While Red is still encouraging everyone to show up and vote, it is looking more and more like Texans (and probably the nation as well) will have to put up with Sen. Rafael Edward “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz (TP – Texas) for another six years. In the most recent Quinnipiac University Poll, LT has a nine-point lead over El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke. LT leads Beto with a 54% to 45% gap among likely voters. That means that there are very few undecided voters out there and unless there is an October surprise, Red will still have LT to kick around for six more years – which is admittedly fun. Red credits Beto with having run an enthusiastic campaign – but if in the age of Trumpism, the charismatic Beto cannot get more than 45% of the vote after having raised over $23 million, there is little hope that any Democrat will win statewide office in Texas for another decade at least.
Sen. Rafael Edward “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz (TP-Texas) has been sending out letters soliciting campaign funds which are disguised as an “Official [Insert County Here] Summons” and as shown above state in big bold letters “SUMMONS ENCLOSED – OPEN IMMEDIATELY”. This is an attempt to use a deceptive but apparently legal tactic to increase the rate at which recipients open the letter instead of immediately tossing into the trash can (or recycling – something that would no doubt piss off the Senator). As deceptive as the envelope is – the tactic is legal as long as the contents are clear that it is coming from a campaign. But you have to wonder at this desperate of a tactic. Well you might have to wonder if this wasn’t coming from Lyin’ Ted. As much as Trumph The Insult Comic President™ has gotten wrong – he seems to have been spot on with his characterization of Cruz’s true nature. Red is only surprised that Cruz is not telling Red that he “May Already be a Winner!” or that he is the favored nephew and only heir of the late former minister of oil development of Cote d’Ivoire and needs some help transferring $26,000,000 to a U.S. account.
Still embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has reached another low point in his quest to dismantle the very low ethical standards Texas imposes on its political class. Paxton is refusing to defend the Texas Ethics Commission in a lawsuit filed against it by one of Paxton’s major campaign contributors. Empower Texas an Astroturf organization funded and chaired Tim Dunn, a Midland based oil and gas developer, is seeking to strip the TEC of its powers to regulate and monitor campaign spending and financing in Texas. The TEC requires candidates to report their campaign contributions, loans and expenditures on a regular basis in order for the public to know who is greasing the political wheels in Texas. The AG’s office is typically required to defend state agencies when they are sued but has some discretion to decline to do so. Why would Paxton not defend the TEC? Other than his own well-reported ethical problems, it turns out that Dunn and Empower Texas are Paxton’s biggest source of campaign cash. According to the Houston Chronicle:
Since 2014, Paxton’s campaign has received $377,000 from the Empower Texans PAC, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the commission. Empower Texans also secured a $1 million loan for Paxton’s campaign in 2014, and Dunn is Paxton’s largest donor, shelling out $405,000 since 2014, records show.
Well, perhaps it is a good thing that an attorney as apparently ethically challenged as Paxton is not defending the case as he might just botch the effort by accident. The result, however, is that the taxpayers will be out about $600,000 for outside counsel hired by the TEC which is a huge hit for the agency and detracts from their mission. The Houston Chronicle has the full story here.
Sen. Ted Cruz (TP – Texas) has put out a pathetic attempt of parody song attempting to smear his opponent Beto O’Rourke with the following line:
“Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.”
Of course, Rafael Edward Cruz felt no such similar need to fit in. He just used Ted because he was a big fan of Ted Kennedy. Red has to admit that Lyin’ Rafael has a ring to it. What it does show is that Lyin’ Ted learned from the beating he took at the hands of Trump. Go after your opponent no matter what your personal circumstance might happen to be. Trump was the consummate liar and crooked businessman – so he reversed that by calling his opponents liars and crooks. Lyin’ Ted has a name that would not fit in well with his conservative base – so attack your opponent for using a nickname that was given to him and that he has carried since birth it would seem. The only problem for Lyin’ Ted is that such a strategy may work for a once-in-a-lifetime political anomaly like Trump – it probably doesn’t work if you are already an unlikable, stick-up-your-ass narcissist like Lyin’ Ted.
The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey has categorized some of the 215 contested primary elections for statewide office, U.S. Congress and the Statehouse according to his calculation of the heat of the race See Ramsey’s temperature scale of hottest, hotter and hot contests here.
