democratic primary from the pull-down menu and then your format (I use the .pdf and zoom in to fill my screen because it's easier on my eyes).  You can follow these results as they update live on election night, but Stan Stanart is very slow to update them, thus the #FireStanStanart hashtag on Twitter.  I've previously blogged that his predecessor, Beverly Kaufman, had this process down to a science, and Stanart has never been able to replicate her efficiency.

I've already blogged statewide and Congressional races in two parts, so what you're seeing from page 1 to the bottom of page 8 are the numbers on how those candidates performed in Harris County only; some Congressional districts are entirely within the county, some are not.  I consult the Texas Secretary of State's office for those multi-county contests, which posts statewide tallies, which are transmitted to them by county clerks and election administrators across the state on election night.

Notice that the last two statewide races, at the bottom of page 8, for Presiding Judge of the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals -- Maria T. (Terri) Jackson -- and Judge, Place 7, of the CCA (Ramona Franklin) had an undervote of nearly 38,000, against about 138K cast, or 17%.  Compare that to the undervote in the US Senate race: under 11,000 versus 156.6K, or 6.44%.  Eighteen thousand Democratic voters in Harris County have already stopped voting.  This premise isn't absolute; some people vote just for the judge, or state rep, or Congress person they know, or like, or for that matter against one they don't.  Generally speaking in a primary election, the top races are known to the voters and many downballot candidates aren't, and a couple of hours of research prior to, and a good 15-20 minutes casting their ballot -- not including time spent waiting on queue -- isn't something they have budgeted time for.

Skip on with me to page 17, but note as you do -- if you're clicking page by page -- the very small number of votes and undervotes associated with the state representative races.  All politics is local, and there's the proof.  Again as example, Hubert Vo (HD 149) had 427 undervotes, or a bit over 10% of the 3,777 cast in his race.   But Gordon Goodman, the first countywide judicial on the ballot after all those other ballot lines, was almost double that as a percentage (135.5K voted, 31.9K didn't; a 19% undervote.  Compare to Jackson and Franklin above).

And so it goes.  As with everybody else who voted, made predictions about outcomes, and so forth, I won a few and lost a few.  Notable outcomes included ...

District Judge, 185th: Jason Luong, who squeaked past Brennen Dunn by around 1300 votes out of 138.6K cast, or 50.48-49.52.  There were 28,500 undervotes (and 64 overvotes).  Virtually every card, slate, blogger, person I talked to, etc. mentioned Luong as best or most qualified, so I was surprised the race was this close.  This is where you start to wonder if the first position on the ballot, not to mention the easiest name for people to understand, is worth something at the polls.  A topic to be explored in a subsequent post.

District Judge, 189th: Scott Dollinger prevailed over my choice, Fred Cook, by slightly more than 2500 votes, very close to the same total and undervote.  Dollinger seemed to have the higher online and offline profile to me.

Again, because you don't have much to go on in selecting who might be best for these benches, it really comes down to a handful of subjective factors for many -- I would say most -- voters.  Is this a problem for our judicial system, this partisan election of our judges?  It's probably better than letting the governor pick them, which is what happens now when there's a vacancy.

My point made and my future blogging teased, click on to page 32, where you'll find the beginning of the Harris County executive contests.

County Judge: Lina Hidalgo.  I've written from early on that she was the best choice for Democrats; when she briefly had a primary opponent, to when David Collins found her worthy (Collins himself was a county judge candidate in 2014, representing Harris County Greens, and earned 16.6% of the vote when the Democrat abruptly quit and endorsed incumbent Ed Emmett).  Hidalgo is going to run vigorously against Emmett, who has a couple of strikes against him with Harris County Republicans: one being he's a moderate in a county full of right-wing freaks; two being his efforts to rehabilitate the Astrodome into something useful.

Is that enough for the HCRP to abandon him in November?  I sure am excited to find out.  Hidalgo is going to make Harvey's devastation in the west end of Harris County a campaign topic.  In particular, the horrendous decision to allow developers to build homes in the Addicks and Barker Cypress floodplains (that began in the Eighties, long preceding Emmett's tenure), the subsequent failure of the reservoirs coming under the deluge, and most specifically the decision to release water from those dams to relieve the pressure behind them that flooded out tens of thousands of Houstonians.  Lawsuits to that effect are pending.  Quick digression: for you legal eagles, the argument is related to inverse condemnation rather than negligence.  But read this from the Houston Press.

... in 1996 a report from engineers with the Harris County Flood Control District found that Harris County's reservoir system was not cutting it, a problem that put thousands of home in jeopardy. At that time the proposed solution was a $400 million underground system that would pipe water from the reservoirs to the Houston Ship Channel. However, the advice was never heeded and the report was forgotten.

"My embarrassment is that I knew enough that this was going to happen," Arthur Story, the then-head of Flood Control, told the Dallas Morning News. "And I was not smart enough, bold enough to fight the system, the politics, and stop it."

Hidalgo received 10,000 more votes than Emmett did last Tuesday.  Bad pun: it will still take a perfect storm to oust the incumbent.  Not just a large number of sour conservatives who, at the very least, stand away from him by undervoting the race or voting for the Libertarian Eric Gatlin, but including a wave of Latin@ voters showing up in the fall.

Skip to page 40 for ...

District Clerk (runoff): Marilyn Burgess (49.23%) versus Roslyn "Rozzy" Shorter (23.42%).  The most qualified candidate to take on incumbent Republican Chris Daniel in the fall is Burgess.  Shorter has been my SDEC representative and run for a few other offices, but really doesn't have enough experience to handle the district clerk's responsibilities.

County Clerk (runoff): Diane Trautman (44%) and Gayle Young Mitchell (almost 41%) split what was left after Nat West, also my Senate District chair, came in third with 15%.  Democrats MUST fire Stan Stanart, and I think that can only get done by nominating the very capable Dr. Trautman.

County Treasurer (runoff):  Dylan Osborne (38%) against Cosme Garcia (almost 37%).  Nile Copeland ran third with 25% and just under 35K votes.  There were 29,000 undervotes.  I voted for Garcia and will do so again in May.  Probably only Garcia stands a chance to defeat the incumbent -- also a two-time loser for Houston mayor -- Orlando Sanchez, in a test of which Latino is most popular.  Democratic candidates in the past have run on a campaign of abolishing the office (to no traction from Republican voters).

Democratic Party County Chair: Lillie Schechter ran unopposed; almost 38,000 voters, or 22.65% of the total, either didn't make it all the way to bottom of the ballot ... or declined to vote for her, like me (scroll all the way to the end here for the reasons why I didn't).  I don't see that there was any backlash against her (appearance of) ethical impropriety in those undervotes; the numbers were about the same as -- even less than -- some of the judicial races above her line, including statewide judicials Jackson and Franklin mentioned above, so there's that.

