Patti Hart on Wendy Helping Dems Win or Lose;
Ramsey on Perry’s “Turn to the Middle”
Good evening from Austin.
We hope you had a nice weekend. We’ve been busy.
Here’s the new AP top 25 poll:
#9 Texas A&M
#11 Oklahoma State
Help me out: I’m in the market for Texas A&M-LSU tickets for Saturday’s game in Baton Rouge. It’s time that I see Johnny Football play — in person, since it’s an off weekend for UT. Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the weekend wrap-up brief:
PATTI HART ON WENDY DAVIS HELPING DEMS, WIN OR LOSE
Chron’s Patti Hart, reports (behind paywall), on the view that gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) will significantly help Democrats whether she wins or loses.
A few excerpted highlights
The first three paragraphs: In 2002, Texas Democrats fielded what they billed as a “Dream Team,” a slate of candidates that included wealthy Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez and Ron Kirk, the African American former mayor of Dallas. A decade later, the party still is haunted by the nightmare that followed: Despite a gold-plated campaign, the Democrats were massacred. “That’s the race that made Democrats so gun-shy and unwilling to step forward and run statewide,” said Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University. “Democrats have been skittish ever since.”
Key graph: Still, many political observers think that a Davis-Van de Putte ticket will provide the Democratic Party with an opportunity to rebuild decaying databases, donor networks and volunteer manpower — all the elements of winning campaigns.
Davis campaign comment: Davis campaign officials bristle at the notion that the Fort Worth senator is motivated by anything other than winning the governor’s race. “Wendy Davis is running to become the next governor of Texas. Period,” said campaign spokesman Bo Delp, who pointed out that Davis got her political start by winning a nonpartisan city council election.
Matt Angle: Democratic consultant Matt Angle said Davis “is not running to turn Texas blue. Journalists want to make this about red versus blue. Her job is not to rebuild the Texas Democratic Party, but to expose the failure of one-party Republican control.”
He conceded that “the fact that she is running and has built a broad coalition of independents and some Republicans is good for Democrats.” But, he insisted, “that’s not the reason she’s running.”
Yours truly: Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak is underwhelmed by the evolving Democratic ticket. Since Van de Putte is in the middle of a four-year term, no one but Davis has anything to lose, he said. If Van de Putte “sees a pathway to victory, she ought to resign her Senate seat and run full-time.” Moreover, he sees a high risk for Democrats. “There is a lot of zeal, but the real challenge will be if they lose in 2014,” he said. Likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would view the state as a lost cause, he said. “Is she truly going to invest her resources in Texas in 2016 if Democrats can’t win a statewide office?”
The kicker: “To rebuild the party, we have to have candidates that voters find exciting,” said Grace Garcia, director of Annie’s List, a group that promotes women candidates. She said her organization recently drew its largest turnout to a fundraiser — about 1,000 Democrats — in San Antonio. “Texas is re-energized in a way I’ve not seen in a decade.”
The full piece is worth a read (behind paywall).
RAMSEY: PERRY ‘TURNS TO THE MIDDLE’
TT’s Ross Ramsey, in a column for Texas editions of The New York Times, looks at Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) “turn to the middle.”
Here’s the full text:
Rick Perry is in transition again, wearing glasses, playing the elder and running just a tiny bit to the left of Ted Cruz and a notch or two to the right of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
In a surprising twist, he looks like a conservative establishment candidate as the jockeying begins for the 2016 presidential race. He is still anti-Washington, still steeped in states’ rights and Tea Party rhetoric, still quite conservative, but not quite so eager to burn down the castle. He is turning into Mr. Cruz’s big brother: It’s the same family, but Mr. Perry wants to be the one you trust with the car keys.
Joke all you want, but watch: The governor is pretty good at this sort of maneuver.
