First, today is the Primary Election Run-off! Go Vote! Second, this last weekend I had the privilege of block walking in San Antonio for Tina Torres. I suspect this might be the closest race we see tonight on either side of the primary ballot.
Tina is in a run-off with Philip "Creepy" Cortez, and I'm not sure if I've seen a harder working state house campaign staff. Tina has been attacked as the candidate with outside "Austin' interests in her race (she is an Annie's List Candidate, which basically means she is exceedingly over qualified because she was chosen to be worthy of their time, effort, and money), and because she is renting a house in the district that she is running in. All of these "attacks" are true.
The "outside interests" in this race were seven women from Austin volunteering their Saturday to talk to voters about how important it is to have a smart and capable women like Tina Torres in the Texas House of Representatives. Philip Cortez should be so lucky.
When I talked to voters the thing that resonated the most (besides their overall voter fatigue) was that Tina did not live in the district. I really empathized with them on this issue because at first glance it might look like someone can just run in a district that they want to run in. This does happen all the time in politics, but this is not the case with Tina. Tina was born and raised in San Antonio, and has a life-long understanding of the issues within the city. It also seems unfair, because she does live in the district, but she owns a home outside of the district. By the way, the only reason Cortez knows this, is because he hired a private investigator to follow Tina Torres.
This issue frustrated me because it is tricky to explain, but basically the reason why Tina had to move is the same reason why we are voting in a primary run-off in July, because Texas Republicans drew an illegal redistricting map. (please see disclaimer in upper right hand side of BOR site). Some candidates had to file twice because their district changed right from under them. Tina was one of these candidates.
Congress doesn't even have a residency requirement, but if you are going to run for state office in Texas, and choose to make money that puts you basically at the poverty line, (State Senators make about $800 dollars a month after taxes, State House members make even less), you are expected to own a home (technically reside) in the district. I don't have a problem with this requirement, but this year it does seem to be a tricky needle to thread for state house candidates.
I think voters will know who they need to send to Austin, someone who is smart, capable and willing to lead by example, and not stoop to such bizarre and creepy tactics as stalking their opponent. Now is the time to support women candidates, because after the tea party election last cycle we actually lost women in the Texas House and Senate.