I may profile some of the GOP primary runoff races if anybody cares to read my take on them, so share your thoughts about that, and anything else, in the comments.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Texas Greens ready to begin ballot access work

The first step -- for anyone who did not vote last Tuesday -- is to find your precinct nominating convention, consolidated in the counties listed here across the state, and happening this evening.

Organizing this duty belonged to David Collins until recently, but he got mad and quit because the Harris County Greens finally succeeded in clearing out their dead wood.  You can pick up petition forms at the convention, or you can print them from the link here, or below.

This petition sheet is your tool for expanding and enhancing democracy in Texas. Make multiple copies (legal size!) of page 1. Read the instructions on page 2 very carefully. Talk to friends, relatives, and total strangers about its importance. If they are eligible to sign, convince them to sign.
In order to be valid, a signature must be gathered in the 75 days, beginning March 14th, from:
  • a registered Texas voter
  • who did not vote in any primary election this year
  • and did not sign any other party's petition or attend any other party's conventions.
Those who gather signatures need not meet these criteria. They need only be of legal age to sign their petition sheets. Each petition sheet has space for 10 signatures. A signature line contains places for the voter's full name, street address, home county, birthdate, and (optionally) voter registration number. Yes, the birthdate is required for verification.

All petition sheets submitted to the state must be signed by the signature collector in the presence of a Notary Public. The actual deadline for submitting petition sheets to the Secretary of State's office is the Tuesday following Memorial Day, or May 29, 2018.

For more detailed information about the petition drive, see this page at

Candidly, if I knew a week -- more like two -- ago what I know today, I would not have voted in the Democratic primary, and instead helped the Greens try to get on the ballot.  The factors for that change of heart include:

-- Bernadine Williams' H-Town takeover of the Greens.  After we -- she, I, others -- failed to do so a year ago, I didn't think it could be done this year.  I was wrong.

-- The extraordinarily shabby treatment of progressive candidates by the Texas Democratic establishment.  Two examples, one from this Truthout piece regarding Sema Hernandez ...

... The Texas Democratic Party push backed against Sema Hernandez, a Bernie Sanders-inspired progressive activist challenging O'Rourke for the nomination.

"When I arrived to Texas Democratic Party headquarters in December 2017, I was asked if I was sure I wanted to run because there was already two other people in the race," she said.

When Hernandez paid in cash the $5,000 fee to be put on the ballot for the Democratic primary, she said that the Democratic Party official who accepted the fee jokingly asked if it was drug money. The Texas Democratic Party did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

... and the other, this reply to Tom Wakely on Twitter.

Hover your mouse over "Notorious RKGM", or click on her name, and take note that she appears to identify herself as a Tarrant County Democratic Party official.  What did I just blog the other day about Tarrant County Democrats (scroll to CD-12, Vanessa Adia).

-- And then there's that whole nasty business regarding the DCCC and Laura Moser that I won't rehash at this time.

I'm ready to #DemExit again.  Sure didn't take long, did it?  There are some cold, hard realities associated with this circumstance and the effort needed to accomplish it.

Let's be honest about this: Given the political climate and the current state of the Green Party in Texas, the prognosis for success in 2018 is not great. GPTX has undertaken five ballot access drives. It was successful in 2000 and 2010, but fell short in 2004, '06, and '08.

Even in a state where 85% of voters skip the primaries, finding willing signatories can be difficult. People who desperately want a third option on the ballot may still have trouble thinking beyond the two-party paradigm. They may also be reluctant to give anybody their addresses for fear of being sold to mailing lists.

Typically, the number of signatures gathered should exceed the requirement by 50%. Historically, about one-third of signatures collected in these drives do not satisfy all the criteria.

Even if the Greens get their ballot line back, at least one candidate must top 5% to keep the party going in 2020. However, difficult though it may be ...

... with enough volunteers and enough enthusiasm, this is entirely feasible!

The numbers are daunting.

In order to qualify (for ballot access), the Green Party of Texas must collect 47,183 verified signatures, equal to 1% of the total votes cast in the last (2014) gubernatorial election, from registered voters who did NOT cast a ballot in either primary election within a 75-day period beginning March 14th ...

If you can do something more than blog -- like me -- in helping the Texas Greens get back on the November ballot, it will be worth it to send a message to these toxic neoliberals that their party cannot, will not win a goddamn thing if they choose to keep shitting on the FDR/Bernie Sanders wing of the Donkey Party.  Twenty-sixteen's lesson was not learned, so we're gonna hafta rub these Blue Dogs' noses in their own shit again.  Maybe they'll get it in time for 2020.

Once more, consolidated precinct conventions in these counties tonight, 7p.m.:

Bell County - Killeen Fire Station #1, 3800 Westcliff Road, Killeen, TX 76543
Bexar County - Bill Miller's Restaurant, 1004 San Pedro, San Antonio TX
Collin County - Market Place, 6100 Eldorado Pkwy, McKinney, Texas 75070
Denton County - Agua Dulce Mexican Kitchen, 115 S Elm St, Denton, TX 76201
Harris County - Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 77098
Tarrant County - Root's CoffeeHouse, 9101 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Travis County - Green Party Space, 1105 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78741

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance didn't have a vote in the Bracketville primary, but is picking some favorites anyway.  It's not just NCAA tourney week; it's also spring break, and there's even baseball in Florida.  What a time to be alive.

Here's the progressive blog post and lefty news roundup from last week's whirlwind of primary elections and the aftermath.

Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer thinks the biggest election in Texas is next January, and that perhaps a hundred or so Republicans may be the only ones voting in it.  In that vein, the Lewisville Texan Journal says that area state Rep. Tan Parker has thrown his hat into the ring for Speaker of the Texas House, joining extremist Phil King on the far right side of the GOP caucus, and in opposition to the more moderate Rep. John Zerwas.

Three TPA bloggers offered their post-primary thoughts: Off the Kuff, Socratic Gadfly (the Senate and gubernatorial races), and Neil at All People Have Value (focusing on Harris County).

Grits for Breakfast analyzed Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and county district attorney primary outcomes, and DBC Green Blog saw mixed results for progressives in the Democratic primary.

Ted at jobsanger doesn't believe that Elizabeth Warren isn't running for president in 2020, and is carrying a torch for her in hopes she will stop a repeat of 'Bernie's fiasco'.  Now that's what you call a sore loser.

While Ted sucked on his lemon, Sanders came to Texas and spoke at South by Southwest, at Trinity University in San Antonio (the Current and the Rivard Report were there), and in Lubbock, accompanied by Our Revolution chief Nina Turner and political satirist Jim Hightower.  It was a  rousing experience for listeners at all three locations.

