Thursday, April 20, 2017

Developments In Texas-- Cruz Is Vulnerable... And So Is Pete Sessions

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There have been a lot of rumors lately that Jared Polis may be contemplating ditching his safe Boulder, Colorado congressional seat for a very iffy gubernatorial run in a crowded field for an open seat. I wish him well. But he was just elected Regional Vice Chair of the DCCC for a region that includes Texas, likely to be one of the hottest 2018 battlegrounds. Ummm... likely... likely... if the DCCC is paying attention, which is something it certainly hasn't done in Texas in recent years.

Tuesday we looked at good Democratic congressional targets for 2018-- and 9 were in Texas, more than in any other state, more than the 8 in California or 7 in Florida. And only one is a district the DCCC has ever even worked in before, TX-23, a nice blue district the DCCC-- through sheer and dogged incompetence-- keeps giving to the GOP. Will Hurd is the congressman in this 71% Hispanic district because the DCCC insisted on running an especially corrupt conservative shithead named Pete Gallego, a one-term Blue Dog who the voters recognized as a Republican-in-disguise and quickly kicked out of office. That, of course, didn't stop the DCCC from recruiting him for another try. Hillary beat Trump last November in the district, 49.8% to 46.4% but on the same day, the same voters slapped the DCCC Blue Dog down again-- 48.5% to 46.8%. And that's the only district the DCCC has any experience with! So far if they have a candidate, they're keeping it quiet. (When they recruit someone especially horrible-- an "ex"-Republican or a wealthy clueless person or something along those lines--  they try to keep it quiet for as long a they can.)

The other Texas incumbents who would make good one or two-cycle targets are Joe Barton (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Pete Olson (R-TX), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Roger Williams (R-TX) and John Carter (R-TX). But that would mean someone is paying intense attention-- intense-- the way Ted Lieu is on the West Coast. (Someone running for governor can't do it in his spare time. Nothing will get done and another opportunity will be blown.) Today there was news that civil rights attorney and former NFL player Colin Allred has decided to run in TX-32, Pete Sessions' carefully gerrymandered but recently vulnerable north Dallas metro district). About a month ago we suggested that Regina Montoya would be the likely candidate, although there are several others considering the race as well, excited by the 48.5% to 46.6% Hillary win over Trump. A Democrat wasn't even on the ballot against Sessions last time, who faced a Green and a Libertarian and walked away with 71.1% of the vote. He'll be tough to beat for anyone-- and the DCCC doesn't have the vaguest notion of how to fight in the district.

Goal Thermometer Wednesday morning the Texas Lyceum released a brand new poll that shows El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke tying Ted Cruz for Cruz's Senate seat. It also shows another potential contender, the more conservative and establishment-oriented Joaquin Castro, ahead of Cruz, 35-31%.

Texans, like most Americans disapprove of the way Trump is doing his job-- and by double digits. 54% disapprove and just 42% approve. The first half of the poll, released Tuesday, delved into immigration as an issue:
 Texans believe that immigration is the number one issue facing the state and the nation, but a plurality of Texas adults (62 percent) also say that immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts. The younger the respondent, the more positively they view immigration.

 Public safety and economics drive Texans’ concerns over illegal immigration.

 Most Texas adults continue to oppose (61 percent) President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.- Mexico border, and most don’t want him to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

 Many support traditional immigration reform proposals, even a pathway to citizenship if significant restrictions are put in place.

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