Donald Rumsfeld Craddick

Nov 9, 2006 By Paul Burka

The time has come for Tom Craddick to resign as Speaker of the House. He is losing the war. The body armor he supplies to his troops in political warfare–money money money–is ineffective against the enemy’s ideological fervor for better public schools. The more he flouts his assets–James Leininger, Bob…

Seaman vs. Garcia: One Box To Go

Nov 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

At 6:10 a.m., with 76 of 77 precincts accounted for:Gene Seaman (R) 16,696Juan Garcia (D) 16,672 If Garcia can win the last box by at least 25 votes, Democrats will pick a fifth Republican seat. They lost no seats of their own. The partisan division in the House…

An Amazing Night

Nov 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

On a night when the top of the Democratic ticket got clobbered, the wave came from the bottom. Despite having to contend with a legislative redistricting map that was drawn four years ago to achieve a permanent Republican majority, despite the best efforts of a GOP fundraising machine that had…

Hopson Wins

Nov 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

Chuck Hopson (D) holds a 1,400 vote lead over Larry Durrett with 2 precincts outstanding.

Legislative Races

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Who cares about the U.S. Senate? And control of the U.S. House? Forget it. What really matters is the battle for the Texas House. So far, this is the one bright spot for Democrats in the state. Incumbents are underlined. Mark Homer (D) – Kirby Hollandsworth (R). Homer beat Hollandsworth…

Cohen Leads Wong

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Early vote only:Martha Wong (R) 5,256Ellen Cohen (D) 7,663 This was the Republican state House seat that was regarded as the most vulnerable in the state, apparently for good reason.

Kay Is Okay

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Hutchison has climbed over 63%. Impressive. The governor’s race has been remarkably stable. Perry is still at 40, Bell still at 29, Strayhorn still at 18, Kinky still at 10. Never let it be said that Tom DeLay doesn’t know what he’s doing. Only four Republican incumbents are polling under…

Lampson Pulls Away

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Still nothing but early votes from the Lampson vs. Sekula-Gibbs race, but very bad indicators for the Republican write-in candidate. This was a district that President Bush visited: Nick Lampson (D) 23,718/49.82%Bob Smither (L) 2,205/4.63%Joe Reasbeck (W-I) 40/0.08%Don Richardson (W-I) 8,705/18.28%Shelley Sekula Gibbs (W-I) 12,943/27.18% With…

8:11 p.m.

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

If there was ever any doubt about it, let’s say it again: Texas is a hugely Republican state. You would never know that the Rs are taking on the chin in many states tonight. There is absolutely zero sign of Democratic life in statewide or congressional races. The only close…

1.48% of the Precincts Reporting

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

The governor’s race is following the 40/30/20/10 model: Perry 354,989/41.31%Bell 248,570/28.92%Strayhorn 160,897/18.72%Friedman 87,767/10.18% Hutchison 611,611Radnofsky 360,36061.7% to 36.36% Congressional:Chet Edwards up two to one over Van Taylor Lampson pulls ahead of Sekula-Gibbs, 14,624-12,914. Good news for Sekula Gibbs: other write-ins and Libertarian are getting…

Election Returns

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Early returns (mostly early vote): Hutchison 66.01%Radnofsky 32.44% Here’s an interesting one (early vote):Lampson 11,635Sekula-Gibbs 12,914 Perry 44.16%Bell 27.46%Strayhorn 18.22%Friedman 9.67% No statewide down-ballot Republicans are having any trouble at all. Dewhurst, Abbott, and Combs all have vote totals in the 43,000s.

An Early Prediction

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

From a Republican consultant, passed on by a third party: Perry 40+Bell 29Strayhorn 19Friedman 11 Note that this resembles the 40-30-20-10 model that has always appeared to be the most likely outcome of the race.

Kinky for Governor

Nov 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Yesterday I finally decided how I would cast my vote for governor: for Kinky Friedman. I have never before cast a vote primarily as a protest, for a candidate I thought had no chance to win. Voting is a great privilege, and I have always been inclined to exercise it…

Status of the Races–and a Contest

Nov 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is going to be a long post that covers all of the statewide races, the major legislative races, and any other race that could be interesting. I’m going to start with races for the state House of Representatives, because this is where the action is in this election cycle,…

SurveyUSA: Cornyn Sinks

Nov 1, 2006 By Paul Burka

I’ve been so wrapped up in the elections that I have neglected to post SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking poll of the approval ratings of U.S. senators. John Cornyn is one of twelve senators whose disapproval rating (43%) is higher than his approval rating (40%). The benchmarks represent Cornyn’s highest disapproval rating…

Zogby: Perry 37, Bell 29

Oct 31, 2006 By Paul Burka

Zogby’s latest poll has Chris Bell within 8 points of Rick Perry: Perry 36.7Bell 28.5Strayhorn 15Friedman 14.4 Bell has managed to hang around in the governor’s race despite having terrible fundraising problems (which I detailed in a previous post, “Rhymes with ‘Cash'”), and, as a result, only…

