Debra Medina

Debra Medina’s Prospects

Feb 7, 2014 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

Can Debra Medina throw a monkey wrench into the race for comptroller? She doesn’t have the money to compete with the two leading candidates, Hegar and Hilderbran, but she has residual name I.D. and a loyal following left over from her 2010 race for governor. (See my colleague Erica Grieder’s…

The Great Campaigner

Jan 21, 2013 By Jake Silverstein

After eleven contested elections dating back three decades, Rick Perry remains undefeated. Is he brilliant? Lucky? Ruthless? We asked the people who know best—his vanquished opponents.

Last words about the GOP governor’s race

Mar 4, 2010 By Paul Burka

Perry’s decisive victory over a sitting United States Senator is going to propel him into national prominence. Republican power brokers will have to take notice of him as a potential presidential candidate, if they haven’t already done so. Who on the Republican side would make a better candidate? Mitt Romney…

Bad day for conservatives: the anger that wasn’t there

Mar 3, 2010 By Paul Burka

This was supposed to be an unpredictable election due to the tea parties and the Medina candidacy. It was supposed to be an election in which angry conservatives rose up and smote incumbents. Nothing remotely like that occurred. Republican congressional candidates, who might have been tainted by Washingtonitis, won with ease; the closest race was Ralph Hall's 57% victory. In fact, this was a bad election for conservatives, with one exception--Rick Perry. He was a ten-year incumbent in an election cycle that was supposed to be terrible for incumbents, but his keen political instincts enabled him to get out in front of the tea party movement early and become its champion instead of its victim. One of the undercurrents in this election was that conservatives disgruntled by Joe Straus's defeat of Tom Craddick in the 2009 speaker's race saw an opportunity to destabilize him by running hard-right Republicans against moderates on his team. Todd Smith was assailed for holding up Voter ID; he won with surprising ease. Vicki Truitt was assailed for offering a local option gasoline tax; she dispatched three opponents without needing a runoff. Burt Solomons had an unexpectedly close race but prevailed. Chuck Hopson, who switched from Democrat to Republican, infuriated Republicans in his district by announcing that he would continue to vote as he had in the past--and smashed his two opponents. Most of the opposition didn't come from the grass roots; it came from self-appointed kingmakers like Texans for Lawsuit Reform and Michael Quinn Sullivan. Incumbency proved to be mightier than ideology. The voter anger never materialized; it metamorphosized into a brief infatuation with Medina and faded away after she self-destructed on the Glen Beck radio show. A bonus for Straus: One Republican he surely didn't want to see in the House was former Legislative Council director Milton Rister, a longtime Republican operative and hatchet man who is close to Craddick and Dewhurst. Rister was running for the Gattis open seat, but Dr. Charles Schwertner won that four-person race without a runoff. In the end, only five incumbent legislators lost, three Democrats (Al Edwards, Dora Olivo, Tara Rios Ybarra) and two Republicans (Betty Brown and Tommy Merritt), and none of the losses could be blamed on voter anger or ideology. Rios Ybarra could not overcome issues in her personal life that became public, and the others lost for the typical reason why legislators lose: They stayed too long and had too little to show for it. Brown could also attribute her loss to the suburbanization of her district.

Rasmussen: 48-27-16 (9% undecided)

Feb 24, 2010 By Paul Burka

Perry creeps ever closer to the magic 50% that would enable him to win without a runoff—which the Perry camp expects him to do. Hutchison’s position appears to be hopeless, not that this is anything new, but it does raise the question of whether, if Perry comes in with just…

New Public Policy Polling survey: 40/30/20 model

Feb 23, 2010 By Paul Burka

Perry 40% (39%) Hutchison 31% (28%) Medina 20% (24%) (numbers in parentheses = PPP 2/9 poll) N = 400 likely Republican primary voters MOE = +/- 4.9% These numbers seem intuitively correct. They suggest that Perry and Hutchison have beaten each other up enough that both are more or less…

Perry far ahead in UT/Tribune poll

Feb 12, 2010 By Paul Burka

The numbers: Perry 45% Hutchison 21% Medina 19% Undecided 16% The poll surveyed 366 Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of +/- 5.12%. The Hutchison campaign will go down in Texas history as accomplishing the least with the most assets, personal and financial. (The closest contender: Claytie…

Medina self-destructs on Glenn Beck radio show

Feb 11, 2010 By Paul Burka

Beck’s question was whether she is a 9/11 “truther”–that is, does she believe that the United States Government blew up the World Trade Center. “I don’t have all of the evidence,” was the best she could do. After Beck cut short the conversation and Medina was off the line,…

