Sunday, January 21, 2007

Caucus Vulnerabilities - Courage vs. Iscariot

I wanted to look at some aspects of the two caucuses that are being bandied about the Texas progressive blogs lately: the “Courage Caucus” and the “Iscariot Caucus”. I wanted to look at the two in terms of the vulnerabilities found in each in terms of a primary or general election challenge.

The 27 members of the Courage Caucus, named so because they had the courage to cast “No” votes in the single candidate race for House Speaker. Courage, because they had no hope of winning and had every reason to believe that they would be relegated to political Siberia in retribution committee assignments by the Speaker.

The 15 members of the Iscariot Caucus, elsewhere named “Craddick D’s”and “Democraddicks” voted with the Republicans to retain Craddick as speaker. Their reasons for doing this are as individual as their districts because the compilation I made in this short analysis and include below indicate that, with one exception, these Democrats are in fairly safe districts.

First let’s look at the Courage Caucus. Of the two it is the more interesting. Of the 27, 8 had Republican opponents in the 2006 General Election. Of those 8, 4 were in less than landslide win races. So of these 27, I’d say that a concerted effort to unseat these will be made by Republicans in 2008. These are races to watch, and for all Progressive Democrats to support with time and resources.

Two races concern me in particular, one is Joe Farias’. Farias, you are truly a wild man. The other is Juan Garcia’s. Particularly if they find an opponent who doesn’t look like death warmed over. Solomon Ortiz may also have problems.

As I pointed out above, and in another post, the only person in the Iscariot Caucus who is not from a safe district is Patrick Rose. He therefore probably had the greatest number of political reasons to vote for Craddick The term “Iscariot” probably doesn’t apply to him.

Of the rest, again, they all had individual reasons for their votes. Some have accused them of feathering their own nests at the expense of their constituents. If that is the case, then it will be a no-brainer that they will be replaced. However it’s a fine line to draw: if a temporary political alliance gets them, and consequently their districts, something extra, then I can’t fault them. What concerns me is how much of it was “fear factor” a vote for Craddick because of a reasonable suspicion that he would win anyway. Rumors persist of a small Pitts voting bloc that were going to vote for Pitts if every other member of the bloc did so, and that one of them bolted causing the others to also. I don’t even know if any in this bloc were among the Iscariots.

Anyway, as you can see from this table, the only Iscariot Caucus Member with a chance for a credible primary challenge is Eddie Lucio. With the others, I think it depends on how things go in the next 14 months. That is, 13 of these 15 have 14 months to make it up to their constituents or explain, and have good explanations for, why they voted for Craddick.


Perry Dorrell, aka PDiddie said...

What do you suppose the effects on their political future outside the Texas House might be on the Iscariot Caucus?

Some of these folks could sit in those seats for the next twenty or thirty years. And they may have to now, since establishing a base of support among statewide activists is going to be met with a measure of criticism.

Video of one sneaking down a back alley like a dope dealer could be harmful to one's political aspirations. Maybe not within one's district but possibly outside it.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

True, but also you fail to mention that 2008 is a pres yr. In S. Tx Farias, and Ortiz are in Dist that will have 5%-15% more D's turn out than in a non pres yr. Juan on the other had is in trouble.

Hal said...

What I am wondering is whether any of the Iscariots actually have aspirations for statewide office. If this is the route they are taking with this very limited district view, maybe there are no plans. Or maybe, as one canny observer has pointed out to me more than once, maybe they are counting on voter amnesia. Or maybe they are counting on the most often asked vote-deciding question in any given race: "Who did we vote for last time?".