Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wendy or Greg? What Does History Say?

With the filing having concluded, we figured the good lot of you, like us, would find it interesting to know what steps our Governors took to become Governor. We looked at their political paths to see what road has been the most traveled to U-Haul it into the Governor’s Mansion.

In looking at the resumes under “Offices Held” for each governor before they won that seat, there was not one particular secret short-cut up the mountain to reach the summit, but there are some commonalities and patterns worth noting. (Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration other ginormous factors such as personal wealth and party affiliation.)

Most striking was the average number of elected positions held prior to their elections as governors. If you are advising your young protégé who you believe can become governor someday that they should run for a small local office first, then aim a little higher for Congress or the State Senate, then make a couple of pit-stops along the state-wide ballot, that path appears to be uncut—at least all the way to The Mansion. Take Carole-of-Many-Names, for instance, who served as President of the school board, Mayor of Austin, Railroad Commissioner and Comptroller—a successful career by all accounts, but not the trek to Governor.

Over Texas’s 166-year history, Texas Governors have held an average of only two elected posts (and we threw in Cabinet posts for good measure) before becoming Governor. With the advent of mass communications, that number has dwindled to 1.5 since John Connally. In fact, five governors never held a prior office. Too much time in the public eye may not be so helpful. Maybe a balance is needed. Voters and donors need to know your name, but you can out-stay your welcome with a slow ascent up the trail.

Which begs the question, which posts have these folks held? Predictably, Lt. Governor takes the cake with 11 governors moving from the number 2 slot on the ballot to number 1. Lite Gov is not so light with all that power to make and break laws, and when you run for office, you can practically say you have been Deputy Director of Vice Chair of the state—you’re ready.

In terms of the other non-lite-gov-offices that were the stepping stones right before the top we have a tie for second place: five men were Attorneys General and, to our surprise, five were state senators when they stepped up to the governor’s chair. After that, a couple held Cabinet posts, three were US Senators, a couple were members of Congress and a couple were Railroad Commissioners. Only one Mayor has ever been governor, John Ireland in 1883, and he served as a judge and in the State Legislature first. You are much more likely to be a governor if you have been a District Attorney—10 governors made that pit-stop along the way. 

In terms of professional backgrounds, 24 have been attorneys, 21 veterans and six ranchers, including Perry. After that, it’s a smattering.

Predictably, most (twenty-six to be exact) held a statewide office before they became Governor. But several statewide posts have never been a direct stepping stone to Governor: Agriculture Commissioner, Land Commissioner and Comptroller. While two have stepped up directly from Railroad Commissioner, it should be noted that the last was Beauford Jester in 1947 during the days that the Commission ultimately controlled worldwide oil production in the way OPEC does today.
In fact, nobody has ever held the positions of Land Commissioner nor Comptroller and been elected governor. The Railroad Commissioner position is a tricky one. Rick Perry is the only one who has been Agriculture Commissioner and, of course, he served as Lite Gov first.

But Good Hair may not be the last. There is something to be said about cutting a new path for others to follow. When you look at the governors’ histories, it’s interesting to note a possible pattern that we are coining as “consecutivity.” (Unlike Palin and Bush, we know we’re making this one up.)

While the paths do differ, there have been some whose paths have been identical or near-identical. There is the oh-so-popular Lt. Governor/Texas Senate path that four governors traversed. An equally popular and less predictable path that four more governors traveled is the Attorney General/District Attorney avenue. The fact that Jim Hogg and Charles Culberson both served in these positions before winning their races for governor is interesting. The fact they did it back-to-back as Governors #20 and #21 is even more interesting.

As new pathways are cut, “the group” may see only what is directly in front of them and decide this is the new path. With Big Hair in office right now, many may have decided that the path to the Mansion has several stops: a local office, the Legislature or Congress, then to a down-ballot office, to a higher statewide office then to Governor. An examination of history suggests, however, that this could be a tricky path.

What does not seem to matter is a lot of experience or “paying your dues.” If you’ve got what it takes, you’ve got what it takes. Of course, that could be a lot of things, such as money, charisma, luck, a little glamour, connections—but that’s a whole other recipe for us to cook up.

As for the two likely nominees:

Wendy Davis
         Professional background: Attorney
         Political background: Fort Worth City Council, State Senate
Greg Abbott
         Professional background: Attorney
         Political background: State District Judge, State Supreme Court Justice, Attorney General

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Texas Democratic Congressional Recruitment Failure: Pete Sessions

What's funny is that most Texas Democrats probably don't even realize they had the opportunity to get a good recruit to run against Republican Pete Sessions.

How do we know this way down here in San Antonio?

A couple of months ago a friend of ours happened to be on a flight with a Dallas County Judge.  They got to talking about the district and Jane Doe seemed to have researched the district...talking about the demographics of the district...that redistricting had made it a little more competitive for a Democrat...the problems going on with the country...the bad job Sessions is doing, etc.

Our friend then made the suggestion, "Why don't you run?"

As it was told to us, Jane Doe seemed to give the idea serious consideration and didn't say no, she just hadn't been approached by any of the movers and shakers about it.

Who was Jane Doe?  Judge Sally Montgomery.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2014 Prediction: Republicans keep Strong Majority in Texas House

How do we arrive at this prediction?

Of the 150 House seats, Democrats failed to field a candidate in 58 Districts.  Granted, a great number of these seats are horrible territory for Democrats and they'd likely be sacrificial lambs, but consider this: A working majority in the Texas House is 76 seats.  Republicans are already 76% of the way to a working majority.  All those unchallenged seats free up money to be spent to try and hold their Super Majority.

Republicans only need 18 more seats to maintain their majority.  Who doesn't think they'll make it?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

6 Texas Democratic Recruiting Failures

In 2012, Barack Obama won 41.38% of the vote in Texas.  In the races for the Texas State House there were 16 Republican-held seats where he scored at least 40% of the vote.  Of those 16, Democrats came up short in 6 of them and have given the Republicans a free ride to Austin.

What are those 6?

HD 54, Republican incumbent Jimmie Don Aycock

Obama managed to get nearly 46% (45.7) of the vote in this district.

HD 112, Republican incumbent Angie Chen Button
HD 114, Republican incumbent Jason Villalba

Obama scored 43.5% in both of these districts.

HD 45, Republican incumbent Jason Isaac

Obama scored 41.8% in this district.

HD 32, Republican incumbent Todd Hunter

Obama scored 41.1% in this district.

HD 96, Republican incumbent Bill Zedler

Obama scored 40.2% in this district.

Yes these are tough districts that are probably going to be tougher in a non-presidential year.

However, you can't just retreat every non-presidential election year.  You think giving these Republicans a free ride now makes them any easier to defeat?

And is that really a long-term solution?  Just challenge competitive districts in presidential years when turnout is better?  And then retreat every non-presidential year?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Off the Extinction list but still Critically Endangered

Once thought to be extinct, political scientists today spotted a rare breed that once roamed all over Texas: Democraticus statewidicis or more commonly know as a statewide Democrat.

