Many primary night losers have remained tight-lipped in their runoff support, but there have been some potentially decisive endorsements in the past week.
CD-23: In an interesting twist, former candidate for CD-23 John Bustamante has enthusiastically endorsed former rival Ciro Rodriguez over Pete Gallego. In the first time around, Bustamante finished a distant third, earning 13.22% of the vote. Still, the Gallego campaign believes they have a genuine shot at winning over Bustamante's supporters. They argue that those who supported Bustamante know Rodriguez well and went with an alternative, making it unlikely they would support him the second time. Many saw Gallego as the favorite in the race as he earned the support of much of the Democratic establishment including Rep. Joaquin Castro. Additionally, Gallego outspent Rodriguez nine to one. But it was Rodriguez who emerged as the top vote-getter on Primary night, and he seems to be picking up significant steam in his fight to return to Congress.
Railroad Commissioner: In the race to replace Elizabeth Ames Jones as Texas Railroad Commissioner, State Rep. Warren Chisum has won over the endorsements of former challengers Becky Berger and Roland Sledge. Both candidates touted Chisum's qualifications as motivating their decisions. Chisum finished second on Primary night, trailing Christi Craddick by just over eight percentage points. Each candidate ran on being the most conservative and competed rigorously to prove how much they hated the Environmental Protection Agency. Craddick is an oil and gas attorney and Chisum is a state Rep. from Pampa. With the dismal turnout expected for the runoff, the winner of this race is difficult to predict, but endorsements like these serve to help remind voters that the election hasn't ended yet.
HD-117: Democrats have a pick-up opportunity in HD-117 in San Antonio. In the first round, voters failed to to coalesce behind a single candidate given the strengths of former councilman Phillip Cortez, Annie's List candidate and President of the Mexican-American Bar Association Tina Torres, and businessman Ken Mireles. Mireles, who missed the runoff, has given a huge boost to Torres' campaign as he has enthusiastically endorsed her over Cortez. Torres responded to the news exclaiming, "Together we garnered 65% of the vote in the primary and by combining forces I know we will win the run-off."
Below the jump, check out Burnt Orange Report's Texas primary endorsement tracker, and keep on top of who's picked whom so far.
Lots of press releases and news stories coming in with election day only one week away.
CD-33: Tensions have flared in the Metroplex after former State Rep. Domingo Garcia attacked State Rep. Marc Veasey and former Congressman Martin Frost for conducting a press conference with men and women who work at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington. Garcia accused Veasey of standing with "Wall Street Corporations," while Veasey and other Metroplex media organizations have pushed back against Garcia for attacking a major area employer. Today, Veasey sent out a release asking his opponent to stop mudlinging and focus on educational opportunities:
"Working families in North Texas have neither the time nor the desire to wade through all this mudslinging," said Veasey. "Schools in DFW are literally closing down, the ladders of education opportunity are being pulled out from under our children. I would rather talk about how we reverse course and focus on improving our schools rather than engaging in petty political attacks."
US Senate: In the UT/TT poll released yesterday, Paul Sadler led the field with 29%. Sean Hubbard came in second with 25%. Addie Allen had 19% and Grady Yarborough had 11%. 15% said they don't know. Results here.
HD-90: Lon Burnam's campaign is touting a poll showing him with a 54%-27% lead over challenger Carlos Vasquez. The poll was conducted by Jeff Smith of Opinion Analysts. Vasquez seems to be coming apart on the trail in the last few weeks of campaigning as he has lashed out at Burnam and apparently exhibited some odd behavior at candidate forums.
HCDP: At the Harris County Democratic Party's BBQ event last weekend, attendees participated in a straw poll in a wide range of races, from President to County Chair. Click here to see the results!
SD-14: Not really primary news, but congrats to Preston Watson, son of Senator Kirk Watson, who graduated from UT last weekend with a degree in history.
Additionally, all candidates on the ballot would like to urge you to vote early this week. Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is next Tuesday, but since it's right after the three-day Memorial Day weekend, you might forget. Vote now!
There's lots of muck on the other side of the aisle and plenty of money to sling it with.
US Senate: Sarah Palin endorsed Ted Cruz, then apparently sent a robo-call to voters in Florida and Kansas to tell them about it. Ah, it makes me think back to four years ago, when Republicans -- or at least the one they nominated for the Presidency -- wanted her to be one heartbeat from the Oval Office.
