Rep. Kirk England of Grand Prairie is switching parties, saying he'll seek reelection as a Democrat. There hasn't been a party switch in the Texas Legislature in a decade, and it's been a long, long time since a legislator left the Republicans for the Democrats and survived the switch.Full Story
It wasn't the best week for the Texas GOP, and state bloggers (they're mostly libs, see) are ecstatic! They're also nattering about the U.S. Senate race, speculating on the 2010 Governor campaign and handing over the megaphone to interviewees and guest writers. Lastly, a little alliteration.
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Professors-R-Squared gives some very scholarly reasons why they are seriously concerned about Grand Prairie Rep. Kirk England's skedaddle from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
"The tide has changed," chimes in Burnt Orange Report, giving props to House Democratic leadership. "My only caution would be for the closet Democrats not to wait too long," says Eye on Williamson. Texas Kaos warns that if England is going to run as a Democrat, he'd better start voting like one, too.
Burnt Orange has a letter from Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, who says the switch is all the sweeter because England likely would have won reelection, even as a Republican.
"Take that GOP!... Well, we're not so sure it hurts the Republicans," says Texas Progressive Alliance, writing that a tough Democratic primary between England and Katy Hubener could hurt the eventual nominee in the general election.
Kuff hopes "a non-Craddickite will emerge" as the replacement for 16-year veteran Rep. Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple. Her retirement is a victory for legal needle-exchange programs , blogs Grits for Breakfast.
Here's Texas Observer Blog's roundup of the campaign activity.
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Was That the Honeymoon?
Breaking from the pack, Burnt Orange contributor Hugh Stearns renounces support for Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Rick Noriega, citing financial donations to Noriega by Republican patron Bob Perry. Stearns elaborates upon his position the next day, after conversations with Noriega, wife Melissa Noriega and opponent Mikal Watts at a Brazos County Democrats fundraiser. Two days later, Stearns posts a letter of refutation by Melissa Noriega. Three days after this, Stearns concludes, "the draft Noriega effort was a mistake. He is a greatly compromised candidate who is not all that progressive."
What?! Not progressive!? retorts fellow Burnt Orange contributor boadicea. "Hugh Stearns is a player in the housing construction and renovation industry. As such he is in direct competition with Robert "Bob" aka "Swiftboat Bob" Perry," says Half Empty, dismissing Stearns as a shill for Watts.
Texas Politics, the Houston Chronicle's blog, puts the numbers in context here, writing that Noriega has received $7,000 from Perry since 2006, while Watts donated $100,000 to the pro-Craddick/Rick Perry Hillco PAC, a group to which Bob Perry has given a cool $1 million since 2001.
Brains and Eggs lists some of the more recent reasons why he doesn't like Republican incumbent John Cornyn, while Half Empty expounds upon his objections to Watts's stance on stem cell research. He also has a video of Noriega, here. Kaos says Watts's health care plan is better than the Republicans', but still inadequate.
Cornyn's lambasting of MoveOn.org has translated into $500,000 in donations for the organization, reports Kaos. Could Watts be disbarred for claiming he paid off court judges? wonders Kaos, adding that it looks like Corpus Christi lawyers are colluding to decide judgeships. Dear Watts supporters: Stop stuffing the poll!! shouts Burnt Orange. The Democracy for Texas Senate Endorsement Poll results will be released next week [eds. note: Noriega, supported by the bloggers doing the poll, won it.]
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Half-Empty has a five-part video series on why Ron Reynolds is running for state representative, here, here, here, here and here. Reynolds squares off against incumbent Dora Olivo, D-Rosenberg, in the House District 27 primary. The GOP candidate is Steve Host.
Capitol Crowd profiles Xcel Energy lobbyist Eric Woomer, who was the inaugural "Person of the Week" in fall 2004. And Kuff continues his series of interviews with Houston City Council candidates, this time featuring Lawrence Allen, John Marron and Manish Mehta.
Texas Blue, meanwhile, goes on the record with a pair of Democratic Party chairs, Nancy Archer, of Liberty County, and Bob Dean, of Reeves County. Blue also has an audio interview with Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and an editorial by Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris, in which omnibus water bill (Senate Bill 3, including reservoirs) rears its ugly head.
Poll results are in: The Texas Youth Commission is worse off than ever, according to Grits for Breakfast readers.
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Burnt Orange comments on a hypothetical poll for the 2010 Democratic governor nomination (The order: 1. Chris Bell, 2. Tony Sanchez, 3. John Sharp, 4. Bill White). After looking at the same poll, McBlogger urges Bell to run... for the Texas Supreme Court.
In other news, Observer takes a jab at incumbent Gov. Rick Perry's jargon on the global warming bandwagon.
Word on the Hill is that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will resign her position to run for governor in 2010, according to Right of Texas, who also lists as possible candidates Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions. To complete the DFW trifecta, ROT suggests U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling would make a good candidate.
That's not what we're hearing, says Trail Blazers, the Dallas Morning News's blog, who relays rumors that KBH could be the GOP's Vice-Presidential candidate (or maybe even Perry.)
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State Sen. Steve Ogden: The Bryan Republican will run against U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, predicts Eye on Williamson after reading the Austin American-Statesman's op-ed page.
Message to Mainstream Media: Give credit where credit's due, says Grits.
Table of TV Tunes: An exhaustive listing of theme songs, courtesy of Mike Falick's blog.
Modern Man's Migration: An interactive Web site charting the dispersion of human beings throughout the last 160,000 years or so, via Mike Falick.
Denton Disposed Demographically in a Democratic Direction: There's hope for liberals in Denton County and similar exurban areas in the state, according to an analysis by Blue.
This edition of Out There was compiled and written by Patrick Brendel, who hails from Victoria and finds Austin's climate pleasantly arid. We cherry-pick the state's political blogs each week, looking for news, info, gossip, and new jokes. The opinions here belong (mostly) to the bloggers, and we're including their links so you can hunt them down if you wish. Our blogroll — the list of Texas blogs we watch — is on our links page, and if you know of a Texas political blog that ought to be on it, just shoot us a note. Please send comments, suggestions, gripes or retorts to Texas Weekly editor Ross Ramsey .