California is a "jungle primary" state, in which multiple candidates from all parties (and No Party Preference) compete in the first round, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election.
CA-34: Mejia faced only incumbent Democrat Jimmy Gomez and a Libertarian candidate. It's a very diverse & progressive district. Mejia, who received about 12% Tuesday, says he's running to win, but it will be quite an accomplishment if he whittles down Gomez's 79% primary showing.
CA-40: Cortes Barragan faced only incumbent Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard, so a two-two finish was guaranteed. He received about 19.6% of a small vote pool.
They're not going to win over many dyed-in-the-wool Democrats in their respective districts, so they'll be focusing on people who didn't vote Tuesday—or who have just given up on voting. In the 2014 general election, the vote count in District 34 was only about 61,000; in District 40, it was under 50,000. Each of these districts has about 400,000 eligible voters. There's a whole lot o' non-votin' goin' on there.
I thought about including this information in the previous post, because it is tangentially related to it, but decided that it needed its own entry. This is mostly copied and pasted from my Facebook post:
See full results from California's jungle primaries here. If you are a Progressive living in Greater LA—especially Greater East LA—I urge you to do what you can to help these young Greens. If you live elsewhere, send them what disposable cash you can.
The headline says it all: GPTX did not get the required number of petition signatures. That just means that it's time to begin getting the infrastructure in place for a successful petition drive in 2020.
If you signed it this year, thank you. If you voted in a primary and thus could sign it, please consider NOT voting in a primary in 2020. And spread the word.
Wednesday I did promise a piece on the Fletcher-Moser primary runoff in TX-7, but I don't really have a lot to say about the race itself. The result was unexpected more because of Lizzie Pannill Fletcher's 2-1 margin of victory than because she actually won it: 67.08% for Fletcher, 32.92% for Laura Moser. Considering that they received about 29% and 24% respectively in the seven-way first round, this looks like a case of the other candidates' supporters voting for Anyone But Moser.
While the Democrats' runoff for the gubernatorial nomination split 3% of the registered voters statewide, about 4.26% of registered voters in District 7 turned out to choose between Fletcher and Moser. In March the figure was about twice that. So congratulations to Ms. Fletcher for amassing 11,000-plus votes Tuesday. She'll need a lot more than that to knock off nine-term incumbent John Culberson.
I had no dog in the TX-7 primary fight, having neither lived nor worked in TX-7 since the early '00s, Culberson's first term. However, I have many friends and acquaintances who do live and vote there, and, Congressional districts being drawn as they are in Harris County, I travel through portions of it frequently. This race illustrated and exemplified for me what I call the Phenomenon of False Extrapolation: the notion that you can construct the bigger picture on an issue from experiences in your own little slice of the world.
In the Greater West University area, where I might occasionally travel on two wheels or four, yard signs for Moser seemed to far outnumber those for Fletcher during the past two months. Various media outlets, including some truly progressive websites, churned out profiles of the race that made it seem much closer. The progressive articles cast Moser as the aggrieved party in the conflict, playing up the angle of how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee published opposition research to thwart Moser just before the March primary.
The nationwide attention Moser received after the DCCC story broke did not translate into sufficient vote support in May any more than all the yard signs in West U, Southside Place, Southampton, and Upper Kirby. There is so much more to TX-7 than the parts that Rice University professors and aging bohemians call home. There's also a whole lot of Far West Houston and Spring Branch and Cypress-Fairbanks, where I don't travel much.
But while we're talking about false extrapolations, some habitual Democrats got all enthused about how the primary turnout in Texas was about as even for the two corporate parties as it's been since Republicans ran the table in 1994. In TX-7, about 34,000 turned out to vote in the March Democratic Primary, compared to about 40,000 on the Republican side. Compare that to the equivalent figures in 2014: about 7,000 (to choose between three-time nominee James Cargas and relative unknown Lissa Squiers—and oh yeah, for Governor etc.) and 38,000, respectively.
So obvs, there's a Democratic renaissance brewing in TX-7, right? You know, the district that has sent Republicans to Washington since the 1960s? And Fletcher may ride the Blue Wave right to the US Capitol?
Cool your jets, Democratic friends. Remember that Texas has open primaries. We don't know how many Republicans crossed party lines to vote in the Democratic Primary, regardless of which candidate they most wanted to see Culberson beat. By the same token, we don't know how many nominal Democrats voted in the Republican primary in an attempt to thwart Culberson.
Even in these extraordinary times, you cannot look at 34,000 versus 40,000 and conclude that Fletcher will draw 46% of the vote in November, let alone defeat the Republican incumbent. Unlike yesterday's prediction about the gubernatorial contest, I'm not ready to declare the TX-7 race over, because I'm actually hoping that Fletcher will make a lot of noise in the next five months and show the world what a weenie Culberson is. But Culberson has not hitched his wagon to the Trump Train, so he does not engender the kind of revulsion that Trump does. The Republican establishment will circle the wagons around the weenie and carry him comfortably to a tenth term.