Based on the age and location of the animal, political scientists have placed the species on the Critically Endangered list noting that, "unless circumstances change, the species may once again be placed on the extinction list as early as 2017."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Open Question: Has Greg Abbott admitted to being a lapdog?

Today State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) went after Greg Abbott (R) for defending the horrendous cuts to public education made by the Legislature.

Defending himself, Abbott made the claim that he is essentially handcuffed and must defend the laws passed by the Legislature.


There have been numerous instances when Attorneys General from across the country have declined to defend laws on the books in their states.  A recent example was from California.  Attorney General Kamala Harris refused to defend Prop 8.

Abbott is just trying to have his cake and eat it to.

In addition to playing Solomon, Abbott also admitted that he Rick Perry's lapdog. From the Dallas Morning News:
"If she were governor, would she ask her attorney general not to defend the laws passed by the Legislature?” Abbott asked. “That’s what Barack Obama asked Eric Holder to do. That’s the style of government she’s offering.”
I didn't realize that Abbott got his position through an appointment.  Oh wait...he didn't.  He was elected independent of Rick Perry.  He doesn't serve at the pleasure of the governor, he serves at the pleasure of Texans.

Question for Abbott: If Rick Perry and you were running for re-election and Perry lost to Wendy Davis, would you be her attorney general?

Followup: If she asked you to defend a law you didn't want to, would you?  And if she asked you not to defend a law you wanted to, would you?  I mean, in that scenario you would be her attorney general.  By your logic, you would have to do what she says.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

14 Years

14 years.  Unless someone else files on Dec. 9, this will be the first time Democrats have had 2 elected officials running for executive statewide office since 2002.  Democrats have had elected officials run for the U.S. Senate and the statewide judiciary, but it has been 14 years since at least 2 incumbent officials have attempted to make the leap to one of the statewide executive offices (Gov., Lite Gov, AG, Comptroller, Land Comm, Ag Comm, Railroad Commission).  Just to be clear, when I say elected official I mean someone who is currently in office and running for another.

We've had former officials run in the past:
2010 - Bill White and Hector Uribe
2006 - Chris Bell, Fred Head, VaLinda Hathcox
2002 - John Sharp and Kirk Watson

Elected officials who ran:
2014 - Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte
2002 - David Bernsen and Tom Ramsay

If Sen. Carlos Uresti had filed for Attorney General, we could go even further back.  The last time Democrats had at least 3 elected officials try for statewide executive office was 1998: Garry Maruo, John Sharp, Richard Raymond, and Pete Patterson.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Politifact vs. ABC News (Aussie)

Just an observation.

Politifact is the outfit that attempts to rate statements politicians, public figures, etc., in terms of their truthfulness.

Politifact's Truth-O-Meter has the following levels:
Mostly True
Half True
Mostly False
Pants on Fire!
No Flip
Half Flip
Full Flip

The flips are primarily in relation to the presidential campaign.

What's interesting is that in Australia, ABC News created a similar type of Truth-O-Meter in conjunction with the most recent federal election called Fact Check.  There are some differences.  ABC has three types of verdicts: Red, In Between, and Green.

For the Red verdicts we have the following results: Figure Not Credible, Implausible, Improbable, Incorrect, Misleading, Spin, Unsubstantiated, Wrong.

For the In Between verdicts: Cherrypicking, Close to the Mark, Debatable, Doubtful, Exaggerated, Improbable, In the Ballpark, Incomplete, Inflated, Lawyers' Picnic, Not the Full Story, Out of Context, Outdated, Overblown, Overreach, Oversimplified, Overstated, Speculation, Splitting Hairs, Unenforceable, Unlikely, Unsound, Unsubstantiated, Unverifiable, Yes but More to It.

For the Green verdicts: Accurate, Checks Out, Close to the Mark, Correct, Fair Bet, In the Ballpark, On the Money, Stacks Up, Unverifiable, Yes but More to It.

I don't know if nuanced is the right word, but at the very least ABC does have a wider vocabulary.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bexar County DA: 3 Way Democratic Primary?

Democrats may be faced with a plethora of choices for DA.

We have 1 announced candidate, attorney Therese Huntzinger, 1 semi-announced candidate, Judge Phil Kazen.

The third?

Attorney and 2010 candidate Nico LaHood.  We heard this mentioned over the weekend, but apparently LaHood announced it tonight at an event.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Update: Rumor Mill Alert: Democratic Elected Official to Run for DA

By now the cat is out the bag that the countywide Democratic elected official considering the DA race is Judge Philip Kazen.

If Kazen decides to take the plunge, he won't have the race to himself. Local attorney Therese Huntzinger is also planning to run for the job.  It would be an interesting primary if it happened.  A sitting district judge versus an attorney who is female and gay.
The rumor mill has been turning recently.  The latest being that a countywide Democratic elected official may announce for District Attorney. I say announce because we're getting close to the filing deadline opening and closing.  Candidate filing opens Nov. 9 and closes Dec. 9.  At this stage a candidate mounting a challenge to an incumbent needs to get started.

Calls apparently are being made and feelers are being put out as to whether he should do it and what kind of support he would have.

Knowing the individual in question, we'd say that incumbent DA Susan Reed (R) would definitely be in for a fight.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

William Elmer, Tea Party bigot, lives in a national forest

If MyLife is to be believed, this is William Elmer.

The Teabagger is the spokesman for the Texas Ethics Advisory Board, previously mentioned here and here.

Again, if MyLife is to be believed, he is 80 years old and lives in Huntsville, TX.

Once again Mr. Elmer has decided that he needs to spread his bigotry outside his home in Huntsville.  See Mr. Elmer and his group are upset that their bigotry decreases every election.  So since they can't win at the ballot box, they choose other using the government to browbeat and scare their opponents into submission.  Once again San Antonio is in their cross hairs, specifically the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio.

If MyLife, along with official government documents are to be believed, Mr. Elmer's house is located within Sam Houston National Forest.   Believe it or not, there is a section of Huntsville located within Sam Houston National Forest, and there is a housing edition located on Elkins Lake.

Again, if MyLife and government documents are to be believed, this is Mr. Elmer's house.  Apparently he has Dish Network.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Updated2: Who Will be the New Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice?

Update: Rick Perry did elevate a current member of the court.  He chose Justice Nathan Hecht to be the new Chief Justice.  As we pointed out, his last pick for the court was a white male. 

The new question becomes who will replace Hecht?

Update: The question was answered a couple of weeks ago when Perry named 14th Court of Appeals Justice Jeff Brown.  Perry once again struck a blow for the marginalized white man.

With Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson stepping down, who will Rick Perry name as his replacement?

If he's going to elevate someone from within the court, my money is on Justice Eva Guzman.

1) She's a woman and Republicans haven't exactly been endearing themselves to female voters.  From the 2012 election to the special sessions on abortion.

2) She's Hispanic.  Another key voting group that Republicans haven't been too popular with, and even less so with Congressional opposition to the immigration bill.

Of the remaining 7 justices, all are Anglo, with 1 being female.