Railroad Commissioner: Roland "Don't Pee on the Electric Fence" Sledge claims to have earned the endorsement of primary opponent Beryl Burgess, which should certainly shake up the race. Sledge is also touting a long list of conservative blog endorsements. Pfft. Blog endorsements.
CD-4: The Campaign for Primary Accountability is spending $100K on mail, TV, and radio against Ralph Hall in the 4th district. Hall has two challengers, Steve Clark and Lou Gigliotti. Will it be enough to force a run-off or unseat the incumbent?
HD-19: Republicans James White and Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton were paired together in redistricting and are now fighting a brutal primary against each other. Last Friday, Hamilton released records showing that White was "admonished for inappropriate sexual references" while he was a teacher at Livingston HS. He was reprimanded and later resigned. From Quorum Report:
According to the documents obtained by the Hamilton Campaign through Open Records requests, White was first notified of the student and parent complaints in August of 2006. Both he and the principal of Livingston HS signed a letter documenting their conversation about his behavior that resulted in student complaints including, "What is more intimate... sharing your credit scores or having sexual intercourse." And "other comments such as 'girls are used as a utility for guys.'"
"Further discussion took place in regard to student/parent complaints about comments such as 'after a man and a woman have sex... then their undergarments are mixed together in the same washing machine."
In his response, White called the attacks a "desperate lie."
White, the African-American Tea Partier, is considered the favorite over Hamilton. It kind of cracks me up that Tea Party wackos are about to elect someone who lost their job for making inappropriate sexual comments about large household appliances.
Referendum on Hawaii Statehood: In case you missed it, BOR PAC released a poll of likely Republican primary voters, which asked them if they believe the President was born in the United States. 60% said no. 21% "aren't sure." And these are the folks who are deciding the eventual winners in our statewide races. Yikes.
PACS, Man! The Texas Tribune put together a really handy interactive guide to the various PACs that have endorsed. Scariest is probably the YCT's endorsing in SBOE races. That can't end well. And by "well," I mean "with educated Texans." But hey, all the better for the YCT membership drive, I suppose.
(Attorney General Greg Abbott has signaled to donors that he will run for governor in 2014, setting up a potential challenge to Rick Perry. We polled that hypothetical match-up back in May 2012. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)
As part of our year-long statewide polling series, BOR PAC and People Calling People conducted a survey of likely Republican primary voters to determine their sentiments on Mitt Romney's de facto Republican nomination, the Republican primary races for US Senate and Railroad Commissioner, and a hypothetical 2014 Republican primary match-up for Governor. We defined "likely voter" to mean a registered voter who had voted in at least two of the last three Republican Primaries (2006, 2008, 2010). Calls were placed to a random subset of those voters May 15-16, 2012.
Here are the results.
"In the Republican primary for US Senate, the candidates are Glenn Addison, Joe Agris, Kurt Cleaver, Ted Cruz, David Dewhurst, Ben Gambini, Craig James, Tom Leppert, and Lela Pittinger. Who do you plan to vote for in the Republican primary for US Senate?"
TOTAL (MOE 4.2%, 557 responses)
The poll confirms what political chatterers had surmised for months: Dewhurst and Cruz look poised to head to a late-July run-off for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. That has to give Cruz hope that he can prevail in a low-turnout hyper-partisan electorate, since the solicitor general has enjoyed more Tea Party and activist support than Dewhurst, whose main constituency seems to be Rick Perry's corporate sugar daddies. A Senate run-off pitting Cruz' grassroots hordes vs. Dewhurst's fat cats has to give serious pause to any moderate Republicans who may be headed to a run-off in down-ballot races, and could play a role in the inevitable run-offs in various Republican Congressional primaries (namely CD-14, CD-25, and CD-36). The only real question is if Dewhurst can spend his way to avoid a run-off, but given the margin he needs to make up to clear 50%, it looks unlikely.
Notably, the results also look a lot like the UT/TT poll released today. Dewhurst is in the low 40's and looks likely to go into a run-off with Cruz. That "internal Dewhurst campaign memo" circulated last week and leaked to Politico claiming that Leppert had pushed past Cruz into second place does indeed appear to be smoke and mirrors.