Perry leads in Collin County poll

Feb 10, 2010 By Paul Burka

I don’t know the details of this poll, but here are the results. The sample was 300 Republican primary voters who said they would “definitely” vote or “likely” to vote: Perry 43.3 Medina 22.7 Hutchison 22.0 This is in Hutchison’s back yard of the Metroplex. I don’t see how she…

Henson: PPP poll “within the range of plausibility”

Feb 9, 2010 By Paul Burka

I spoke with Jim Henson, co-founder of the University of Texas poll, and he said that the PPP poll was “within the range of plausibility.” Henson has charted all the polls in this race, and the PPP poll was not an outlier. He expects to have a UT/Texas Tribune poll…


Feb 9, 2010 By Paul Burka

Public Policy Polling has the governor’s race as a 15-point spread from top to bottom: Perry 39% (sound familiar?) Hutchison 28% Medina 24% Undecided 10% Rasmussen’s most recent poll: Perry 44% Hutchison 29% Medina 16% Anything can happen now. Medina’s support has grown by 50% since the Rasmussen poll even…

Medina’s attack on Perry

Feb 3, 2010 By Paul Burka

Am I the last person in Texas to see this Medina campaign spot? Today is the first time I have seen it. It’s the most compelling campaign spot (if a six minutes and fifty-two seconds video can properly be described as a “spot”) that I have seen this entire campaign…

Rasmussen: Perry 44, Hutchison 29, Medina 16

Feb 2, 2010 By Paul Burka

Perry gained 1 point since the previous poll. Hutchison lost 4 points. Medina gained 4 points. Hutchison now is lower in the polls (29) than Perry was (30) when she first announced that she would run for governor. Key stat: If voters maintain their current attitudes, Hutchison needs 50% of…

What is Medina up to?

Feb 2, 2010 By Paul Burka

A couple of weeks ago I questioned in this space whether Medina might enter the Senate race if Hutchison resigns her seat after the primary or the runoff? Apparently someone else was thinking the same thing. The analysis that follows was sent to me by someone who is well known to readers of this blog, someone with SO license plates. The analysis picks up below the asterisks: * * * * I just read your comment about Medina running for Kay's seat, if it ever opens up. I [have] speculated on the same thing. I have been trying to figure her reason to run in the R primary. It doesn't make sense for her. Here is why: 1. If she really cared about her issues she would have run as an Indy or a Libertarian so she would be in the race all the way into the fall. She would then have time to build her name and would get to debate on the big stage in the general election. 2. If she actually thought she had a chance to win the R primary, or make the run-off she would not turn off the R votes by advocating legalizing drugs or saying she will not guarantee she will support the primary winner in Nov and may support a third party candidate. So, what is her plan. Let's go back to point 1. If she was running as an Independent or Libertarian it would be difficult to also run in a special election for Senator, and depending on when the election was actually held, she might not be legally able to do so. Secondly, if she had not run in R primary no one would know her anyway. My thesis. She doesn't care if some Republicans don't like her drug stand or that she will not support Perry or Hutchinson in November. She is running in the Republican primary to build name I.D. and build support for a run in the special election for Kay's seat. Once March 2 passes she will be free to run for the Senate (providing Kay steps down). What is her chance of making that run-off ? Still a long shot, but she will have a shot, especially if she surprises and gets 12-18% in the primary. My analysis of the numbers in a crowded special election field: --Sharp and all Ds get 35% --If Medina keeps her base and adds a few points she is 15-20% (if she does well in the primary) --That leaves 50-55% to be split between 6 to 10 Republicans --Dewhurst, Shapiro, Williams, Williams, Jones, all of whom have indicated they will run. You can be sure that there will be 2-4 more. Each one will pick up 3-5% points even for the bottom finishers. If you have, let's say, 8 Republicans, can any of them get higher than her if she gets 18-20%? Dewhurst has the best chance, but with so many in the race each candidate will have their own base. making it harder for him to get 20%. So, you could have a Medina-Sharp run-off if everything breaks her way. But three things have to happen:

