He won’t avoid all the editorial boards…

Erin McPike, Real Clear Politics:

The longtime Texas governor has not been a candidate for a full two weeks yet, but multiple Republican operatives in the state have noticed that the Union Leader’s editorial page has not taken a jab at him in that time. And while Perry famously refused to sit with for interviews with the editorial boards of Texas in his re-election race last year, he’s already been in to meet with the powers that be at the Union Leader and granted the paper his first interview in the state.

Governor Perry goes and meets with an editorial board immediately upon entering the race. On first glance, it seems like a bit of a slap to the Texas editorial boards that got the cold shoulder in 2010.

There is a bit more sense to it, of course. The Union Leader‘s editorial board doesn’t know Perry, whereas by the time the 2010 gubernatorial race rolled around, Perry had visited many times with each newspaper’s editorial board over the previous decade…and pretty much all of Texas’ daily newspapers have cast a skeptical eye on the governor’s tenure in office.

Dewhurst no-showing candidate forums a dangerous strategy

Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News and Jason Embry in the Statesman picked up a post from the North Texas Tea Party blog on Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst skipping candidate forums across the state. I tweeted out the same thing at the Austin EmpowerTexans/9-12 candidate forum last Saturday night. I was surprised not to see Lt Governor Dewhurst there. It seems to me like a strange strategic decision to skip candidate forums.

They’re playing a dangerous game by letting a narrative take hold that could be quite dangerous for them. When Dewhurst is absent, people get a chance to repeat all the things that they might otherwise just whisper: Dewhurst is…establishment, aloof, moderate, out-of-touch, elitist, not a man of the people, thinks he can buy the election, etc. Some of those might not be fair, but that’s not the point — when you don’t show up, people say them. Then they get repeated and become conventional wisdom.

My sense is that Dewhurst and his team probably see these forums as an annoyance. Many of the candidate forums include straw polls, and it is very unlikely that Dewhurst would win any of the straw polls among party activists. Many of the folks there have already picked a candidate, and it’s usually not Dewhurst. If Dewhurst showed up, he might even be the target of attacks from the other candidates (right now the candidates seem to be aiming their barbs at Ted Cruz, the other perceived front runner), but that is essentially the nature of the race.

Contrast Dewhurst with Tom Leppert. The former mayor of Dallas consistently shows up. He never does well in the straw polls — frequently getting just a solitary vote or two — but at least he is there. If the race were to end up Dewhurst v Leppert in a runoff, I imagine plenty of activists will remember who showed up at their forum and said the right things.

Will it matter? Only time will tell.

Rick Perry for President 2012, part 1: The Elevator Pitch

Forget everything else — if you had to boil down every presidential candidate’s message to a very simple elevator pitch, Rick Perry wins hands-down. No Republican currently running can match it. Obama can’t either, but he won’t even try. He has already committed inexorably to polarizing the electorate and motivating the base, a la Bush 2004 on steroids.

Rick Perry’s message in a word: jobs. That’s it. Obama has failed on that front completely and massively. True measures of unemployment have more than doubled since his inauguration, and no other Republican currently running can match Perry’s job-creation record as governor of Texas.

While Obama’s American economic policies were destroying jobs nationally, Perry’s Texan policies have Texas going in the opposite direction. Imagine what Obama’s unemployment numbers would look like without Texas. Despite the stiff headwind from Obamanomics, Texas has been a rock of job growth by doing everything different than Obama. Since the recession technically ended in 09, Texas has added as many new jobs as the rest of the nation. To wit, over the last 5 years Texas added 537,500 jobs. 2nd closest was neighboring Louisiana with just 55,000 new jobs and 41 states actually lost jobs. Not surprisingly, Texas has the second lowest debt per capita in the nation…just contrast that with Obama who trumpets adding trillions in debt over 10 years as “historic.”

No other Republican can match it either. Not Mitt Romney, as Massachusetts wasn’t an engine of economic growth in his tenure, nor did he do anything to make it moreso. Not Michele Bachmann, runnning as the Tea Party candidate. Not Tim Pawlenty, trying unspectacularly to be a generic Republican. Not Herman Cain, even if he does have a good record as a businessman.

Rick Perry has the added advantage that he has always run on jobs. Just check this compilation of his TV ads over the years:

Jobs — Rick Perry campaign ads

In a time of lengthy economic stagnation, having Texas’ strong and unique job growth is a heckuva base for a presidential campaign.

Did I miss anything today?

Today I took a day trip with my wife without internet. It was peaceful, although while I was gone the Texas political gossip scene was out in full force.