Measuring the Wave

Oct 31, 2006 By Paul Burka

I confess to being fixated on the race for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Every morning I check for the latest polls in Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, New Mexico’s 1st, Connecticut’s 4th, Pennsylvania’s 6th. In all I’m following 53 races, all of them except Texas’s 22nd involving candidates…

Rhymes with “Cash”

Oct 30, 2006 By Paul Burka

Crash! That sound is the end of Chris Bell’s hope to remain competitive in the governor’s race. Friday was the eighth day before the election, the deadline for the last filing period for campaign contributions, and Bell reported just $84,106 cash on hand for the final week. Bell’s impoverishment could…


Oct 30, 2006 By Paul Burka

I heard Barack Obama speak at the annual book festival at the Capitol on Saturday. Attendance in the House Chamber was limited to people who had blue or red wrist bands, for seating on the floor or in the gallery, respectively. TEXAS MONTHLY had six of the coveted blue strips.

No Warranty, Express or Implied, about…

Oct 26, 2006 By Paul Burka

…today’s hot rumor in the governor’s race. Which is, that Perry is falling and Strayhorn is rising. The source, apparently, is the Strayhorn campaign, which may release an internal poll tomorrow showing Strayhorn overtaking Bell in the race for second. Perry is in the low thirties, Strayhorn in the mid-twenties,…

Check out the Election Spreadsheet

Oct 26, 2006 By Paul Burka

Please note the Texas-shaped icon on the right side of the main page of the blog. You can download an Excel file that contains all of the races above the county level–U.S. Senate and House, statewide offices, the two high courts, State Board of Education, and all 181 legislative races,…

Extra! Posting with Real Facts! Rumors Debunked!

Oct 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

Earlier in the day I mentioned the rumor that the Bell campaign had a poll showing their candidate just five points behind Perry (32%-27%). Not so, says Jason Stanford with the Bell campaign. He did state his belief that Perry’s ceiling has dropped to 35% of the vote. That’s what…

Rasmussen: Battle for 2nd Still Close; Kinky Fades

Oct 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

Blogging is so much fun. You can make a fool of yourself daily, instead of once a month. One day you pronounce a candidate dead, based on Poll A. The next day, Poll B resurrects her, and you get to explain that. Oh for the leisurely days of monthly journalism.

Is Perry in Trouble?

Oct 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Capitol was rife with rumors yesterday, one a revival of the persistent story that Strayhorn’s trial lawyer supporters were meeting to decide whether to persuade her to get out of the race and endorse Bell. Like all good rumors, this one had some specific information, such as where the…

Early Voting Squelched at San Antonio Campuses

Oct 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

Suppose you are Secretary of State Roger Williams, Texas’s chief elections officer. As early voting is about to begin, three universities in San Antonio want to be designated as early voting sites. One is the University of Texas at San Antonio, with 28,000 students. One is Trinity University, with around…

SurveyUSA: Perry, Bell, and Two Death Knells

Oct 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

The latest SurveyUSA poll in the governor’s race shows Bell pulling away from Strayhorn to make the governor’s race a two-person contest. This is the matchup Rick Perry wanted. What’s that old saying? Something about, Be careful what you wish for. Here are the results (466 likely voters, margin of…

Wave vs. Wall

Oct 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

I came across this quote from a Democratic pollster on the Web site politicalwire.com, crediting another Web site, pollster.com. It neatly summarizes the race for the House of Representatives and suggests that any celebrating by the Democrats about taking over the House is premature:“There’s a big anti-Republican…


Oct 23, 2006 By Paul Burka

One of the perils of serving in Congress is that members lose touch with their constituents. They get arrogant. They forget–pardon me for being trite and idealistic; I know it’s unworthy of a member of the media–that they work for the people. Take the four congressmen who represent the Austin…

Express-News, Statesman Back Perry

Oct 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

The San Antonio Express-News and the Austin American Statesman both endorsed Rick Perry. The Express-News was the most enthusiastic of the three big-city papers that favored the incumbent governor (the Dallas Morning News being the third). It focused almost entirely on the governor’s record, particularly his leadership in solving…

Yawn: Morning News Likes Perry (sort of)

Oct 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

No surprise here, except that the endorsement of Perry is so lukewarm. These are the initial paragraphs of the editorial: “Rick Perry has focused his nearly six-year governorship on building Texas his way – protecting the business climate, attracting jobs, laying concrete. “The question for voters Nov. 7 is whether…

Star-Telegram: “Time for a Balancing Act”

Oct 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Chris Bell in the governor’s race. I confess to being flabbergasted. I thought it was as certain to endorse Rick Perry as the Dallas Morning News was. Here is the paper’s reasoning: “Texas government needs a change. “Ever since 2002’s scandal-plagued legislative elections, which…

Election Eve Report

Oct 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

Early voting starts Monday. How does the governor’s race stand on election eve? The same way it has stood for months, with Rick Perry ahead but vulnerable and his three major challengers trying to break out of the pack but unable to do so. The four most crucial days in…

Rocking the Swift Boat

Oct 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

Republicans are circulating on the Internet an article from Human Events by Texan John O’Neill, of Swift Boat Vets fame, urging conservatives not to let disillusionment prevent them from going to the polls on election day. (Human Events bills itself as “The National Conservative Weekly, the Weekly Standard notwithstanding.)…

