BREAKING TX-HOUSE; Democrat switches Parties, Joins GOP

The Texas House is supposed to be one of our top priorities in 2010, however as of this morning it just got that much harder. Long time state representative Chuck Hopson announced he would be seeking re-election as a Republican.

Now, re-election for Hopson was going to be difficult. He barely scraped by in 2008 with 26, 042 votes (49.3%) over his republican opponent who got 25,928 votes (49.1%). At the same time Obama got clobbered in Hopson’s district 11 collecting only 27.5% of the vote to McCain’s 71.9%.

Hopson’s statement on switching parties is short, sweet, and shallow.

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress just don’t reflect the values of this district.”

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie released the following statement.

It takes strength and integrity to stand against the special interests – and while some members have that strength, others like Chuck Hopson, apparently do not. In the Democratic Party, there is room for members who are conservative and progressive – the only reason anyone would leave is for crass political reasons and a refusal to stand up to special interests.

Democrats lost three seats they previously controlled in 2008, one of them being an open seat with similar demographics to district 11, located in the area between San Antonio and Houston. Going into 2010, Democrats have another rural open seat near Withita Falls that is currently held by David Farabee. With Farabee and Hopson gone, the number of rural, white democrats in Texas are dropping precariously. I’m not sure how many are left now besides Mark Homer, Joe Heflin, and Stephen Frost.

Republicans now control the Texas House 77-73.


Hopson’s district map –…

Source –…

SSP Daily Digest: 5/28

OH-Sen: Rob Portman’s great week continues: he just found himself admitting in an interview that Republicans have no position on health care, and that he reached this conclusion only by talking to GOP Senate leadership about that. However, he says, “There’s a task force, and I applaud them for that.”

FL-Gov: Lakeland-area State Senator Paula Dockery, whose name has occasionally been bandied about for the GOP nomination for the open seat in FL-12, may be setting her sights higher: all the way to Governor. This would complicate things for the state party leadership, which got Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson to clear the path for AG Bill McCollum… but might secretly relieve some others in the Florida GOP, worried that McCollum has that warmed-over two-time-loser aroma. (I wonder, though, if she might really be angling for the still-vacant Lt. Gov. slot, as current Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp is heading over to the AG’s race, and Bronson said ‘no thanks’ to the idea. The GOP might need her there to avoid having an all-white-guy slate, what with state Senate President Jeff Atwater running for CFO and Howdy Doody Rep. Adam Putnam running for Ag Comm.)

AZ-Gov: Another state legislator contemplating out loud about a Governor’s race is state Rep. David Bradley, who may resign this summer in order to explore the race. He has two disadvantages, though: his base is not Phoenix but the much-smaller Tucson, and he isn’t known statewide like other likely Dem candidates AG Terry Goddard and developer/former state party boss/2006 Senate candidate Jim Pederson.

NY-Gov: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made some cryptic comments yesterday that have everyone scratching their heads: she believes there won’t be a Democratic primary for the 2010 Governor’s race. What she didn’t say is who she thinks will stand down, David Paterson or Andrew Cuomo?

MD-01: The NRCC is up with another ad blitz, this time with freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil the prime target. The TV ad hits Kratovil for his ‘no’ vote against an investigation into Nancy Pelosi over whether she or the CIA is lying (not an issue I could ever see the public comprehending, let alone getting revved up about, but maybe that’s just me). The issue also merits radio spots in 6 more districts (those of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Suzanne Kosmas, Glenn Nye, Tom Perriello, Vic Snyder, and Harry Teague), and robocalls in 10 more (John Boccieri, Bobby Bright, John Hall, Steny Hoyer, Steve Kagen, Ann Kirkpatrick, Larry Kissell, Harry Mitchell, Walt Minnick, and Mark Schauer).

CA-10: Running Some Guy is better than running No Guy, and the GOP has at least found Some Guy to run in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Ellen Tauscher: attorney David Harmer. Harmer once ran for Congress in UT-02 in 1996, and his father was California Lt. Gov under Ronald Reagan.

NY-AG: The New York Times profiles half a dozen prominent Democrats who are jockeying to take over the Attorney General’s job if Andrew Cuomo follows through on the Governor’s race. Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi is the best known, but two members of Paterson’s cabinet — insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo and criminal justice official Denise O’Donnell — are also looking. The article also cites Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and state Senator Eric Schneiderman.

TX-House: Democrats in the state House in Texas used parliamentary procedures to run out the clock on a Republican voter suppression bill. The voter ID bill would have disenfranchised thousands. The bill was so important to Republicans that they wouldn’t let any other bills jump ahead of it in the queue, though, creating a standoff that torpedoed hundreds of other pieces of legislation (including the override of Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to turn down $555 million in federal stimulus funds).

