We leaned on the news for our questions this week, asking our insiders in government and politics about recent events — and future ones — that might have political import.
Most of the insiders — 73 percent — do not think an October surprise, if there is one, would affect the results of this year’s elections. Ebola is driving headlines in Texas at the moment, but not elections: 80 percent do not expect the handling of that crisis to affect any elections this year, while 16 percent said local or state elections, or both, could be affected.
Three in five insiders said Gov. Rick Perry will never go to trial on the indictments handed down earlier this year (his lawyers are currently challenging the charges).
Finally, we asked about the same-sex marriage lawsuits going on in the federal courts and 47 percent of the insiders said that law will remain legally unsettled a year from now; 27 percent think those marriages will be legal in a year and 24 percent think they will be illegal. Only 2 percent checked the box next to “Don’t know.”
As always, we collected verbatim comments along the way and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
Do you think this year's election results could be affected by an October surprise?
• "There is so much noise with the Ebola, Middle East, Somalia, economy, government gridlock and sundry Washington scandals that a surprise cannot get through. "
• "Voters are more savvy so the tactic is less effective."
• "It's the beauty of Octobers and elections - there can always be a surprise of some sort and often what is expected or routine for some is a surprise for some one else."
• "As they say in the Valley, 'that rice is cooked.'"
• "Seems like there's always something lurking out there . . . but it would have to be a big something to make a difference."
• "ooohhh What's the surprise? Tell us! Tell us!"
• "Could be, sure. But the efficacy of October surprises is not as great as once was before the time of instant communications. It used to be a surprise could be rolled out and the opposing candidate would have no time to respond. With the expansion of 24 hour news, social media and around the clock campaign operations, campaigns can respond to almost anything."
Will government officials’ handling of Ebola in Texas figure into this year’s elections?
• "Already has. The Washington DC gridlock and general incompetence has negatively impacted the public's confidence in governments ability to do anything."
• "They'll blame the feds..."
• "Dallas' Mayor and County Judge are DISASTERS! It should cost the Democrats."
• "Maybe in Dallas but not beyond."
• "What could possibly go wrong with Texas' handling of a deadly and highly contagious virus, with no known cure?"
• "If the handling of the Ebola matter is made an issue, it has a very real potential for affecting the elections. From my discussions it appears that there is a great deal of skepticism on how the Ebola matter is being handled and the potential for a real crisis."
• "It seems the elected officials were all over it. To the extent there was any issue, it was within the hospital itself, where information was not properly shared."
Will Rick Perry ever go to trial after his indictment earlier this year?
• "What's the incentive for the State to drop its charges? If it does, it effectively proves Perry's point that it was all political."
• "Somehow, the battery of lawyers who have been retained should be able to get him out on some technicality."
• "A trial in Travis County is possible, and even a conviction. Will that conviction be upheld - No."
• "Nobody in the elected class, including judges, thinks a trial is a good idea. They'll try to get it taken care of without a trial."
• "Tom Delay.v2?"
What will be the law on same-sex marriages in Texas a year from now?
• "It should always be illegal as it is an illicit disgrace to the sanctity of marriage. Society should not have to accept or tolerate sinful behavior. If someone chooses to make bad choices then they should ensure the consequences of those. Everyone else should not be expected to embrace, recognize or fund their behavior."
• "The 5th Circuit is reviewing briefs now on Texas law and constitution. That court is less activist than the others that have rammed the issue in other states--AGAINST the will of the people."
• "Like it or not, gay people in Texas having a legally binding union is Inevitable."
• "The 5th Circuit will overturn the Texas law but the Supreme Court still will not have taken up the issue. "
• "US Sup Ct will legalize it for all states, but a year from now it might remain unsettled."
• "In 30 years, we're going to look back at this law and say, 'what were we thinking?' and 'why did we care?'"
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, David Cabrales, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, William Chapman, Harold Cook, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Holly DeShields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Wil Galloway, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Thomas Graham, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Susan Hays, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Cal Jillson, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Ruben Longoria, Homero Lucero, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Keir Murray, Nelson Nease, Pat Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Jerod Patterson, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Richard Pineda, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, Kim Ross, Grant Ruckel, Tyler Ruud, Jason Sabo, Luis Saenz, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Steve Scurlock, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Nancy Sims, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Bill Stevens, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Gerard Torres, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.