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Texas Senate Showdown: Cruz and Sadler Will Debate

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 10:30 AM CDT

Good news in the first days of the general election: Cruz will debate Sadler. On the night of the runoff, Sadler challenged Cruz to a debate - and Cruz accepted.

After learning that Cruz accepted the invitation, Sadler said, "Good. The people deserve a debate.  Ted Cruz doesn't belong in the United States Senate and I'm glad I will get the opportunity to show why. I'm prepared and excited to discuss the important issues that are affecting Texans' everyday lives.  Now we have to set a date."

Coming out swinging is always a good look, and Sadler's doing just that. In a statement, Sadler explained, "Ted Cruz sees a future controlled by giant corporations and the super wealthy.  If Ted Cruz gets his way, the wealthy will control jobs, the capital, and health care.  The rest of us will be left to fend for ourselves."

This is a smart attack on Cruz, pointing out that he's a fraud who claims to represent Texans but is really vying to be the lapdog of his corporate donors. It is Sadler's responsibility in the coming months to show Texans that Ted Cruz can't be trusted because he doesn't have their best interests at heart. There are other ways that Sadler can go after Cruz - like pointing out that he's crazy and his conspiracy theories indicate that he could be mentally unstable.

Getting Cruz to agree to debate is a very good start. Rick Perry successfully avoided debating Bill White for the entire 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Maybe Cruz doesn't think Sadler poses the strong challenge that Bill White did, but he might be wrong. It's up to Sadler to prove it, and he's off on the right foot with statements like these that combine smart politics with smart policy:

"Unlike Cruz, I'm a seasoned legislator. I also support the Dream Act, Medicare, and a fair tax system designed to make sure that huge corporations and the super wealthy pay their fair share. Cruz, on the other hand, doesn't support the Dream Act, wants to destroy Medicare, and has been bought out by the super rich."

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Texas Senate Showdown: Victorious Cruz

by: Ben Sherman

Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM CDT

It's over. Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst tonight.

Let's pretend for a moment that both of these candidates are running to represent Texans, not the corporations that paid for their campaigns and that will make them rich after leaving office. Let's pretend David Dewhurst is actually sad because he believed Texas needed his views in Congress.

Well, Dew, you've got nothing at all to worry about. Ted Cruz winning is like having your ideological identical twin brother run against you for the Republican senate nomination. You guys have the same views. Cruz won because he was able to capture conservative grassroots titillation because he's "Tea Party"...and you've already served several terms in elected office. That makes you the "establishment" and him the "real conservative" prepared to "shake things up"...by doing exactly what you would do. So rest assured, your crazy ideas will be executed - but it'll be Cruz lapping up the special interest money for years to come.

Well, there is one difference, Dew. Cruz is going to be a rockstar senator. People are going to talk about him as a future presidential candidate, they're going to compare him to Marco Rubio, and he's going to be on television constantly. In spite of the fact that Cruz is not charming, he is a good speaker and clearly can fire up already-angry conservatives.

But his hot streak won't last forever. The problem with Tea Party candidates is that they run on extreme platforms they can't possibly live up to once in office. Their extremes are in constant conflict; if they vote yes to a defense bill, they may also be voting for an earmark in another state. Next election, the new "Tea Party" candidate can accuse him or her of "selling out" to the "GOP establishment" and screech about the need for a "real conservative." That's the problem with being really conservative...it's an ideology, not a governing mechanism.

And Cruz is going to fall into that bind real quick. The only positions he lists on his website are

Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
Repeal Obamacare
Reduce the Size and Spending of Government
Defend the Constitution
Jobs and Growth Plan

At some point, one of the bills he votes for will increase the size of government in some way conservatives don't like. Boom: Tea Party challenge. There is no nuance left in the Republican Party. Most of Cruz's supporters truly believe he's the genuine conservative in the race against a fake conservative. Just like many of them will believe he sold out in some way.

So, enjoy it while it lasts, Cruz. Tonight is the purest you'll seem for the rest of your career. If only you were in a party that cared more about what you can do for your country.

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Texas Senate Showdown: Runoff TONIGHT!

by: Ben Sherman

Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 02:00 PM CDT

The day has finally arrived after a long, drawn out, really lowbrow campaign. Tonight, Texas Republican primary voters are probably going to put us on Cruz Control for the next six years. A third poll came out on Sunday showing Cruz ahead...this time by ten points.