The Rivard Report also watched as the Bexar County district attorney's race -- with incumbent Nico LaHood moved to the sidelines -- shifted into a more civil phase.

The Hayride, a conservative website devoted to Southern politics and culture, went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (aside to Bethany Blankley: they're trying to rebrand -- har har -- with a corporate name) and videotaped the animal rights activists protesting the treatment of the horses, steer, calves, and mutton being terrorized by rednecks.

The Texas Tribune chose to devalue the 23.7% of the vote Democratic US Senate candidate Sema Hernandez received last Tuesday, alleging that many of those votes were due to her surname.  Meanwhile, Vox covered the "raging controversy" of Rafael Cruz making fun of Robert O'Rourke's nickname, without the slightest hint of irony (or implied racism).  And Truthout reported on Hernandez's filing experience.

"When I arrived to Texas Democratic Party headquarters in December 2017, I was asked if I was sure I wanted to run because there was already two other people in the race," she said.

When Hernandez paid in cash the $5,000 fee to be put on the ballot for the Democratic primary, she said that the Democratic Party official who accepted the fee jokingly asked if it was drug money. The Texas Democratic Party did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

With respect to O'Rourke's 'problem' in South Texas, Stace at Dos Centavos doesn't think he has one.  And he also addressed the topic of Latino@s on the ballot (or rather, people with Latin@ surnames).

In Tarrant County, the Texas Standard reports on a state district judge who ordered stun belts to be attached to an uncooperative defendant in his courtroom.  That defendant has subsequently been granted a new trial.  But the question -- as with the unprofessional conduct of Harris County Judge Michael McSpadden -- remains: when defendants are pre-judged too harshly, or mistreated in court ... who polices the judges?

A federal lawsuit filed in Amarillo charges that the city is forcing homeless persons out of their gathering place on the outskirts of town and into shelters against their will, according to Christopher Collins at the Texas Observer.

Zachery Taylor sees a trade war as a massacre for the middle class.

The Rag Blog advanced the International Women's Day Music Fest in Austin last Thursday.

And Texas Vox collected signatures on an open letter to Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, requesting partnership in the battle against pollution and climate change.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

#TXLege results and analysis from last Tuesday

This won't be as exhaustive a review of the Texas House and Senate as the Congressional profiles I completed last Friday.  (Sometimes I get the sense those posts are TL;DR for many of you, and wonder why I bother.  Then I remind myself that it's a resource for me.)  Once again, see the TexTrib's great summary of election results for each district.

A few links and excerpts:

-- The Texas Observer's Forrest "For the Trees" Wilder, helping me out with HDs 46, 37, 104, 116, 118, and SD 19, as they appear in order here.

—Dawnna Dukes, who has long represented a rapidly gentrifying East Austin district, managed just 10 percent tonight, handily losing to former City Council member Sheryl Cole and immigration attorney José “Chito” Vela. Cole and Vela now head to a runoff. Dukes has been in the local news for years for her chronic absenteeism at the Capitol, criminal indictments for abuse of office (she was later cleared of charges) and run-ins with standing desks.

René Oliveira is going to a runoff with Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez. As Gus Bova recently reported, Oliveira’s two challengers hammered the 17-term incumbent for doing little to bring jobs and education to the Brownsville-area district.

—Roberto Alonzo, who’s held the Dallas seat since 1992, lost in a landslide to Jessica Gonzalez, a 37-year-old attorney. Alonzo was known as a perennial backbencher.

Trey Martinez Fischer narrowly bested Diana Arévalo in this San Antonio district. Arévalo had served just a single term before TMF, as he’s known, decided to make his path back to the Legislature, where he previously served for 16 years, right through Arévalo’s incumbency. TMF had tried to move up to the Senate but lost twice to José Menéndez. But TMF is a consummate brawler, an almost comically intense tactician at the Lege. Arévalo was simply a casualty of his need to get back in The Game.

—Tomas Uresti… we barely knew you. Uresti lost to the little-known Leo Pacheco. Though Uresti was known in the Lege as a bit of a dud, his biggest liability may be his name. The Uresti family is well-known in San Antonio, and while that used to be a good thing, it probably didn’t help Tomas’ career that his brother, Senator Carlos Uresti, was recently convicted of 11 felony fraud charges; is facing another criminal trial for bribery and conspiracy and money laundering related to a disastrously-run private prison for immigrants in West Texas; and has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.

State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (HD 119) has announced his bid to challenge Sen. Uresti .... in 2020.  I believe the odds are short that Uresti will be outside the long arm of the law in order to defend the seat.  In the meantime, Rep. Gutierrez will return to the Texas House, having had no D primary challenger and with no R opponent in November.

-- Besides Vela (above), Gus Bova from the Observer relays that the Berniecrats, aka Democratic Socialists who won or made the runoff in their statehouse races include Fran Watson in SD17, Steven Kling in SD 25, Erin Zwiener in HD 45, and Andrew Morris in HD 47.

With respect to the Texas Republicans ...

-- They're going to keep dancing with the freaks that brung them.  Overreach in various ways by the MFIC is still obvious; let's note that Greg Abbott's gambit in the Texas House went 1 for 3, which he probably thinks is still good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.  Scott Braddock at Quorum Report -- his personal blog has been added to the right hand column -- clarifies.  The subheadline (or maybe it's an excerpt from behind the subscriber paywall) is his point.

Speaker Straus set the stage for rational House Republicans to run the table; Governor Abbott’s losing two of the three races where he challenged House incumbents. If the House GOP bows down to Abbott & Patrick next session, it won't be because voters in their districts told them to.

To refresh: Abbott spent nearly a quarter of a million bucks trying to defeat three incumbents: Sarah Davis in HD-134 (West University, Bellaire, etc.) which he lost 44-56; Lyle Larson in Bexar County's HD-122, the governor beaten 40-60;  but helping Mayes Middleton knock off HD 23 incumbent Wayne Faircloth in Galveston County.  The TexTrib first pointed out last August that all three state reps had crossed swords with him over what they believed were severe ethical lapses on his part: appointing cronies to state boards after they gave bigly to his campaign coffers.

I think it's way too early to speculate about statehouse dynamics, especially since there's gonna be a new Speaker in town next January, but let's run with Braddock a bit farther here.

Four years ago, if you asked how to win a GOP primary in Texas, the answer would be for the candidate to try to get to the right of Sen. Ted Cruz.

Since then, Cruz did violence to his relevance by flaming out at the Republican National Convention when he refused to endorse the ticket, only to later completely crater with those who were still on his side by doing the one thing they respected him for not doing: Endorsing Donald J. Trump for the White House. Cruz has mostly regained his footing among Republicans, but some polling has shown his numbers remain weak among self-identified independents.

