HD 144: Rick Molina (D) vs. Rep. Ken Legler (R)

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Ed. note: The following is one of twenty races we are featuring in the Texas Political Report.

Candidate Pages: Rick Molina website, on Facebook, on Twitter
Candidate Pages:
Rep. Ken Legler website, on Facebook, on Twitter

District Overview: The Numbers, The Issues, and the Candidates

House District 144 is a rapidly changing swing district represented by one of the most outrageous conservative Republicans in the state of Texas. Rep. Ken Legler is a Leo Berman, Debbie Riddle-type Republican. As an extreme right-wing Republican in a swing district, Legler has made himself vulnerable with his extreme voting record. In 2006, only 2,000 Hispanics voted. In 2008, that number was 11,000. Today, there are at least 19,000 registered Hispanic voters in the district. Support for public education is crucial; championing programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program is a winning issue for those voters, and the rest of the swing voters in the district. However, the challenge for Rick Molina is delivering a successful mainstream message and organizing against Rep. Legler and his horrific voting record in the most conservative political climate Texas has faced since 2002.

Molina is a former Harris County prosecutor who worked on hundreds of cases to end drug abuse and gang violence in the community. Currently the owner of his own law firm, Molina is also the Vice Chair of the Pasadena Hispanic Business Council, and has shown a strong commitment within the district to reach out across party lines to help those in the community.

How Democrats Defeat Ken Legler in November

Right now, the campaign is focused on the field game. With so much television expected in Harris County — and none really expected in this race — the Bill White campaign could have a major impact and provide a boost for Rick Molina's race and others in Harris County. Coupled with an effort to portray Legler as out of the mainstream, Molina's chances depend on the success of the field campaign Molina and the Harris County Coordinated team in turning out the Hispanic vote.

June 30 Campaign Finance Report:

HD 144: Molina vs. Legler
Cash on Hand
Rick Molina (D)
$92,283 $36,949 $23,597
Rep. Ken Legler (R)
$80,873 $11,546
Molina's Advantage
$10,14 $12,051



About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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