Thursday, March 06, 2008

Texas CD 22: Runoffs Gone Wild

As anyone who pays attention already knew, the 10 little Republicans who crowded stage after stage this primary season battling for the Republican nomination for congressman in “The Fighting 22nd” have now been whittled down to the two everyone expected to get to a runoff: Shelley Sekula Gibbs and Pete Olson.

Surprises still abound though: Sekula Gibbs came in with a much weaker showing than I ever would have expected, getting only 16,681 votes or 29.72% of the vote. Olson did a little better than I expected, with 11,630 votes, or 20.72% of the vote.

Sekula Gibbs’ totals are the highest, in my opinion, because she is the candidate with built-in name recognition. Her write-in race against Nick Lampson in 2006 was all in the news. People had to learn how to activate the write-in utility of the Dial-A-Vote eSlate system that our county commissioners foisted upon Fort Bend County voters, then had to get her name spelled in some reasonable way so the elections officers could interpret “voter intent” (although to this day I still have trouble figuring out how they knew that the word “dragonc_ _ t ” meant Shelley).

Olson’s numbers are fairly high for someone who had nine fingers pointed at him with nine voices uttering the words “Stranger! Stranger!” all day. One can imagine that to these voters, that doesn’t matter so much. What mattered, I think, is that he wasn’t Shelley.

Because there’s that other newsy thing that I doubt many people have forgotten yet. The thing where Shelley won the special election, went to DC, moved into her office, took on Tom DeLay’s old staffers, waited for George and Dick to come and witness her swearing in, raised a fit when they didn’t show, had her entire staff walk out on her, and called for a congressional investigation about a standard housekeeping procedure.

Remember that? Well you can bet the DC guys that sent Pete Olson to tame this congressional district, a district that went maverick on them and elected a Democrat, hadn’t forgotten either, which is why they sent Pete in.

Upon first reflection, I am thinking that the low numbers that Shelley received are what I am starting to call the Obama/Limbaugh Effect. Rush ordered his ditto-heads to the polls in Texas and they cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. Other rightwing Republicans, maybe more fatalistic ones, rushed to the polls and voted for Obama so that they could finally get rid of Hillary Clinton once and for all (a Democrat was going to win, they said, they just didn’t want it to be Clinton). The net result is a loss of primary votes for wacky, wacky Shelley Sekula Gibbs, the neocon’s best friend.

Votes she can’t have back in the runoff, either, because they voted in the Democratic primary.

Putting, I fear, Pete Olson in the catbird seat. Now all Pete has to do is get the endorsements of his main rivals: John Manlove and Bob Talton. Dean Hrbacek was once a Sekula Gibbs cheerleader, so who knows what he will do?

With two endorsements and a much, much lower Republican turnout in the runoff, Olson is a real contender, so we ought to be seeing a real horse race here.

This upsets me a little, because I was looking for a good laugh and lots of entertainment from the GOPers who want to mount a campaign against “Liberal Lampson” (oh God I just WISH it were true). If Pete knocks Shelley out of the race, there goes the comedy.

On the bright side, if Pete Olson carries the day in the runoff, the Republicans will lose one of their biggest (and silliest) claims, that Nick Lampson is an outsider, a Beaumont carpet bagger.

Next to Olson, Nick Lampson is paisano.


Earl said...

Silly Shelley had the gall to produce and mail--at taxpayers' expense--a self-promoting Congressional newsletter. This arrived in my mailbox AFTER she had retreated back to Houston. And how about the expense of that Special Election to fill her vacant Houston City Council seat? Yeah, yeah, we done good on that, but REALLY! And the opportunistic Gibbster calls herself a conservative now? You can bet Lampson is rooting for her because his campaign would pretty much write itself.

Hal said...

If I were in Lampson's campaign I would right now be working my hardest to see that Shelley is the winner in the runoff. Problem is, I doubt that there is anyone who can dream up the crazy stuff that can be put out to paint Shelley as the savior of the GOP Anyone, that is, who doesn't eat, sleep and breathe crazy Republican things.

I know. I've tried and they can out crazy me every darn time.

Anonymous said...

These three would kill each other (metaphorically) for the cash and power the congress seems to attract. You are right about one thing, there aren't any moderates or non-corporatist in this final bunch. They will all do what they are told for the money.

Earl said...

Here's a joke for you: What did the Republican voter say when asked why s/he voted for Sekula-Gibbs in the Primary, but voted for Olson in the Runoff?

"Sometimes you feel like a nut--sometimes you don't."

Leonard said...

Didn't Pete Olson grow up in Houston and go to Rice...?

Hal said...

I heard that he did. And he MAY have grown up in Houston within a present or former CD 22 boundary, who knows the way the boundaries have shifted. This issue is strictly between Pete and Shelley. As I said, compared to Nick Lampson, Pete is a foreigner. Two things he can't argue is that until this past week, Pete Olson has never voted in a Texas primary, nor does he hold a license to practice law in Texas.

That information is courtesy of his former opponent, John Manlove, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I just love how they all support the TTC. Lampson too, who voted funding for it and a recent SL airport expansion, much to the chagrin of New Territory and Telfair. It's funny when he takes money from these corporate cliques, just like old TD, and then lets them expand airport flyways over the communities these guys build (kinda like screwing over the customers purchasing in these communities, taking money from those building them and then turning around and asking for them to vote for you, all THREE deserve a GOOD press release on their HYPOCRISY). I'm either an under-vote in the dash for cash or looking for some third party to point and click in protest.

I wonder what you call democrats who are neo-cons,,, just cons I guess?

Anonymous said...

For his sake, I hope Lampson rents in D.C. because his days are numbered, even with Shelley.