Tonight, Cruz lost a Texas House race in the Piney Woods after endorsing the challenger to Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall. Paddie stomped his opponent 63 to 36 even with Cruz and the Wilks Brothers against him while Empower Texans blanketed his district with negative mail.

In 2018, Republicans are largely following the leader, but it ain’t Cruz.

That's all you get from Harvey Kronberg without paying.  Is this defeat really on Cruz, though?  Why didn't Abbott jump in roll in with his moneybags in HD-9 as with Davis, Larson, and Faircloth?  What are the differing tactics of Abbott versus Empower Texans from a progressive/liberal/establishment Democrat perspective beyond degree of right-wing freakishness?  And is this too 'inside baseball' for you?  Because it is for me, and I'm a baseball fanatic.

My main disagreement with Braddock's contention is that Cruz, as a federale, isn't as tainted by an Austin endorsement gone sour as are Abbott and his ilk, who tried very hard to muck up the Lege with more Freedumb Caucusers.  The MQS/Dunn/Wilks/EmpT thugs were mostly a fail against incumbents Tuesday night ...

Meanwhile, two vulnerable Republicans looked likely to survive tight challenges from the right in races that Abbott sat out.

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, fended off a repeat challenge from Bo French in perhaps the House’s ugliest primary race. In a repeat of a bitter 2016 primary, French challenged Geren from the right, hoping to unseat the nearly two-decade incumbent. French had the backing of conservative groups, including Empower Texans.

Weeks before Tuesday’s primary, Empower Texans sent out a mailer from the invented “Texas Ethics Disclosure Board” warning constituents that Geren is married to a lobbyist. French has also alleged that a political operative working for Geren asked Child Protective Services to investigate French’s family.

And Dan Flynn, R-Canton, beat challenger Bryan Slaton with a small margin — 52 percent to 48 percent. That race is a rematch of the 2016 primary when Slaton, a conservative challenger, lost by only about 600 votes of 30,000 cast. Flynn, who’s been in the House since 2003, hired a political consultant in the race for the first time.

But a third — Dallas Republican Jason Villalba — fell to challenger Lisa Luby Ryan, an interior designer who came at him on the right with the backing of Empower Texans.


Villalba, one of the most moderate Republicans left in the House, was one of the only members of his party who spoke out vocally against the “bathroom bill” raised last session that would have regulated the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans. Luby Ryan raised more money than Villalba and picked up several key conservative endorsements.

... but they did hold their own crew's ground, managed well in open races, and are poised for runoff success.  Go on deeper in the weeds as far as you like (scroll down past the excerpt from above).  I'll be here when you get back.

Beyond these contests, I'll wait to post a more thorough analysis of the Lege and the potential forces at play for 2019 until after the May runoffs.

Still to come: Harris County results and thoughts.

Sunday Funnies

Friday, March 09, 2018

Your new Texas Congressional delegation (part 2)

(Note: Part 1, with profiles of Congressional District races 1 through 7, is here.  Two updates to the "statewides" post have been made pending developments in those contests since Wednesday.  And  the special election to replace my city councilman (RIP) has been called by Mayor Turner for May 5.  That's less than sixty days away.  While two state reps have already declared they intend to be the next state senator from the East Side (replacing the pending CongressLatina for CD-29, see below), I hear of no candidates for District K yet.  Perhaps out of respect they are waiting until services for CM Green, scheduled for Sunday, are past.)

CD-8: Incumbent Republican and House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady versus sacrificial lamb Steven David in November.

CD-9: Al Green has no GOP challenger in the fall.

CD-10: Michael McCaul, House Homeland Security chairman, will face either Tawana Cadien for the fourth consecutive time or, more likely, Mike Siegel, who got 40% in a seven-way Democratic primary.  Since Cadien lost in 2016, 2014, and 2012 -- topping out at 38% two years ago -- this district's badly gerrymandered Democrats, scattered between northwest Houston and southeast/north Austin, might want to try something different.  The definition of insanity being what it is.

CD-11: Michael Conaway (R) against Jennie Lou Leeder.  Nothing to see here.

CD-12: Kay Granger versus Vanessa Adia, a teacher who supports Medicare for All.  It's a damn shame this district is mostly Tarrant County; Democratic voters there just rejected a progressive, Allison Campolo, in favor of conservaDem Beverly Powell to face off against SD-10 Republican incumbent Konni "Out LGBT School Children to their Parents" Burton.  The D primary vote was 62-38 in favor of the Wendy Davis-endorsed Powell.  What few Democrats there are on the west side of the Metroplex -- this summer's TDP convention is going to be held in Fort Worth -- are as far to the right as Democrats can be without being Republicans.  And Tarrant County Republicans are already about as bad as can be.

I'd like to be more hopeful for Adia, the kind of candidate who deserves support from Democrats.

CD-13: Mac Thornberry (R, incumbent) against D Greg Sagan.  Sigh.

CD-14: Progressive darling Adrienne Bell is taking on dirtbag incumbent Randy Weber in Southeast Texas, the coastal district that runs from Freeport to Beaumont.  Maybe Harvey crushing the residents here, along with Weber's feeble response associated with the disaster, can impact this race.  Weber has whined and tried to blame others for Trump's FEMA dragging their feet over the last six months.

... Weber is one of eight Texas GOP congressmen who voted against providing much-needed aid to New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy -- a group now being dubbed the "Comeuppance Caucus."

Bell needs more of Weber's incompetence and another miracle or two to pull off the upset.

CD-15: Rookie incumbent D Vicente Gonzalez draws R challenger Tim Westley for the second time in this South Texas (straight south, from the San Antonio eastern suburbs and exurbs all the way to Edinburg on the border).  Westley got under 38% two  years ago riding Trump's threadbare coattails; don't expect him to perform any better this time around.

CD-16Veronica Escobar will join Sylvia Garcia as the state's first two Latina Congresswomen, a story both overtold and a circumstance long overdue.  She will defeat her R opponent Rick Seeburger and replace Robert "Beto" O'Rourke in Congress.  I expect her to vote more progressively than the man currently in that seat.

CD-17: Bill Flores, R incumbent, over a token D challenger, Rick Kennedy.

CD-18: Sheila Jackson Lee will return to Washington after beating R Ava Reynero Pate.

CD-19: Jodey Arrington, also a Republican first-term incumbent, is unlikely to lose to D Miguel Levario in this West Texas district that includes Abilene, Big Spring, Lubbock, Plainview, and points further west and in-between.

CD-20: Congressman Joaquin Castro will be unopposed in the fall.