From Public Policy Polling:

Cruz's victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.

Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don't consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it's well justified.

So there you have it, folks. Ted Cruz is going to win (apparently) because of the Tea Party. Cruz likes to frame the race as the answer to the question of whether the Tea Party still matters. While it may matter in terms of who wins the race - as it also did when Richard Mourdock beat Dick Lugar in the Indiana primary - it matters only for the purposes of political posturing. Truth is, if Cruz had been Lt. Gov. for ten years and Dewhurst were a never-elected former solicitor general, Dewhurst would be the surging and likely victorious Tea Party candidate. It's a formula: if you're in office, you're suspicious. If you're out of office with no real record, you're "Tea Party" - that is, until you run for re-election.

Just check out the #txsen hashtag on Twitter. Texas Republicans are going buckwild over a guy who was basically a lawyer-robot, arguing whatever Texas's Attorney General told him to argue. The fervor of these Repubilcans cannot be understated, and there's no question that Cruz has run a very impressive campaign.

A reminder about our likely next senator: Ted Cruz believes Medicaid is unconstitutional, believes Social Security is a "Ponzi Scheme," has proposed unconstitutionally nullifying Obamacare, and believes liberals are attacking golf courses.

I had a dream last night about Cruz winning tonight. Be warned: it feels terrible to know he's our next senator.

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Republican Senate Primary Runoff Preview: David Dewhurst vs. Ted Cruz

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM CDT

Long-shot former solicitor general Ted Cruz is poised to upset sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican Senate primary, and it might not be a bad thing. Shocking, sure, to the insiders and Perry power brokers who figured The Dew was a lock back in the fall, before redistricting litigation delayed the primaries and allowed Cruz the extra time to spread the word that he was the "real" conservative. The media buys have been omnipresent and ugly

Personally, I've debated internally for months over who I'd rather see win the primary, and likely take the seat in November. Dewhurst is less crazy, more grounded in what passes for factual evidence in the Republican Party of Texas these days. He'd be less embarrassing to our state in the US Senate. He's more of a "statesman," though at times his campaign has behaved so very irresponsibly that he should be blushing every time that ad about driving a young man to suicide airs on the TV.

A Cruz victory, on the other hand, would make soon-to-be senior Senator John Cornyn irrelevant, since Cruz could steal the limelight from Big John's thinly-veiled flailing racism with his out-and-out 100% capital-C Crazy. A Cruz win would also keep Dewhurst in the pink dome presiding over the Senate, a welcome relief from the likely ascension of Senator Dan Patrick, who might gladly help pass a law requiring actual chastity belts given the make-up of the incoming Senate next year. Cruz would be only 1 of 100 in the US Senate and has absolutely zero governing experience. It's unlikely he could get much done. Both of them would have near-identical voting records. And Cruz might be easier to knock out in 6 years if demographics and revitalized TDP organizing actually come to fruition. And maybe, just maybe, a Cruz win would scare moderates and corporate Republicans into recognizing what the Tea Party truly has wrought here in Texas.

Perry has backed Dewhurst throughout, and could take a huge hit amongst Tea Party types if Cruz pulls it off. Even Sarah Palin has taken to mocking Perry for his backing of The Dew -- and if a less-than-one-term Alaskan Governor feels safe poking fun at the longest-serving governor in Texas history, well... if nothing else that doesn't bode well for Perry 2016.

Dewhurst came in first on May 29th with 44% to Cruz's 34%, yet polling suggests Cruz will win owing to more enthusiastic supporters who would literally crawl over broken glass to vote for their guy. Dewhurst's core demographic may be too busy summering in the mountains to cast a ballot. Whatever happens, I hope @FakeTedCruz stays around for a long time. As he'd probably say when he's not making inside jokes about GOP operatives, "I'm really ready for the run-off to be over so I can pop a few cold ones, gang. Laughing out loud."

Below are results from the 10 most populous counties in the May 29th primary:

Who will win? Tell us in the comments.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Democratic Senate Primary Runoff Preview: Paul Sadler vs. Grady Yarbrough

by: Katherine Haenschen

Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 09:00 AM CDT

From the get-go (by which we mean the second filing deadline for the primary), the question was which other candidate would join Paul Sadler in the run-off given the four-way race between four under-funded candidates. Few onlookers expected it to be Yarbrough, who perhaps coasted on his homophonic last name. Late Senator Ralph's relative he is not. Sadler, on the other hand, is a distinguished former legislator who  racked up newspaper and elected official endorsements. Yarbrough has run before for statewide office as a Republican. Sadler prevented a public education financing crisis in the Legislature.

