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Zogby Weighs In

Aug 28, 2006 By Paul Burka

The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal poll shows Perry leading with 34.8%, which is consistent with recent polls. Bell (23.1%) and Friedman (22.7%) are in a virtual dead heat for second. Strayhorn has only 9.6%, a disastrous showing. The story has been circulating for a couple of weeks that the…

Call from McCaul

Aug 27, 2006 By Paul Burka

After a summer of writing about automated telephone polls, I received such a call myself on Friday night. The first questions all involved Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Austin, in whose district I reside, and were pretty standard (Did I plan to vote? Would I vote for McCaul?).

Heard from the 23rd

Aug 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a major PR/politics/polling firm based in Washington and San Francisco, recently (August 10-15) conducted a poll in the 23rd congressional district. Here are the results of the telephone survey of 405 likely voters (margin of error: +/- 4.9%): Henry Bonilla 44% (incumbent Republican)Ciro Rodriguez 24% (former…

DeLay in DeNial

Aug 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

“I’m very disappointed in our justice system. There doesn’t seem to be any justice.”–Tom DeLay, yesterday, on Houston’s KTRK-TV. DeLay was referring, of course, to a series of rulings barring the Republican Party of Texas from declaring him ineligible to run as the Republican nominee for Congress from District…

Survey Useless

Aug 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

From a source close to the Perry campaign comes this e-mail about the methodology used by Survey USA in determining that the governor’s approval rating has slipped by 9 points since the previous poll. (See “Poll Axed,” August 22, below). This will not be entirely new to dedicated readers, both…

A Third for the 23rd

Aug 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

The race for the 23rd congressional district gained a new entrant today. Lukin Gilliland, a San Antonio rancher and investor, joined incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla and former Democratic congressman Ciro Rodriguez in the battle to represent the megadistrict that stretches west along Interstate 10, and up the Rio Grande, all…

So Solly

Aug 23, 2006 By Paul Burka

The District 33 (Corpus Christi) blog is back in session. I was part of a small group who met today with Solomon Ortiz Jr., the Democratic nominee to replace Vilma Luna and the subject of much commentary from readers (see “Split Decision,” below). He has scads of boyish charm and…

D as in Denial

Aug 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

I never expected a post on an obscure Corpus Christi legislative race (See “Split Decision,” below) to generate so many comments. The anger of Democrats boiled over at my suggestion that the Republicans could win the seat in the heavily Democratic district due to a split in the Democratic party,…

Poll Axed

Aug 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

Just in: the latest Survey USA poll on the approval rating of all governors. It is not good news for Rick Perry. Since the last poll on August 6, Perry’s approval rating has declined from 52% to 43%, while his disapproval rate has done exactly the reverse–climb from 43%…

Hecht Maybe

Aug 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

I herewith offer these thoughts on the Nathan Hecht controversy–he is appealing his admonition by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for his public support of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court last year–as red meat for the critics. Here is a summary of the case…

Split Decision

Aug 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

When Corpus Christi state representative Vilma Luna decided to give up her legislative seat in July to take a lobbying job in Austin with Hillco Partners, the Democratic party had every reason to believe that the seat would remain in the party’s column. The Republicans had not fielded a candidate…

Interpreting the Polls

Aug 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

A friend who takes issue with my recent posts (“Main Event” and “Main Event, the Post-Mortem,” in which I asserted that the thwarting of the terrorist plot at Heathrow Airport would benefit the Republicans in the midterm elections, has been bombarding me with e-mailed poll results showing that, so far,…

We Approve

Aug 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Survey USA came out with a new poll yesterday about the president’s state-by-state approval rating. Texas is fifth highest (54%) behind Idaho (59%), Wyoming (58%), Utah (57%), and Nebraska (55%). The only other states where Bush scored at least 50% were Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma? Can…

Grand Old Parting of the Ways

Aug 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Those fratricidal Republicans are at it again. Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning News finally got state GOP executive director Jeff Fisher to acknowledge what everybody knew, which was that a 2005 telephone poll to determine the level of support of several “moderate” (that is, conservative, as opposed to…

Reid It and Weep

Aug 16, 2006 By Paul Burka

Let’s try reposting this. Apparently some readers were too harried to check out the link for this story [hint, guys, click here] from August 5 Las Vegas Sun and didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. As far as I can tell, the Texas media missed this…

Has-Ben

Aug 15, 2006 By Paul Burka

When this blog started in early July, rumors were rife that Ben Bentzin, the Republican nominee in Texas House District 48 (West Austin) against Democrat Donna Howard, would withdraw from the race. Several GOP sources told me that was not the case, which I posted, which a couple of e-mailers…

Main Event, the Post-Mortem

Aug 12, 2006 By Paul Burka

In “Main Event,” which I posted yesterday, I argued that the news of the terrorist bombing plots would work to the Republicans’ advantage in the fall elections. Four of the six readers who posted comments took issue with the post, as did our editor, Evan Smith, who told me…

