WED brief 11.10.21

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Today’s Stories

LOUIE GOHMERT wants to be Attorney General of Texas, or perhaps, stated more accurately, he wants to “explore” the possibility.

Yesterday, the nine-term congressman announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to examine the possibility of making another announcement about a possible campaign.

From an outside view, it’s impossible to know whether this is a consultant-driven grift, a strangely executed rollout of a serious campaign, or appeasement of a draft Louie contingent with an escape clause.

A run by Gohmert is conditioned on his raising $1 million in the next ten days.

Gohmert’s case against Ken Paxton comes down to a political calculation that the second round of criminal allegations put the seat at unnecessary risk in a general election. This argument wasn’t compelling when George P. Bush made it on Monday, and it’s slightly less convincing as repeated by Gohmert on Tuesday.

Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino has examined extensively the Austin real estate feud between Bryan Hardeman and Nate Paul that forms the backdrop of the allegations against Paxton.

The TL;DR version, according to a reading of Dolcefino, is that it seems Paul was genuinely harmed. While Paxton’s efforts on Paul’s behalf may have been politically unwise, there’s a difference between bad optics and a solid criminal case.

Getting back to Gohmert, as a statewide candidate, he cuts a very similar profile to former Texas Congressman Martin Dies. Both are right-wing gadflies with a strong base in East Texas. Dies ran statewide (for U.S. Senate) in 1941 and 1957. Both times, Dies proved to be a strong regional candidate with a limited statewide appeal.

The likeliest impact of Gohmert’s run is that it siphons off enough conservative voters that it forces a runoff between Paxton and Bush. Whether intentionally or not, Gohmert is currently George P. Bush’s best political friend.

One longshot suggestion: If Gohmert wants to run statewide, he’s a potentially compelling alternative to Dan Patrick.

However, the fallout from Gohmert’s decision won’t be limited to the Attorney General’s race (see next item).

EAST TEXAS, assuming Gohmert runs statewide, could see a game of political musical chairs.

Rep. Matt Schaefer is praying about running for Congress after Gohmert’s announcement, but he may not be the only East Texas politician ready for a D.C. change of scenery. Sen. Bryan Hughes’ interest in the seat, once Gohmert vacates it, is also a poorly kept secret. 

The top priority is to ensure Hughes and Schaefer don’t run for the same seat from a conservative perspective. That would be a repeat of the debacle six years ago when Hughes and David Simpson both ran for the state Senate seat now occupied by Hughes.

If Hughes runs for Congress (probable), Schaefer has a solid case to move to the Texas Senate.  Schaefer would be an independent-minded addition to the Senate in a year that Dan Patrick has conceived to elevate yes men.

During this legislative session, Schaefer was one of the more accomplished members of the Texas conservative wing. He managed to get Constitutional Carry passed, avoiding the public shaming that awaited other members of his caucus on their priority legislation. He cut a more aggressive figure and used his leverage properly.

While other candidates are likely to emerge for these various seats, Hughes and Schaefer have the strongest conservative records in the region and ought to be given priority.

MARYLAND DEMOCRATS are putting the screws to Republicans in redistricting. Currently, Republicans have just one Congressional seat in the Old Line state in a map criticized as one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

Now, Democrats are contemplating maps to eliminate that remaining seat. This is another example for Texas Republicans of a majority party taking seriously the mantra elections have consequences and playing for keeps.

BIG BIRD is running for U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz in 2024.  This is, easily and by far, the most compelling candidate Texas Democrats have had in decades.

DONALD TRUMP has endorsed Idaho’s Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s challenge to incumbent Governor Brad Little.

McGeachin may have hit your radar this year when she issued an executive order banning vaccine passports acting as governor in Little’s absence. Gov. Little was in Texas for a photo op on the border with Greg Abbott.

Little reversed that order and another similar order by McGeachin banning masks mandates earlier in the year.

Hit the Links

Grassroots Organizations Sue Texas Secretary of State Over Debt-Raising Proposition

Biden plan to make unvaccinated workers pay for Covid testing could backfire

Matthew McConaughey comes out against vaccine mandates for kids

Defeated bonds outpaced passed ones in 2021

P.S. Before social media, Americans had the good sense to ignore the political fever dreams of actors. Betty White is a clown.

Thanks for reading

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