Sadler's campaign has been hamstrung by lack of funding. Democratic donors in the state need to get behind him if he is the nominee and provide resources to run a professional campaign. Sadler needs to spend more time locked in a closet with a phone and a list of donors. The choice is excruciatingly easy -- Sadler's vastly better. Furthermore, if Cruz bests Dewhurst, Sadler has a chance of picking off moderates, if he has the funds to communicate with them.

Results from the May 29th primary in the top 10 most populous Texas counties below:

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Texas Senate Showdown: Palin Around With Cruz

by: Ben Sherman

Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 00:00 PM CDT

Palin At Bat for Cruz in Houston

Today, crazy less-than-one-term former governor Sarah Palin will be in Texas to support her chosen runoff candidate Ted Cruz. The two will appear together at an event in The Woodlands, where they will be joined by Republican Senator Jim DeMint.

Is Dewhurst Gay-Bashing Cruz?

Seems that way from Dew's web ad "Timeline." The (honestly brilliant) ad takes us through Cruz's Facebook Timeline, starting with his birth in Calgary, Canada. It highlights his years at Princeton and Harvard - and later years in Washington D.C. During the Harvard segment, the ad shows a picture of Dewhurst in the "Harvard Hijinks" - with "YMCA" playing the background. Though reading about it makes it seem like an insignificant moment, watching the video proves that the "gay" association is inevitable.

Austinist gets it exactly right:

The commercial then moves to his college timeline where we learn that he went to Harvard and Yale, a twofer of effete Ivy League insiderdom that smacks of questionable acts of book learnin' and clearly explains the commercial's next image, highlighted by the double take of record scratch. We cut to an image of a young Cruz photographed with a few shirtless men. "YMCA" plays in the background in place of the villany string section, presumably to help the viewer who hadn't yet done the math of Canadian + Ivy League = homosexual.

Dewhurst has also been slamming Cruz for his biggest donor: Peter Thiel. You know, the GAY man who's the GAY founder of PayPal who, by the way, is GAY.  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Texas Senate Showdown: The Real Final Debate

by: Ben Sherman

Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 02:00 PM CDT

On Monday night, Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met in Houston for their second final debate. This one is actually the last one; there's simply no more time. That's right: we're less than a week away from the runoff election. On Tuesday, we'll which one of these cretins is our next senator.

The debate was feisty and covered the classic issue of this campaign: conservative credentials. Both candidates had strong performances, but because Cruz's was considered somewhat weaker last week, Monday's debate can be seen as a bigger success for Cruz.

Texas Tribune's liveblog of the debate caught a symbolic exchange at the end:

The candidates each got 2:30 for closing arguments.

Echoing a Dewhurst line from earlier in the program, Cruz said, ""I very much agree with my opponent. We need doers."

He spoke about his work fighting for conservative causes before the Supreme Court.

We have seen conservatives all over the state of Texas to come together in this campaign," Cruz said. He listed several conservative leaders who have endorsed before running out of time.

Dewhurst said voters need to pick the candidate with the "character, values and judgment" to represent Texas.

"If Texas were as bad as my opponent keeps saying in these ads, Texas would look like California," Dewhurst said.

"Texas is a good state. I'm proud of Texas."

Republicans may agree that Texas is a good state, but don't necessarily associate Dewhurst with its success. Dewhurst, who seems uncomfortable in social situations and rarely goes on the campaign trail, has been behind the scenes for years. He has no perceptible personality or emotional element to his campaign. He is running entirely on the myth about Texas's economy. It's not inspiring. If you want visual evidence of this, search for the "#txsen" hashtag on Twitter. By my count, Cruz' screechers outscreech Dewhurst's screechers 9:1.

There haven't yet been any last-minute polls released, and the last two show Cruz ahead. The Dewhurst camp is probably praying (literally) for a good poll to be released before Tuesday.

But the election really isn't over. Dewhurst has been absolutely wailing on Cruz via television ads, a sign of two things. First, Dewhurst knows he's not a magnetic candidate and needs to successfully define his opponent as a result of that, and second, that Cruz has gained serious ground on him. Dewhurst's latest ad released this week, "Ted Cruz Should Be Ashamed," that was immediately named Nastiest Ad of the Campaign by BuzzFeed. In it, a mother talks about her son's suicide after leaving one of Robert Mericle's brutal private prisons. Cruz represented Mericle in an unrelated case.