The one GOP race that has Red excited is the contest to unseat Do-Nothing Land Commissioner and only holding office by virtue of his family name George P. Bush. The Bush family scion had done nothing to deserve election to statewide office and by all accounts doesn’t really do much on the job other than collect a paycheck on the taxpayer dime. Red is firmly backing former LC Jerry Patterson who actually wants to do a good job for Texas and protect Texas public lands. Patterson fought hard for our historically open beaches when the Texas Supreme Court attempted to cut back access with bizarre rulings based on arcane concepts. Patterson is a little extreme for Red’s taste on the weapons front – but other than allowing hunting on some public lands (which is sorely lacking in Texas compared to our western neighbors), his views on concealed and open carry laws will not have much impact on the Land Commissioner’s office.
George P.’s endorsement of Donald Trump after Trump totally trashed his father JEB!!!!$$$$? tells you just about everything you need to know about the current LC. Some might say only a spineless weasel of an ambitious politician would endorse a man who called his dear old Dad “dumb as a rock” – which was actually among his kinder things Trump said about JEB!!!!$$$$?. Red won’t go that far, but you can.
The Republicans who represent a good chunk of the Texas Panhandle in the Texas House and Senate are facing ultra-right wing challengers in the upcoming GOP primary. Merely being a somewhat thoughtful conservative or even considering a Democratic proposal is a dangerous game to play in the Tea Party dominated Texas GOP. If you are unwilling to lick the boots of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, you might just find yourself back home wondering how you aren’t quite conservative enough. Senator Kel Selinger and Representatives Ken King (Lubbock) and Four Price (Amarillo) may be unseated in March. The Texas Observer has more on the far right movement to take down any such “Establishment Republicans.”
The challengers are generally following a playbook developed by Empower Texans, a right-wing enforcement group that targets what it considers establishment Republicans: claim that you are unequivocally conservative and that the other guy is basically a Democrat, all the while vilifying bipartisanship and accusing your opponent of being a big-government patsy who’s soft on abortion.
Far-right groups, including Texans for Vaccine Choice, Texas Right to Life and Grassroots America — We The People are working to knock off the incumbents. And while the Panhandle is one of the reddest parts of the whole country (Trump took 90 percent of the vote in some of the counties here), the area continues to elect Republicans with a pragmatic streak. For instance, King has sought to secure funding for struggling rural schools; Price has been a champion for mental health care; and Seliger refused to divert money from public schools for private school vouchers. Wielding accusations of perceived liberalism, challengers have made the region a battleground in the civil war raging within the Texas GOP.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is the Democratic frontrunner to take on “Lying” Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) in 2018. The Texas Observer has an long article on O’Rourke unorthodox campaign and background. O’Rourke stands in stark contrast to the narcissistic, unlikeable and prickly Cruz who seems afraid to be in Texas right now as he has refused to hold a town hall meeting anywhere in the state for months. O’Rourke on the other hand is rolling through Texas shaking hands and making friends. Beto is still unlikely to unseat “Lying Ted”, but he just might make the smug and self-righteous Cruz sweat. That would be worth the price of admission.
If you’re a Democrat and you find yourself running for statewide office in Texas, somewhere along the way you’ve made a wrong decision. A campaign is a two-year hell, and you have a very low chance of winning. If you lose badly, like Wendy Davis, your political life is probably over. Stay on the sidelines, like the Castro brothers, and your time may never come. Either way, you and your party lose. To run, and to commit to it seriously, requires either a sort of blindness to reality or a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.O’Rourke has a bit of both. On the one hand, he has very little experience with state politics, having skipped from a seat on the El Paso City Council to Congress. He’s unfamiliar with the bitterness and cynicism that pervades party politics in the rest of the state.
But he also feels a certain urgency. Many people believe the whole system of American politics is breaking down, he says. “I know so many people who voted for Trump, and I say, ‘How could you do that? You live in El Paso. You don’t want a wall.’ They’re like, ‘No, I could give a shit about the wall. I just want somebody to blow that place up. That place is so fucked up and corrupted, and it is a swamp, and that’s the first guy who I know could care less about the system.’” In his own way, O’Rourke is trying to blow up the system, too. When he describes his reasons for doing so, it becomes clear that the campaign is a sort of personal crusade.
“I think that your successor 500 years from now is going to be writing about us the way that we write about the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages,” he tells me. “It’s just so corrupt, in the same way that they were selling bishoprics and indulgences to shorten your time in purgatory. We’re selling votes. We’re selling amendments. We’re selling democracy, and it’s absolutely disgusting. But what makes it even more fucked up is that everybody knows that it’s happening, but it’s just what has always happened for so long now that it’s all-encompassing in the system. No one seems really willing to do anything that will compromise their ability to be successful in that system by stepping out of it.”