Can Watson win?

Jun 25, 2009 By Paul Burka

Kirk Watson’s trial balloon is in the air, as he weighs whether to run for governor in 2010. Here are the questions he should be considering. Q. Can any Democrat win the governorship in 2010, or will the D’s repeat the mistake they made in 2002, when they put fielded…

The Vacuum: Who will run the GOP races in 2010?

Apr 5, 2009 By Paul Burka

The conventional wisdom is that Republicans will pick up House seats in 2010, for two reasons. One is that the president's party seldom does well in the first off-year election (George W. Bush in 2002 being a notable exception). Another reason is that Democrats have to defend their recent gains in marginal seats in Republican districts. But I'm not so sure that the conventional wisdom is right. The Republican electoral apparatus is in shambles. Tom Craddick has directed every Republican legislative campaign since "76 in 96." I can't envision him playing that role in 2010, even though his personal campaign account has $2.12 million cash on hand and his Stars over Texas PAC has another $94,000+. What's the point? The slaves have been freed; they don't want him back as speaker. Many GOP members chafed at the tight control and micromanagement exercised by Craddick over their campaigns last fall; it was a factor in his downfall as speaker. More to the point, the Republicans lost seats in every election since Craddick became speaker. So the question is: Who will run the races? The Republican party is incapable and incompetent. ART, the Associated Republicans of Texas, was very effective in its heyday, but when a split developed in the organization over whether ART should engage in Republican primary races, ART's godfather, Norm Newton, left the organization. ART is no longer a factor. The efforts of the Patriot Group to form an umbrella organization for Republican elected officials suggests that the firm might be seeking to take control of the elections. Other consultants and activists might have their own ideas. TAB's Bill Hammond and lobbyist Mike Toomey oversaw the 2002 elections, but they did so under Craddick's aegis. Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a Toomey client, aligned with Craddick in 2008, but they supported conservative Democrats as well as Republicans, and their efforts were significant. Rick Perry loaned his campaign team to the Craddick effort last fall, without notable success. If Perry were to win his Republican primary race against Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2010, he and his team could organize a campaign, but if he loses, he'll have one foot out the door. In short, the infrastructure for a Republican campaign does not currently exist.

Does Hutchison benefit from Perry’s criticism of Rowling?

Feb 6, 2009 By Paul Burka

Here’s what a Hutchison hand told me. (I was driving and talking on my cell phone, so this is the gist of the conversation, not a verbatim rendition.) This is a legislative session in which Perry needs to show that he is a leader who can bring people together and…

Can Craddick come back?

Jan 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

Sure, there are circumstances under which he could regain the speakership. He has $3 million and a loyal core of conservative members who support him. He has time on his hands–nothing to do but make oil deals, raise money, and recruit candidates for 2010. The speaker’s statute is no longer…

Report: Craddick set on regaining speakership in 2010

Jan 10, 2009 By Paul Burka

My source is one of the ABCs. He says that Craddick has been telling members who have supported him that he’ll be speaker again in two years, and, there being few secrets, this has gotten back to the ABCs. This is all I have on this subject for now. It…

Again in ’10?

Mar 27, 2008 By Paul Burka

Last week I met a lobbyist, a close friend of Governor Rick Perry’s, for lunch. As it happened, I pulled into a parking place right behind his truck. In a nanosecond, I lost my appetite. There on his bumper sticker was an “R,” styled to represent a brand, with wavy…