SurveyUSA: 56% disapprove of Perry

Oct 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking poll of the approval rating of all state governors, released October 19, shows Rick Perry with 40% approval and 56% disapproval. Only seven governors had approval ratings lower than Perry’s. Normally, such a high disapproval record would suggest that he is headed for defeat, but this is…

Chronicle: “Strayhorn for Governor”

Oct 19, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Houston Chronicle this morning endorsed Carole Keeton Strayhorn for governor. Editorial endorsements don’t carry the weight that they once did, and the Chronicle tends to be viewed by Republicans as a liberal paper, but they do carry some weight, particularly when they are unpredictable. (The sun would fail to…

Zogby: Independents Falter

Oct 19, 2006 By Paul Burka

The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States Poll, released today, describes a governor’s race in which the major party candidates have broken away from the independents. The results: Perry 37.5%Bell 26.2%Friedman 13.2%Strayhorn 13.0%Werner (L) 3.9% The first question that should be asked about any Zogby poll…

Texans for Insurance Reform: Bell up, Kinky down

Oct 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

A new Texans for Insurance Reform poll, by Austin-based Opinion Analysts, is being talked about but not officially public. The grapevine says that Perry remains in the mid-thirties, that Strayhorn and Bell are tied for second in the 20% range, and that Friedman has fallen into the high single digits,…

Karl’s Call

Oct 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

Today’s Washington Times has a story in which Karl Rove is quoted as telling the paper’s editors and reporters at a private luncheon that Republicans will hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate. This is a dog-bites-man story; it would be news if Rove had said anything…

Wave Goodbye

Oct 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

Everybody who follows national politics–except Karl Rove–“knows” that there is general agreement that a Democratic wave is going to sweep the Republicans out of control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Maybe I just got off the bus from Mars, but I don’t see it happening.Is it possible for…

SurveyUSA: Bush’s Approval Ratings

Oct 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Not good. The monthly tracking poll finds only four states in which the president’s approval rating is above the water line. AND TEXAS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. The short list:Idaho 57%Utah 57%Wyoming 52%Montana 50% Texas comes in at 45%, down from 50% in September.

Chetmate, Part II

Oct 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Stick a fork in Van Taylor. He’s done. The Associated Press is reporting, in a story datelined Washington, that Republicans have pulled the plug on his challenge to Chet Edwards in the 17th congressional district. The relevant paragraph: “Republican officials also appeared to have decided not to use more…

Bell Chips In

Oct 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Chris Bell put John O’Quinn’s $1 million contribution to good use with a hard-hitting TV spot (“Sacrifice”) about the mismanagement of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by Accenture, the company that won the contract, worth approximately $1 billion, to administer eligibility and enrollment for state health and welfare services.

Worst Case Scenarios

Oct 16, 2006 By Paul Burka

If you were a Texas Republican strategist in charge of devising the party’s overall strategy in this election, what would worry you the most? The answer is turnout. With the war in Iraq going badly and President Bush’s approval rating at 42% and the Mark Foley scandal still in the…

Bell Jarred

Oct 14, 2006 By Paul Burka

The $1 million contribution Chris Bell received from flamboyant plaintiffs lawyer John O’Quinn (with perhaps more to follow) came with some not-so-hidden-charges in the form of a tough response ad from the Perry campaign. Here is the text of the spot, narrated in voice-over mode: “Just when you thought it…


Oct 13, 2006 By Paul Burka

The 17th congressional district, which takes in the southern Fort Worth suburbs, down to Waco, and east to Bryan-College Station, is the most Republican district in the country occupied by a Democrat. George W. Bush got 70% of the vote here in 2oo4. Nevertheless, incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards of Waco…

Rasmussen: Perry and the Pack

Oct 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

The new Rasmussen poll is more of same. They’re all going nowhere fast, but Perry is going nowhere faster than the rest. Perry 34%Strayhorn 21%Bell 19%Friedman 18% So much for that Strayhorn internal poll that had her at 28% to Perry’s 35%. Even if it was right,…

Debate Matters: Update

Oct 10, 2006 By Paul Burka

As they say in Congress, I want to revise and extend my remarks about the viewership for the gubernatorial debate last Friday night (scroll down to “Debate Matters”). The Dallas Morning News reports, with considerable self-satisfaction, that the debate drew the highest rating in its time slot in three…

Debate Matters

Oct 10, 2006 By Paul Burka

The conventional wisdom about the gubernatorial debate is that it wouldn’t matter because it was scheduled for a Friday night, competing with high school football and the baseball playoffs and Texas-OU weekend. But Belo, the sponsoring organization, promoted it big-time, and early indications are that the debate finished either first…

“Jobs” Climate: Cloudy

Oct 9, 2006 By Paul Burka

The new Perry spot, “Jobs,” which I viewed on the campaign Web site, seemed to be a notch or two below the quality I have come to expect of the Perry operation. The visual effects are boring boring boring. Perry is walking through what appears to be a high-tech…