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Ground Analysis on Barrett Race

by: Todd Hill

Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 02:13 PM CST

First, congratulations to Democrat Dan Barrett.  He had the right message that resonated well with voters throughout House District 97.  Some wondered if Dan would even make the runoff, others thought if he did that he would come in second place.  Those of us who were on the ground and working hard for Dan knew otherwise and let me tell you why. 

Reason one:  The campaign had a great message that resonated well with voters.  The fact of the matter is yesterday's election results were an indictment of Tom Craddick and his leadership of the statehouse in Austin.  Voters are tired of status quo politics, cronyism, and corruption, while neglecting the real needs of Texans.  When we were block walking throughout this campaign folks listened intently to Dan's message of reigning in big utility companies, anti-eminent domain specifically related to the Trans-Texas Corridor, and restoration of children to S-CHIPS.  Only one candidate could deliver a message of change centered on the issues above and that was Dan Barrett.  This element must remain to be successful in the special election with Mark Shelton. 

Reason two:  Dan Barrett is a great messenger.  He is very charismatic, handsome, articulate, and thinks well on his feet.  In the many forums throughout this race Dan surprised everyone by the spontaneous applause and attention he would receive from voters on his answers.  They were beyond sound bytes that his opponents were delivering; they were thoughtful solutions to critical problems facing all of Texas, not just HD 97.  This element will remain in the special election with Mark Shelton and serves as a huge advantage to Barrett.

Reason three:  Adequate fundraising.  Dan Barrett raised enough money to remain competitive throughout the entire race.  He may not have been the top fundraiser, but despite the odds many folks said were against him, he still brought in a good chunk of change.  Yes, his opponents split their money six ways, but the top fundraiser was Craig Goldman, who finished fourth.  What did all that big money and big endorsements do for him?  It showed him to be another status quo, bought, establishment candidate.  Money isn't everything; you just need enough to make the wheels on the campaign bus go round and round until election night.  This element must ratchet up a tick or two, so those folks who promised money if Dan makes the runoff it's time to cash in.

Reason four:  A serviceable political machine.  One reason that Republicans often beat Democrats is because they have perfected the art of building a political machine that often dominates their opponent.  Dan's campaign was able to rely on resources throughout Tarrant County, and some folks outside of the county, to do the grunt work on the ground.  This element now has to broaden beyond Tarrant County to encompass all of North Texas.  Dallas, Denton, Collin, Johnson, Ellis, Wise, Parker, and all other surrounding county party's should commit to volunteers every weekend up until the end of the election.  Most of the political clubs in Tarrant County did a great job of helping to fundraise and supply volunteers to Dan's political machine.  It's not a lot to ask when firing a loud and clear message across the bow of Craddick's sinking ship for all resources to descend on this race.  Tarrant County, like many others across the state, is changing politically.  The message we can send by picking up this seat would be very loud.

Barrett has a great deal of momentum working in his favor having beat the odds.  His message resonated well with voters in 97 and they get to hear more of it as we move forward.  Consider doing what you can to help deliver change by dropping some money into his register. 

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Congratulations Dan Barrett. and the whole campaign staff (0.00 / 0)
You did great work!

Wondering if my vote got counted? (0.00 / 0)
I voted for Dan. There are a lot of Dan yard signs in my neighborhood. But in the precinct by precinct list of results, my precinct -- 1435 -- is not listed. Dan may have a few more votes coming his way if the county can find these results.

Congratulations! (0.00 / 0)
Excellent result so far. I hope Dan and his excellent staff can pull this out!

I wonder... (0.00 / 0)
if the Republicans got out and walked. I believe this really made a differance for Dan. I'm sure like Todd said, "folks listened intently to Dan's message."

Who doubted he would make the runoff? (0.00 / 0)
There were 6 GOPers slopping at the trough and one D.  Of course he was going to make the runoff with the highest vote total.

You guys are doing great work, but I feel for you in this one.

Facts in 97 - It Can be Done! (4.00 / 2)
Here are the numbers for D-97:

Suburban Southwest Tarrant County
Drawn 61%(R) and 39% (D)
Last election:
Perry 41%; Bell 39%;Strayhorn 18%; Freedman 12%
Other statewides range from 60%R-39%D to 56%R-43%D.
The District is 78% White-7%Black-12%Hispanic/

A good comparison from a socio-economic and racial analysis is the Dallas Lake Highlands district 107 represented by Allen Vaught:
Drawn 55(R); 45(D);
Last Election:
Perry 39%; Bell 34%;Strayhorn 14%; Freedman 15%
Most other D-107 statewide races in 2006 ranged from 60%(R)/39%(d) to 57%/43%.

The district is 66% White- 11%Black-20% Hispanic.

In other words, although it is an uphill battle -- based on the numbers, the right candidate, with enough money and a lot of shoe leather can win in District 97.

This is even more true in a run-off were the ground war is as important as all other factors.

Question -- how good of a raw candidate is the opponent?  organizationally?

Eric Roberson

Great analysis (0.00 / 0)

Excellent comparisons of district numbers.  It puts things in perspective. 

What is key is looking at the Strayhorn and Freedman numbers.  Most Texans, at least 42% of them, consider themselves independent.  That is a rather large swath of voters that Dan's message can resonate with.  And I believe it will.

As for his opponent Mark Shelton, he is raw.  Never ran for public office before and his performances in the forums weren't the best of the group, but he held his own.  As far as organization, I saw a few of his signs in yards, more then most of the other candidates, but I believe his platform centers around anti-immigration.  As what happened in VA this past week, basing your entire campaign on that one issue can backfire.  People are tired of the politics of fear. 


"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

[ Parent ]
Heck of a job! (0.00 / 0)
If nothing else, the Republican option doesn't seem nearly as scary as it could have. However, in an election that rests solely on turnout, you guys could easily pull a BIG upset up there.  Plus, it's a GREAT training for this coming election cycle!

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