Reporting the Belo Debate … Perry wins

Jan 29, 2010 By Paul Burka

On the air Perry looks more comfortable so far. First question, the corridor. Was it a mistake? Perry says, wasn't a mistake to have a vision. Blames governors who didn't do anything before him. We had to come up with a way to move people. He had a big smile, looked more comfy than last time. To KBH, concealed carry laws? Metal detectors in our Capitol? Hope not. Lighting is not good for her, and she has to look to the right to talk to the moderator, not toward the camera. To Medina, you called Perry a frat boy? are you talking about issues? She says, he's looking at everything through rose colored glasses. Wayne Slater -- Need to build highways, $300B or more needed. Only 3 choices--taxes, debt, more toll roads. Be specific (to KBH) how to we meet those needs. KBH -- I want to do an audit of TXDOT, need more leadership there. I will reform TXDOT. I knew she would duck this. Says never a tax increase without a vote of the people. Slater follow up--which is necessary. She says, if we need more revenue, and I'm not convinced we do, I would reform TxDOT. ...Medina, that $300B you say is not a hard number, it's the highway lobby, I'm not convinced that's what we need. Now to Perry, debt, taxes, tolls. Perry ducks it to start, we have an audit every two years. He starts with diversions. I'm against the gas tax, bottom line, private sector, we'll need to take tolls to build them, but those roads that are free will still be there. KBH says we only get 70 cents per dollar from Wash, Perry wrong. She says txdot web site ? to Medina -- illegal immigration, not convinced that e-verify is the solution, must protect private prop along the border. We want a healthy immigration process. Perry -- e-verify a federal program, and speaking of the fed gov't, that's where the problem lies. Incidentally, she voted for against sanctuary cities. Washington must send money to defend our borders. e-verify won't do anything unless we defend border first. kbh -- SHAME on governor, even the truth tests say I voted against sanctuary cities. e-verify is the best protection we have. (It's really unfortunate, KBH is set up so that she has to look off camera). Medina -- we know that Tx driver's license is good ID, but we issue drivers license to illegal immigrants. To Perry -- U took $12B in federal stimulus, won't be there the next time around, what programs would you cut? Answer, we have already asked agencies to cut 5%. In 2003, $10B short. ??? -- what would you cut? I'd bring together PUC and Railroad Commission, you can consolidate. KBH -- using fed stimulus money for recurring expenses leaves us with a bigger deficit (shot of Perry pursing his lips). I believe in across the board cuts. I'd be looking at the Gov's enterprise fund, not transparent, not producing results. Jobs would have come here anyway. Same ? to Medina -- it's unfortunate that the governor is not taking his own advice. In first fiscal quarter 13.5 increase in spending in the executive branch. We must eliminate property tax, have a consumption tax, $3 billion increase in personal income. Perry rebuttal -- enterprise fund, most popular with the legislature (tell that to Pitts! Hah!) now he's pretty close to a smirk.

Two more house district polls show Perry widening his lead

Jan 28, 2010 By Paul Burka

I received this information about polls that were taken in two House districts, HD 3 (Homer) and HD 47 (Bolton). The first poll is from HD 3. The pollster was Chris Wilson. Fair warning: Both polls were sent to me by a source close to the Perry campaign: Perry 47…

A call from the Hutchison campaign

Jan 20, 2010 By Paul Burka

The call had to do with my post yesterday ("Was the Hutchison poll phony?") in which I expressed my concern about whether their poll, which the campaign has said showed them two points down, was on the level. Obviously, the campaign was none too happy about what I wrote, and in retrospect I think the snark factor was excessive, even for blogging. After we got the "pleasantries" out of the way, they offered to share some information with me. The main reason for my doubts, as I wrote, were the differences between the campaign poll and the Rasmussen poll, which reinforced previous polls about the race. I was also dubious about the 26% of the electorate that was said to be undecided. This seems like a very large number in a race in which 88% of the vote (Perry 43%, Hutchison 33%, Medina 12%) is already accounted for. Today I met with a representative of the campaign. The representative showed me some numbers, which I will pass along to readers. As I have said repeatedly in the comments section in response to readers who have questioned the accuracy of polls that I have reported on, I am not the local Honda dealer. I don't give warranties, or a "CR Recommended" rating from Consumer Reports. Readers can judge the credibility of the information for themselves. Caveat emptor. 1. The Hutchison campaign, like most campaigns, does polling on a small scale as well as on a large scale, polls that are snapshots in time. I saw the results of some of these polls, graphed and printed. They show that since January 3, Hutchison has trailed Perry by no more than 3 points and has led by no more than 2 points. 2. One of the things discussed during the call was the accuracy of the Rasmussen poll, which has been my "control" for polls about the race. I pointed out that Rasmussen and SurveyUSA, the robocall polls, did the best job of calling the 2004 election. The Hutchison folks pointed out that Rasmussen is the only pollster who had Scott Brown losing in Massachusetts. (This was before the polls closed.) Sure enough, Rasmussen called it wrong. 3. The Hutchison campaign has done polling about the debate. This is what they came up with: --21.7% of the primary electorate viewed the debate --39.1% thought Medina won --16.9% thought Hutchison won --15.5% thought Perry won --14.4% thought Perry and Hutchison tied --14.1% were undecided None of these numbers seem implausible to me, though the viewership seems quite high for a gubernatorial primary debate. Maybe people are just very interested in politics right now.