If he decides to go outside the court for a Chief Justice replacement and wants a woman or a minority...

On the 1st Court of Appeals, there are 5 women, 1 of which is Hispanic.

On the 2nd Court of Appeals, there are 5 women.

On the 3rd Court of Appeals, there is 1 woman.

On the 4th Court of Appeals, there are 3 women.

On the 5th Court of Appeals, there are 5 women, 1 of which is African-American.

On the 14th Court of Appeals, there are 5 women.

Again, my money is on Guzman to be elevated to Chief Justice, with the likelihood that one of these 24 women will be elevated to the Supreme Court.  If I had to guess Guzman's replacement, I would put money Rebecca Huddle from the 1st Court of Appeals (female and Hispanic).

In terms of Perry's appointments of the current court, his last one was a white male.  So anything is possible.

Monday, October 7, 2013

State House District 14

House District 14 is very similar to HD they should be.  The districts are right next to each other.  HD 14 covers the cities of College Station and Bryan in Brazos County.  This district is literally the Heart of Aggieland, and is represented by an A&M grad, John Raney.  When this district was located in Liberty County, it was represented by future Gov. Price Daniel.



Romney - 62.7%; 25,805
Obama - 34.8%; 14,332

U.S. Senate

Cruz - 63.1%; 25,649
Sadler - 32.9%; 13,382

Second verse, same as the first.

Like HD 12, this district best matched West Virginia in 2012.  Romney won WV by 26.76% and carried this district by 27.9%.  Cruz won here by 30.2%.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Reminder: 11 more votes on Background Checks

Update: With the recent D.C. shooting, here's a reminder that elections have consequences down the road that nobody can foresee.

The Senate rejected background checks amendment, pushed by Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), today by a 54-46 margin.  6 more votes.  That's all that was needed.

I can find 11 votes for the Background Checks Amendment from 11 states where 1 Senator voted yes and 1 Senator voted no.

Monday, September 16, 2013

State House District 12

HD 12 occupies some space between College Station and Waco. Since the 20th Century it's been primarily located in East Texas.  Democrats will probably recognize Jim McReynolds who represented the district from 2003 - 2011.  For one term, Republican James White represented the district from 2011-2013.  After redistricting altered the district, Republican Kyle Kacal became the new representative.



Romney - 62.6%; 32,424
Obama- 36.2%; 18,740

U.S. Senate

Cruz - 61%; 31,093
Sadler - 36.8%; 18,757

Almost heaven...

The state that fits here is West Virginia.  Romney won this district by 26.4% and carried West Virginia by 26.76%.  Cruz won here by 24.2%.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Conservative Govt: Let Police Search for Guns Without Warrant

Obviously this is not a headline from the U.S.  You really think the NRA would let a conservative elected official get away with something like that?

That headline is from Australia.  The centre-right Premier of New South Wales is proposing some new gun laws.  From ABC News (Australia):
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell has proposed new laws which will give police greater powers to search people for guns without a warrant.

The changes are to be introduced to Parliament this week and mean police would not need a warrant to search people who have been banned from owning weapons.

Their cars, homes and outlaw motorcycle gang club houses will also be able to be searched without a warrant.

Mr O'Farrell also plans to increase the prison term for anyone convicted of possessing or supplying guns to try to crack down on crime in Sydney.

The jail term will increase from 10 to 14 years.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

UTSA Football Team Stats

The UTSA football team had its first home game this weekend, so we thought we'd look at some stats.  No not game stats, player stats.  And once again, no not game stats.

Curiosity got us wondering where all these players are from.

As you can see below, most are from Texas:

87% of the current football roster come from Texas.

And what about within Texas?

The largest single city group with multiple players is San Antonio with 18.  The 39% are 36 players who each come from a different city.

So what are the football players studying?

The largest group is Undeclared.  After that it's Multidisciplinary Studies, Exercise Science, Pre-Business, and Kinesiology.  Click on the name for links to those 4 popular degrees.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The When Will Question, Part 2

A few weeks ago NPR focused on Texas and our demographics and asking that question of If and When Democrats will become a force again in Texas politics.

So we thought, putting demographics aside, what signs or omens should Democrats look for to know that they have the ability to capture statewide office?

We continue with a second sign.

Sign #2: The 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 13th, and 14th Courts of Appeals go Democratic.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Former Obama Nominee to Investigate Perry

Happened this past Monday, but it's interesting.  We here at Texas Hot Sauce have mentioned at least one strong potential Democratic opponent against DA Susan Reed.

Now that same attorney, Mike Mcrum, has been picked by former Republican District Judge Bert Richardson to be the special prosecutor in the complaint investigation against Rick Perry.

We've never heard any noise in terms of McCrum actually wanting to run for office.  It's just interesting that we happened to mention him previously and now he gets this position. 

Thinking like a pure politico, what great way to raise money and raise your profile.

Friday, August 16, 2013

UPDATE Food for Thought: Can a Homophobe be Mayor of the 7th Largest City?

Update: It looks like if the ordinance passes (unless the changes they are making include this section), Chan has effectively removed herself from being appointed to any city board or commission.  From MediaMatters a couple of weeks ago:

Ordinance Would Add Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity To Current Non-Discrimination Law. San Antonio's current non-discrimination policy already allows city council members to consider prior bias when making appointments. According to Article 1, Section 2-8 of San Antonio's Code of Ordinances:
Sec. 2-9. Policy governing appointment of persons demonstrating bias on basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age or handicap.
No person shall be appointed to a position if the council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or handicap. No appointed official or member of a board or commission, shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or handicap, while serving in such public position. Violation of this standard shall be considered malfeasance in office, and the council shall be authorized to take action as provided by law to remove the offending person from office. [San Antonio City Code, accessed 8/2/13]
I would say that Chan has demonstrated a definite bias against sexual orientation and gender identity.

After taking a moment to enjoy the schadenfreude with Councilwoman Elisa Chan, I have a question: Can a Homophobe be Mayor of the 7th Largest City in the United States?

As Brian Chasnoff notes in his article in the Express-News: Reached at City Hall on Thursday, Chan wouldn't confirm a rumor that she plans to run for mayor in 2015.

It's been assumed that Chan will carry the conservative banner if and when she runs for mayor.

After this tape however, the question becomes can you be anti-gay and still be mayor?

If you haven't listened to the tape, go listen.

One of the aides suggests playing to her base if you run in the Republican primary.  Could Chan be thinking of something other than mayor?  Like a primary race against State Rep. Lyle Larson?
As we have seen, you can definitely be anti-gay and win a Republican primary.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rumor Mill Alert: Susan Reed Getting a Primary Challenger?

The rumor mill is churning and word on the street is that Bexar County DA Susan Reed (R) may face a primary challenge.

The potential challenger is District Judge Sid Harle (R).

Since at least 1994, Harle has never faced a general election challenge.

This could be a really fun primary to watch...if you're a Democrat.

In one corner you have a longtime Republican judge who hasn't been challenged in a long, long time, politically speaking.

In the other corner you have a Republican DA who has had opposition and will likely be prepared for a primary fight.

