Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What To Look For Tonight Coming Out Of Texas


In today's Texas primaries there are lots of really horrible politicians running... on both sides of the aisle. Most of the candidates are human garbage in nice clothing. But not all of them... and there's one race in particular we should all be watching as the results roll in from El Paso tonight. We've covered Beto O'Rourke's challenge to corrupt Democratic incumbent Silvestre Reyes before. If Beto wins tonight-- and he's been leading substantially in early voting-- it will be yet another race where an outsider overthrows a favored Establishment old timer, not unlike Matt Cartwright's win over Tim Holden.

TX-16 is a solid Democratic district. Under the new boundaries Obama would have beaten McCain 64-35%. He won the old district 66-34%. Basically, whoever wins tonight will be the next congressman from this district that basically is the westernmost tip of Texas, the city of El Paso and it's suburbs. Gore and Kerry both beat former Texas governor George Bush in this district where the population is close to 80% Hispanic.

Early voting has been record-breaking as younger and more forward-looking voters mobilize to rid their community of someone who has definitely overstayed his time and whose tawdry behavior is an embarrassment to a city proud of recent achievements, achievements associated with O'Rourke and his service on the City Council, rather than with a remote congressman who specializes in nepotism, corruption and coddling the Military-Industrial Complex.

El Paso is the only city in Texas in the Mountain Time Zone. When polls close tonight at 7pm local time, it'll be 6pm on the West Coast and 9pm on the East Coast. Local media has been covering the election almost breathlessly and with a n air of great excitement. The El Paso Times, biggest newspaper in the region, endorsed Beto 2 weeks ago flatly stating that "sending Beto O'Rourke to Congress is an important next step in choosing leadership that positions El Paso to be a leading international city in the 21st century... [I]t's time for a change. And O'Rourke brings the background and passion that El Paso needs." The Times asserts that Reyes, who first won the seat in 1996, has "a mixed record."
[H]e has often lacked focus at home, not paying enough attention to critical issues such as international crossings. And he largely ceased holding town-hall meetings with constituents. Also, Reyes' congressional office has not engaged effectively with other El Paso-area governments. He has stood on the sidelines as decisions have been made or, worse, jumped in at the last minute without consulting other leaders.

O'Rourke, on the other hand, has served effectively on City Council for six years as a key player in a team of progressive new leaders who put city government on a solid path. He has never hid from a challenge, and has sought out conversation with those citizens who disagree with his positions. He is a good listener, a rare commodity in politics.

O'Rourke has focused his campaign on improving El Paso's economy. A key part of that involves improving the flow of goods across the international border. O'Rourke has proposed a number of smaller steps to improve bridge-crossing times, steps that seem achievable even given Congress's current state of inaction.

He also recognizes the importance of building on the recent gains at Fort Bliss. There is admittedly some risk in removing a veteran congressional incumbent at a time when the military will have to look at downsizing. But we believe that O'Rourke, working with other community and state leaders, will be able to protect the vital role Fort Bliss plays in our national security.

...El Paso is at a crossroads. The improved performance in recent years of Commissioners Court and City Council show that passionate, dedicated young leadership can reshape a community and help move it in the right direction.

O'Rourke has been an important part of that change. He can continue that work if we elect him to the House of Representatives. He is the right choice in the Democratic primary, and will be the right choice for the community in November.

Reyes is a moderate, garden variety Democrat-- except in matters of war when he's really a Republican-- but his campaign has, oddly, tried to paint the progressive O'Rourke as a Republican. He claims that O'Rourke wants to "change" Social Security. And it's true; O'Rourke does-- in the same way that all progressives want to change it-- shoring it up by raising the income cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share. Beto, now 39, was the guitarist and singer in El Paso-based Foss, a popular local EMO/grunge band. In 2006 he was voted "Best Elected Official" in El Paso's weekly paper, What's Up, with the mayor coming in second and Reyes coming in third. O'Rourke will make a great replacement for Reyes, whose best days as a public official are long passed.

The Texas-based Campaign for Primary Accountability, which has the strongest track-record this cycle for helping challengers beat entrenched incumbents has pumped almost $200,000 into the campaign against Reyes, evening up the odds a bit in a case where all the slimy armaments makers and military contractors are pouring cash into Reyes' campaign. This was their first ad:

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At 12:18 AM, Blogger John said...

O'Rourke wins with 50.47% thus avoiding a runoff.


John Puma


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