On Wednesday night, I wrote Kevin and Cory an email, before the news today broke that Gingrich’s staff had resigned (one of my points that needed clarification before Perry 2012 could be taken as a serious idea). Here’s the  email:

I’m actually thinking about writing a post speculating on how Perry could run for president. He’s not putting the kibosh on it anymore. I’m not convinced that he’ll go for it, but for the first time he appears to be considering it. And why the heck shouldn’t he? He is leading the anti-Obama charge, he could definitely get the nomination and make the general election a referendum on jobs and spending. He won’t promise to bring the country together with bipartisanship ala W in 2000 or Obama 08, but that probably doesn’t matter in what will be a very polarized electorate. He can very credibly make the case that he is Obama’s polar opposite on spending and jobs.

I’m going to try to write about this tomorrow.

Dan Patrick and his not-very-persuasive Texas Senate poll

You’ve probably seen the news that Dan Patrick released a poll purporting to show him being the frontrunner in the Senate race. Pretty much everyone I talk to scoffed at the numbers regardless of who they work for or whether they like Patrick. I sorta agree, although I probably take them a bit more at face value. That doesn’t mean I think they have any predictive power whatsoever. Quite the contrary.

Here’s Patrick’s numbers, which they basically released without any supporting information:

Dan Patrick 19%
Tom Leppert 11
Roger Williams 6
Elizabeth Ames Jones 4
Ted Cruz 2
Not sure/Refused 58

1. It’s a name ID poll against carefully selected opponents with less name ID. I would expect that Dan Patrick’s name ID is right about there, followed by Leppert’s. After years of a radio show and years as a big suburban state senate district, Patrick has good name ID in Houston, Leppert in Dallas.

2. A name ID ballot test is close to worthless when you exclude Lt Gov David Dewhurst…who has significantly more name ID over the better part of a decade and a few downballot primaries. If Patrick takes his poll and he shows up higher than Dewhurst, that might be news. We can be pretty sure that Dewhurst beat him however, or they would have released that.

3. Also, what’s Patrick’s fav/unfav? What’s his name ID? For example, if Patrick has ~30% name ID compared to < 10% for every other candidate in that poll (possible), then that means only 2 out of 3 pick him even if they probably haven't heard of the other candidates. Not great for him. Dan Patrick accompanied the release with, "This poll confirms that I would be the conservative front runner if I announce for the United States Senate." Well...not really. He's proved that he may have more name ID (highly concentrated in Houston) than others, but most of the folks who might have supported him have already lined up behind other candidates. So if Patrick enters the race, he's probably decreasing the chances of someone winning (whether him or another candidate) that he considers conservative. So I'd be surprised if the release of this poll has the effect that his camp hopes. He's floating the trial balloon and seeing how people respond. But my guess is that more people will tell him that they don't think he should run. And that includes, I believe, all the members of Texas Iconoclast. (As you probably already know, I support Ted Cruz.)

Rick Perry for President 2012?

Every few months we get subjected to another Rick Perry 2012 boomlet.

Let me make a suggestion: do not take any article seriously that suggests Governor Perry is running for president unless it mentions at least a few facts (which I outlined a few weeks ago in Spanish, mas o menos)

1. An important slice of Perry’s political team has signed on with Newt Gingrich.
2. Gov Perry decided to be the head of the Republican Governor’s Association
3. Is the nation really going to sandwich four years of Obama with Texas governors?

Points one and two reveal the same thing: Perry has shown zero interest in running for president. He decided to forgo a 2012 presidential run when he became the head of the RGA. That’s not an unbreakable commitment, of course, but it’s not nothing. If you think there’s any chance that you’ll be running for president, you don’t became RGA Chair. And you definitely keep your political team from signing up with others . . . which happened in the last few months. So he still wasn’t considering a 2012 run recently and unless Newt drops out (looks significantly more likely after his gaffe on Meet the PRess), you have to wonder if he wants to start a presidential run with completely different staff.

Finally, the third point. Texans know it is far from the truth, but the rest of the nation would view Perry as “the next George W. Bush.” That’s a tough place to start a campaign in this cycle. Getting over Texas fatigue is a pretty large X factor.

Ricardo Boilerplate Sanchez?

Ricardo Sanchez announced that he was running for Senate this afternoon with a two paragraph boilerplate statement on Facebook (kinda played out by now, isn’t it?). Back when the trial balloon was originally floated, I expressed some skepticism that General Sanchez would prove to be a good candidate:

Sanchez will have to explain his candidacy. Why now? What’s his motive for running? He can’t run against the Bush administration — which has been the point of most of his media appearances since retiring from office. He can’t run on the Iraq war. He will have to talk about the Obama administration’s wars — which will probably put him either at odds with the president or with the liberal base. What does he know about economics, solving America’s debt crisis or creating jobs?