The only statewide primary runoff race decided yesterday in Texas was the Democratic primary race for Governor. After more than a million voters spread their votes among nine candidates in March, fewer than half a million came back for Round Two, or less than 3% of the nearly 16 million registered voters in this state. Ultimately, about 1.5% of registered voters in Texas came out to nominate Lupe Valdez to run against Greg Abbott.
Oh joy. Participatory democracy FTW.
I looked into the numbers for the Congressional races on both sides—especially the Democrats vying to knock off John Culberson in CD-7 in a primary race that drew national attention—but I'll leave that for a later post.
It's a little harder to gauge the total Republican turnout, due to the lack of a statewide race on that side. However, according to the current figures, 158,708 cast votes in runoffs for six Congressional seats; 73,088 in seven State House races. You can't just add those totals together, since there may have been some overlapping jurisdictions. Turnout in those Congressional elections ranged from almost 44,000 is CD-5 (East Dallas and points southeast) to just over 2,000 in CD-29 (some heavily LatinX portions of Harris County where Republicans are rare as hen's teeth).
Rest assured that this is not another blog entry about sucky turnout figures and the virtues of Instant Runoff Voting. We've done plenty of those. Nor is it about former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez apparent lack of political acumen since she announced her candidacy. LatinX and LGBT groups gave her a long look, found that there was no there there, and endorsed conserva-Dem Andrew White instead (the one PDiddie refers to as "Average White Guy").
With apologies to a much younger Jim McIngvale for the title (and to those who could never stand his commercials), this entry in inspired by PDiddie's most recent post on an entirely different topic, in which he tangentially links to an Atlantic article about Ranked Choice Voting in Maine (to which I may have linked recently as well).
PD lives and votes in Houston's Council District K, one of the two districts birthed by the 2010 census, when Houston's population count breached two million and a provision in the city's charter kicked in. As we have discussed previously, K's thus far only council member Larry Green died suddenly last month, forcing a special election to fill his seat through 2019. Nine candidates queued up to take his place, including Martha Castex-Tatum (note: paywall), who had worked as his constituent liaison.
When a Council seat is vacated by death, retirement, term limits, or a member seeking higher office, here in Houston we just expect a whole crowd of hats in the ring. (I haven't really looked, but I'm sure it happens in other cities as well.) The more candidates, the less likely any candidate will receive a majority, and thus the more likely a runoff election will be required. This is especially true when there are two or more well-known candidates in the race.
Check it out, though: Castex-Tatum won handily. There will be no runoff this time. This is the exception to the rule.
We're just going to take candidates' "Progressive" self-descriptions at face value, despite any misgivings we may have expressed about these candidates progressive credentials. None of the identifiably progressive candidates won their races outright, but some will appear in the runoffs on 22 May. Others will have to be content with participation medals.
Obligatory/Reflexive Reminder: If you skipped the primaries (or even if you didn't), you can still help with the Green Party's Ballot Access Petition Drive. Down the petition sheet (PDF), print it out on legal-size paper, and collect signatures from primary non-voters around you.
Primary abstainers may also attend the Green Party's precinct and county conventions, 13 and 17 March respectively. Location information is still not confirmed, so for now I recommend just making your way to the Midtown Bar & Grill, 415 West Gray Avenue, on Tuesday night.
Harris County voters: If you feel an affinity for one of the two branches of the Corporate Party, and you feel compelled to vote in one of the primary elections, early voting starts tomorrow. If you don't feel that attachment, please consider the following alternatives:
Of all the blog posts and articles cited below, I most fervently recommend Brene Brown's. In addition, just to get a jump on this week, if you plan to vote in the Democratic Primary, here are some endorsements from
Nancy Pelosi energized Harris County Democrats and Mike Pence revved up Dallas Republicans at each party's respective fundraisers ahead of the GOTV effort for the primaries.
The San Antonio Current offers the city's voters their primary guide. And Grits for Breakfast is watching DA races in Bexar, Dallas, McLennan, and Smith counties.
The Lewisville Texan Journal covered the Democrats from Highland Village, Flower Mound, and Lewisville who met the voters and discussed the issues Saturday at the Barn in Highland Village’s Double Tree Ranch. The candidates discussed an array of topics, including gun control, the justice system, climate change, and funding.
Moderated by the party’s parliamentarian George Nassar, the event featured debates between 63rd state district candidates Richard Wolf and Laura Haines, 26th congressional district candidates Will Fisher and Linsey Fagan, county judge candidates Willie Hudspeth and Diana Leggett and county chair candidates Angie Cadena and Phyllis Wolper.
In the Texas Observer, Michael Barajas covered the social media storm of Texas public education supporters who "blew the whistle" on conservatives trying to engineer some Lone Star-styled voter suppression. The highly motivated bloc of Democratic voters (teachers and administrators) who've been on the front lines of the Lege's War on Education for the past several sessions made a mockery of the effort. #BlowingTheWhistle
Juanita Jean at the World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon passes along a couple of primary recommendations.