CD-21: In one of the more closely-watched races in the the state, a minor upset sent progressive favorite Derrick Crowe to the sidelines when his 23% of the primary vote was only good for third place.  Establishment Dem Joseph Kopser and surprise vote leader Mary Street Wilson go to the May runoff.  The Texas Observer, with the graphic and the story.

Mary Wilson, a former math teacher running for Congressional District 21, raised a measly $40,000 over the last year. She had a handful of profiles in Science magazine, Dame, and KUT. In comparison, Joseph Kopser raised about $770,000, received a slew of endorsements and a ton of press coverage. Derrick Crowe, a former Nancy Pelosi staffer, and Elliott McFadden, the former Travis County executive director, also raised far more than Wilson and received endorsements from prominent groups.

Still, Wilson is the one headed to a runoff with Kopser. In fact, she received almost 1,000 more votes than Kopser.

The winner will face either Chip Roy, a former COS to "Carnival" Cruz, or Matt McCall, who challenged retiring incumbent Lamar Smith twice, in 2014 and 2016.   It's worth noting that Roy doesn't live in the district.  That didn't slow him down much; he posted a ten-point advantage over McCall on Tuesday.  Whichever GOPer prevails in May will be favored in November.

CD-22: Fort Bend/Sugar Land Republican incumbent Pete Olson waits for his Democratic opponent in the fall, one of Sri Preston Kulkarni or Letitia PlummerSteve Brown, former county chair and the Texas Democrats' Railroad Commission nominee in 2014 and the 2016 HD-27 nominee (sadly, he couldn't beat the unbelievably corrupt Ron Reynolds) finished third by less than 1000 votes.  Might be time for a line of work outside politics, Steve.

Fort Bend County, the nation's most diverse, is very slowly turning purple, but like the rest of Texas, still lags GOP turnout.  This is the kind of suburban battleground Democrats must win in 2018 if there's going to be any blue wave to speak of.

CD-23: The only swing district in the state until Democrats got enthused following Hillary Clinton's strong showing in CD-7 and CD-32 in 2016.  Will Hurd defeated Pete Gallego twice in the past four years, both times with less than 50% of the vote.  (Gallego won 50-45 in 2012 over incumbent Quico Canseco.)  This time there are two progressive Democrats who will battle in the summer runoff to face Hurd in the fall: Gina Ortiz Jones and Rick Treviño.  Either candidate should be marginally favored to take the seat away from the GOP.  Democrats turned out over 44,000 voters in the sprawling Big Bend district while Republicans managed just under 31K.

Update: This article delves into some detail about Ortiz Jones' military intelligence experience.  It will be 'spy vs. spy' if Ortiz Jones makes it to the general against Hurd, himself a former CIA agent.

CD-24: R Incumbent Kenny Marchant will be heavily favored to beat D Jan McDowell.

CD-25: Progressive Ds Chris Perri and Julie Oliver will run off to face incumbent Roger Williams.  Hill Country Democrats, as with their counterparts in CD-23 above, rejected the centrist establishment candidates in their primary.  This makes me hopeful, but the real test will be how things go for the May winner in November.  The seat is rated 'safe' or 'solid' for Republicans.

CD-26: The Berniecrat, Linsey Fagan, eked out a win over the Clintonite, Will Fisher, 53-47 in this North Texas seat held by incumbent quack Dr. Michael Burgess.  Rs outvoted Ds in their respective primaries 55K to 16K.

CD-27: Both parties will hold runoff elections to nominate a standard-bearer to replace Blake "Animal House" Farenthold in this south-Austin-to-Victoria-and-Corpus district.  The Dems have Raul Roy Barrera, who was beaten by Farenthold 62-38 in 2016, and Eric Holguin; the Repubs, Bech Bruun and Michael Cloud.  The two Democrats boast good positions on healthcare; there isn't much I could find that would tell me about whether these Republicans were freaks or something less so.  This report from the Caller Times told me nothing; this report from KRIS-TV was helpful with regard to all of the carpetbaggers who were in the race and has links to all candidates, pre-election day.  The district has a  Cook PVI R +13 rating.

CD-28: Henry Cuellar, the shittiest Blue Dog Democrat in all of Congress (with regular appearances on Fox News, including recently defending the NRA) had no primary opponent and has no general election Republican challenger.  This is disgraceful.

CD-29:  Much already said, written, and videotaped about Sylvia Garcia, having outhustled her moneybags challenger Tahir Javed, the other Garcias, and my pick, Hector Morales, to go on to Congress after she vanquishes her Republican challenger, either Phillip Aronoff or Carmen Maria Monteil.  The scrum has already begun to replace her in the Texas Senate.

CD-30: Eddie Bernice Johnson will go back to DC for her fourteenth term in the US House after winning her primary.  She faces no R challenger.

CD-31: MJ Hegar and Christine Mann will battle each other in May for the right to move on to face Republican John Carter in November.  Both women are solid, but Mann has the progressive bonafides.  The district is safe for the eight-term incumbent to make it nine.

Update: Read this piece in the Greanville Post about "CIA Democrats", which includes brief profiles of Hegar (above) and Ed Meier (next).

CD-32: Pete Sessions was re-elected in 2016 by a 71-18 margin over a Libertarian (no Democrat entered the race that year; the Green and my friend, Gary Stuard, got 10%), but because Hilary Clinton carried it by 2 points, 49-47, it's considered a pick-up opportunity.  Accordingly, seven Democrats bid for the nom, and former NFL player Colin Allred (39%) and progressive champion Lillian Salerno (18%) emerged from Tuesday's primary as the top two.  Neither raised very much money in defeating better financially-supported centrists and establishment candidates with higher name recognition, like Dallas TV broadcaster Brent Shipp and Ed Meier, the former Hillary Clinton transition team co-chair (LOL).  The district is R+5, and the Dallas-region Ds turned out 40,000 voters on their side of the primary, while the Rs managed just a little more, at 41.3K.

l. to r.: Allred, Meier, Salerno, Shipp

Allred's popularity may be enough to get him to November, and Sessions might be in big trouble.

CD-33: D incumbent Marc Veazey easily won his primary and will probably do the same in the general election over R Willie Billups.

CD-34: Incumbent Filemon Vela was unopposed in the D primary, as was his R challenger, Rey Gonzalez.  I would not expect to see this seat flip.

CD-35: Longtime Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, with no primary opponent, will face -- and defeat -- Republican David Smalling.