Judge Harle presides over the 226th District Court, a criminal court.  He deals with the DA's office on a daily basis.  So the question: What is it about the DA's office that's troubling him enough to get him to run against Reed?

Maybe this is the year Democrats recruit a strong Democrat to run.

It should be noted that Gilbert Garcia covered this issue last month in the Express-News, even suggesting Harle might run as a Democrat.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

State House District 127

House District 127 has been around since 1912/1913.  For one term, 1921-1923, this district was represented by a member of the American Party.  The party was created by Governor Pa Ferguson in 1920 when he ran for the presidency, but was only on the ballot in Texas.  HD 127 was based in Bastrop County and represented only by Democrats.  Since its move to Harris County its only been represented by Republicans.  Since 2011, Republican Dan Huberty has represented this district.



Romney: 69.2%; 46,110
Obama: 29.6%; 19,722

U.S. Senate

Cruz: 69%; 45,635
Sadler: 28.8%; 19,059

So which state goes here?

Wyoming.  This is one of 9 State House districts that closely matched Wyoming's presidential percentage.  Romney carried Wyoming by 40.82% and he won this district by 39.6%.  Cruz won this district by 40.2%.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Much did Senate Railroading Cost?

The abortion-outlawing legislation passed and all the hoopla is over.

Believe it or not, we can actually put a price on the railroading that took place in the State Senate.

We've previously spotlighted the Senate Parliamentarian, Karina Davis, here and here.  Thanks to the fact that she is a public employee her salary is available for us.

According to the state, Karina Davis' annual salary is $122,592.12.

Of course, I'm sure the benefits of shredding Senate rules go even farther.  Not only does Davis get $122,000 annually, she has given herself tenure.  How can Senate Republican justify firing her after she ?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Who does a better job on voting rights: Texas or Canada?

When Republicans in Texas passed their Voter ID law we looked at how much a lie that was with their claims of protecting the right to vote or making sure nobody who isn't eligible to vote is voting.  We examined our neighbors to the north, Canada, and its Voter ID law.

Just a reminder, the only forms of ID allowed by Texas are:
  • Texas driver license issued by DPS
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS (good for only 6 years)
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • U.S. military identification card containing the person's photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
  • U.S. passport
7 forms.

Just a quick refresher, Canada allows 3 options for showing Voter ID.  Under Option 1 you have 3 choices.  Under Option 2, you have between 13 and 325 possible combinations to prove you can vote.  Under Option 3, someone who knows you (and is an authorized voter) can vouch for you.

In terms of actual ID, Canada allows between 3 and 325 ways to prove you can vote.

So what is the point of this refresher?

Today in Canada, specifically the province of Nova Scotia, the election authority changed some voting procedures.  From the CBC:
In a bid to increase voter turnout, Elections Nova Scotia is increasing the number of days people will be able to cast their ballot in the next general election.

“You'll be able to vote on almost any day during the four weeks before Election Day,” said Dana Doiron, director of policy and communications at Elections Nova Scotia.

Voters will be able to vote on all but four days in the next campaign, not just in the advance and special polls and on election day.

It’s one of many changes Elections Nova Scotia is implementing.

There will now be polling stations in hospitals, shelters, prisons and nursing homes...
See in Canada, prisoners have had the vote since 2002.

But there are at least 2 people in Canada who are not allowed to vote: the head of Election Canada (i.e., Canada's top election supervisor/authority) and the deputy of Elections Canada.

To reiterate, the person who is in charge of running the elections and his/her deputy are not allowed to vote.  For us that would be like the Texas Secretary of State and his deputy.  The person in charge of making sure the elections are run right, can't vote.

It's an interesting concept.  What better way to ensure the elections are free and fair?  Most likely the person who is appointed head of Elections Canada is probably very civic minded.  He or she can't vote, but would very much like to.  They can't vote, so they make sure other voters are not denied the right they don't have.

Imagine if we had a rule in Texas, Governor Rick Perry, as the head of Texas, and the Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, as the deputy head of Texas, aren't allowed to vote as long as they hold either of those offices.  Wonder if either one would suddenly value the right to vote?

Friday, July 5, 2013

The When Will Question, Part 1

All week, NPR has been focusing on Texas and our demographics and asking that question of If and When Democrats will become a force again in Texas politics.

So we thought, putting demographics aside, what signs or omens should Democrats look for to know that they have the ability to capture statewide office?

Sign 1: Sweep of all countywide offices in large voting counties.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Texas Parliamentarian Karina Davis has Record of Railroading Rules

Earlier, we presented an award to the Texas Senate's Parliamentarian for her terrible interpretation of the rules on Tuesday.  Turns out there's more.

Apparently Texas Senate Parliamentarian Karina Casari Davis already had a record of trying to circumvent the rules and railroad dissenting views.  In 2011, David Hanna, the Texas Legislative Council’s lawyer, sent an email to Karina Davis, copying her husband Doug Davis who was Dewhurst’s senior policy advisor on redistricting.

Hanna advised Karina that it would not be a good idea to upload a new redistricting plan with the Council—even though it would be hidden from the public—because it would still be time-stamped and thus show that amendments to be offered by minority representatives were clearly not going to be considered at all—even before they were even offered. So much for democratic principles!

He didn’t think it would be good for preclearance when the Justice Department would review Texas’s redistricting plans.  

In 2004, Dewhurst replaced Walter Fisher with Karina Davis, even though she had limited parliamentary experience.  A search on the State Bar of Texas site also reveals that she is not an attorney, a qualification you might expect for a new Senate parliamentarian with almost no experience.

Her husband Doug is one, a graduate of Texas Tech Law School and currently a lobbyist for the Texas Wholesale Beer Distributors.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ron Wilson Award for Rules Enforcement Goes To...

Senate Parliamentarian Karina Davis:

For anyone who watched the Texas Senate on Tuesday, you saw Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth).

But you were also treated to the sight of a woman in white on the dais standing to the left of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) and any other Republican Senator acting as chair.

Dressed in white you might have thought she was a shoulder angel, giving the Senate President the honest advice on how to handle the rules.

Unfortunately, this angel would have been better dressed in red and standing on the Senate President's right.

Salon probably sums it up best:
For at least an hour, it was great theater. State parliamentarian Karina Davis spent a lot of time looking like gymnast McKayla Maroney, whispering sideways into Dewhurst’s ear and seeming not terribly impressed.
This year's Ron Wilson Award for Rule Enforcement is presented to Senate Parliamentarian Karina Davis for her complete railroading of the rules.  You may remember when former Rep. Ron Wilson was installed by former Speaker Tom Craddick as House Parliamentarian in order to hold onto power at any cost.

Her performance last night proved she's not a parliamentarian, but a political hack.  Damn the rules, full speed ahead!  Any honest parliamentarian would have correctly interpreted the rules even to the dislike of the Republicans.

Talking about Planned Parenthood's budget in relation to an abortion bill is completely germane to a bill that would restrict abortion.  Strike 1. Talking about the sonogram bill that passed last session and is law and the additional burden placed on women if SB5 were to become law is completely germane to the bill.  Strike 2.  Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) never yielded the floor to Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), therefore Estes motion was out of order.  Strike 3.  Karina're out.