He was a Democrat who loaned his time to Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign, when the Republican nominee was a Texan named George H.W. Bush. Two years later, as a Republican, Mr. Perry ambushed the state’s popular agriculture commissioner, Jim Hightower, a Democrat, in a statewide race that set the governor on his current political trajectory.
In 2009, Mr. Perry was the first prominent Texas politician to catch the scent of the Tea Party, giving full-throated support in speeches that had folks thinking he might be a new breed of secessionist.
He repelled challenges from United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, an establishment favorite, and Debra Medina, an activist for Ron Paul and the Tea Party, in the 2010 primary for governor. That race proved the governor’s street cred with the hottest wave in conservative politics. He painted Ms. Hutchison as the embodiment of Washington politics and the Republican establishment in a state that was ready for something different. Ms. Medina tried to do the same to both elected officials, but Mr. Perry’s voice was the loudest, and he won without a runoff.
He wrote a book — “Fed Up!” — about his distaste for the federal government and his enthusiasm for the insurgent wing of the party and the power of the states to innovate.
That was the foundation, in some ways, for his entry into the presidential race the next year. He checked the boxes: Southern, evangelical, fiscal conservative, acceptable to the Tea Party, acceptable to much of the establishment and a proven campaigner.
That all fell apart. Mr. Perry was out of the running before 2012 even started. (He officially got out of the race in early 2012, well after he fell out of the running.)
As he rebuilds his national image, he has gently criticized both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Christie, and supported Senator John Cornyn of Texas — a known member of the Republican establishment — at a campaign event last week. Mr. Cornyn has not drawn a dangerous challenge, although there were efforts to recruit one. United States Representative Louie Gohmert, a Republican who represents the First District, is a favorite of a strong Tea Party faction in his part of the state. He decided early on not to challenge Mr. Cornyn.
David Barton announced this month that he was turning away recruitment efforts. Mr. Barton, a former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, is straight out of Mr. Perry’s chapter of the Republican Party.
Seeing the governor endorse Mr. Cornyn — an ally, but from the traditional Republican branch as opposed to the populist one where Mr. Perry has been perched — is a signal to both sides.
Mr. Perry doesn’t appear to like President Obama’s health care law any more than Mr. Cruz does, but would have chosen other tactics. “Everybody gets to go out and do their thing,” Mr. Perry told The Dallas Morning News when asked about Mr. Cruz. “That’s his thing. My thing is governing.”
Lest you think he has become a rogue liberal, he told ABC News on a recent trip to Iowa that Mr. Christie, who has a hot hand in politics after his recent re-election, might be no more than a local taste: “Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?”
And do not ignore the cosmetic change. The Texas governor put those glasses on to add a little gravitas to the cocky demeanor that was punctuated with that famous “oops” two years ago.
It is a rebranding campaign. He is a couple of years older, more experienced, conservative but not ready to hold his breath until he turns blue. See if they’ll give him a second chance.
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– SAEN’s editorial board calls for tighter limits on how state elected officials can spend campaign funds.
– An update on the Voter ID case from the invaluable resource Michael Li.
– The FWST editorial board weighs in (behind paywall) on the battle between the Texas Ethics Commission and Empower Texans.
2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– TT’s Aman Batheja reports on Battleground Tarrant County.
– SAEN columnist Ricardo Pimentel says whites are a key to turning Texas blue.
– TM’s Paul Burka has some advice for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX).
– SAEN/Chron’s Peggy Fikac’s weekly column (behind paywall) tracks the importance of pro life purity for Republican statewide candidates.
Other stories of interest:
– AP’s Chris Tomlinson reports on the legal arguments in Fisher v. Texas.
– 10 authors who despised movie version of their books.
– Don’t mess with 92 year-old Opal Phelps.
– Hell hath no sense of humor like a husband scorned.
– Brett Favre is not sure if he’d let his sons play football today.
– A 6’4″, 400 pound running back — in 12th grade. (His 40 time was measured with a sun dial)
BLOGS (from the left)
BLOGS (from the right)