TX-House: Craddick’s Reign as Speaker to End

Democrats in Texas came remarkably close in November to drawing into a tie in the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives where there was previously an eight-seat margin; a few dozen votes in one district that barely went the wrong way would have done the trick. However, while they don’t have control over the chamber, there’s been a steady flow of good news out of Austin over the last few days: it looks like a combination of Democrats plus insurgent Republicans are poised to replace Speaker Tom Craddick with fellow GOPer Joe Straus. As of today, Straus reportedly has secured pledges of 96 members (out of 150). This includes all Democrats except one, plus several dozen Republicans (with their numbers sure to continue to grow).

Now, before you get too happy, remember that Straus is a Republican, and a conservative one at that (although more from the Chamber of Commerce wing of the party than the truly unhinged), leaving the actual legislative agenda probably little changed. (And more importantly, for the Dems to have a meaningful seat at the redistricting table in Texas in 2010, they’ll need to actually control the chamber.)

But being rid of Craddick is a very welcome development, as he was from the hardcore knuckle-dragger wing of the GOP and, back in the day, Tom DeLay’s prime enforcer/enabler at the legislative level. Craddick, for instance, was at the core of the 2004 DeLay-mander that cut a swath through U.S. House Democrats from Texas. Craddick has even been the target of previous attempts by his own party to remove from the speaker’s seat, over his attempts to create a mini-K Street in Austin and wield power in the House through lobbyists and campaign contributions. Today, both parties are saying “good riddance.”

Congressional races state by state: Texas

I am all for running everywhere, and the 50 state strategy.

But neither we nor the Republicans are running everywhere (at least not yet!) In this series, I will look at where we are running and not running; and where the Republicans are running and not running (I am not going to look in detail at where Republicans are not running, as I have no desire to help Republicans, however modestly)

This diary is partly inspired by the great work done by BENAWU, and informed by the great Race Tracker Wiki (links throughout).

crossposted to dailyKos

The next two states to have filing deadlines are OH and TX. Today, I am doing TX.  I did OH on Dec 30, more to follow (and I will go back and do the states that already passed their filing deadlines).

The numbers after each are a) Cook PVI and b) A rating of the district based on a model I created details here – basically a logistic model based on a lot of demographics; the number is the predicted probability of being Republican, based solely on the demographics

One note TX has been redrawn again, and my model numbers are for the old districts.  No way to fix this that I know of.

Texas has 32 Congressional House districts. 13 are held by Democrats of which 11 have officially filed as follows:


district Cook Prob Repub   Incumbent       Challenger?    rating

TX-09    D+21     3        Green              Yes         safe Dem.

TX-15    D+ 3    37        Hinojosa            No  

TX-16    D+9     29        Reyes               No  

TX-17    R+18    55        Edwards             No

TX-22    R+15    43        Lampson            Yes       fairly safe, rerun

TX-23    R+4     47        Rodriguez          unclear

TX-25    D+1     49        Doggett             No

TX-27    R+1     35        Ortiz               No

TX-28    R+1     42        Cuellar             No

TX-29    D+8     24        Green              Yes        safe, rerun

TX-30   D+26     12        Johnson             No

The following 2 Democratic incumbents haven’t filed yet but are expected to do so.

TX-18   D+23      8        Lee                No  

TX-20   D+8      25        Gonzalez           No

So, there are confirmed challengers in only 3 Democratic districts, all of which look pretty safe, and two of which are re-runs of 2006.

I give more details on the following, 19 Republican held seats; first the 10 of these have filed candidates:

TX03 R+17  .42.  

This district is northern Dallas, and also Plano and Garland.

Sam Johnson was first elected in 1991.  He has had no close races since his first one.  Ron Minkow and Thomas Daley are running against him, and a couple other people might, but this has to be called a longshot.

TX-06  R+15, .47

This district spreads southeastward from the western part of Ft Worth, running about 150 miles through Corsicanna and Waxahachie

Joe Barton, first elected in 1984, may be slightly mroe vulnerable than his relatively easy wins show.  In 2006, David Harris got 37% of the vote with only $27,000 (he was out-funded almost 100-1!)

Steve Bush is running as a Democrat, hey, his name is Bush! That’s probably going to convince a couple Republicans….. well… maybe.

TX-07  R+16  .45

The 7th runs roughly northwestward from the western suburbs of Houston, but it’s shaped sort of like a Z, so it’s hard to describe.

John Culbertson was first elected in 2000.  In 2004, he got just about as many votes as Bush, despite out-raising his opponent 30-1.  In 2006, Jim Henley raised about $122,000 and got 38%.  

James Henley is running again, as is Michael Skelly.  

TX-10  R+13, .57

The 10th runs from eastern Austin to western Houston.  

Michael McCool was first elected in 2004.  In 2006, Ted Ankrum got 40% of the vote with only $55,000 in funding.  

In 2008, there are at least two challenger: Larry Joe Doherty and Dan Grant, and each seems to have already raised more than that.

