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TX-07: Is This For Real?

by: Randymi

Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:29 PM CDT

(Something is indeed going on in TX-07.   - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

Something is going on in the Houston area that is making local and national Democrats take notice. Michael Skelly, Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District is seeking the seat once held by George H.W. Bush, according to the Politico.

Democrats have been increasingly bullish about their ability to win over suburban, ancestrally Republican House districts that have been trending in their party's direction over the past decade.

But their party's latest target shows just how confident Democrats have become. Democrats are eyeing one of the most reliably Republican seats in the heart of Texas -- Rep. John Culberson's suburban Houston district, once held by President Bush's father -- and have a candidate who is causing a stir due to his prolific fundraising.

Businessman Michael Skelly is positioned to be at the top of the Democratic fundraising list for the year's first quarter, according to a Democratic operative, raising about $750,000 from individual donors without even tapping into his substantial personal wealth. Another Democratic operative said it could be the "best first quarter ever" for any House Democrat in his first filing period.

Currently, the seat is rated "Safe Republican" by Congressional Quarterly, but we have a candidate who is taking the race seriously, and perhaps so should we.


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A victory in TX-7 in possible... (0.00 / 0)
...but it will take a LOT of hard work.  It was the only Republican district in the state back when there were no Republicans in the state.

It will be tempting for a Democrat to try and do what Jim Henley did (no disrespect to him), and that is to try and turn out the vote entirely in the gerrymandered Democratic part of the district and cede the Republican part of the district to the GOP.

However, it's a trap!

This is a very wealthy district.  (Full disclosure: I went to high school in this district -- though I lived elsewhere).  VERY wealthy.  As in, richest congressional district in North America.  Roger Clemens lives in this district, and he's not even the wealthiest one there (and that's before paying all those legal fees).

That being said, there are ways for the Democrat to win here.  Culberson has not made himself too popular because he's meddled where he should not be meddling.  He started the clusterf*** that is the Katy Freeway expansion project (which will upset a lot of the folks up and down the corridor who now have a whole lot of construction and freeway noise where there used to be none).  Down the Richmond corridor, he's done a bait and switch on the whole Metro light rail idea, trying to stick it down a street that the voters didn't approve it on because of a severe case of NIMBY (not in my back yard).

For the fiscally conservative, the key will be showing how the war in Iraq is fiscally irresponsible.  Hit him in mailers/ads/whatever on how many times Culberson has voted for budgets that aren't balanced or that blossom the federal deficit.  A good tongue-in-cheek ad may be some family sitting in a car stuck in traffic on the Katy Freeway during rush hour, with money flying out the tailpipe.

There are some good down-to-earth progressives in this district, because Tom DeLay stuck the liberal parts of Rice Village in this district.  This is your base.  Mobilize them quickly to do blockwalking...even in Spring Valley/Memorial.  Hell, this is the district where Barbara Ann Radnofsky lives!  There are Democrats who live in that part of the world.  Reach out to them, and your pocketbook will explode.

That being said...it won't be easy.  Culberson has a mighty war chest.  But if the Dem sets the tone of the debate before Culberson gets involved, it will be a whole lot easier.

Damn Right It's for Real! (0.00 / 0)
I have been talking to many folks about this race and not only is Skelly an excellent candidate - in background, issues, demographics, fundraising - this is also our best chance for a Congressional pickup in Texas this year.

In Evan Smith's talk in front of the TExas Table a few weeks ago, he said this was the one race that Dems might be able to grab this cycle.

As a current Sierra Club employee in charge of writing our 2008 Texas political plan, I am making this race one of our top priorities. Mike Skelly is a wind energy developer who is a perfect environmental candidate. I've spoken with him about the race and he is not messing around. His fundraising numbers speak for themselves and he wants this to be a state of the art race - not some typical shoestring challenger race.

I encourage EVERYONE to start paying attention to this race because we really do have a great chance here. But it is true, this is going to take a LOT of hart work.

I saw this on the DailyKos (0.00 / 0)
You could have knocked me over with a wet noodle. As with any race it is going to take some fired up and committed people to bring this to pass, but I think it is doable. Good luck and good hunting. There were comments from ex-pats that grew up in that neck of the woods that they would be willing to pony up some dollars for the effort. Boy howdy, this would be a good get.

Good thing we've still got politics in Texas - finest form of free entertainment ever invented.
Molly Ivins

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