Windmills 3, Quixotes 0

The GOP prevails in three new Central Texas strongholds

As for the other Democrats hoping to represent Austin in Congress, the results were just as depressing as Tom DeLay intended – Lorenzo Sadun, Jon Porter, and Rhett Smith were all soundly beaten.

Sadun's loss in CD 10 – which stretches from north Austin to northwest Houston – was the most depressing. Even though he knew his hard-fought write-in campaign couldn't hope to defeat Republican Michael McCaul, he was at least optimistic for a good showing as he braved the cold outside of Gullett Elementary at 6:45pm. "I'm sure it's going to be in the range of, 'Wow, that's amazing for a write-in [but] wow that's pathetic for a competitive race," he said. "Anything between 15 and 40 percent falls in that range."

But about two hours later, at the Democrats' Driskill Hotel party, he was visibly crushed – he hadn't even come close to his modest goals. Only 13,509 wrote him in, less than 6% of voters – far behind even Libertarian Robert Fritsche's 15%. "It's much lower than what I expected," Sadun said. "I really expected Travis County to come through. Obviously the willingness of Travis County to vote for anybody but the Republican is there, if you look at Robert Fritsche's numbers, but I couldn't translate them into Democratic write-in votes." Sadun said he would not consider an actual on-the-ballot run in 2006, but, "I've made a lot of connections over the last six months, and they're vital. The people in Austin County, and Sealy and Bellville, they've been working their tails off for me, and whoever steps up, I will drive them around the district and introduce them to everybody I know and give them a huge head start over where I started."

Cedar Park Dem Jon Porter was also despondent that he didn't show better against Round Rock Republican John Carter in CD 31, which stretches from Williamson Co. up to Stephenville. "He's going to kick my ass," Porter said from his home as he awaited what would be a 66%-32% defeat (Libertarian Celeste Adams took 3%). "We did the best we could with what we had."

Asked what it would take for a Dem to win CD 31 in the future, Porter said, "Money. A lot of it." He estimated that Carter had spent more than $10 for each of his 159,905 votes, while Porter spent less than $1 each on his 79,784. "The state [Democratic] party hasn't done crap for me, and the national party won't even return my calls," he complained. "We'll keep being Quixotes until the party wakes up."

Things were about the same in CD 21, which goes from the UT area through western Travis Co., down to San Antonio. Democrat Rhett Smith of San Antonio pulled 36% against incumbent Lamar Smith. As expected, the bulk of Rhett Smith's votes came from Austin – in fact, he almost won in Travis Co., getting 71,203 here against the Republican's 77,877.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

congressional elections, Lorenzo Sadun, Robert Fritsche, Michael McCaul, Jon Porter, John Carter, Rhett Smith, Lamar Smith

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