Thursday, March 09, 2006

The New Political Landscape

What happened on Tuesday? A lot of groups, people, and blogs are celebrating after the Tuesday election, and why?

Answer is simple, things look good. Carlos Uresti beat Frank Madla. Diana Patrick defeated Kent Grusendorf. Al Edwards is in a run off with Boris Miles. Garnet Coleman killed the field, and the list goes on and on and on.

The year started out well for the progressive community. On February 14th Donna Howard wins in a run off, and February 28th Katy Huebner gets within 300 votes of victory. These two races, and Anna Hernandez winning the special election to fill Joe Moreno’s seat gave Democrats 2 new votes for the upcoming special election and one close enough to ensure that Kirk England is on a short leash (aka no vouchers) for the special session.

Now we fast forward to the March 7th primary results.

Charlie Geren won hands down after 5 of his “fellow Republicans” endorsed his opponent. The Leininger 5 under performed which means there will be some ticked off R’s coming back to vote, and the loss of the popular Carter Casteel ensures that she will not budge from her opposition to vouchers (although I wish we weren’t losing Casteel’s strong voice).

The really impressive part is the shake up of the leadership within the capital. Kent Grusendorf’s loss eliminates one of Tom Craddick’s key soldiers. Grusendorf was the chair of the House Committee on Education and will not even be on the ballot in November. Craddick is at a cross roads, either he creates a short term solution or he is no longer Speaker.

Look for Mike Krusee, Jim Pitts, or Bill Keffer to make a bid for Speaker if they can whip enough support from the moderate and pissed off R’s. Democrats will run in mass against conservative ideologue Craddick and with new hostility between moderates, right wingers, and those who are now retired, this special session could very easily be one way to pay back Craddick for all his hard work.

Now more than ever the special session is the key to the November elections for both Democrats and Republicans. Chuck Hopson represents a district that is 70% Republican. Kirk England may lose 300 votes and cause Huebner to win, and must win seats like Strama and Vo could become more vulnerable.

On the other hand Gene Seaman could become more susceptible to the charismatic Juan Garcia, and Toby Goodman becomes weaker against Paula Hightower-Pierce.

The expectation is that Governor Rick Perry will play it conservative and call for the special session to only focus on taxation issues. If Lt. Governor David Dewhurst gets his way, there will be a call for education reform too, and if that happens all the infighting within the party will make the special fun to watch.


At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Karl-T said...

Great post Matt. Top notch.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Matt Glazer said...

I learned from the best?


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