Why Is A Republican State Senator Blockwalking for Carol Alvarado?

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The special election for SD-6 is this Saturday, and as the campaigns for Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado reach the home stretch of this three-month sprint, Alvarado has turned to surprising quarters for help in the field.

Over the weekend, Brains and Eggs posted a link to a Facebook post in which Burt Levine, a Republican political consultant in Houston, noted that Republican State Senator Larry Taylor was blockwalking for Alvarado over the weekend. According to Levine's Facebook post, he blockwalked for Alvarado with Taylor and Wayne Faircloth, a former Republican candidate for HD-23.

Here is a screenshot of the Facebook post, shared from Levine's page:

It's a curious move. Why would Alvarado have support from the likes of Republican State Senator Larry Taylor?

After all, this is a fiercely Democratic district — the two Republicans in the January 26th special general election failed to garner a combined 10% of the vote — so I'm not sure if what the voters want here is someone who readily receives support from the other side of the aisle.

Today I called the Alvarado campaign office, and spoke to Marc Campos, a consultant working on her campaign. I asked if it was true that Taylor was blockwalking for Alvarado. He said that a number of Carol's current and former colleagues are volunteering for her, and that members from both sides of the aisle have come down to campaign for her. Campos said of Republicans and Independents, “they're coming out to the polls, so we have to have a discussion with them as we do with most of the voters in the district.”

It's an interesting choice. On January 26, Garcia and Alvarado were separated by less than the Republican share of the vote. Is Carol Alvarado is trying to win the run-off in a Democratic district by picking up Republican support, rather than turning out or persuading Democrats?

I find it disconcerting that in the final stretches of a race to replace a stalwart champion of progressive values, one of the two candidates is trying to win by courting Republican support — and apparently receiving it in such volumes.

The biggest challenge Democrats face in the Senate is holding our own and using the 2/3rds rule to block Republican legislation that is harmful to our state — and often disproportionately harmful to the residents of low-income urban districts such as SD-6.  

And it certainly begs the question why Taylor and other Republicans are working so hard to make sure Alvarado gets elected.


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. Our Biggest Challenge is Not “to block”

    Katherine –

    I completely disagree with you on this issue.

    Our biggest challenge is not to simply block Republicans' legislative agenda as you say; it is to improve it where we can through compromise and creativity and to advance our own agenda where possible.  Of course there are some issues that both sides will simply block when the other brings them up because there is no room for compromise.  

    But the ability for a Texas legislator to work with members of the other party – especially the party in power overwhelmingly – should be one of the greatest reasons a voter would desire the representative.

    I would much rather have a legislator who can get things accomplished for the district in which I live than to powerlessly only stand on principal.

    Your Rovian perspective on how Democratic legislators should behave is appalling. Of what exactly are you accusing Alvarado?  That she's a secret Republican plant?  Does her voting record bear out your concerns in any way?

    With posts like this, you are doing nothing to help Texas Democrats.

    • Alvarado
      I find it distasteful to go after Alvarado because Repubs are blockwalking for her. It is normally tradition for members across the aisles to support their former House colleagues. This does not mean she is compromising herself or Alvarado is secretly a Republican.

      • Right.
        Larry Taylor just hearts Carol. That's all it is.

        It is not even “normally tradition” for members of the same party to support colleagues or former colleagues. Maybe you have missed all of the Tea Party primary challenges to Republican incumbents in recent years, but there they are. Right in front of your face.

        It is all about money and power, nothing else. Not tradition, not party, not even quaint things like principles or convictions.

        I find it difficult to understand how someone could advance such a flawed premise unless their livelihood depended on it. Are you a political consultant? If not, you should be.

    • As a former DNC member…
      David, as a former DNC member, you are not concerned about the Republicans' choice winning this seat? Or the Republicans trying to be the deciding factor in an overwhelmingly DEMOCRATIC district?

      Frankly I don't have too big of an issue with Alvarado. But it does bother me when Republicans try to play the deciding role in a race between two Democrats.

      • Congrats, Katherine!
        You have earned the Consultants' Scorn Award for the Blogger Who Questions Their Supremacy!

        Don't be concerned, though. They move on quickly to other shiny objects. Even as I type this, they're all drooling over Battleground Texas and its myriad of income opportunities.

        Why, Marc Campos barely has time to rehearse his “the secret to increased Latino voter turnout is: hire me and I'll tell you” speech in the mirror, between wooing the less-than-10% of SD-6 voters that are Republicans and watching the Astros spring training games.

      • Not even slightly concerned…

        No, it does not bother me in the least that there is evidence Alvarado can actually work with people on the other side.

        There are a couple points I want to make, Katherine, and sadly, one of them is the old-man-card.

        First, though, your logic on what should happen in a Democratic district is shortsighted.  Should Democrats not try to be a deciding factor in Texas because we're currently and for the last couple decades have been a Republican state?  Should Democrats in the House not pick one Republican over another for Speaker because it is a Republican body?  It can't be both ways.

        I can't find fault in Republican legislators having a preference for someone they know they can work with on some level.  And the commenter @curtisaustin above is correct – every special election like this I've witnessed in the last couple decades, legislators (and lobbyists for that matter) show up en masse to help the candidate they know best.  (and often it is as simple as that – it's a person they know over a person they have never met and has nothing to do with partisanship)

        And as for the old-man card, I remember Carol Alvarado from Democratic activities and conventions from as far back as a decade prior to my serving on the DNC.  So when you attack the Democratic credentials of someone I've seen working for Democrats for the last 20 years because a Republican chose to support her, you should not be surprised that it would rankle me.

        Beyond that, though, I believe you should have a very high standard as to what Democrats you ever choose to impugn on this publication.  This situation simply does not warrant such an attack.  And rather than ask open-ended, accusatory questions such as the one at the end of the article, why don't you go ahead and propose the answer to that question?  I would be interested in what exactly you think the Alvarado is up to.

        • By all means
          Let's have no criticism of Democrats, ever, on this site. After all, you have met some of them at conventions, and they're nice people.

          Let's do everything we can to get Republicans to like us, and hope for a few scraps from their table.

          Dude, I would describe your symptoms as classic battered-spouse syndrome. I'm guessing you carry a Wuss Caucus card in your wallet.

          NEVER. NEGOTIATE. WITH TERRORISTS. Especially when you are terrified of confronting their insanity, bigotry, ignorance, greed, cronyism, and hypocrisy.

  2. What the question should be…
    is not whether not Alvarado is courting GOP voters (in a close race as her's you need to court as many people as you can to win) but what exactly is she saying to the GOP voters to get them on board with her. That would be what I would like to know.

    Secondly, Gallegos, the “stalwart champion of progressive values” you speak of, “allegedly” endorsed Alvarado and his family is backing Alvarado.

    At this point what this article contains gives me some discomfort, but not enough to discomfort to discount Alvarado as a good Democrat.

    • A better question
      When Republicans challenge other Republicans in Texas, it's always about which one is the most conservative. Which one can get the farthest to the right. And when Democrats challenge Democrats, it's very often the same goddamned thing. Why do you suppose that is?

      Why is it that Democrats think that pretending to be a kinder, gentler version of a Republican is the best way to get elected?

      Because Texas is a “conservative” state, you say?

      Or might it be because their paid political advisers — whose clients include representatives of both parties — urge them to 'moderate' their views to attract crossover votes? That bipartisanship and agreeable compromise is what voters desire in this era of Balkanized politics?

      There, I made of few of your arguments for you. You got anything to add?

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