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PPP: “Republicans lead in Texas”

According to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling.  In other news, water is wet.  

Still, the numbers put something of a damper on the hopes of TX Democrats.  Abbott has a 14 point lead over Davis (one point less than the polling in November).  The big swing has been in Davis’ favourability numbers, which are now 33/47, and may get worse as her law firm’s work gets further scrutiny.  

Both potential Republican LtGov nominees (there’s a run-off election in May) have a similar lead over the Democratic LtGov candidate Leticia Van de Putte (the numbers are actually similar to the 2010 general election results).  

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Michael Li posted an interesting chart showing voter turnout in Texas since 1926:

In 1926, for example, 821,234 Texans voted in the Democratic primary -  at a time when the state had just barely over 5.4 million residents.
Contrast that to the 546,523 Texans who voted in the 2014 Democratic primary in a state that now is home to over 26 million people and more than 13.6 million registered voters.

And about 1.3 million voted in the 2014 Republican primary compared to the 821,234 voters in the 1926 primary (obviously the Republican Party wasn’t exactly a force to be reckoned with in 1926).
Overall, Texas ranks dead last in voter turnout and 47th in voter registration (Source).
There’s a lot to digest in those numbers.

Michael Li posted an interesting chart showing voter turnout in Texas since 1926:

In 1926, for example, 821,234 Texans voted in the Democratic primary -  at a time when the state had just barely over 5.4 million residents.

Contrast that to the 546,523 Texans who voted in the 2014 Democratic primary in a state that now is home to over 26 million people and more than 13.6 million registered voters.

And about 1.3 million voted in the 2014 Republican primary compared to the 821,234 voters in the 1926 primary (obviously the Republican Party wasn’t exactly a force to be reckoned with in 1926).

Overall, Texas ranks dead last in voter turnout and 47th in voter registration (Source).

There’s a lot to digest in those numbers.

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Negative Ad Complaints: TX Primary Edition

It’s like a bad recurring rash, i.e., the complaint about “negative” ads, or as I like to call them: informative.

The latest comes from Gromer Jeffers at the Dallas Morning News regarding the recent Republican primary in Senate District 16:

Huffines, part of the family that owns area car dealerships, has considerable campaign resources and has used them to drag Carona through the mud.

What’s dragging the incumbent through the mud you might ask?

He’s criticized the senator for political issues and ethical questions, saying the incumbent has used his perch in the Legislature to shepherd laws that helped his property management business.

So, bringing up information which has already been verified and discussed in the media - see here - is dragging him through the mud.  Yes, the Godfather mail piece was probably pretty cheeky, but humor and cheekiness don’t undermine the information.

If the information wasn’t factual, then perhaps there would be grounds for complaint; however, the facts of the ads were never disputed.

Then there is the well worn canard that negative advertising drives down turnout:

For Huffines, the idea is to not only aim at Carona’s support base, but to use the attacks to suppress the vote.

Actually, negative ads have no impact on turnout or a slight positive effect (see here and here).

The claim that negative ads reduce turn out is particularly egregious in this instance, since the incumbent hasn’t had a primary opponent since he was elected in 1996.  In 2012, twenty-nine thousand people voted in the SD16 primary.  This year 49,637 individuals voted.  This was more than voted in the CD 32 primary where Pete Sessions was challenged by TEA Party activist Katrina Pierson (Source).

Past posts on this topic:

Attacking Negative Ads

Do Negative Ads Make A Difference?

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Remembering the fallen of the 2014 Texas primary elections.

Quite a few incumbents lost during last night’s primary, and other elected officials who were making attempts at higher office also saw their dreams dashed (Source).  I do admit to taking a perverse pleasure in seeing Lon Burnam being retired from the Pink Building.  This does mean I’m going to have to update and revise my Twitter list though.

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It’s Finally Election Day

Polls are opening late in several areas around the State (like here in Travis County) due to the weather.  And since it’s election day everyone has their “5 things to watch” lists:

One common point between the two national outlets is the margin in the U.S. Senate race, where incumbent John Cornyn has several challengers - most notably, or notoriously, Steve Stockman.  Burka Blog focuses more on the State House and Senate races to watch.  One common theme between all three: the TEA Party vs Establishment Republicans.

You can view the results tonight on the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

Also interesting from Roll Call regarding the weather:

Or as they say in some parts of Texas, it’s colder than a tin toilet in the Yukon.

I’ve never heard this expression before.  My grandfather usually said, “It’s colder than a witch’s tit,” or “It’s colder than a well digger’s butt.”

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Ready for the primary to be over.  These last few weeks have really been crunch time, and the books on my bedside table have been neglected.  Tomorrow cannot get here fast enough; then I can get back to exploring Alaska.

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RNC Calendar Changes

The RNC recently voted to shrink the primary process for the 2016 nomination (Source). The four early states - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - will hold their primaries/caucuses in early February and the remaining primaries will continue until early May (at the latest), unlike 2012 when the primaries went into June (Source). The Republican convention will also be held earlier - in June or July rather than late August.

One thought on the potential impact of this calendar change: candidates such as a Ron Paul (i.e., strong grassroots candidates) will be negatively impacted, since candidates will need the resources to campaign over several states in a shorter time frame.

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Congressional Candidate Running in Four States

Allan Levene is a candidate for Congress in Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan and Minnesota (Source).  Apparently this is legal since the Constitution places no residency requirement, and the 4 states do not have residency requirements for their primaries.  However, the states do have residency requirements for the general election.  Assuming, Mr Levene wins one of these primaries (or more than one) it’s possible he could be disqualified from serving (except in Georgia where he actually lives).  Even if one could legally serve, perhaps states should look at implementing some more restrictive residency requirement to prevent this type of activity, which does not serve the interests of district residents.

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Texas: Who’s Running, Who’s Not

Candidate filing ended on Monday. The list of Republican candidates is here. The list of Democratic candidates is here. Not a lot of shockers on either of these lists. Rep. Steve Stockman decided to make a last minute jump into the U.S. Senate primary against John Cornyn (Source), and Republican judge Larry Meyers switched parties to run for Texas Supreme Court - also last minute (Source).

All the action will be on the Republican side; the Lt. Governor’s race in particular. Despite discussion that some Democratic legislators might join Wendy Davis and make the jump for statewide office, only one did: Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. The rest of the list is pretty unimpressive.

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It’s Official: Van de Putte in for LtGov Race

Following leaks earlier this month, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) is officially running for Lt. Governor (Source). Van de Putte currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and is a centrist Democrat according to Prof. Mark Jones of Rice University (see 2012 rankings here). As such, the thought is that it will be more difficult to paint her as a liberal Democrat (compared to her running mate at the top of the ticket - Wendy Davis). Indeed, in her announcement, Van de Putte said, “I’ll keep taxes low, and I’ll make sure we don’t waste a dime, because our families don’t have a dime to waste” - a line you would generally hear from a Republican candidate. Of course, people also considered Bill White to be a moderate Democrat; however, he was successfully painted as “Liberal Bill White" in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.