What's not germane is Karina Davis remaining parliamentarian when she clearly doesn't know the rules.

Women on Women Action in the Texas Legislature

Who would've ever thought you'd see women on women action taking place in a legislative body?  Let alone the Texas Legislature.

Yet that's what any observer has been treated to.  These are the Republican women in the Texas Legislature who have said that abortion by coat hanger in Texas is just fine.  These are the Republican women who have said that abortion can only happen if you can afford it...which will primarily be rich white women.

 These abortion clinics do more than provide abortions.  Let's take Planned Parenthood, since that seems to be the constant fly in the ointment for Republicans.

According to Planned Parenthood's website, they offer the following at their various clinics across the state: Abortion Referral, Abortion Services, Birth Control, General Health Care, HIV Testing, LGBT Services, Men's Health Care, Morning-After Pill, Pregnancy Testing & Services; STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines, Women's Health Care.

Of the 58 clinics Planned Parenthood lists on their website, 14 provide Abortion Services or 24%.  52 provide Men's Health Care.  51 provide Birth Control, Morning-After Pill, Pregnancy Testing & Services, STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines, and Women's Health Care.  50 provide HIV testing.  46 provide General Health Care. 36 provide LGBT Services. 2 provide Abortion Referral.

With the passage of SB 5, the women pictured above have essentially said goodbye to all these available services.

But they've said more than that.  They have essentially given the green light for women to have their epitaphs read, "Dead from regulation."

So tell me, how does closing these clinics and these services protect and improve womens' health?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Texas keeps bottom 10 rank in kids' welfare

The GOP-led Legislature wants to essentially outlaw abortion in Texas without explicitly outlawing abortion.  This is one of those issues where government regulation is okay.

So the GOP wants to get rid of abortion and force women to have babies.  So what type of Texas will these babies be born in to?

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, not a very good one.  From the San Antonio Express-News:
Texas remains among the bottom 10 states when it comes to children's well-being, according to an annual ranking by a nonprofit that advocates for at-risk kids.

The state improved two places in the rankings, to 42 from 44, in the 24th annual 2013 Kids Count study, released Sunday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, based in Baltimore.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources, the study found that Texas generally improved in education and health while it stagnated in the area of family and community. Economic well-being worsened, reflected in the 1 percentage-point increase in the child poverty rate in Texas, to 27 percent in 2011, the latest number available. The national rate also rose 1 percentage point to 23 percent, but remained below Texas.

On the plus side, the state's rates of child and teen deaths fell, as did teen births. Its percentage of youngsters without health insurance also declined, from 18 percent in 2008 to 13 percent three years later.

Still, the U.S. rate of children without health insurance improved from 10 percent to 7 percent over the same period.

Texas Legislature in Schiavo Session

I think we can officially say that the Texas Legislature is no longer in Special Session.  They're now in Schiavo Session.

For those who remember the Terri Schiavo controversy, you'll remember when Congress was called back into session in order to pass some controversial social legislation on a Sunday.

Now the legislature is working on a Sunday trying to punish women with its abortion legislation

I guess the Scripture according to the GOP must include some additional passage about resting on a Sunday...except when it comes to attacking womens' health.  Then Sunday isn't a day of rest, it's a day to wage war.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

U.S. Attorneys General and their Law Schools

Of the 50 elected and appointed attorneys general in the U.S., 30 went to a law school in the state they currently represent, while 20 went to law school elsewhere.

Just some useless trivia. The 20 who went to law school out of state:

Attorney General State Law School Law School State
Greg Abbott Texas Vanderbilt Tennessee
Beau Biden Delaware Syracuse New York
Jack Conway Kentucky George Washington D.C.
Robert Cooper Tennessee Yale Connecticut
Catherine Cortez Masto Nevada Gonzaga Washington
Bob Ferguson Washington NYU New York
Joseph Foster New Hampshire George Washington D.C.
Doug Gansler Maryland University of Virginia Virginia
Michael Geraghty Alaska Seattle University Washington
John Hoffman New Jersey Duke North Carolina
Tom Horne Arizona Harvard Massachusetts
George Jepsen Connecticut Harvard Massachusetts
David Louie Hawaii UC Berkeley California
Thomas Miller Iowa Harvard Massachusetts
Patrick Morrisey West Virginia Rutgers New Jersey
Derek Schmidt Kansas Georgetown D.C.
Eric Schneiderman New York Harvard Massachusetts
Bill Schuette Michigan University of San Francisco California
William Sorrell Vermont Cornell New York
Luther Strange Alabama Tulane Louisiana

Saturday, June 15, 2013

State House District 146

HD 146.  This district has some things in common with our first district we looked at, HD 149.  Among other things, they're based in Houston/Harris County...and they've each only had 2 representatives.  HD 146 came into being in 1978/79.  From 1979-2007 and 2007-2011 it was held by Democrat Al Edwards.  From 2007-2009 and since 2011, the seat has been held by Democrat Borris Miles.  In 2006, Miles defeated Edwards by 409 votes in a runoff.  2 years later Edwards makes a comeback and beats Miles by 5,136 votes.  Another 2 years go by and Miles beats Edwards again...this time by only 8 votes.  Fast forward another 2 years, and this time Miles beats back a challenge from Edwards by 1,179 votes.  That's 4 elections in a row these 2 have faced off against each other...2006, 2008, 2010, & 2012.  Anyone care to take bets on 2014?



Obama - 78.8%; 39,909
Romney - 20.1%; 10,153

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 77.2%; 38,544
Cruz - 20.6%; 10,295

We've  been here before.

Making a second appearance, it's Hawaii.  Obama carried the Aloha State by 42.71%.  He won this district by 58.7%.  Sadler carried this district by 56.6%.  That 58% might seem like a stretch, but it's closer to Hawaii than Obama's best state*, D.C.

Miles is African-American and the district has a large African-American population.  So then it should come as no surprise that this was one of Obama's 10 best House Districts.  #6 to be exact.

Friday, June 7, 2013

State House District 104

HD 104 has been around since 1893.  It's currently based in Dallas County and is represented by Democrat Roberto Alonzo...for the 2nd time.  Alonzo was elected to this district in 1992.  In 1996 he was defeated for re-election by fellow Democrat Domingo Garcia in a runoff.  Garcia won by 291 votes.  Fast forward to 2002 and Alonzo beats Garcia by 41 votes.  Garcia recently lost a congressional bid to State Rep. Marc Veasey (D).



Obama - 72.7%; 21,287
Romney - 26.3%; 7,718

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 68.1%; 19,597
Cruz - 29.2%; 8,411

Last time we had Hawaii Five-0.  With our first Hawaii district, we have another TV show that took place in Hawaii...Magnum P.I.

