TX Redistricting Decided: Pickup in 23?

cross-posted from Burnt Orange Report

The courts have drawn the redistricting map. There will be an open primary on November 7th, with a December run-off for anyone who doesn't get a full 50% of the vote. Deadline to file in the new districts will be August 25th.

From the Statesman:

The panel reunited Webb County, which includes the majority-Hispanic city of Laredo, and placed it entirely in the 28th Congressional District, which is adjacent to the 23rd District. It added portions of Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, to the 23rd District. The district stretches from Laredo to El Paso County and north to San Antonio.

...
The 23rd District, represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla of San Antonio, under the map the judges issued Friday, has a 61 percent Hispanic voting age population, compared with 51 percent under the Republican-led redistricting. It also now will be more evenly divided between Democratic and Republican voters.

Check out the interactive map at this site as map 1438 (Court Ordered Districts LULAC v. Perry). Here is a population and general election breakdown of the 5 districts that were changed. Instant thoughts on all this... Cuellar just became safe in his 28th District as all of his Laredo base is united. Hinojosa gets widened a bit as he picks up the leftovers in South Texas after Doggett was retracted north into Travis but I don't see him being affected much. Smith just became a safe seat in 21 as he shed the liberal precincts in Austin (minus the UT campus, dammit) as he picked up 75% Republican rural counties he used to represent.

Bonilla becomes a target as he picks up huge parts of Democratic South San Antonio as he loses some of the Republican Hill Country. Bexar County most recently was known as Ciro Rodriguez's base when he ran against Cuellar in the primary this spring. So does Ciro run against Bonilla? He's got to be thinking about it, but he's still in dept Bonilla has $2,243,274.54 on hand...  There is the current Democratic nominee Rick Bolanos, but he hasn't filed an FEC report to date.

There's more...

June SUSA TX-Gov Poll: 3-way Tie for Second

1,200 Texas adults were interviewed 6/23/06 - 6/25/06. Of them, 1,007 were Registered Voters. Of them, 576 were judged to be "likely" voters. MoE ± 4.2%

CandidateJuneMayAprilRick Perry (R)35%(41%)(39%)Kinky Friedman (I)21%(16%)(16%)Chris Bell (D)20%(18%)(15%)Carole Strayhorn (I)19%(20%)(25%)Other2%(1%)(3%)Undecided3%(3%)(3%)Crosstabs
While this is now the 2nd tracking poll putting Kinky Friedman in 2nd place, here it is a statistical 3 way tie for 2nd place, echoing previously expressed opinions of mine. Relative to where people were a month ago the only statisticly meaningful moves that are outside of the MoE are Perry's loss of 6% and Kinky's gain of 5%. Longer term, Bell is consolidating the base as Carole flakes off voters.

In the crosstabs there are some gender lines (Carole pulling woman, Kinky pulling men). In terms of age, Kinky pulls more of the youth vote (tied at 28% with Perry), Carole is even everwhere, and Bell and Perry have a hole and hill respectively in support among 50-64 year olds.

In terms of racial groups, the high/low distribution for each group is as follows.

Whites: Perry-40% / Bell-13%
Blacks: Bell-55% / Kinky-6%
Hispanic: Perry 32% / Kinky 19%
(mostly even here, but a large problem that Perry wins the Hispanics)

On partisan lines, we see Republicans for Perry (58%) split evenly next between the indies, with few interested in Bell (6%). For Democrats, Bell now has 44%, split evenly next to the indies and 12% go to Perry. For Independents, Kinky eats up 37%, split between Strayhorn and the Perry, with little interest in Bell (10%).

Ideologically there is an interesting blip. Kinky scored 2nd behind Perry among Conservative voters while at the same time matching Bell for first among Liberal voters (34% each). While not helpful to Bell at all, I've seen this in Kinky's voters as he pulls in casual rural Republicans as well as urban liberals (though only the white ones).

Will You ActBlue for Texas?

As many of you know, ActBlue is the federal clearinghouse for donations to Democratic candidates, having channeled over $5.5 million to Dem contenders so far. But did you know, that with your help, you can activate it for Texas... for statewide, state house, and state senate candidates?

Together, Texas bloggers have agreed to help activate ActBlue for our state's non-federal candidates by asking our readers to put us over the top. Normally, ActBlue asks each state to raise $10,000 before moving forward (Texas being at $4,500 so far). But we've got some good news for you from the people at ActBlue.

However, in doing some more preliminary research Texas turns out to be similar to some other states we've already done -- so if we could break $5000 we'd be ready to move ahead with it.  Would the texroots be able to help us out with the remaining $1000 by the end of the month?

As far as timeline, my aim would be to have everything ready to go as early in July as we can.

