As some campaigns gear up for runoffs, there are two Republican races worth taking a look at.
The race for the judicial seat in the Criminal Appeals Court Place 8 will be between incumbent Charles Holcomb and State Representative Terry Keel. Holcomb pulled in 45 percent of the vote to Keel’s 30 percent. Robert Francis, a state district judge from Dallas, went out with 24 percent.
The race is interesting because Keel reported to the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) that the voter petitions of Holcomb and Francis had problems. Holcomb and Francis were taken off the ballot until the Texas Supreme Court ordered that the two candidates be put back on the ballot, stating that the candidates were not given time to fix the errors on their petitions. According to the Houston Chronicle, the candidates had turned their petitions in seven days before the deadline.
Congressional District 30 in south Dallas will have a runoff between local business consultant Amir Omar and litigation attorney Wilson Aurbach. District 30 is held by 14 year incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson and is heavily Democratic. Some observers have joked that it’s the type of district that will end up being “80-20” in favor of the Democrats come November.
The runoff may have been caused by Fred Wood unexpectedly pulling in 19 percent of the vote in the primary. Aurbach and Omar pulled in 44 percent and 36 percent of the vote respectively.
The Aurbach and Omar campaigns have had different things to say about each other. The Aurbach campaign has criticized Omar’s campaign tactics and lack of a voting history in Dallas County. Omar has stressed that, in order to have a chance at beating Eddie Bernice Johnson, the Republican candidate in the general election has to be able to campaign full-time, and he has pledged to do so if he is the Republican on the ballot in November. He has implied that this would be impossible for Aurbach, who works as a litigation attorney.
On election night, Aurbach told the Dallasblog that he views the 44 percent that he received in the primary as a victory and that he looks forward to carrying the victory through the runoff in April.
Omar has repeatedly pledged to wage a positive campaign and to refrain from negative attacks on his opponents.
Bill Parcells is at one end of the rope. Jerry Jones is on the other end of the rope. The prize is Terrell Owens, who a source tells DallasBlog.com is the reason for the Cowboys' front-office tug-of-war. Read all about it exclusively from Mike Fisher by clicking onto the "School of Fish.''
Some people were “saving themselves” for Kinky or Carole, but does Tuesday’s abysmal 9 percent primary turnout say more about the state of politics today? Yes.
No competition, no vote. That’s what Texas had in the statewide races – no competition. And that’s a by-product of total Republican control in this state. Competitive top-of-the-ticket races bring out voters. That’s not going to happen when you have these forces at play:
Overwhelming control by one party with incumbents running and little intra-party jockeying for open seats.
A depressed Democratic party.
A primary that comes on the heels of the first March winds.
Texans probably aren’t aware that this state held the first primary in the nation this year. The March 7 date realistically gives primary candidates two months of all-out campaigning after the holiday season. Nobody pays attention before then. It’s not enough time for a challenger to mount a winning campaign in a statewide contest. The result this year was that Carole Keeton Strayhorn saw she couldn’t overcome Gov. Rick Perry in that amount of time and opted to run as an independent.
There’s another reason for the low turnout. Despite a few competitive legislative races that produced voters, a sense of “Why Vote?” is pervasive. In other words, what difference does it make? Money and the powerful control politics today, so what difference does my measly little vote make? People seem to have thrown up their hands.
The DMN story today about the primary drawing the lowest turnout in decades – at least since before 1986 – includes a comment from Austin political consultant Bill Miller about voter “disillusionment.” Discontented voters withhold their votes, he said. [see www.dallasnews.com] And that suggests a risky environment for incumbents. Voters could take it out on the incumbents in November but, again, if there’s no real competition, they could just repeat what happened in the primary and not show up.
There is, however, another warning sign for Republicans: Their primary drew only five percent while the Democrat primary drew four percent. In an overwhelmingly red state, that figure should send a signal to Republicans that voters are losing interest.
When this country is risking lives, international prestige and the milk money on establishing democracy in other countries, it’s disheartening to see the effects of so little of it at home.
Rep. Tom DeLayThe Tom DeLay congressional race is the key Texas race for the nation to watch in November, according to the Washington Post’s online political guru Chris Cilizza. While DeLay, the former House majority leader, cruised to victory in the primary, he faces Democrat Nick Lampson, a former congressman undercut by redistricting, in the general election. DeLay quickly pivoted off his primary win, Cilizza writes, to attack Lampson, the Democrat, as the candidate of “liberal activists like Barbra Streisand, George Soros and Nancy Pelosi.” Further complicating the situation for DeLay, who is awaiting trial on charges he illegally funneled corporate donations to GOP candidates for the Texas House in 2002, is former Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, who plans to run as an independent.
See other key races and an interactive map at washingtonpost.com
Less than four months after 9/11 only 38% of all Americans in an ABC/Washington Poll found that Islam had more violent extremists than other religions. Today that same poll found that number had risen to 58%. After five years of watching Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and France Americans have a more unfavorable view of Islam now (48%) than shortly after 9/11 (39%). When asked “Do you think mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims, or is it a peaceful religion 33% Americans today answer “yes” versus only 14% five years ago (54% said “no”) Still, overall 59% of Americans say they a “good basic understanding of the teachings and beliefs of Islam.”
The Hudson Employment IndexSM climbed to 108.2 in February, up 5.6 points from January’s 102.6 reading. The rise is attributed to a major rise in the percentage of workers and managers who expect their employers to hire, and a rise in expectations regarding personal finances. The latest Index is among the strongest readings on record, and considerably higher than the 102 recorded in February 2005.
The Report found that 45 percent of managers in the private sector projected an increase in head-count, up from 38 percent in January, and that 34 percent in the number of managers forecasting hiring within their organization (Link: Hudson-Index.com)
“On the heels of a conservative start to the year, managers are feeling more comfortable putting their 2006 hiring plans in gear,” said Steve Wolfe, executive vice president, Hudson, North America. “This news along with a strong GDP, lower unemployment rates and the growing demand for skilled labor in certain sectors such as healthcare, financial services and IT are strong indications that the economy is growing steadily.”
Worker sentiment regarding their financial situations also improved in February. The number who rated their finances favorably (good or excellent) was at its highest level on record at 46 percent. At the same time, there was a one-point increase among employees who said their finances were improving to 43 percent, a level that has not been topped since last February.
Euless police pepper-sprayed and then shocked not once, not twice, but three times with a Taser a man going into diabetic shock, the Startlegram reports.
Some would say it's hard to restrain a person going into diabetic shock. Others would say Euless police showed all the restraint of Barry Bonds in a Mexican pharmacy. You decide.
This report, incidentally, comes one day after FW Weekly carried this story, noting the disturbing rise of Texas police using the Taser as a high-tech baton, instead of, as intended, an alternative to lethal force. The story notes that in many agencies in Texas, "...officers aren’t waiting for a possible life-or-death crisis before they unholster the Taser. Many law enforcement officers are using the yellow-and-black, pistol-gripped weapon as a first-choice persuader."