The blue wave that swept the country on Election Day wasn't as obvious in Texas, where Republicans won all of the statewide offices on the ballot and held all but a couple of seats in the congressional delegation and the state Senate.Full Story
Nationally, Democrats won big on election night, but in Texas, the results were a little more complicated. Republicans swept the statewide positions, but lost a handful of seats in the House of Representatives, leading to speculation that Speaker Tom Craddick is vulnerable. Analyzing data, spinning results, and trying to figure out what it all means — that's what bloggers do.
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Perry Dorrell at Brains and Eggs was not dancing in the street, even though he's a Democrat. " . . . for that to be all the change Texans demanded in a year like the last one — to quote an obnoxious chain of Mexican restaurants — ees preety pathetic."
Sal Costello, who supported Independent candidate for governor Carole Keeton Strayhorn, tried to make her supporters feel better on his blog The Muckraker, "Only 39 out of 100 voters wanted Perry back in office. This election was the beginning of the end for Mr. Perry, and his band of looters. Think about it — 61 out of 100 voters wanted Perry fired! That ain't no mandate, that's the lamest duck ever."
Pink Dome, who's better known for his snarky and happily superficial comments, actually turned serious thinking about how national politics and state politics go hand in hand. "The dust continues to settle and we realize the domination of the Republican party in Texas has suddenly put our entire state in a position we have not known for some time — left out of this 'sea change' in political power. All of the gerrymandering that took Democrat office-holders out of office in both the state legislature and congress meant losing senior spots and chairmanships on important committees making decisions that affect Texans."
The central question will be whether Republicans lost the national election (and took some serious lumps in Texas) because they were (1) not conservative enough, or because they were (2) too conservative," Paul Burka of Texas Monthly's Burkablog wrote. "My answer would be (1) yes and (2) yes."
Evan at Rick Perry vs. The World, talking about national races, said, "This is the worst cycle for Republicans since Watergate, and yet we won't lose as much. Why? Because the nation only tilts slightly right, and when people aren't happy, then we lose. Like this year."
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Nuts and Bolts
So how did they do it? Ryan Goodland tells how the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Political Caucus helped Ellen Cohen beat Rep. Martha Wong on Burnt Orange Report.
The national Latino vote is analyzed by the Willie Velasquez Southwest Voter Institute and posted on the blog Educational Equity, Politics and Policy in Texas.
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Spidey, Superman, and Edwards?
How does U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, keep winning in a district that's stacked against him? David Benzion at the conservative blog Lone Star Times said, "God help the Texas GOP if the Texas Democratic party can get its act together and start putting forward conservative/populist statewide candidates in the mold of (U.S. Rep.) Chet Edwards (or pre-shift to the GOP Phil Gramm)."
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Burka thinks that it's time for Speaker Craddick to resign. "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 . . . He is responsible for the largest casualty rate his troops have suffered in decades."
Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex talks about the chances of a few possible speaker candidates in one post (including Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, and Rep. Brian McCall, among others) and his disgust with seeing certain Democrats on Craddick's pledge list. "I simply cannot stomach seeing safe Democrats on this list," he said. "I know they will say they are on it because they don't want to piss the speaker off and have their districts punished as a result, but the fact of the matter is their districts are being punished enough just by Craddick being in power."
Eileen Smith of In The Pink Texas quipped, "Pledge cards are an ancient House tradition, kind of like sleeping with staffers. They are also non-binding commitments, kind of like sleeping with staffers. You know where Pete Laney's pledges got him? An office in the Capitol Extension."
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After his win was assured, Gov. Rick Perry said, "When we walk off this stage tonight, we leave behind past acrimony and partisan rivalry for a greater good, which is to build a Texas of limitless possibility."
Reacting to the governor, Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff said, "It might help if you cleaned up the blood from the 2003 redistricting sessions as a first step. Perry has governed with an iron fist from the time that the Republicans took over the State House, and I'll believe he means this when I see it. He can talk all he wants about things like higher education, but unless his idea of reforms comes from the same planet as Democrats', it's as meaningless as phrases like 'school finance reform'."
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Mother'$ Milk of Politics
A Houston-area television station has been reporting how representatives and senators spend campaign cash on cars, Austin apartments, and sports events. John Cobarruvius at Bay Area Houston, who's been dogging Rep. John Davis for his officeholder expense reports, followed up by saying, "It is unfortunate that the purchases highlighted on CH2 are not illegal, but should be. Someone ought to dig deep into ALL State Representatives and Senators and file as many ethics violations as necessary to clean up Austin. And someone should be filing bills to stop the $2800/month apartments, BMWs, and Houston Astros tickets."
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The 80th Lege
"And just as a hangover follows a beer binge, so does the convening of the Texas Legislature follow a fall election," Kuffner said.
According to Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast, "I have no way to gauge its accuracy, but I heard a staffer's rumor that more than 1,400 bills have already been sent by legislators to the Texas Legislative Council, which drafts bills for pre-filing."
Let the work begin.