So what did he come up with in his announcement to explain why he is running? Boilerplate. Trite phrases used by liberal Democrats across the nation. Probably written by a consultant who apparently wasn’t even feeling creative that day. Here’s the McAllen Monitor with Sanchez’s announcement:

“Here in Texas, too many families are struggling to get ahead,” Sanchez wrote. “Jobs are hard to find, our schools simply aren’t good enough and increasing food and gas prices are breaking household budgets.”

All of those phrases return thousands of hits in google searches. They’re all just standard things that Democratic consultants write. These phrases have all appeared word-for-word in many a Democratic politician’s speech. “Families struggling to get ahead” is particularly popular in New England. New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Maryland Governor Tommy Carcetti Martin O’Malley’s State of the State. How ’bout faux populist John Edwards? The list goes on.

Am I being unfair? “Jobs are hard to find” has appeared in speeches from Democratic Senators like Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, Montana’s Max Baucus, Vermont’s Socialist Bernie Sanders, and South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, etc. Likewise, “schools simply aren’t good enough” is a recent line from Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Repeating standard Democratic talking points word-for-word in Texas is not a winning strategy. Sanchez completely missed an opportunity to explain his candidacy — he just defined himself as a standard-issue Democratic candidate running on the same things consultants write all over the nation.

And yikes, apparently his consultants — or perhaps General Sanchez himself, but I’m being charitable — decided that he should announce but reject all media interviews because he needs to prepare to face the media:

Sanchez was not available for media interviews Wednesday as he preps for a formal announcement at a later date. He released a two-paragraph statement on his Facebook page where he said the state needs “leadership that focuses on results rather than politics.”

Meanwhile, someone already started a Veterans Opposed to Ricardo Sanchez page on Facebook.

If I were a Democrat, I’d find the lackluster start quite disheartening.

Fooled by randomness in the gambling bill?

It’s hard to see how the legislature can balance the budget without revenue from expanded gambling, meaning that gambling is quite likely to pass the Texas Legislature this year. Yesterday, Paul Burka posted the spin from one prominent gambling lobbyist. But not all gambling interests are the same, and frequently they end up fighting each other the hardest. Here’s the (slightly edited) perspective of another prominent gambling lobbyist who represents a different interest:

Paul Burka was told that by the lobbyist that Chairman Hamilton was going to move a bill today that included all different gambling interests (they referred to it as the whole enchilada bill). However, the vote counts came back devestatingly low for the proposal to add slot machines at bingo halls and casinos all over the state. But the numbers were much much better for slots at tracks and Indian reservations. Hamilton wanted to move a bill, so he just decided – on his own – to do this. Everyone was caught very much by surprise, as we thought the bill was dead [Friday]. The speaker’s office is as surprised as anyone.

We were scrambling to figure out what he passed out, as we thought the bill was toast, because the original bill had all this other stuff in it that we knew he couldn’t get the votes for. Despite that, we tried to help him pass it but the vote count wasn’t even close a majority.

The lobbyist I talked to claims that Hamilton’s current bill is only a few votes short of the 100 necessary to pass a gambling bill. That might be why the jilted side is trying to implicate Straus – to try and make it tougher for the bill to pass.

Paul Burka’s closing line was snappy, “Things seldom happen in the Capitol by chance. Even gambling.” According to the other side, he was fooled by randomness.

TPPF’s ads




They’re pushing people towards ConservativeBudget.com, a project of a consortium of center-right groups.

Finally, I went to CPPP’s site to look for where Scott McCown gave a frenzied, over-the-top response to these ads, but my anti-virus programs went crazy with warnings. Until they get unhacked, I wouldn’t recommend visiting.

Texas Senate Republican candidates fundraising – Leppert wins, Cruz second, all others trail significantly

Raised Q1 Spent Cash On Hand
Tom Leppert $1,090,081* $97,861 $2,592,219
Ted Cruz $942,885** $47,820 $965,153
Roger Williams $593,470*** $162,092 $1,250,300
Michael Williams $414,119 $54,506 $369,369
Elizabeth Ames Jones $122,185 $304,371 $128,541

* Does not include $1.6M in Leppert self-funding
** Does not include $70k from Ted Cruz
*** Does not include $5k from Roger Williams
An unknown Democrat also raised $7k.

Leppert and Cruz obviously raised significantly more than the rest of the pack. Ted Cruz surpassed expectations with about a million raised and Roger Williams underwhelmed. Leppert’s victory was hardly surprising but ensures he’ll be in the fight, whereas others might have to drop out.

The biggest surprise is Elizabeth Ames Jones. She raised just $122k and spent over $300k. That’s obviously not sustainable. If she can’t raise more money, she’ll have to drop out.

It’s still early, obviously. Who can get traction in the next few months?