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News from the Votemaster

Democrats Escape Disaster in Texas

While nobody seriously expected any Democrat to beat Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is this year's Senate election, the best case was to find somebody who could self finance the campaign (thus costing the Democratic Party nothing), put up a good fight, then lose graciously by 15%. The worst case was really bad however. The Democrats could have nominated a follower of Lyndon LaRouche who would have said a lot of crazy things, including a call to impeach President Obama. Calls to impeach Obama are pretty common, but generally not from Democratic Senate candidates.

It could have happened. There were two candidates running for the Texas Democratic Senate nomination, Kesha Rogers, the LaRouche follower, and David Alameel, a wealthy dentist. In the first round of the primary, neither one hit the 50% needed to prevent a runoff, although Alameel came close. Thus there was a runoff yesterday, which Alameel won decisively yesterday with 70% of the vote. The National Democrats gave a big sigh of relief not having to deal with Rogers.

While Alameel, who is funding his campaign entirely himself, has no chance of unseating Cornyn, he is a good candidate for the Democrats to showcase. He came to America from Lebanon at 20, worked as a farm laborer for a while and also at a gas station, then managed to go to college and then dental school. He had a successful dental practice, then set up more dental clinics and eventually had and finally sold a chain of dental clinics, retiring as a wealthy man. Stories like this about immigrants who lived the American Dream fit in well with the Democrats attempts to reform the immigration laws.

Republicans Court Disaster in Texas

The Republicans also held a runoff yesterday, for lieutenant governor. The current lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, a conservative but establishment favorite, was running for a fourth term against a tea party candidate in the mold of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Dewhurst lost badly with his opponent, Dan Patrick, getting 65% of the vote. Patrick immediately credited God for his victory.

The problem for the Republicans is that Patrick is so far to the right and so inclined to say outrageous things, that there is an actual chance he could lose the general election to the Democrat, San Antonio state senator Leticia van de Putte. Van de Putte, a trained pharmacist with a degree from Harvard, is a Latina (her birth name is Leticia San Miguel). Her presence on the ballot is likely to greatly increase the Latino turnout, which helps all Democrats in the state.

You might think, what difference does it make who is lieutenant governor of Texas unless the governor dies or is appointed to some position in a future Republican administration, but you would be wrong. The Texas lieutenant governor is by far the most powerful lieutenant governor in the country. Unlike the Vice President of the United States, whose job is to call the White House at 8 A.M. every mornng to see if the President is still alive, and if so, take the day off (unless the Senate is split 50-50), the Texas lieutenant governor actually runs the Texas state senate. Among other things, he or she determines which committees there will be, who will sit on each one, and who is chairman of each one. Even though the Republicans have the majority in the state senate, Van de Putte could put Democrats in all the postions of power and force the governor to seriously negotiate about everything. This is not a scenario the Republicans are looking forward to.

In addition, a Democratic lieutenant governor would be in a good position to challenge an incumbent Republican governor in 2018. All in all, the race for Texas lieutenant governor has suddenly become one of the top contests for 2014.

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---The Votemaster
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