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%.