Removal of several Lege incumbents during primaries could signify shift to right
Stealth to the Right?
The high primary turnout of Democrats is being seen as a good sign for House Democrats in November. But with so many seats in the Texas Lege uncontested in November, the removal of several incumbents during primaries could in fact signify a shift to the right and to reps even more friendly to House Speaker Tom Craddick.
El Paso Republican Pat Haggerty, first elected to House District 78 in 1988, a GOP rebel who led last session's anti-Craddick walkout, was defeated by well-funded party establishment (endorsed by Gov. Rick Perry) candidate Dee Margo (who now must face popular Democratic Assistant District Attorney Joseph Moody). And two conservatives lost their seats for not being conservative enough. In Houston's HD 130, ex-cop Allen Fletcher defeated incumbent Corbin Van Arsdale, blasted for the sins of supporting tax bills and sponsoring a failed journalism shield law. Up in Dallas (HD 101), freshman Thomas Latham lost to Mesquite Mayor Mike Anderson, who ran on a platform attacking the evils of taxes, illegal immigration, and sexual predators. He faces a November contest against Democratic lawyer Robert Miklos.
The bloodletting was even more brutal among Democrats. In Houston, defrocked veteran Al Edwards got his revenge on freshman Borris Miles by taking back HD 146 – the seat Edwards held for 26 years before being ejected by Miles in the 2006 primary. While Edwards gained a reputation for grandstanding – for trying to place his own likeness on the Juneteenth Memorial Monument and for his "booty bill" to ban overly suggestive high school cheerleading – he was also one of the longest-serving Craddick Ds. (Miles' brief tenure had produced its own controversy.)
In El Paso, Haggerty wasn't the only anti-Craddick rep ousted in the primaries. Dem incumbent Paul Moreno lost HD 77 by 3 percentage points to Marisa Marquez. Moreno had attacked Marquez for taking $49,000 in contributions from the anti-tort Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, a big contributor to Craddick-friendly campaigns. In another rough race, two-time HD 43 Rep. Juan Manuel Escobar lost 54-46% to South Padre Island board Alderwoman Tara Rios Ybarra. Like Marquez, Ybarra was attacked for being a "Craddick D in waiting" and endured a Texas Ethics Commission complaint for spending campaign contributions before she had a campaign; in turn, she alleged (without naming names) that a break-in at her campaign office in November was politically motivated.
Anti-Craddick Dems could take some solace in the ejection of noted Craddick D Kevin Bailey in HD 140 (Houston), to be replaced by Armando Walle. – Richard Whittaker
*Oops! The following correction ran in the March 21, 2008 issue: Due to an editing error in the March 14 News section, two stories reported and written by Richard Whittaker – "Stealth to the Right?" and "And They're Off! ... Again" – were mistakenly attributed to Lee Nichols. The Chronicle regrets the error.
Lee Nichols, Fri., July 15, 2011
Fri., April 1, 2011
Richard Whittaker, Fri., Nov. 19, 2010
Richard Whittaker, Fri., March 5, 2010
Richard Whittaker, Fri., Feb. 19, 2010
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