Ed. note: The following is one of twenty races we are featuring in the Texas Political Report.
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||Contributions||Expenditures ||Cash on Hand |
|Rick Molina (D)||$92,283||$36,949||$23,597|
|Rep. Ken Legler (R)||$82,135||$80,873||$11,546|
|Molina's Advantage ||$10,14||–||$12,051|