So we ask you, will you help the TexRoots get over the $5,000 mark and activate ActBlue for all our state non-federal candidates?  Do it here- donate today!

There's more...

Texas Democratic Convention: Day 1

I'm here in Forth Worth for the Texas State Democratic Convention where the most heated item of contention is the first contested race for party chairman in over 20 years. While tomorrow may prove me wrong when official convention business gets underway, indications are that this convention may not be the most organized, nor will the Texas Democratic Party Chair election be calm or pretty. The candidates are interim chiar Boyd Richie, former Dean for Texas coordinator Glen Maxey, Charlie Urbina-Jones, and LaRouche supporter Lakesha Rogers.

I fear this weekend will get uglier before it gets better and I pledge personally to report (when I can) on what is simply going on without personal analysis. It may be drier, but come Sunday we will have a chairman elected of the delegates of the convention.

Notes and stories today-

1) The inner convention hall looks awesome, far better than the Houston floor plan and there is wireless everywhere.

2) Apparently 40 rooms for SDEC members at the Hilton across from the convention center were somehow not taken care of and lost. Reportedly, many have transferred to a hotel 7 miles away and are not particularly happy.

3) Word from the SDEC meeting also leaked that Chairman Richie's personal assistant for the Party quit/resigned yesterday due to issues with organizing the convention. A fiery letter was sent to all SDEC members. Reportedly the locks of the Austin TDP offices were changed by the TDP Executive Director following her departure.

There's more...

Reformer Leads 2nd Poll of Texas Convention Delegates

Last week, the Texas Progressive Populist Caucus Steering Committee created a bit of a stir in a deal stuck with Interim Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie on a number of party initiatives which also included a recommendation of endorsement to its members.

A couple days later, the results of the PPC poll of delegates conducted in March seemed to show that the opinions of progressive delegates and potential voters in the actual PPC caucus endorsement in Fort Worth ran quite counter to the steering committee's recommendation. Delegates, as in a prior poll, support former Dean for Texas chairman Glen Maxey. From their site...

Total 2006 responses (509) represent 16% of those surveyed (3,121); a slightly smaller response level than 2004 likely due to a more stringent process to respond online.

53% Glen Maxey
12% Boyd Richie (I)
3%  Charlie Urbina-Jones
32% Undecided

Other interesting points stated in the PPC poll report.

2004 numbers in (p)

81% (66%) Party needs "dramatic reform" 
18% (28%) Party needs "minor adjustments"
1%  (6%)  Party can win elections with no change

Regarding Party reform among respondents, there has been shrinking of those who believe "minor Party adjustments" are needed and an increase in the numbers that "dramatic reform" is needed for a winning Party. Some describe these respondents as "Angry Democrats" who seem determined to repair their party rather than "drop out".

Included among the cool charts and graphs was this information which suggests that the new activists and 2004 supporters of Howard Dean have not gone home.

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Is My State Party Irrelevant?

Apparently so according to this rather stunning quote by Kelly Fero, former consultant to the Texas Democratic Party as late as last year. (who for all intents and purposes is one of the best damn consultants in the state otherwise).

Austin Chronicle: "I consider the state party to be at its best when it's almost wholly irrelevant, which it currently is."

-Kelly Fero

Yup, roll up the carpet, close the shutters, the Democrats of Texas are apparently best served by not actually having a party at all- a ringing endorsement for the leadership.

Of course, I'm of the opinion that we should bother to actually have a Democratic Party in Texas. One that might actually be able to help statewide candidates from having to waste their time building infrastructure that should be the job of the Party. Call me crazy.

From the article, which is mostly a piece on candidate for party Chair Glen Maxey for the better and worse, a response.

"We need a party that allows statewide candidates to run for office without having to build an infrastructure for their campaigns," Maxey said. "Right now, Chris Bell and Barbara Radnofsky have to go county to county to create an infrastructure. My goal is to rebuild the nuts and bolts of the organization."

Regardless of who people support for Chairman, I would hope at the very least that there is agreement that having an irrelevant state party is probably not the best idea.

There's more...

In Which Rep. Smith Admits He Faces a Real Challenge

Thanks to an e-mail that found it's way into my inbox, we have proof that Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) admits to having a serious challenge in John Courage this year.  I'm sure being spooked by a suprise student protest made him realize the challenge he faces.

Dear Friends,

I'm looking forward to visiting with friends at our annual Bexar County Barbecue.This year's barbecue promises to be the largest yet and, just as in years past, the BBQ is a wonderful family event.

The BBQ always provides a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and so I hope I can count on seeing you this year.