Main Event

Aug 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

When you look at the ocean, it appears to be immutable and everlasting. But it is subject to forces beyond its control. Small changes occur because of the tides. Great changes occur because of tropical storms. So it is with politics. We think we know how it is shaping up,…

Not So Sharp

Aug 9, 2006 By Paul Burka

Just to make sure that nobody missed the latest Rasmussen poll in the governor’s race (500 likely voters), the Bell campaign sent out their own release with the spin that Bell had knocked 10 points off Perry’s lead since the previous poll. Half of that is Perry’s own slippage. The…

Write to Vote

Aug 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

Now that we don’t have Tom DeLay to kick around any more, what are the prospects that the Republicans can effectively mount a write-in campaign against Democratic nominee Nick Lampson? Start with the rules: A candidate must file a Declaration of Write-In Candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office by…

Scalia Denies DeLay

Aug 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

Just out: Justice Scalia refused to stay the order of the Fifth Circuit that Tom DeLay’s name should remain on the ballot. James Bopp, attorney for the Republican Party of Texas and chairman Tina Benkiser, said that he will not pursue the appeal. The link has the full story.

Abbott vs. Van Os

Aug 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

The resolution of the redistricting lawsuit became a battleground in the race for attorney general — although it’s not much of a race when the outcome is predestined. Incumbent Republican Greg Abbott and his longshot Democratic challenger, David Van Os put out dueling press releases on the subject,…

Take a Seat

Aug 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

A reader who identifies himself as “Hopeful Democrat” commented on my post about the redistricting case (“Exit Lines”): “Please clarify your statement to the effect that it is unlikely that Democrats will win seats in November now held by Tom DeLay and Henry Bonilla. Do you mean that both seats…

Grand Old Parry

Aug 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

To: Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National CommitteeFrom: Paul Burka, humble bloggerRe: Your mailed invitation to take part in the official CENSUS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY I am so glad that you have chosen me as a representative of all Republicans living in my voting district. I am particularly…

Exit Lines

Aug 4, 2006 By Paul Burka

The only surprise in the new congressional redistricting map for Central and South Texas drawn by a three-judge federal court was the inclusion of District 15, represented by Ruben Hinojosa, of Mercedes, among the districts the Court revised. The panel’s general intentions became known early in Thursday’s lengthy…

DeLay DeNied Again

Aug 4, 2006 By Paul Burka

Now that a Fifth Circuit appeals panel has ruled that Tom DeLay’s name must stay on the ballot as the Republican nominee for Congress in District 22, what are the political ramifications? After federal District Judge Sam Sparks ruled against DeLay earlier this summer, some Republicans, and even…

Fine Lines

Aug 2, 2006 By Paul Burka

The long road that began with Rick Perry’s decision to call a special session for congressional redistricting in the summer of 2003 approaches its terminus on Thursday morning when a three-judge panel in Austin hears oral arguments about how to fix the Voting Rights Act violation identified by the Supreme…

To Circuit, With Love

Aug 1, 2006 By Paul Burka

All of you posted extremely good comments about my report from the Fifth Circuit. I thought I would just pull them up into the main portion of the blog and respond to them here. First, a word about the experience of watching the oral arguments. It was so great. The…

Creamed Cornyn

Aug 1, 2006 By Paul Burka

Count me as among the stunned that U.S. Senator John Cornyn turned on President Bush yesterday on the subject of immigration. The former Texas attorney general, whose approval rating ranks 87th among the 100 senators, was cited in the Dallas Morning News as saying that President Bush…

Taking the Fifth

Jul 31, 2006 By Paul Burka

NEW ORLEANS — This morning the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Texas Republican Party’s appeal of an Austin federal district court ruling prohibiting the RPT from declaring Tom DeLay ineligible to remain on the ballot as the GOP nominee from congressional district 22 (on the grounds that he…

The Fifth Element

Jul 30, 2006 By Paul Burka

I will go to great lengths to keep readers informed — in this case, some 500 miles. Tomorrow the U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the Republican Party of Texas’s appeal of the Tom DeLay ballot case. and I’ll be there. (Great sacrifice, having…

Cell Blocked

Jul 28, 2006 By Paul Burka

Is the Republican party bent on self-destruction? David Broder’s column in today’s Washington Post features an interview with an unnamed longtime Republican bigwig from the South who laments what has become of his party–in particular, President Bush’s veto of the stem cell bill and congressional Republicans’ refusal to wage…

Hiding in the Bushes

Jul 28, 2006 By Paul Burka

What is George Bush running for? George P. Bush, that is. The Rice University (a plug for the old alma mater) and UT Law School (and another plug) grad told Time last year that a run for public office was at least ten years away. But Republicans in North…

