For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked first about the number of contested legislative primary races next year.
On the Republican side, roughly half of the insiders believed there will be between 11 and 20 contested races. Another three in 10 believed there will be between 21 and 30 contested races. The remaining responses trailed far behind.
On the Democratic side, 44 percent of the insiders thought there will be between six and 10 contested primaries. Another 27 percent pegged the number of contested races at five or less while 25 percent thought there will be between 11 and 15 contested races.
We also asked the insiders as well for suggestions for who deserves placement on the legislative best and worst lists.
We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:
Looking ahead to next spring, what’s the number of contested Republican legislative primaries?
• "'Contested' means they'll have an opponent; not that the opponents will be serious challengers, right?"
• "When faced with a certain challenge, several have already resigned."
• "And perhaps another Speaker challenger"
• "School choice is top issue."
• "About the same as last cycle."
And what’s the number of contested Democratic legislative primaries?
• "Sadly, they rarely challenge one another."
• "Presidential year"
Gold star time: who makes the best list for session?
• "Biggest positive impact for the state: Jane Nelson, Kevin Eltife, Joe Straus and Dennis Bonnen"
• "Stickland - His agenda is to advance Stickland and at this he is masterful."
• "House: Dennis Bonnen, John Otto, Sly Turner; Senate: Jane Nelson, Charles Schwertner, Judith Zaffirini (despite losing her leadership positions, she still passed more bills than anyone else)"
• "Straus, Anchia, Otto, Aycock, Price in the House. Nelson (although I don't know why!), Watson, Seliger, Fraser (swan song), Hancock (because I need a 5th member of the Senate)."
• "Paul Bettencourt, at least freshman of the year. An intelligent conservative."
• "The ones who are retiring because they don't want to be a part of the wheels coming off of good government."
• "No list from me because, unlike past sessions, there are very, very few who would get an A. So, having a top ten with Bs at best isn't worth constructing. Maybe Otto and Nelson."
And who makes the worst list?
• "Biggest negative impact on the state: Dan Patrick (earnest, straight-face proposal to change the accounting rules to Enron style bookkeeping)"
• "I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Jonathan Stickland."
• "Konni Burton, Donna Campbell, Bob Hall, Jeff Leach, Jonathan Stickland (pretty much anyone from the 'out of touch with reality' caucus)."
• "Dennis Bonnen, for thinking a Happy Meal-size tax reduction was a good idea. What happened to sales tax reform broadened and really lowered. Also, anyone who runs as a conservative in the primary and grows squishy in Austin after winning."
• "So much mediocrity, so much mediocrity. Where does one start? The silliest? The stupidest? The most craven? The 'respectable' ones who hurt the state the most? I'll take a pass."
• "Senator Seliger, Senator Fraser, Rep Smithee, Rep Stickland, Rep. Molly White, Rep. Frullo, Rep. Tinderholt, Sen. Konni Burton, Sen. Huffines, Rep. Scott Turner"
Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Snapper Carr, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Tom Forbes, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, John Greytok, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Ken Hodges, Kathy Hutto, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Steve Minick, Mike Moses, Gardner Pate, Robert Peeler, Tom Phillips, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Tim Reeves, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, A.J. Rodriguez, Jeff Rotkoff, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Leonard Spearman, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Seth Winick, Angelo Zottarelli.