Meanwhile, I wanted to bring you up-to-date on the campaign. I have a serious campaign this year. My Democratic opponent, who is campaigning full time, ran against me before and was well-funded, but the demographics of the 21st Congressional District have changed: there are 100,000 new constituents in Travis County and the district is less Republican. I need your support to ensure we have every available resource to conduct a strong campaign throughout the 21st District.

I hope you will serve on the 2006 Barbecue Host Committee. The event will be held at a new location this year at the home of AnaPaula & Mark Watson III located at 550 Ivy Lane in San Antonio. The BBQ will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Your response on the enclosed form by Monday, June 5, will ensure that your name will appear on our invitation.

I look forward to seeing you on June 24, if not before.

Sincerely,
Lamar Smith
Member of Congress

======================================== =============

Please list me at the following level:
$2,100 Individual $4,200 Couple ~ Texas 21 Club*

Each individual contribution of $2100 provides for an annual membership in Congressman Smith's Texas 21 Club. Membership includes periodic updates, invitations to quarterly meetings and special events, and recognition at events as a Texas 21 Club Member.

$1,000 Cowboy*
$500 Trailblazer*
$250 Ranch Hand*
$100 Posse*

I'd much rather be a member of John Courage's posse anyday.

Sen. Feingold with Courage in Texas- Update

Update [2006-4-19 1:46:40 by KTinTX]:: I managed to record a short interview with Sen. Feingold though my tape cut out. That and a final report on the day's 2 other events (and over $10-$12k raised for candidate John Courage in 24 hours) is filed here.

Update [2006-4-19 1:40:30 by KTinTX]:: Photos from today's Feingold/Courage Listening Session on campus this afternoon are now available here. This picture captures some of the fun and energy that was shared between the two men on stage. Though I also like this one and this one should be used for any future Feingold campaign...

This is a report from the first of 3 events Sen. Feingold is having in Austin today for Congressional candidate John Courage.

12:40 Our guests have entered to a standing ovation and now being introduced by UDems Vice President Ali Puente.

John Courage (Congressional Candidate and winner of Feingold's first Progressive Patriot award) introduces himself, and looks forward to being the next Congressmen to represent the people in this room.

Russ Feingold takes the mike. He mentions he's here because he supports a 50 State Strategy and this district (TX-21) is exactly the kind of place where we can win and we must fight.

Sen. Feingold explains his listening sessions, where he pledged to hold one per year in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties per year, a pledge he made when he was at 1 percent in the polls before he was first elected.  Now he has taken them nationwide and will complete his 1000th session later this year.

There's more...

Rep. Lamar Smith Confronted by UT Democrats

The University of Texas-Austin's Congressman Lamar Smith (R), currently being challenged by Democrat John Courage in TX-21, visited campus tonight to speak to the College Republicans.  What he wasn't expecting was 40 John Courage supporting University Democrats protesting his education record as he walked to his meeting.  As the Daily Texan lead story says, "Rep. Lamar Smith greeted by protests".

Watch his 13 Second Walk of Shame online, no media players needed. (click image at right)

Students are mad as hell about what has happened to tuition, loans, and education and because of that, the John Courage campaign used tonight's Smith encounter to launch their new cool Students with Courage site which incorporates the popular college Facebook for organizing.  The TX-21 district includes student populations at six Colleges & Universities including the liberal University of Texas, UTSA, Texas State, St. Edwards, Trinity, and Austin Community College.

There's more...

Austin Immigration March

500,000 in Dallas yesterday. Anywhere from 200,000 up to half a million in Washington, D.C. today. 125,000 in New York City, 50,000 in Atlanta, 40-50,000 in Houston, 50,000 in San Antonio, up to 100,000 in Phoenix, 30,000 in St Paul, 20,000 in San Diego, 8,000 in Omaha, 7,000 in Miami, up to 5,000 in Providence, 5,000 in St. Louis, 4,000 in Birmingham and Boise, 2,000 in Kansas City, even 2,000 in Tyler and 500 in Corpus Christi. (Google feed)


Here in Austin the UT walkout produced between 1,200 and 1,500 students with the later march downtown showing between 5-10,000.  (images here) Over 500 area high school students skipped classes to attend various marches, and I passed by groups rallying on South Congress outside of middle schools during the afternoon.


The Austin March circulated downtown (capitol, down Colorado, swinging around 4th, up Congress, east on 9th to federal building rally), swinging by Gov. Perry's mansion. One of his daughters (either Griffin or Sydney) was out in the lawn watching the march go by with one of the DPS officials. It took the marchers about 20 minutes to completely pass any particular point along the route, meaning that as the tail end was leaving the capitol, the front was already turning back up on Congress.  As the front third made it into the federal building rally area at 9th and Trinity, the downtown church bells started pealing out across the city, first the Catholic cathedral and even the Baptist church, continuing for at least 20 minutes.

There's more...

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