It's ugly, Cruz has the momentum, but Dewhurst could be chipping away at it in unseen ways. It'll be exciting to watch on Tuesday even though both candidates completely suck.

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Texas Republican Senate Candidates Join Voter Suppression Group King Street Patriots For A Debate

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:00 AM CDT

In recent years, Americans have seen right-wing politicians and groups complaining about how alleged voter fraud is destroying the integrity of our elections. This recent trend started with the witch-hunt against low-income advocacy group ACORN, which insane conservatives accused of stealing votes for President Obama. An unfounded belief that American elections are being stolen by fraudulent voters is now an essential piece of right-wing orthodoxy, providing the foundation for recent efforts to remove voters from the rolls in states like Florida and Wisconsin. Cases of actual voter fraud are actually extremely rare.

Tonight in Houston, Republican runoff candidates Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst will attend a final debate hosted by the King Street Patriots. The King Street Patriots is a group dedicated to suppressing the minority vote through voter intimidation tactics. The name of their advocacy arm/project is "True The Vote". The group's purported aim is to protect election integrity.

In reality, the King Street Patriots are a right-wing voter suppression group dedicated to disenfranchising Democratic voters.

Houston Beginnings

KSP started in Houston during the 2010 election, and immediately began working to suppress the minority vote. KSP trained "poll watchers" on how to monitor voter sites. On election day and during early voting, reports flooded in from across the city of King Street Patriots volunteers leering over the shoulders of voters, arguing with election judges and spreading false information to voters in line. It also became clear that True The Vote volunteers were working in tandem with Harris County Republican Party operatives, a clear violation of their designation as a 501c(3) advocacy organization, a designation which KSP was quick to point out to BOR last week.

The unending charges of voter suppression, a majority of which had to do with the intimidation minority voters, led the Department of Justice to send federal inspectors to monitor the election. The charges also led to the Texas Democratic Party filing a lawsuit against KSP. Texans for Public justice, a non-profit, non-partisan government watchdog also filed an ethics complaint against KSP alleging that KSP/TTV have "made repeated in-kind contributions to the Harris County GOP and multiple Republican candidates, potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Wisconsin Recall Election

True The Vote is back with force in 2012. Before the Wisconsin recall election, True The Vote launched an effort called "Verify The Recall" to challenge recall petition signatures in an attempt to protect Republican Governor Scott Walker. True The Vote, working with local Tea Party groups, alleged hundreds of thousands of the signatures were invalid - allegations which, as the Center for Media and Democracy reported, did not stand up to even limited scrutiny.

When that effort failed, True The Vote coordinated with numerous Wisconsin Tea Party groups to train poll watchers, even holding a day of election observer trainings across the state on May 19. "Teachers" flew in from Houston, and a second, online training day was held on May 29. On their website, True The Vote lists Wisconsin as a "victory." Remember, KSP/TTV are supposed to be nonpartisan. Clearly, they are not.

The King Street Patriots Are Un-American

KSP is against the American idea itself: every citizen should have the right to vote and to do so without obstacle. If you aren't yet convinced that King Street Patriots are a bunch of dangerous harassclowns whose sole purpose is to disenfranchise Democratic voters, consider this: in November, KSP held a fundraiser with Matthew Vadum. Vadum is a right-winger famous for arguing that registering the poor to vote is un-American.

In all likelihood, Ted Cruz or David Dewhurst will be Texas's next senator. What does it mean that they're both kow-towing to this anti-American group dedicated to violating our elections? It means that Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst aren't really interested in Texans' support; they're for winning, American law be damned.

King Street Patriots are a right-wing tool to override the opinions of the American people so that right-wing, corporatist policies become the law of the land. Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst care only that their agendas get passed, not whether Americans have free and fair elections. For supporting King Street Patriots alone, neither of these men deserve to represent Texas in the Senate.

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Burnt Orange Report endorses Paul Sadler for US Senate

by: Burnt Orange Report

Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM CDT

Paul Sadler is the only candidate in the race on either side of the aisle who could add anything of value to our US Senate. We enthusiastically endorse him in the Democratic run-off.

