Naked City

Going, Going Green?

Texas Monthly dubbed Rick Green one the state's worst legislators, but, even with his ethical choices drawing heat, there's just no stopping the state rep from Dripping Springs. This time, though, the District 46 Republican faces not one but two opponents who, judging from Green's sinking popularity in the House, just might give the cocky incumbent a run for his money. In other words, it's going to take more than the celebrity backing of Darrell Royal to get folks to pull the lever for Green in '02.

Green will face a GOP challenge in political newcomer Melinda Ballard, who recently won a huge mold contamination settlement against Farmers Insurance Group. On the other side of the aisle, Patrick Rose, viewed by many to be a rising star in Hays Co. Democratic politics (such as they are), is gaining ground by the day. It also helps that the young up-and-comer's family carries some weight in Dripping Springs' political and business circles.

Although District 46's ever-growing Republican stronghold (including Hays, Caldwell, and now Blanco counties) gave Green a narrow victory in his first bid in '98, Democrats still see silver linings everywhere they turn. In that same election year, for example, Dems John Sharp and Paul Hobby carried the county -- even if it was by a few whiskers. Still, there's no mistaking the numbers. At last count, Hays' political makeup broke down this way: 55.6% Republican, 44.4% Democrat.

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