Report from El Paso
Tue February 26, 2008 8:04 am

I'm in El Paso on assignment, so I haven't been doing much blogging. Haggerty and Margo spots are all over TV. Margo is hurt, so hurt, by Haggerty's negative campaigning. Haggerty is appalled by Margo's "three C's" -- carpetbagger (for moving into the district at the last minute), Craddick (no need for an explanation), and corruption (Margo has had some dealings with figures in the local corruption scandal, but nothing that suggests his involvement in any way), leading to a fourth C that voters would be "Crazy" to vote for Margo. The early vote here is 23,580 D, 4,303 R. Haggerty's chances depend upon crossover Democratic votes, so the very large Democratic turnout countywide may be a bad omen. Shapleigh thinks the election will be +/- 200 votes wither way. The favorite in the Democratic primary is Joe Moody, son of District Judge Bill Moody, who led the statewide Democratic ticket in 06 in a losing race for the Texas Supreme Court. Young Moody, 26, is an assistant DA. He has lost a couple of endorsements he should have won, but his name should get him past UTEP professor Louis Irwin. This is definitely a seat the Democrats could pick up in November.

The other race here is Moreno-Marquez. I've been driving through that district looking for signs. Marquez has more signs, but most are on fences, while Moreno's are in yards and on houses. This is a youth versus age race. Neither candidate had raised much money at the time of the 30 day report, and the 8 day reports aren't up yet. Marquez has made a couple of rookie mistakes -- I heard a story that, following a mixup on speaking times, she left a forum to go to dinner and Moreno spoke and she didn't -- but she has blockwalked extensively. If I had to pick these races, I would say Margo/Marquez, but with a very low level of confidence. It could just as easily be the other way around.

The corruption scandal is one of the worst I have ever encountered. There was systematic bribery in every aspect of local government--city, county, schools. Even the courts were manipulated. Favored parties always got the "right" judges. It's terrible. That's the story I'm working on.

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