Doggett Seals the Deal
Austin's hometown hero smashes 'Armendariz!' Klein in the 'fajita district'
In case it wasn't clear that Tom DeLay wouldn't get everything he wanted, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin-and-points-south, drove the point home in his late-late-night victory speech at the Democratic confab at the Driskill. "It's official: Soy el congresisto Lloyd Doggett," he proclaimed in the wake of his 68% victory in the new CD 25, taking a big rhetorical bite out of DeLay's effort to bump the left-leaning Anglo veteran by dumping him into a majority-Hispanic district. (His Spanish is, by his own admission, "getting better.")
He went on to laud the strong showing by other Democrats in Travis Co. where Doggett won by a 4-to-1 margin over GOP challenger Becky "Armendariz!" Klein before sticking his knife into DeLay for the last time in a yearlong campaign in which Doggett never strayed from the message that the House Majority Leader was his real opponent. "Tom DeLay made clear that if he couldn't take out Lloyd Doggett, Chet Edwards, and Martin Frost, then the whole thing" re-redistricting "wasn't worth doing," Doggett said. "Well, two out of three of us will be back. We said to DeLay: You're not going to get away with it in our hometown."
On the other hand, Doggett continued, despite the vigor with which this personalized battle was fought, throughout his campaign he stressed "this is not about one person, but about the values we hold dear." At an hour when it already seemed clear that Nov. 2 would be bad for Democrats nationally, Doggett did his utmost to validate the local party's faith. "We've shown tonight we're not going to be a me-too nation and a one-party state," he said. "We'll stand up for what we believe in, and whatever the outcome, we'll never give up and never give in."
For her part, A-Klein proclaimed herself "dissatisfied," but nonetheless as proud as anybody who spends $700,000 to get trounced throughout the district. "From the beginning, we knew that it was going to be an uphill battle, but we ran an ethical campaign focusing on values and important issues," she said in a day-after press release. (The release noted that "In a district that is 66% Democratic, Armendariz Klein managed to secure 31% of the vote." Apparently, mathematical logic is not among the campaign's values.)
Doggett now finds himself among a South Texas delegation that, despite being rejiggered by redistricting, remains the state's Democratic bulwark. The two "fajita districts" on either side of CD 25, both of which likewise stretch into metro Austin, remained in D hands, with incumbent Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, holding off Michael Thamm in CD 15 (which includes Bastrop). And former state Rep. Henry Cuellar who narrowly beat incumbent Ciro Rodriguez in the primary for CD 28, which now includes much of Hays Co. defeated Jim Hopson and will finally (after a close loss in 2002) be going to Washington.