Early post-debate polling: leaders lose ground

Jan 17, 2010 By Paul Burka

This report comes from a polling firm that did a post-debate survey of Republican primary voters. I am authorized to publish these numbers. I have no further information to provide other than what I am publishing here. –Perry and Hutchison lost support as a result of the debate. Perry fell…

Perry must be worried…

Jan 17, 2010 By Paul Burka

…or else he would not have pulled the plug on the Governor’s Mansion addition. Perry has gotten himself out on a limb with all the bragging about Texas, and it may come back to haunt. Add up the boasts about how he balanced the budget (no mention of those stimulus…

Medina and the sales tax

Jan 16, 2010 By Paul Burka

In my post after the debate, I wrote that Debra Medina, in advocating eliminating all property taxes and replacing them with the sales tax, had failed to address the issue of regressivity of the sales tax. That is not quite accurate. As a commenter pointed out, she did address it…

And the winner is …

Jan 15, 2010 By Paul Burka

Maybe the question is: Was there a winner? Well, the format was a winner. The questions from viewers, from members of the audience, and from one panelist to another, made for a lively if not necessarily enlightening debate. Perry did a good job of repeating his major themes. He must…

The Texas Gubernatorial Debate

Jan 14, 2010 By Paul Burka

First question, none of you like Washington, can you name a federal program that you like, one that you don't like. Hutchison and Perry argued over highway funding--are we getting back 76 cents per each dollar, Perry says 70 cents. Medina likes military but says the federal gov't is not doing a good job running the military. She would nullify the EPA and Health care. Question from listener: What would you do about unemployment. Medina--Perry and Hutchison will offer big government solutions. We should learn to lean on each other. Should eliminate prop taxes, adds $3 billion to personal income. To Perry, unemployment useed to be at 8%, used to be 4%. Perry--nobody misunderstands that Texas is the best state in the union for this. We lead the nation in the development of jobs. America lost 3 million jobs, spend it all, spend it now, Texas created jobs in Oct Nov. Let's have skilled work force, get schools adequately funded. (Uh, what about the structural deficit.) Perry is getting passionate about a lot of jobs. Medina--You're talking about 08-09, what about 07. Perry--really wears me out that there are two people on this stage that wants to tear Texas down. KBH -- Lower the burden on business so that we can create more jobs. Gov Perry has raised the burden. New business tax, have to pay the highest unemployment tax. Our unemployment rate is higher than all of the surrounding states. Hiding from it is not the way to make things better. KBH -- Don't add business expenses. Medina -- important to point out, we have lost jobs in the private sector. All the jobs the gov is talking about is 156 thousand in the government sector. Perry: Hold on. No gov has cut taxes more than we did. We cut taxes for 40,000 small business.l We cut property taxes by one-third. KBH -- Dallas Morning News says largest tax increase in our history. Perry -- I don't take the Dallas Morning News as the standard for truth and veracity. Perry--cut property taxes by 1/3. KBH--no you didn't, didn't take into account increasing appraisals. Question on Abortion--Do you support Roe v, Wade. KBH -- I have always supported life. We have added restrictions on abortion that protect life. Follow up--should Roe v Wade remain in effect? Follow up -- So you would not overturn. SHE WON'T GIVE A STRAIGHT ANSWER. (Audience laughs). KBH -- You have to look at what happens if Roe goes away. Question for Medina--You have indicated that you support right to bear arms. Given how you feel, is there any restriction you would support. Answer--Here is the difference between someone who understands the U.S. Constitution and the answer the governor and Senator would give. We have had tragedies, Columbine, Fort Hood. Private property ownership and gun ownership, the two things essential to a free society. Gun registration leads to gun confiscation. Question--Where are the limits? Medina--We have made average citizen unable to defend themselves.

Questions for the Texas gubernatorial debate

Jan 12, 2010 By Paul Burka

Since I will be watching the debate on television Thursday night, I thought I might participate in spirit by suggesting some questions that my (not) fellow panelists might ask in my absence. Having participated in several pre-debate discussions at KERA, I don’t really think it matters who is on these…

The Medina Factor

Sep 21, 2009 By Paul Burka

I haven’t previously paid much attention to the candidacy of Debra Medina, of Wharton, for the Republican nomination for governor, but when the Rasmussen poll shows Hutchison ahead of Perry by 2% and Medina gets 3%, perhaps it’s time to pay attention. This race is fertile ground for a wild-card…