The state this district best matched at the presidential level was Hawaii.  FYI, 21 of the Democrats' 54 state house seats best match Hawaii.  Put another way, 39% of the Democratic caucus come from districts as safely Democratic as Hawaii.  Obama won Hawaii by 42.71% and carried this district by 46.4%.  Sadler won here by 38.9%.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Overlooked 3rd Branch

With all of Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) recent bloviating about the D.C. Circuit Court, it's enough to bring crocodile tears to your eyes.

Chuck is vewy, vewy upset that Obama might tip the D.C. Court into a more liberal-leaning court and now wants to shrink the court by eliminating the 3 vacancies.  Grassley was just fine with the court as is until this year.  What changed?  The retirement of Republican appointed judges. 

Until February of this year, the court had a Republican majority since 1986* (except for a brief period in 2002 when it was tied 4-4-4).  The last time it had 4 Democratic appointees was 2005.  1985/86 was the last time Democratic appointees were a majority of the court.  In 1985, Johnson appointee Edward Tamm died and Reagan appointed his replacement changing the court from 7 Ds - 4 Rs to 6-5-1.  Reagan filled a vacancy in 1986 and created a tie at 6-6.  Then Kennedy appointee James Wright took senior status in 1986 and created another vacancy.  Reagan filled the vacancy that year and Republicans got a majority.

The court expanded to 11 seats in 1979, 12 seats in 1984, and then back to to 11 seats in 2008.

Below is a chart of the D.C. Circuit Court and it's composition.  Democratic appointees in blue, Republicans in red, and vacancies in green.

Bottom line, Grassley is upset because Obama has a chance to take the court in a more leftward direction.

Friday, May 31, 2013

State House District 149

We've seen what states the State Senate matched with at the presidential level.  Now we move on to the State House and its 150 districts.  These districts have been selected at random.  The main reason being, it might get too depressing going in order since the first 21 districts are all represented by Republicans.  This way we get a variety.

This is one of those districts that reminds us that nothing is forever.  HD 149 has only been around since 1982/83 (elected in '82, sworn in '83).  We might think the Texas Legislature was always made up of 150, but it wasn't.  Texas may have been big geographically, but not population-wise.  The first Legislature had 65 House members, according to the Legislative Reference Library.

This district is so young that it's only had 2 representatives.  Democrats probably remember its first occupant, Republican Talmadge Heflin, not for his service necessarily, but likely for the recount fight he waged after he lost.  Who wouldn't be bitter?  Heflin had just been made Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee only to lose by a handful of votes.  Even powerful people get caught napping.  You only pull 55% in a re-election bid and then are shocked you lose the next year?

The man who beat Heflin in 2004 was Democrat Hubert Vo, the current occupant of HD 149.  Vo took advantage of the growing minority population in HD 149 and used it to unseat Heflin.



Obama - 57.1%; 24,839
Romney - 41.8%; 18,183

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 55.3%; 23,527
Cruz - 42.5%; 18,087

So goes this state, so goes the nation.

This district best matched Maine in 2012.  Obama won Maine by 15.29% and carried this district by 15.3%.  Sadler won this district by 12.8%.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The United States of Texas

We previously looked at all 31 State Senate districts to see which state they best matched at the presidential level.  If we took the State Senate results and put them into a national map, here's what the result from 2012 looked like:

5 Senate districts matched Utah, so there are 5 Utahs, etc.  A lot of red.  If Democrats want to change the landscape both statewide and in the State Senate, they need to find more Georgias, i.e., purple states that are willing to split their tickets.

This brings up another issue.  In order to find more Georgias, you probably need to unpack some Democrats from safe Democratic districts.  The problem with that is most of those Democratic districts are VRA protected districts so you run into the problem of regression.  But I digress...

Another way to look at the State Senate districts going from the most Democratic on the left to the most Republican on the right:

And here's another way.  Again most Democratic to the most Republican.  It should be noted that SD 10 voted Republican, but is blue because it is represented by a Democrat:

And if you didn't like any of those visuals, here's one more:

It should be noted that the two most Democratic districts, SD 13 & 23, are represented by African-Americans and have high African-American populations in their districts.  Looking at them through the prism of an African-American President, it looks like Democrats could move some of the Democrats out of these 2 districts into some surrounding districts and try turning some red district purple.  The question will be when Obama isn't on the ticket, will these 2 districts still perform at this level?  You also have to wonder, if these 2 African-American districts saw their vote shoot up with Obama, would a number of Hispanic Senate districts see a similar spike with a Hispanic presidential candidate?

Useless Senate Trivia 6

The composition of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.  Purple states have 2 members on the committee.

Some notable chairmen of this committee in the past: Edmund Muskie, Fritz Hollings, & Lawton Chiles.

The committee has recently been in the spotlight after it passed a budget, with the Tea Party Republican Senators objecting to a conference committee and then being orally spanked by fellow Republican Sen. John McCain (AZ).

Monday, May 27, 2013

Perry Calls 5th Special Session on Redistricting

While it's the first Special Session of this Legislature, this is the 5th Special Session Rick Perry has called where redistricting has been on the agenda.

This will be the 10th time Perry has called a Special Session since he became governor in 2000.  10 Special Sessions and 50% involve redistricting.  3 in 2003, 1 in 2011, and 1 in 2013.

While Perry set the record for the longest-serving Texas Governor, he still hasn't beaten the record number of Special Sessions called by 1 Governor.  That honor goes to Republican Bill Clements.  During his 2 terms in office Clements called 11 Specials.  6 of those were for 1 Legislature, the 71st.

Funny enough, the man Perry eclipsed as longest-serving Texas Governor, Allan Shivers, only called 2 Specials during his tenure.

In case you're wondering, the Top 10 most Specials called by Texas Governors:

1. Bill Clements (R): 11
2. Rick Perry (R): 10
3. Price Daniel (D): 8
4. William Hobby (D): 6
    Dan Moody (D): 6
    Preston Smith (D): 6
7. Thomas Campbell (D): 5
    Pat Neff (D): 5
    Ma Ferguson (D): 5
    James Allred (D): 5
    Mark White (D): 5

All the money we've spent on redistricting from Special Sessions to lawyers' fees.  In addition to the wasted time and energy, you would think more people would demand their elected officials institute some sort of independent redistricting commission and save us all a lot of time and money.

Best & Worst Legislators

The Texas Tribune is letting people vote on who they think were the 10 Best and Worst Legislators.  This is the part where if you're a State Rep. or State Sen. you email your supporters and tell them to go vote for you.

My picks for the Tribune list (in alpha order)...


Rep. Lon Burnam (D)
State Sen. John Carona (R)
Rep. Sarah Davis (R)
State Sen. Wendy Davis (D)
Rep. Charlie Geren (R)
Rep. Jose Menendez (D)
Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D)
Rep. Joe Straus (R)
Rep. Sylvester Turner (D)
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D)


State Sen. Donna Campbell (R)
Rep. Harold Dutton (D)
Rep. Allen Fletcher (R)
State Sen. Joan Huffman (R)
State Sen. Dan Patrick (R)
Rep. Ron Reynolds (D)
Rep. David Simpson (R)
Rep. Drew Springer (R)
Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R)
Rep. Scott Turner (R)

Friday, May 24, 2013

State Senators Who Ran Ahead and Behind Their Presidential Ticket

Since 2011 was a redistricting year, that meant all the State Senators were up in 2012.  This also means we get to see which State Senators ran ahead and behind the presidential ticket (Democrats who ran ahead/behind Obama and Republicans who ran ahead/behind Romney).

