The circular firing squad is sending in reinforcements and increasing the attacks within the Harris County Republican Party. Paul Bettencourt and his team at KSEV Radio must have received enough positive feedback from their attacks on Harris County Judge Ed Emmett that it encouraged them to double down. Sen. Dan Patrick even tied him to the Sunset Advisory Commission’s last minute recommendation to pull appointment authority to the Port of Houston Authority from the county and city and give it solely to the Governor. That is a terrible idea but illustrative of the animosity within Harris County Republican Party circles and shows the extent to which opponents of Judge Emmett will go to undermine him.
As I noted earlier, the purpose of the attacks is so that the small group that controls the Harris County Republican Party can maintain their control. Yesterday, the group at KSEV brought in Gary Polland to help in the attack on Emmett. Soon enough, we’ll hear from Terry Lowry and Steven Hotze. Those three control the slate endorsement racket and stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the party expands its reach, watering down their power. Hey, some people think it is better to be the big fish in a small pond than it is to be in the ocean with a bunch of other fish the same size. The problem for them is that the pond is shrinking and sooner or later, they will run out of oxygen and disappear. It will happen, because, as Robert Miller noted, you cannot swim against a demographic tide.
The most disturbing thing about the attacks yesterday was that Sen. Patrick repeated his assertion that we should not expand into districts that we cannot win, using the example of Sheila Jackson Lee and Gene Green. He claimed that running an opponent against her increases her turnout and hurts Republican judges. At this point, Bettencourt chimed in and proclaimed that “no one in Harris County knows the numbers better than I do and that is true”. Well, in fact, it isn’t true and it is easily demonstrated with facts that it isn’t true. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again now. Methinks that Tio Pablo has become so full of himself that he no longer understands the data he is reviewing.
Their basic claim was that Sheila Jackson Lee got 40,000 more votes than Gene Green did and the reason is that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee stirred up her community because she had an opponent. First off, Tio Pablo needs to check his calculator because Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee received 60,170 more votes than Rep. Gene Green did, according to the results from Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. But more important to their theory is the fact that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee had an opponent and her vote totals actually went down from 2008 and Rep. Gene Green had no opponent and his numbers actually went up. Fact. Jack.
Here is a chart of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s vote totals and percent of vote for the past seven elections:
What it shows is that she is a voter turnout machine and that it doesn’t matter whether or not she has an opponent, and that when Republicans do have an opponent, they HELP all Republicans on the ballot, not hurt them. The historically high 44,015 votes for Republican Sean Seibert is the result of the hard work and efforts of those of us who refused to listen to this nonsense for the past three elections, particularly two-time candidate John Faulk. Those votes dropped straight to the bottom line of Republican candidates. And it was done without taking resources away from other candidates.
Now take a look at Rep. Gene Green’s vote totals and percent of vote for the past seven elections:
Notice anything? First off, Rep. Gene Green is not a voter turnout machine. He wins because Republicans don’t even try most of the time – those of us that live on the Southeast side of Harris County know that Republicans have traditionally ignored us. This also illustrates the difference between turnout in the black community versus the Latino community.
But look real hard at the 2012 turnout, when Rep. Gene Green had NO Republican opponent. You know, because Sen. Patrick and Tio Pablo told people it was fruitless. Now look at the huge overlap between Rep. Gene Green’s CD-29 and Texas House District 144.
Now take a look at the election results from HD-144:
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Republican David Pineda lost by 1,561 votes. What do you think would have happened if a Republican had ignored the advice of Sen. Dan Patrick and Paul Bettencourt and had been willing to do the hard work of running in CD29?
The idea that Republicans should not try to compete in minority areas will be the death of the party. But more important, by ignoring these areas and leaving them to the ideas of liberalism, we are abandoning the future of the country. In his speech at the Robert Beren Academy this past Thursday on the issue of school choice, Sen. Dan Patrick stated that it was immoral to force children to attend failing schools. Isn’t it just as immoral to not give children in minority areas the opportunity to learn the concepts of liberty, freedom, and opportunity? Instead of abandoning the Asian, Latino, Black, and GLBT communities, we need to expand our efforts to reach them!
Yes, it appears that a civil war is brewing in the Harris County Republican Party. Fortunately, Judge Emmett is well funded and is a proven fund-raiser. Perhaps it is time for an all out war about the future of the party. If this happens, the Democrats will win sooner than expected but so what? Without structural changes in the Harris County Republican Party, they are going to win sooner or later anyway.
Will the big fish decide that it is better to live in an ocean rather than dying a slow, agonizing death in their increasingly smaller pond? I surely do hope so.