Bell Rings

Jul 27, 2006 By Paul Burka

I want to call readers’ attention to the posts by Jason Stanford of the Bell campaign concerning my takes on the Wall Street Journal/Zogby Poll (“Polls Apart”) and the Rasmussen poll (“Bell Tolls”) earlier this week. The Zogby poll had Bell running second, at 20.8 percent, an eyelash ahead of…

Jamail Call

Jul 27, 2006 By Paul Burka

Texas lawyers have been burning up cyberspace sending around this three-minute video excerpt of a deposition featuring famed Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail. It gives a whole new dimension to the term “oral argument.” Definitely R-rated. I’m not confident that the link is going to work, so I’ll duplicate…

Bell Tolls

Jul 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

It was fun while it lasted. One day after a Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll showed Chris Bell running second (see yesterday’s posting, “Polls Apart”) to Rick Perry by 38%-20%, a new Rasmussen poll shows him running fourth, and not a very good fourth at that:Perry 40%Strayhorn 20%…

Polls Apart

Jul 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

Chris Bell is touting the first poll to show him running second in the governor’s race. The July Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll has Perry in front with 38.3 percent, Bell second with 20.8 percent, Kinky third with 20.7 percent, and Strayhorn trailing with 11 percent. I am dutifully reporting…

Drawing the Line(s)

Jul 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

What is the likely outcome of the Texas redistricting case, which will be argued before a three-judge federal court in Austin on August 3? Although a multitude of maps have been filed with the Court, only three are likely to matter: the State Defendants Plan (approved by Perry, Dewhurst,…

Open Circuit

Jul 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has set the Tom DeLay ballot case (Texas Democratic Party v. Benkiser) for oral arguments on Monday, July 31, in New Orleans. The Court had the option of deciding the case on the briefs alone, so a reasonable conclusion is that the legal issues…

A Great Toy

Jul 23, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is for serious political junkies only: Check out the NY Times online electoral guide. It has great information about every U.S. Senate and House race and all the governors’ races–including, when available, money raised, candidates’ commercials, polls, and demographic data. One thing the map doesn’t do is offer…

Fore!

Jul 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

Our spy on the scene at the ALEC legislative conference in San Francisco Blackberried this report: “Sen. [Troy] Fraser was playing golf with Michael Gregg, his chief of staff, Wednesday. Michael hit a tee shot 200 yards and knocked Fraser out while driving his cart. The golf ball is resting…

Bonilla Weighs In

Jul 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is the text of a release received from Bonilla’s office late this afternoon: “Today Congressman Henry Bonilla (R-TX-23rd) issued the following statement regarding the brief in response to the redistricting proposals submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. ‘Last week my colleagues Lamar Smith…

Kinky’s Kronies

Jul 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

I had hoped to do a list of major and interesting donors to Kinky Friedman’s campaign, as I have done for the Bell, Perry, and Strayhorn campaigns. But — and I trust this will not come as a huge surprise — the Friedman campaign is not like the Bell, Perry,…

Blogrolling In Our Time

Jul 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

“Management” has suggested that I use this blog to tout the many wonderful articles in our August issue, which is hot off the presses. At first, I was very huffy about this, but then I realized that I wasn’t keeping up with the times.

Perry’s Pals: The Conclusion

Jul 21, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is the final installment of contributors from the Perry campaign’s semiannual filing with the Ethics Commission. The report runs to 2,280 pages (one contribution per page), but the last 400 or so represent expenditures rather than contributions. That leaves 371 names from which I culled the biggest and most…

And We Thought KBH and DD Were BFF

Jul 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

A story is making the rounds that Kay Bailey Hutchison sent (or is sending, or will send) an emissary to David Dewhurst with the message that she is definitely running for governor in 2010 and would like the lieutenant governor to find some other office to run for. Is this…

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d. Again

Jul 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is the third of four lists of big-bucks and otherwise interesting contributors to the Rick Perry campaign. Donors appear in alphabetical order in the campaign’s filing with the Texas Ethics Commission. This posting encompasses pages 1,001 through 1,500 of a 2,280-page filing. *Anne Marion, art patron…

Chris’s Chums

Jul 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

Chris Bell had 665 campaign contributors. I have not been listing “in kind” contributions for other candidates–donations of airplanes and automobiles, funds expended to host an event, and the like–but because Bell’s largest contribution falls in that category, I will include in-kind contributions for donors who gave at least $5,000.

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d.

Jul 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

Here are more major or otherwise noteworthy contributors to Rick Perry’s reelection campaign, from pages 501-1,000 (of 2,280) from the report filed on July 17 with the Ethics Commission. *Hugh Fitzsimmons, investments, Houston, $10,000. (Former chairman of the Texas Racing Commission.)*Morris Ester, president of Exxon-Mobil Production Co., Houston,…

Time to Unspike?

Jul 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

A few days back, I posted a comment spiking the rumor that Republican nominee Ben Bentzin would abandon his race against Democrat Donna Howard for state representative in Austin’s District 48. Howard won a special election runoff in the spring. Ever since the posting, based on a conversation with…