Of the 31 Senators, 23 ran ahead of their respective presidential candidate and 8 ran behind.

The honor of running farthest ahead goes to Republican John Carona who surpassed Romney by 21,987 votes.  The Senator who ran ahead by the smallest margin was Republican Dan Patrick, who beat Romney by just 143 votes.

For everyone in between:

John Carona (R): +21,987
Kirk Watson (D): +19,415
Wendy Davis (D): +14,396
Leticia Van de Putte (D): +13,803
Judith Zaffirini (D): +13,776
Troy Fraser (R): +13,721
Glenn Hegar (R): +13,052
Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D): +11,225
Bob Deuell (R): +11,076
Kel Seliger (R): +10,056
Joan Huffman (R): +7,188
Jane Nelson (R): +6,655
Carlos Uresti (D): +5,718
Juan Hinojosa (D): +5,000
John Whitmire (D): +3,668
Rodney Ellis (D): +3,462
Mario Gallegos* (D): +3,440
Brian Birdwell (R): +1,593
Brian Nichols (R): +1,414
Charles Schwertner (R): +1,169
Robert Duncan (R): +612
Jose Rodriguez (R): +595
Dan Patrick (R): +143

*Mario Gallegos was deceased but still on the ballot.
Those Senators in italics had no major party opposition.

Senators who ran behind:

Kevin Eltife (R): -10,086
Ken Paxton (R): -8,515
Kelly Hancock (R): -6,211
Craig Estes (R): -5,600
Larry Taylor (R): -2,995
Royce West (D): -2,696
Donna Campbell (R): -1,623
Tommy Williams (R): -26

Of the 5 Senators who were running for the first time in 2012, 4 ran behind their presidential ticket (Paxton, Hancock, Taylor, & Campbell) and 1 ran ahead (Schwertner).

Of course even Senior Senators don't necessarily run very far ahead of their ticket.  The 10 most Senior Senators are:

Van de Putte

Of those 10 only Zaffirini, Lucio, Carona, Fraser, & Van de Putte were in the top 10 for running ahead.  And of those 10, West ran behind.  Just out of the top 10 in Seniority at #11 is Craig Estes, who also ran behind.

Other notes...

Of the top 10, 5 were Democrats and 5 were Republicans.

All 3 incumbent Democratic women State Senators were in the top 5.

Kudos to Wendy Davis.  Represents a Romney district, had a Republican opponent, and finished at #3 for running ahead.

Kevin Eltife seems to stick out like a sore thumb.  He's been a Senator since 2004, but comes in dead last and lags by a margin of over 10,000 votes.

Tokyo denies ghost fears keeping PM out of official residence

Yes.  That's an actual headline.

From ABC News (Australia):
The Japanese cabinet has formally denied months-long rumours that prime minister Shinzo Abe has not moved into his official residence over fears the mansion is haunted.

The conservative leader took office in December but has yet to move into the 11-room brick home in central Tokyo.

According to local media, it is the longest holdout among any of his predecessors. 
Who should the PM call?

That was too easy.

Or if they're busy he might try...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mike McCrum for Bexar County DA?

Let me first state, I have no idea who Democrats will nominate to run against Susan Reed for Bexar County DA.

Having said that, I'm going to just throw out a suggestion: attorney Mike McCrum.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Will Moore, OK have to wait 3 Months for Federal Money?

Just a question...

Will Moore, OK have to wait 3 months for Federal Money?

Since Republicans almost never seem to have a problem theses days with politicizing a tragedy (using 9-11 to prop up George Bush or holding up hurricane relief to burnish Tea Party cred), I think those Senators and Congressmen who act like jerks deserved to be asked these types of questions.

All of Oklahoma's federal representation is Republican, 2 Senators and 5 Congressmen.  To be fair and to their credit, Rep. Frank Lucas and Rep. Tom Cole, whose district includes Moore, voted for the Hurricane Sandy Relief.

Senators James Inhofe and Tom Coburn both voted against Hurricane Sandy Relief, even though they had previously asked for federal money for disasters in Oklahoma.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine, James Lankford, and Markwayne Mullin also voted against Hurricane Sandy Relief.

I think this line stands out the most from Rep. Jim Bridenstine's press release on his no vote, "Given our crisis, fiscal responsibility is real compassion."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Senate Districts 28, 30, & 31

And now we finish up the State Senate with the last 3 districts.

Senate District 28 is a West Texas/Panhandle district.  The big city here is Lubbock followed by San Angelo.  This district covers 51 counties, which gives you an idea of how unpopulated this area of the state is.  Back in the 60s this district was much smaller, only 11 counties dominated by Lubbock.  For a short time future Governor Preston Smith (D) represented this area.  Fast forward to 1975 and then-Democrat Kent Hance was the State Senator.  Hance would go on to be a Democratic Congressman from West Texas defeating future President George W. Bush (R). After switching to the Republican Party he served on the Texas Railroad Commission.  Hance now serves as Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.  Fast forward to 1983 and another Democrat, John Montford, held this seat until 1996.  And yes, that John Montford.  After serving as Texas Tech Chancellor, Montford went on to bigger things such as AT&T and General Motors.  Republican Robert Duncan has occupied this seat since 1997.



Romney - 73.6%; 182,982
Obama - 25%; 62,163

U.S. Senate

Cruz - 72.1%; 175,517
Sadler - 24.8%; 60,326

Senate District 30

This district can best be described as a Wichita Falls district.  Since 2001, Republican Craig Estes has represented the district.  From 1995-2001, Republican Tom Haywood as the Senator.  Prior to Haywood was Steve Carriker, the last Democrat to hold this seat.  A couple of notable past Senators include Democrats Jack Hightower and Ray Farabee.  As mentioned previously, SD 30 was briefly SD 23.  Hightower represented this district from 1965-1975 when it was SD 23 and SD 30.  Ray Farabee probably sounds familiar to some because he was the father of former Democratic State Rep. David Farabee.



Romney - 75.7%; 223,487
Obama - 22.6%; 66,674

U.S. Senate

Cruz - 73.6%; 212,795
Sadler - 23.2%; 67,219

Senate District 31

SD 28 had 51 counties, Senate District 31 only has 37, but it stretches from the Oklahoma Border in the Panhandle and reaches down to include the cities of Midland and Odessa, along with Amarillo up in the Panhandle.  Republican Senator Kel Seliger currently represents this district.  He's been here since 2004.  Prior to him, Republican Teel Bivins.  Bivins resigned his seat and was appointed Ambassador to Sweden.  When this district was in the San Antonio area, Samuel Maverick, of the famous Maverick family, was the State Senator from 1855-1859.