DBC Green picked up on "Bob" O'Rourke's duplicity regarding his promise (videotaped and YouTubed) to debate his primary opponents. At post time, that doesn't appear to be on his schedule.
Texas Rural Voices conducted an interview with D LG hopeful Mike Collier when he visited Caldwell recently. The first of that four-parter focuses on education and property taxes.
Off the Kuff questions the assumption that Republicans have the advantage for November in Harris County. And as with so many other hopeful Democrats, Ted at jobsanger wants to believe that Texas might really be turning blue this year.
SocraticGadfly has some First Amendment and other questions about the Mueller indictments.
Neil at All People Have Value said school shootings are an intended result of America's gun culture rather than an aberration. And Brene Brown speaks truth to bullshit on gun reform.
Texas Leftist shares news about the brave students of Houston's Austin High School, who protested the ICE detention of an undocumented classmate just months shy of his graduation. Is it truly the priority of our federal law enforcement to persecute high school students who have done nothing wrong? #FreeDennis
Texas Vox celebrates the closing of three coal-fired electricity plants in the state.
Paul Battaglio, Doug Goodman, and Meghna Sabharwal at the Houston Chronicle voice concerns about how nonprofits are handling sexual harassment allegations.
Jason Pittman and Anita Ledbetter at the Rivard Report explain how Trump's tariffs on solar panels will affect Texans.
In lighter blogging fare...
Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer considers AG Ken Paxton as nothing less than an agent of Satan, and considers him representative of the RPT at large.
The Lunch Tray highlights a class difference in how parents treat junk food for their kids.
Stace at Dos Centavos is still sad that RodeoHouston doesn't have any Tejano Music on GoTejano day. But San Antonio is having one awesome music fest in March with the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair Weekend. Because without Tex-Mex culture, politics is pretty boring.
Millard Fillmore's Bathtub reposted Phillis Wheatley's inspiring poem about George Washington to note Presidents Day, and reminds you to fly your flag.
And Texas expat Elise Hu prepares for the Year of the Dog.
Sema Hernandez posted a tweet that includes video of Rep. Beto O'Rourke fielding questions about, among other matters, a Democratic primary debate. I like most of what he says in the video: In particular, good on him for co-sponsoring a bill to sunset the Authorized Use of Military Force blank check for the Executive Branch, and for being genuine about not necessarily being every progressive's dream candidate.
That said, saying you'd be happy to debate, while your campaign does nothing toward arranging a debate, might be perceived as a craven dodge. O'Rourke is either quite sincere or quite adept at projecting sincerity. If the latter, he is indeed a consummate politician.
We've already mentioned how O'Rourke's possibly self-appointed street team has punked Hernandez's website (I haven't seen Hernandez or her campaign make anything of that) and that text message I received asking for my vote in November as if the March primary ain't no thang. I doubt that O'Rourke himself will take any ownership of these faux pas; if called on it he will probably deny any knowledge, and he may in fact not know.
If O'Rourke is the savior some of my friends think he is, and if he truly believes in voters making informed choices, he should show some courage and debate his primary opponents. A rookie politician by the name of Ted Cruz won the Republican nomination in 2012 by out-debating establishment candidates, including a certain Greg Abbott. Cruz had little to lose, but he won big by showing off his madd forensic skillz. By not sharing a dais with political novices Hernandez and Kimbrough, O'Rourke is silently saying that his own ideas may not stand up to scrutiny.
A lot of people in these so-called United States became politically active for the first time with the Occupy Movement. Vanessa Edwards Foster however, was not exactly a newbie. I remember hearing Foster say, when I first met her at Tranquillity Park, that the timing of Occupy Houston was fortuitous for her, since she was out of work at the time. She was much more of a regular at the encampment than I was.
Like several other Occupiers, Foster answered the call to Occupy the Ballot in 2012, running as a Green candidate for the US House in District TX-9. She received just under 1% in a four-way race without doing much visible campaigning.
It appears that the electoral bug has bitten Foster again: She is once again a candidate for the Congress, this time hoping to take Blake Farenthold's seat in TX-27. Or better yet, to throw out the seat he has occupied since 2011 and buy one he's never touched. Texas Leftist has her responses to the standard questionnaire.
Does anyone know a good voting rights attorney who will work for beer money? Because if I were a more litigious lefty, I'd be licking my chops at the prospect of a history-changing lawsuit. By suppressing any mention of political parties that, for whatever reason, do not hold primary elections, the Harris County Clerk's Office is effectively partisan in nature—and that's unethical at best, unconstitutional at worst.
Longtime HCGP apparatchik Alán Alán Apurim noticed something about the information presented on the HCCO's Harris Votes website. Well, to be more precise, he noticed what information is not on the site: that voters may exercise an option other than voting in a primary or abstaining entirely.
Apurim sent a message to the appropriate administrator at HCCO about correcting the oversight. From the resulting correspondence, it seems that the County Clerk's staffers need to be, shall we say, deprogrammed out of the notion that our political activities must remain confined to donkeys and elephants.