TX-12  R+14 .49

The 12th is a large district to the west and northwest of Ft. Worth

Granger was first elected in 1996.  None of her races have been close, and Granger did better than Bush in 2004.

Tracey Smith is running in 2008.

TX-13 R+18 .52

The 13th is 40,000 sq miles mostly along the borders with OK and NM, including Amarillo.

Thornberry was first elected in 1994, and has not been seriously challenged. In 2006, Roger Waun got 23% of the vote, with only $27,000.  

Waun is running again

TX-19 R+25, .48

The 19th is shaped sort of like a W, or maybe a U with a hook.  It runs from the NM border to the middle of TX, including Lubbock and Abilene.

Neugebauer was first elected in 2003.  In 2004 he beat Stenholm 58-40, in a fairly equally funded race.

Dwight Fullingim is running in 2008, and a couple others might run, as well.

TX-26  R+12 .45

The 26th is a narrow strip running north from the Dallas-FtWorth suburbs to the OK border, widening around the town of Denton.

Burgess was elected in 2002.  His majorities have been decreasing:

2002 – 75%, 2004 – 66%, 2006 – 60%, all against opponents with almost no funds (in 2006, his opponent (Barnwell) got 37% with only $16,000).  

Ken Leach is running against Burgess in 2008.  

TX-31 R+15 0.49

The 31st runs northwest from the northern suburbs of Austin.

Carter, first elected in 2002, was in a relatively close race in 2006; he won 58-39 against Mary Beth Harrell, who was outspent more than 4-1.

In 2008, the challenger is Brian Ruiz.

TX-32 R+11 .34

The 32nd is a ridiculously shaped district that includes the area between Ft. Worth and Dallas, and also North Dallas and University Park, and extends out to Ricardson.

Sessions, first elected in 1996, was in one of the most expensive races in 2004 (each candidate spent around $4.5 million) – he won, 54-44, doing considerably worse than Bush. In 2006, Will Pryor did almost as well, getting 41% while raising only half a million.

In 2008 Steve Love is running, as is Eric Roberson.

4 further districts have confirmed candidates that are yet to file officially:

TX-04  R+17  .70

The 4th is the northeast corner of TX, mostly bordering OK and AR. (It’s one of the few districts in TX that is pretty much a rectangle!)

Hall was first elected in 1980, and he’s getting old (he will turn 85 in May).  He’s won easily against underfunded opponents, but in 2006, Glenn Melancon got 33% of the vote with only 64,000.  

Melancon is running again, but first Hall has to survive a primary.

TX-08 R+20 .74

The 8th is on the eastern part of TX, right around where TX is widest. It borders LA.

Brady was first elected in 1996.  He has won easily, the last two times against Jim Wright (Wright got 30% in 2004 and 33% in 2006, both times with very little money).

Wright is running again.

TX-11 R+25 .54

The 11th runs from the eastern suburbs of Austin to the NM border, including Odessa, Midland, and San Angelo.

Conaway was first elected in 2004, and was unopposed in 2006.

Floyd Crider is running in 2008.

TX-24 R+15 .43

The 24th is a bizarrely shaped district, mostly in between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Marchant, first elected in 2004, has won easily against Gary Page (twice), although Page got very little money.

This year, Tom Love is running

And two further districts have unconfirmed candidates:

TX-05 R+16 .57

The fifth is another bizarre district….it sort of looks like California, with Nevada on the side.  It includes both Palestine and Athens….and stretches southeast from Dallas

Hensarling was first elected in 2002 and has won easily against almost unfunded opposition; in 2006, Thompson got 36% with only $20,000

TX-21 R+13 .58

The 21st is yet another oddly shaped district, mostly to the north and west of San Antonio.

Smith was first elected in 1986.  He has won easily.  This district was redrawn for 2006.

That leaves 3 districts with no candidate!

And here they are:

TX-01 R+17 .59

The first is along the eastern edge of TX, bordering LA and a tiny bit of AK.

Gohmert was first elected in 2004. He has won easily, but no more easily than a lot of other TX Repubs.  I can’t say it’s likely we would win, but I can’t see why we aren’t challenging.

TX-02 R+12 .47

The 2nd is another bizarrely shaped district; most of the people live in or near Beaumont.

Poe was first elected in 2004.  In the nebulous world of TX redistricting, his opponent in 2004 was Nick Lampson, who is now the rep. from the 22nd, which doesn’t even border the current 2nd.

Conrad Allen announced that he was forming an exploratory committee, set up a campaign website (now defunct) and disappeared off the face of the earth.

TX-14 R+14 .56

The 14th may be the most bizarre of all the bizarrely shaped districts.  It runs along the gulf of Mexico, mostly south of Galveston, but it’s sort of interrupted by a bunch of other districts.

This bizarrely shaped district has a bizarre rep, even for Texas: Ron Paul.

We had a candidate then he switched parties!



Currently       Total      Confirmed challenger     %

Democratic        13               3               24

Republican        19              14               74