Romney - 75.5%; 186,762
Obama - 19.2%; 45,034

U.S. Senate

Cruz - 78.8%; 182,308
Sadler - 18.7%; 43,245

As previously mentioned, all three of these districts match one state.

It's Utah.  Romney won Utah by 48.04%.  He carried SD 28 by 48.6%, SD 30 by 53.1%, and SD 31 by 60.3%.  SD 31 was Romney's best district and Obama's worst, percentage wise.  Obama only got 19.2% of the vote in SD 31.  Needless to say, all three districts are strongly Republican.

And with that, we have a nationwide map of the Texas State Senate.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When is 97% not a majority?

We constantly hear from climate change deniers, i.e.. the Republican Party, that it's not real or that scientists are in agreement on it.  And even if it is real, it's not caused by humans.

From ABC News (Australia):
A comprehensive assessment of climate change research has found an overwhelming consensus among scientists that recent warming is human-induced.

The study looked at 12,000 climate research papers from the last two decades, and identified 4,000 that stated a position on the cause of recent global warming.

Those papers, which were all published between 1991 and 2011, were written by more than 10,000 scientists.

Just over 97 per cent of the scientists agreed that man-made warming was a reality.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gay Marriage Worldwide Map Update

From Wikipedia, gay marriage around the world.  A surprise development in Brazil today.

Currently 15 countries recognize (or will in the near future recognize) gay marriage: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay

Another 2 countries partly recognize gay marriage: Mexico and the U.S.  Various states within those countries allow gay marriage.

Altogether, that's about 567,488,966 people or about 8% of the world population.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Senate Districts 27 & 29

The last five Senate districts can be wrapped up in 2 posts.  Let's finish off the Democratic districts.

Senate District 27 is a South Texas/Rio Grande Valley district that runs along the Texas coast from Corpus Christi to the Mexico border.  Since 1991, Democrat Eddie Lucio, Jr., has represented this district.  One of the recent statewide Democratic candidates, Hector Uribe, was the Senator for this district from 1981-1991.  Even though the district goes up to Corpus, 93% of the district lives in 2 counties on the border, Cameron and Hidalgo.



Obama - 68.4%; 102,319
Romney - 30.6%; 45,768

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 62.2%; 89,164
Cruz - 34.8%; 49,910

Senate District 29

Senate District 29 is a West Texas district, but is more or less an El Paso district.  It covers 5 Mexico Border counties, but El Paso is the place where everything happens here.  In 2010, it got a new Senator with Democrat Jose Rodriguez.  He took over from Democrat Eliot Shapleigh, who probably became best known for his push to get a state income tax.  Shapleigh served from 1997-2011.  Prior to him, Democrat Peggy Rosson held the seat from 1991-1997.



Obama - 65.2%; 115,612
Romney - 33.3%; 59,137

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 60.6%; 103,900
Cruz - 36%; 61,781

Which state fits these last two Democratic districts.

It's Vermont.  Obama won Vermont by 35.6%. He carried SD 27 by 37.8% and SD 29 by 31.9%.  Sadler won SD 27 by 27.4% and SD 29 by 24.6%.  The only thing to say really is SD 27 could definitely support a more progressive Democrat.  Lucio is one of those Democratic senators that somehow ends up being the first to support the Republicans in the State Senate if they need to get over the 2/3 hump.  To Lucio's credit, he's managed to avoid doing anything completely stupid as to anger his constituents and get beaten in a primary.  Most people expect that once Lucio retires, his son, State Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, will be the odds on favorite to succeed his dad.

And with that the Democratic State Senate districts are wrapped up.

Senate District 6
Senate District 10
Senate District 13
Senate District 14
Senate District 15
Senate District 19
Senate District 20
Senate District 21
Senate District 23
Senate District 26

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Useless Senate Trivia 5

The membership of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. It's jurisdiction:
1. The following standing committees shall be appointed at the commencement of each Congress and shall continue and have the power to act until their successors are appointed, with leave to report by bill or otherwise on matters within their jurisdictions:

(d)(1) Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, to which committee shall by referred all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials and other matters relating to the following subjects:
  • Banks, banking, and financial institutions.
  • Control of prices of commodities, rents and services.
  • Deposit insurance.
  • Economic stabilization and defense production.
  • Export and foreign trade promotion.
  • Export controls.
  • Federal monetary policy, including the Federal Reserve System.
  • Financial aid to commerce and industry.
  • Issuance and redemption of notes.
  • Money and credit, including currency and coinage.
  • Nursing home construction.
  • Public and private housing (including veterans housing).
  • Renegotiation of Government contracts.
  • Urban development and urban mass transit.
(2) Such Committee shall also study and review on a comprehensive basis, matters relating to international economic policy as it affects United States monetary affairs, credit, and financial institutions; economic growth, urban affairs, and credit, and report thereon from time to time.
According to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council the Top 50 U.S. holding companies as of 3/31/13 are located in the following states (bold represented on the committee):
New Jersey
New York (home to 14 holding companies)
North Carolina
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Queen of Hearts Susan Reed Rebuffed

The Queen of Hearts of Bexar County Criminal Justice, aka Susan Reed, was rebuffed by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Senate District 26

For San Antonians who are familiar with their political history, SD 26 should offer a plethora of names:  J. Franklin Spears, Henry B. Gonzalez, Franklin Spears, Joe Bernal, Nelson Wolff, Bob Vale, Cyndi Taylor Krier, and Greg Luna.  Following Luna's untimely death in 1999, then State Rep. Leticia Van de Putte was elected in a special election and has held the seat ever since.  The closest race she's had since then was in the 2000 Democratic Primary where she beat attorney and future State Rep. David Leibowitz by 54% - 46% margin.  She's managed to make herself a very popular figure among Democrats here, as well as statewide, most notably during the redistricting fight when she and the other Democratic State Senators went to New Mexico. 



Obama - 62%; 127,237
Romney - 36.3%; 74,472

U.S. Senate

Sadler - 60.6%; 122,974
Cruz - 36.1%; 73,206

Blue crabs anyone?

It's Maryland that best fits this district.  Obama won by 26.08% in Maryland and carried this district by 25.7%.  Sadler won here by 24.5%.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Homophobic Republicans Love Government Intrusion

Once again Republicans have proven they love government intrusion and long as it's in relation to either abortion or gay rights.

From Burnt Orange Report:
Today, in a six-page opinion , Greg Abbott struck down advances in civil liberties for same sex couples in Texas, and answered Patrick's letter stating that it does.

Patrick had been upset that insurance benefits were offered to members of same-sex couples in Travis County, the City of Austin, Pflugerville ISD, El Paso, Fort Worth, the City of San Antonio, and El Paso County.
Thanks to Senator Dan Patrick from Houston, cities across Texas have to deal with government telling them what benefits they can offer their employees.

Why does it bother you Sen. Patrick?  And don't bring the Bible into this. To quote Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims (D): Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. We did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

Early in the session Rep. Drew Springer (R) filed a bill that targeted Pflugerville ISD.  This brings me back to a point I brought up previously, are some of these homophobic Republicans actually closeted gay Republicans?