"In the primary for a full term on the Texas Railroad Commission, the candidates are Becky Berger, Beryl Burgess, Warren Chisum, Joe Cotten, Christi Craddick, and Roland Sledge. Who do you plan to vote for in the Republican primary for Texas Railroad Commissioner?"
TOTAL (MOE 4.5%, 479 responses)
In the race to fill the seat vacated by Michael Williams, it's clear that no candidate has managed to break through the crowded field, despite their ridiculous TV ads and escalating anti-EPA rhetoric. Over one third of the electorate is undecided, while Chisum and Craddick are the leaders here, the latter doing well likely based on sheer last-name ID alone. Unfortunately for Roland Sledge, despite his shocking TV ad in which Sledge vows not to pee on an electric fence, he's not making a splash with voters. The Republican electorate isn't trickling down from the undecided column into Sledge's camp. Unless his campaign is willing to leak any more-favorable internal polling, it's unlikely that on May 29th anyone will say to Sledge, "urine a run-off."
"In the 2014 Republican primary for Governor, if Attorney General Greg Abbott decided to challenge Governor Rick Perry, who would you support? "
TOTAL (MOE 4.6%, 462 responses)
It's clear that Abbott is quietly angling to be the next Governor of Texas, what with his sue-the-Feds this and his down-with-women's-rights that. However, Governor Perry is claiming that he plans to run for re-election, either to prevent being the lamest duck next session or because he thinks it will better position him for another failed Presidential bid in 2016. Regardless, the Republican primary voters we polled have Abbott within 10% of Perry in this hypothetical match-up, which bodes well for the hard-charging Attorney General should he tilt at the incumbent Governor.
"How satisfied are you with Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee?"
TOTAL (MOE 3.7%, 718 responses)
We also asked Republican primary voters how they felt about presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. Only two thirds of Republicans are satisfied with the flip-flopping Massachusetts governor, whose healthcare plan was part of the foundation of Obamacare. One third of Republicans surveyed seem unwilling to go along with Romney, and 17% self-report as Dissatisfied or Very Dissatisfied. One wonders about the remaining third of the Republican primary electorate -- are they Ron Paul supporters? Do they want a more conservative candidate? Would a third-party conservative candidate like Rick Santorum or a legitimate Tea Partier like Debra Medina appeal to the 33% of Republican primary voters who are not satisfied with Romney? Most importantly, will they be too dismayed about their Presidential pick that they'll stay home this November?
Oh dear Lord. When Railroad Commissioner candidate Roland Sledge saw Warren Chisum's B-movie style campaign ad featuring shotguns and hard-hats, I guess Sledge figured he needed to really up the ante to catch voters' attention. Here's his entry in the 5-way Republican primary for Railroad Commish:
Now, to be fair, the Texas Railroad Commission probably has more to do with peeing on fences than the actual railroad. Slagle' experience in the actual oil and gas industry may make him legitimately qualified for the job (arguably a risk in Republican primaries). But in reality, serving on the Railroad Commission is about refusing to regulate our oil and gas industries and threatening the EPA.
The Texas Tribune reports that at a forum in Wichita Falls, candidates were tripping over each other to diss the EPA and President Obama:
"Let me tell you, these people can ruin your life," state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, said last week at a forum in Wichita Falls that was organized by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. "If they ever require an EPA permit before you drill a well, your lease will expire."
Roland Sledge, a Houston lawyer who has specialized in oil and gas for 35 years, spoke repeatedly of the "relentless assault" by the EPA on the oil and gas industry.
Christi Craddick, another candidate, went up another level. "Let's get rid of [President] Obama if we do nothing else," said Craddick, a lawyer specializing in oil, gas and water and who is the daughter of state Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. "This man hates the state. ... I want to make sure he gets on a solar-powered airplane and flies someplace else," like China.
Lest we forget, the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with protecting human health and the environment. They're making sure that we have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, healthy land to farm, and as little hazardous waste in your backyard as possible. Evidently, these Republicans want to do away with all of those things. But that's cool, because we can privatize the air, right?
Now that Chisum and Sledge have made their mark on TV, I can only wonder what Christi "Daughter of Tom" Craddick has up her sleeve. Maybe she can turn her "Send Obama to China" comment into a TV spot. I'd encourage all remaining candidates to refer to the single best commissioner ad of all time ever, Dale Peterson's ad for Alabama Ag Commissioner.
Remember, Republicans, if the Democrats are laughing at your ads, that means they're working!