CD-36:  Rock Goddess Dayna Steele moves on to November in a match with the Republican incumbent, Woodville dentist Brian Babin, for this Houston suburbs/East Texas seat.  The district scores R+26, but Steele's celebrity status and Babin's complete lack of visibility and charisma could put it in play.  Babin was trapped in his house during Harvey.  Even my 94-year-old mother was able to evacuate ahead of the storm, alone, which ultimately flooded and destroyed her home.  I have long gotten the distinct impression that Babin is one of the more inept Republicans in the Texas delegation.  I certainly hope the voters of the 36th -- not known for their intelligence, since they sent Steve Stockman back to Congress before he flamed out a second time in a swirl of corruption -- can see fit to elect a voice of reason this go-around.

Moving on to Austin representatives and Harris County races this weekend.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Your new Texas Congressional delegation (part 1)

I was tempted to write "fresh", but then CD-1 incumbent Louie Gohmert is in another rematch with Shirley McKellar, who must just love losing to him.  She's the deep East Texas equivalent of James Cargas.  More on that in a quick minute.

-- CD-2: Todd Litton bested the four others on the D side, at least three of whom were to his left, to move on to the general election against either Kevin Roberts or Dan Crenshaw in November for the right to replace Ted Poe.  Kathaleen Wall got in bed with Trump, spent six million bucks, secured the endorsement of Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, and missed the runoff by .3 of one percent, or about 145 votes.  I'm tempted to thank God.  The Republican who wins will still be favored in the fall.

-- CD-3: Van Taylor ran against Chet Edwards in 2004, right after the DeLay redistricting, and lost to the Blue Dog (who continued to fend off R challengers until 2010, losing to Bill Flores).  Taylor went on to win election to the Texas House and later the Texas Senate (where he is currently representing SD-8), and is now favored to hold the seat of retiring Rep. Sam Johnson.  He'll face either Lorie Burch or 'the other' Sam Johnson, of the Dems, in November.

-- CD-4: Incumbent John Ratcliffe is likely to vanquish his D challenger, Catherine Krantz.

-- CD-5:  Two GOPers will run off in May to replace Jeb Hensarling; Lance Gooden and Bunni Pounds.  The Rabbit Lady was a Hensarling campaign manager, political consultant, and fundraiser prior to hopping into this race.  Gooden seeks a promotion from the Texas House; the third-place finisher in the R primary is/was former state Rep. Kenneth Sheets.  The Democrat waiting to be skunked in the fall is Dan Wood.

-- CD-6: This contest drew thirteen Republican challengers after Smokey Joe Barton finally quit following the, ah, exposé of himself on Twitter.  The two who will go to May 22 are Ron Wright, a former Barton chief of staff, and JK 'Jake' Ellzey, a retired Navy pilot.  Democrats have two women in their runoff: Ruby Faye Woolridge and Jana Lynne Sanchez, who finished in a virtual tie yesterday. Woolridge led by just 19 votes out of over 29,000 cast.  Sanchez has followed me on Twitter from her campaign's earliest days and has a fascinating life story.

Jana Lynne Sanchez grew up in the Ellis County, Texas towns of Maypearl, Midlothian and Waxahachie. Her grandparents, migrant farm workers, settled in Rockett, outside of Waxahachie in the 1950s. Her grandfather was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who lived in the U.S. most of his life, before becoming a citizen in 1969. Her father, one of 27 children, grew up on the road and had little formal education.

Jana attended Rice University in Houston on multiple scholarships and thanks to financial aid, student loans, work-study jobs, and the support of family. After graduating from Rice with a degree in Political Science, she went on to work as a political fundraiser, raising millions for state-wide and local candidates in California. She also managed political campaigns in Alabama before turning to journalism.

She began her career writing about food and travel for the Baltimore Sun before becoming a technology journalist. Later she was a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Amsterdam. In 2005 she co-founded CitySavvy, an award-winning financial and corporate communications consultancy with offices in London and Amsterdam ( At the end of 2014 she returned to Texas.

Jana serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Social Sciences at Rice and is active in progressive political causes in Texas. She’s an aspiring country songwriter, singer and guitarist.

It'll be uphill for either woman to win this district, but if there is a Trump/Barton/#MeToo/#Time'sUp backlash in the fall, this would be a great place for it to hit.  I'll be watching this runoff almost as closely as ...

CD-7:  Laura Moser (8077 votes, 24.3%) scrambled into the runoff with Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (9731, 29.3%).  Dr. Jason Westin just missed, in show (6364, 19.2%), and to my delight, Alex T came in fourth (5219, 5.7%).  The Tough Guy raised and spent around a million dollars, much more than the others.  Ivan Sanchez and Joshua Butler finished fifth and sixth, and in dead-ass last ... James Cargas, with just 650 votes, or 2%.  The undervote in this race was 923 votes.

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.  If I never see this guy's name on my ballot ever again, it will be too soon.

I've got 29 more of these to do and no more time left today to do 'em.  Back tomorrow morning, early (as usual) later.  Too much to do offline.  Texas Lege and county race takes still to finish as well.

The statewides: One May 22 runoff and November matchups

-- O'Rourke versus Cruz is your marquee.  As posted earlier, Lyin' Ted wasted no time in calling Robert a pussy "liberal man".  This is how it's going to be for the next eight months, Donkeys; better get used to it.  If Bob doesn't start counter-punching now, this race is gonna be over before the kids are out of school for the summer.

Update: This is the best take on the whole "Rafael versus Robert" nothingburger.  As a reminder, I will be using the candidates' birth names, not their chosen nicknames nor their assumed names (as with the incumbent lite governor), but I will be making puns like this out of them.

Don't leave the fighting-back to the bloggers, Bobo.

-- Valdez (or Average White Guy) against the juggernaut with $43 million, a bad attitude, and an ileostomy bag.  Valdez has a lot to do in the less-than-six-months after May 22 so as not to embarrass herself or the Texas Democrats to any worse outcome than they have experienced for the past 24 years.  Surely improving on 38% and not losing the female vote again, as Wendy Davis managed, is not so difficult as it sounds, yes?  No?

-- Mike Collier versus Danny Goeb.  Once more, if Texas conservatives actually functioned with a speck of rationality, this would not be a brainer.  But this is Texas, and conservatives think with their red, swollen, baboon-ish ass and not with the proper end.

"Keep Texas RED!"

Update (3/9): Goeb's challenger in the GOP primary, Scott Milder, has endorsed Collier this morning.

"I cannot on good conscience vote for a man who I know to be a liar, nor can I vote for a man who willfully ignores and disrespects his legislative colleagues and his constituents," Milder said in the (Facebook) post. "I will be casting my vote for Mike Collier, the rational Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, and will strongly encourage all Texans who voted for me in this race to cast their votes for Mr. Collier as well."


"It doesn't happen very often that a Republican endorses a Democrat, but public education groups recruited (Milder) to run against Patrick and he and I viewed proper funding of public education as very important," said Collier, a retired Kingwood CPA and business executive.