Sadler's extensive legislative experience in public education and professional work on renewable energy give him a solid grounding on issues that are critical to Texas now and for the foreseeable future. He is the obvious choice in the runoff to be our Democratic nominee for US Senate, and would be the best servant in that deliberative body if elected.

Just when Gene Kelly finally stopped running, Democrats now have to contend with another pseudo-celebrity name on the ballot taking votes away from the better candidate. Grady Yarbrough seemingly snuck in to the runoff on the basis of his almost-famous last name. Ralph Yarborough the man is not. He ran twice as a Republican for statewide office. On the issues, Yarbrough is largely mainstream for a Democrat, save for his staunch support for a border wall, and suggested in a debate that the Berlin Wall was "pretty effective."

Should Ted Cruz win the Republican Senate primary (a likely and vomit-inducing scenario) it is possible for Sadler to peel off moderate support and at least break up some straight-ticket Republican voting -- if he has the resources to campaign. Sadler has struggled to raise sufficient funds; should he prevail we would like to see a more robust effort from the candidate and those party leaders who encouraged him to run in terms of raising money to mount a solid effort.

Sadler may have an opportunity to capitalize on the former solicitor general's extreme, outlandish and non-sensical conservativism and help other Democrats on the ballot. It would be a wasted opportunity if he had no means to campaign.

Burnt Orange Report endorses Paul Sadler in the Democratic runoff for US Senate and encourages all Democratic voters to cast their ballots for the experienced statesman.

Early Voting in the primary run-off is Monday July 23 through Friday July 27. Election Day is Tuesday, July 31.

Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.
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Texas Senate Showdown: Candidates Will Debate Again

by: Ben Sherman

Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM CDT

Today, the campaigns announced the candidates have agreed to debate again before the July 31st runoff. On Monday at 6 p.m., Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst will meet in Houston for a televised debate hosted by the King Street Patriots, an extreme right-wing group dedicated to suppressing the minority vote.

It makes an abundance of sense that both candidates want to duke it out again. Dewhurst had a very solid debate this week and has more work to do to change the perception that Cruz has all the mo'. A second strong debate showing helps that cause much more than ads alone do. Cruz needs to keep moving forward, and a final, strong performance on stage with Dewhurst could help finalize the campaign for him.

Yesterday, Dewhurst announced the "Veterans for Dewhurst" coalition to highlight his military background along with a video featuring military brass praising Dewhurst. It's a solid video that does the seemingly impossible: humanize Dewhurst. Cruz is bragging today about well-known clown Glenn Beck saying the race is "the biggest sign of the Tea Party's power" in the 2012 election. "If Texas can't do it, nobody can do it," Beck said. Beck has been promoting Cruz on his program for months.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz have both agreed to a third televised debate on the first day of early voting in their hotly contested GOP runoff for an open U.S. Senate seat.

The King Street Patriots, a Houston-area Tea Party group, and Fox 26, a Houston-based affiliate, are scheduled to host a televised debate in front of a live audience Monday at 6 p.m. Details on airings statewide weren't immediately clear.

Both campaigns confirmed they would participate in Monday's event.

The two Republicans have already participated in two televised debates, both in Dallas. The first one, in June, was hosted by KERA, the Dallas public television affiliate. The Texas Tribune was a partner in that event. The second debate was on Tuesday and hosted by Belo.

Update: King Street Patriots Public Relations Director Logan Churchwell emailed BOR in response to this post:

SUBJECT: Quick suggestion from King Street Patriots - Texas Senate Showdown: Candidates Will Debate Again


If you must swing your hatchet at grassroots organizations and call it journalism, at least get your groups straight. King Street Patriots, a 501(c)(4) is co-hosting the Cruz-Dewhurst debate with KRIV FOX 26 Houston. KSP is not "dedicated to suppressing the minority vote." True The Vote, a separate 501 (c)(3) organization, is dedicated to promoting election integrity which actively liaises with both major political parties to get volunteers working at the polls.

Please correct your sentence to read: "Today, the campaigns announced the candidates have agreed to debate again before the July 31st runoff. On Monday at 6 p.m., Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst will meet in Houston for a televised debate hosted by the King Street Patriots, a [sic] extreme right-wing group."

All the best,

Logan C. Churchwell
Public Relations Director
King Street Patriots
7232 Wynnwood Lane
Houston, TX 77008
Mobile: 432-935-3840 (Preferred)
Phone: 713-401-3550 x 814

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

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