First, there was the BOR Guide to Texas's 2012 Congressional Races, all 36 of them. Next, we conducted a reader poll to determine the hottest races in the state, in which y'all picked CD-14, CD-22, CD-23 and CD-33. Finally, there was yet another reader poll to determine your preferred candidates in the hottest races.
Now, it's time to announce the winners of the reader poll!
Please note: this does not amount to an official Burnt Orange Report endorsement in these races. This is a straw poll conducted to gauge what our readers and the wider Democratic community here in Texas think about who the best Democrats are in these races. This is an unscientific straw poll!
Winners are below the jump. CD-14: BOR Readers Pick Nick Lampson
By a margin of 90% to 10%, Burnt Orange Report readers think that Nick Lampson is the strongest Democrat to make a run for CD-14, a pick-up opportunity in what will soon be Ron Paul's former seat. Lampson is a former Congressman and has represented wide swathes of the new district. Given his past campaigns — which involved extensive TV ad buys — there is likely high name ID for Lampson in the district. Our readers overwhelming indicated through this poll that Lampson is a formidable candidate, and the Democrat that will give whichever Republican survives the primary and run-off a real run for his or her money in November.
CD-22: BOR Readers Pick KP George
In another lopsided victory, KP George trounced LaRouchie Ke$ha Rogers in our reader poll, again by a margin of 90% to 10%. While the district is likely to remain a Republican seat come November, George is doing the yeoman's work to oust the LaRouchie from the Democratic ticket. Last cycle, the SDEC had to vote to release Democratic organizations from supporting LaRouche-affiliated candidates. In general, it's, you know, better for Democrats to nominate candidates who don't openly call for the President's impeachment. Should George prevail, he will make life much easier for Democratic infrastructure in Fort Bend County and environs, who have important local races to contend with rather than a wildly off-message Congressional candidate.
CD-23: BOR Readers Pick Pete Gallego
This was the most vigorously contested of our four polls — over 500 people weighed in on the primary between John Bustamante, Pete Gallego, and Ciro Rodriguez. The winner will take on incumbent Republican Quico Canseco this fall. Gallego received 78% of the vote, due in part to his campaign's efforts to organize supporters to click the buttons of our poll in his favor. Rodriguez received 18% of the vote and Bustamante 5%. What's notable is the immense volume of outpouring of support for Gallego — he clearly has an enthusiastic base that is eager to help the State Representative win this race.
CD-33: BOR Readers Pick Marc Veasey
This was the closest contest — and that's no surprise, given that there are 11 Democratic candidates on the ballot in this new minority-opportunity district anchored in the Metroplex. Also worthy of note is that none of the campaigns seem to have mounted spirited GOTV operations for the poll. However, State Rep. Marc Veasey prevailed with 58% of the vote, with former State Rep. Domingo Garcia coming in second with 15%. Kathleen Hicks received 8%, Steve Salazar received 5%, Manuel Valdez received 4%, and the remaining candidates received less than 5 votes each.
Both Gallego and Veasey benefit from their contacts and careers in the Legislature, and the fact that said contacts are the epitome of likely BOR reader poll voters. However, it's that same network that can be of great benefit to both candidates. Here in Texas, much of our Democratic infrastructure over the last 10 years has been focused on winning back State House seats. Gallego and Veasey are both well-known to the people involved in that process, and the fact that many of these same folks are largely supporting these two candidates demonstrates the high esteem both have earned in their careers. Veasey has been a tremendous work-horse for the Democrats over the last year in battling back against Photo Voter ID and helping Wendy Davis prevail in her redistricting litigation. He's been a great team player in helping to give more Democrats the chance to get elected at all levels of the ballot. Gallego was also involved in fighting Photo Voter ID — he sponsored an amendment exempting rural counties due to the lack of available DPS licensing offices and the long distances the elderly and poor had to travel to get an ID, which is a big issue in the sprawling district he represents (and seeks to represent now in Congress.) Unsurprisingly the common sense amendment failed in our Republican legislature.
It's likely that Lampson and George win their primaries, given their opposition. Veasey's got a tight race on his hands given the sheer number of opponents, but at least whichever Democrat prevails there has an easy time in November. Gallego has the toughest row to hoe: a contested primary with strong candidates, the winner of which heads to a bruising general election against Canseco, who the GOP money-men certainly won't let go down without a fight.