"I've already had a fair number of moderate Republican donors (to Milder's campaign) who have called and said they want to join me."

The salience here is that Milder earned nearly 368,000 votes last Tuesday.  That covers a lot of the ground between Democrat (bit more than a million voters) and GOP (over 1.5 MM) totals in the two March 6 elections.  It also provides a bigger opening for Collier to go after the Joe Straus/Sarah Davis Caucus.  This development doesn't enthuse me at all -- I voted for Michael Cooper because I thought Collier was too much like a Republican as it is -- but it can prove beneficial for him if he can walk the line between pandering to mild conservatives while not losing any D votes.

If Straus, for example, followed suit with his endorsement as well as some of that cash he's still sitting on, it would become a more compelling storyline for November, the corporate media, and "we just wanna win something" Dems (Kuffner).  Not so much me.

-- Ken Paxton versus Justin Nelson.  Ordinarily when your state's top law enforcement official is under criminal indictment for fraud, he would stand no chance of being re-elected, much less nominated.  Paxton drew no primary opponent.  Why are Texas Republicans afraid to run against him?  Texas Republicans nominated his wife to serve in the Texas Senate, for crine out loud.

Banana republics point and laugh at this.  National politicos -- poorly informed ones -- posit questions a ten-second Google search would clear up for them.  This may indicate a depth of ignorance and dysfunction of our political gatekeepers that even cynical ol' me hasn't plumbed.

-- Sid Miller versus Kim Olson.  Would anyone mind if I just typed 'ditto' to all of the above -- especially the baboon's ass -- and moved on?  Okay, one thing: Jim Hogan, just as he did in 2014 as a "Democrat", made no effort to get elected beyond pay his filing fee but almost pushed Sid into a runoff.  Trey Blocker is still drinking somewhere this morning.

-- George Pee Bush v. Miguel Sauzo.  There was some buzz about Bush being in trouble against Jerry Patterson that I read as late as Monday morning.  Can't find that article now.  Some journalist had their webmaster scrub it, I guess.  Screenshot, anyone?  The story this morning is that it's okay to fluff Trump if you're a Texas Republican, or IOKIYAATxR.  I don't think anybody asked Kathaleen Wall about that, though.  (Next post.)

-- Glenn Hegar against Joi Chevalier.  Maybe a spirited race for the most boring job in state government could turn in the Democrats' favor.  Chevalier defeated my candidate, Tim Mahoney, by a nose, perhaps on the strength of glowing endorsements in the Dallas News, the Houston Chronicle, and others.  Chevalier is the only African American on the state D slate who's not a judicial candidate.  If she can campaign effectively, raise and spend a little money to get her name out there, take advantage of whatever boost she can get running against the charisma-challenged GOP beancounter Jethro Bodine ... possibly there's a chance.

-- Christi Craddick facing off with Roman McAllen to run Texas railroads fellate oil and gas interests under the guise of regulating them.  No offense intended to Mr. McAllen, but he's up against more Texas Republican nepotism here.  He'd be one against two other conservatives in trying to slow down the fracking train if he pulled off the upset anyway.  Still, if the Latin@ turnout (as with evidence of the Russians hacking the election) were to finally show up, I could be a believer.  I remain of the opinion that the onus is all on Lupe.

One judicial tilt I'll mention for now: Sharon "Killer" Keller barely survived her primary and will match up with Maria Jackson in the fall.  If I do any volunteer work this cycle, it will be in this race.

Congressional races, a much hotter topic, coming, maybe by lunchtime today.

*heavy sigh*

As Election Day got under way, Houston City Council member Larry Green -- my representative downtown -- was found deceased in his bed at home after failing to appear at the regularly-scheduled weekly council meeting.  Just 52, it's a tremendous loss for the city, District K, and of course his family and friends.  His political future was quite bright.  And his legacy will encapsulate many things, but every time I see one of the painted electrical boxes in my 'hood, I'll think of him warmly.

As to a couple of top-of-the-ticket results from last night ...

-- Projected almost precisely by the TexTrib's poll from just over two weeks ago, Lupe Valdez and Andrew (Average) White (Guy) will run off in May for the right to get crushed by face Greg Abbott in November.  They finished at 42.9 and 27.4% respectively; the TT predicted 43-24.  Likewise, the Trib had Abbott prevailing with 95% in his primary; he underperformed that slightly at 90.4.  << This link has the final tallies for all the statewide, Congressional, judicial, and statehouse races I'll be referring to in this and subsequent posts.  Just click and open it now so you can scroll down as I continue.  It's the best resource I found, for the county maps alone.  (Credit where it's due: the TexTrib has beaten the pants off everybody else this cycle.)

My man Tom Wakely gained no traction.  The two African American candidates, Cedric Davis and Grady Yarbrough, along with Jeff Payne and even Adrian Ocegueda, finished ahead of him.  Valdez will win the runoff easily if Latin@s return in the summer.  But she needs to start raising some money, get better coaching and preparation if she's going to debate White, and otherwise project some viability as a potential and likely favored nominee.

-- Sema Hernandez earned almost 246,000 votes (or 23.7%) in the D US Senate primary.  She raised less than $10K for her campaign.  I'll let you nerds do the math on her cost per vote.  She won about three dozen mostly rural and RGV counties; Webb (Laredo) appears to be the largest.  Considering the degree to which she was both ignored and disrespected by the media and her primary opponent, that's amazing.  O'Rourke didn't 'coast', folks.  And because the GOP gorged their turnout numbers on Election Day -- the Senate primary on the R side drew over 1.5 million votes, while the Dems totaled just over a million, and Ted Cruz has already fired a shot at "liberal man Robert" -- the prospects for the blue wave seem to be ... swirling?

More on the way.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Final thoughts before the vote tomorrow

You already have my recommendations, so let's just provide an executive summary.

-- Sema Hernandez:

Well, you had better not.

It's been one of my deepest privileges to be associated with this candidate, her campaign, its nationwide presence and clout (just check her Tweet feed).  What she has accomplished has been against the headwinds of purposeful media ignorance, disrespect from her campaign opponent and, as usual, the Texas Democratic Party and its associated cohorts.

This piece from yesterday's Chronicle (firewalled after a few free clicks) and the accompanying video (she appears in the early part) was the best she received.  If Bob O'Rourke falls just short of defeating 'Poop' Cruz in the fall, I sincerely hope it is because of the votes of people like me that he loses, and also the blog posts I will write over the next several months that will continue to expose him for the fraud that I have found him to be.


