WED brief 1.12.22
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ALLEN WEST has released polling suggesting he has a lead over Greg Abbott in the GOP primary.
First, all campaign polls are to be taken with a healthy grain of salt, this one is no exception, but there are helpful takeaways, including West being the first to market.
The polling method, calls, and text messages may skew the universe younger to West’s benefit. Also, it’s unclear how Huffines and Prather have cratered to such lows. Still, that Abbott has been drawn into striking distance of his rivals is evident in the Governor’s sudden shift in activity and demeanor.
How much into striking distance might be exaggerated by West’s poll, but the outcome is the same, a runoff. Also, candidate ranking (aside from Abbott sliding in second) tracks earlier polling.
A large swatch of undecided voters is terrible news for Greg; as a rule (a counterexample would be 2012), undecided voters tend to vote against the incumbent.
The undecided figure in West’s polling, around 13% is less than UT’s last effort in October of 2021 (20% combined someone else and have no opinion) and suggests more folks making up their mind.
Since UT’s October poll, Rick Perry (depending on who you ask, real or fake) has entered the race and may have taken a massive chunk out of Abbott in the process, leading to the next item.
GREG ABBOTT is going on defense. It's a loser move.
Yesterday, at an event rolling out endorsements from Texas Sheriff’s Abbott, he spent a good deal of time answering questions about his Operation Lone Star border surge operation.
In late 2021, media outlets began reporting on pay and morale issues with troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border. Abbott’s response was ham-fisted, at best.
Additionally, he’s either misinformed or lying about pay issues related to his politically motivated surging of troops to the border. Neither is acceptable.
As an incumbent, Abbott has been attempting to campaign in absentia. Now, he pops into frame and looks weak.
It’s all very Dewhurst-y.
Speaking of Dewhurst…
TED CRUZ is rehabbing his rep after calling granny tourists terrorists last week.
Yesterday, Cruz pressed the FBI on its involvement in storming the capitol last January. The FBI refusing to answer his questions is an admission of guilt. Transparency from the government is non-negotiable, and whereas a person is entitled to plead the fifth, governments aren’t.
Cruz will always be less bad than any realistic alternative in his current position, but his limitations are real.
Classic case of “high floor/low ceiling.” Also, his ability to strike while the iron is hot, not unlike Obama or even Beto, shouldn’t be discounted.
But a high political floor beats the alternative, as the next item will clarify.
CELIA ISRAEL, an outgoing Democrat state representative, has announced a campaign for Mayor of Austin. LOL.
Israel is emblematic of a particular type of intellectual mediocrity that thrives in Texas politics. She’s just smart enough to do what she’s told but not smart enough to threaten the good ol’ boy system.
As the head of her party’s campaign arm, Israel was the architect of the Texas Democrats’ catastrophic 2020 failure to flip the Texas House; for the low price of $200 million.
What made Israel’s failures so glaring, of course, is that the 2020 election cycle ran concurrently with the downfall of Dennis Bonnen. Yet, Israel never made Bonnen, and his corruption, a campaign issue.
Managed skillfully, Bonnen’s downfall ought to have cost the GOP 10 seats. Under Celia Israel’s “leadership,” it cost them zero.
In the current race, expect Israel to finish fourth.
Candidates representing the city’s Democrat establishment, the city’s energized right-wing minority, and the city’s communist faction all have logical political bases larger than Israel’s.
Former Mayor and State Senator Kirk Watson are widely expected to become the Democrat establishment nominee. If Watson does pull the trigger, he would be the overwhelming favorite. Former city council candidate Jennifer Virden is running in the right-wing lane.
A runoff between Watson and Virden could be highly productive in shaping the next mayor’s agenda.
One final note on Israel: Besides being a lousy politician, as described above, she was also a bitter-end supporter of Austin’s disastrous homeless camping experiment. Zero chance Austin voters put a homeless camping supporter in the mayor’s office.
Even liberal Austin voters have their limits. (AC)
VACCINE FANATICS continue to be their own worst enemies. The latest, from Dallas: (AC)
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