-- Tom Wakely:

Plain as day.  Andrew White is just bad news (as Aimee Cunningham reminds Texas women) and Lupe Valdez is just not ready.  Since there will almost certainly be a runoff, then I hope one of these two fails to make it.  If that happens, I'll at least be able to vote for the person not named White or Valdez in May.  This is a moment when a functioning Texas Green Party would have come in extraordinarily handy in November.  Alas ...

I'll return to that topic after tomorrow's primary election results get parsed.  Suffice it to say that I would like to hear from prospective gubernatorial candidate Janis Richards as to whether her bid to achieve ballot access as Green will go forward.  Or not.  Though a relative newcomer to the HCGP, she aligned with the Old White Guard against the black woman who finally succeeded in sweeping that trash out the door a week ago, at their monthly meeting/annual election of officers.  Bully on Bernadine Williams, whom I stood with a year ago against this crew.  I quit on the locals after that; she did not.  And she persevered.  It's the Pottery Barn rule for her now, though; she must rebuild the county party apparatus (which is essentially the same as the state party) with a goal toward functionality for 2020.  I just think the laws and internal obstacles regarding ballot access for 2018 are too stacked against them.  Couple that with the fact that the Democratic Socialists are ascendant, and it's a hard, heavy lift even if the Greens were united.

-- Enough has been said and written about the Texas Seventh Congressional District Democratic primary in the ten days since I posted this that linking to it all would take hours.  Check the #TX07 Twitter hashtag for the latest.  Forces aligned against Laura Moser include not just the Clintonistas and the Pelosiites, but the Republicans as well.  This should tell you all you need to know.

-- Last ... the only primary race on my ballot that I undervoted was the very last one, for Harris County chair.  I have not found the incumbent, Lillie Schechter, representative of my beliefs (since I'm an ultrasoft Democrat on a good day, and a Green on my best one, this should stand to reason).

The county chair needs a day job since the political one doesn't pay.  The problem here is that Schechter has been on the payroll of state senator (and CD-29 aspirant) Sylvia Garcia for several recent pay periods.  This isn't breaking news for those of you connected to the local D establishment's Facebook accounts, where the apparent ethical lapse has been mentioned more than a few times.  I've also been provided screenshots and CFRs that verify it.

No conflict of interest there, right?

Update: El Paso Democrats appear to have the same problem.  (At least he's 'former chair'.)

It's beyond my comprehension how the people who whine about Laura Moser's husband's consulting firm handling her business can seemingly overlook this more glaring, hypocritical contradiction.  Is there anybody who wants to explain this to me?  I'll keep an open mind if something is not as it appears.  For ... oh, another week or so.  The goose's sauce should have simmered long enough to be served by then.

-- If you haven't already, go vote tomorrow.  And don't wait until 6:30 p.m. to do so.

Election Eve Wrangle

Massive turnout in early voting across Texas is the news everyone is talking about as campaigns, candidates, and volunteers make the final push for Election Day.  The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes to congratulate tomorrow night's winners and console those who don't, offering encouragment to refocus (in some way of their choosing) for November.
As one of the perceived front-runners in the Texas Democratic primary for governor, Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer says that it's impossible to determine Lupe Valdez's chances of winning.

Grits for Breakfast posts his collation of criminal justice news that includes the growing movement on the part of some Republicans (!) to end the partisan election of judges in Texas.  A GOP 3rd Court of Appeals prospect is evidence of the problem that needs fixing.

In his compilation of Harris County judicial candidates on both primary ballots, attorney Murray Newman makes an inside joke -- see comments; since corrected -- about Brian Warren, the Democrat running against the vile GOP incumbent Michael McSpadden, about whom you may have read something recently.  Congrats to Murray, by the way, for ten years of blogging.  And Mark Bennett (a Libertarian statewide judicial candidate in recent years) demonstrates what disrespect for the justice system really looks like.

From Lewisville, the Texan Journal reports that the conservative extremists at Empower Texans have taken a few swipes at the mayor and the school board in that city.  In last week's Wrangle, you'll recall that Texas Monthly called out MQS, et. al. for similar tactics in HD-99 (Fort Worth).

Also from last week, you'll remember that OpenSecrets mentioned a retired Texan who gave $500,000 to a GOP org.  The TexTrib followed up on that.

The super PAC, #ProjectRedTX, has quietly raised a half a million dollars — from a single donor — as it looks to ensure Republican dominance in Texas through the next round of redistricting. Those efforts are ramping up as the state prepares to defend its current congressional and state House district maps before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The group is being helmed by Wayne Hamilton, (Gov. Greg) Abbott's 2014 campaign manager, according to a person familiar with the effort. Hamilton, a former longtime executive director of the Texas GOP, has been involved in politics for the past three redistricting cycles.

The Texas Observer sees a blue wave that won't have much green (as in cash) behind it.  Is that a good thing for progressive populism or a bad thing from a pragmatic POV?  Tell me in the comments.

Chris Ladd at Political Orphans sees 'something happening' in Texas.  Excerpt:

What we’ve never seen in Texas is a surge in primary turnout from the party out of power in an off-year election. Even in the watershed year of ’94, the only hint we saw of the coming wave was Republicans closing the gap in voter participation slightly. In statewide elections, serious Democratic candidates generally lose to Republicans by about a 9-point swing. That sounds daunting until you look at the raw numbers and the structure of the (one party, for almost 25 years) system. Turnout among eligible voters in Texas off-year elections ranges between about a quarter and a third. Eligible voter turnout hasn’t approached half in the fifty years that Texas has published the statistic. Texans don’t vote ... until one day they do.

Bonddad's thoughts for Sunday contains some empirical data that supports a similar premise.

Put this all together and the basic fact is that the 2018 voting population is going to be considerably more liberal and Democratic than the 2014 population, even if millennials turn out only in percentages consistent with younger voters in other midterm elections.

Off the Kuff wrapped up his look at Beto O'Rourke's visit-everywhere campaign strategy with hope and a sense that it's worth doing this way regardless of the outcome.

SocraticGadfly takes note of the DNC fraud lawsuit appeal, and while he still thinks something is there, is glad Jared Beck ain't his lawyer.

Scott Braddock documents Greg Abbott's contempt for Republican legislators.

Better Texas Blog explains why Medicaid work requirements are a lousy idea.

Millard Fillmore's Bathtub points out that spring comes about a month earlier than it did for our grandparents.  It's just another marker in the looming cataclysm that is climate change.

The Lunch Tray highlights some bad food research.

Neil at All People Have Value made note of the weekly John Cornyn Houston office protest.

Chris Conde at the SA Current asks if we really need a shopping bag with Selena's likeness on it to celebrate her legacy.

And Harry Hamid's latest post has a little bit of everything: Captain Beefheart, paranoia, snow in Houston ...