Monday, April 05, 2010

TX-14 Runoff Early Voting Starts Today

The last “big” race in Fort Bend County, in part that is, is the race for who is to be the Democratic candidate to run against Ron Paul in Texas CD-14.

I have posted on this race twice before and have made no bones about my preferences in this race, preferences for which I have been mildly criticized. But I am not going to rehash about all of that.

Oh, wait, yes I am.

The runoff election pits attorney Winston Cochran against Galena Park Police Chief Robert Pruett. I would post the campaign websites of both candidates again for your perusal but it would appear that the Pruett website, formerly at has apparently been hijacked. Try the link and see for yourself.

I have heard about two criticisms about the Pruett candidacy from the other camp. One, that he is undereducated, and the other, that he has been known for coarse and rude behavior in carrying out his duties as a law enforcement officer.

Let me address the second point first.

What? You have got to be kidding!

Now, as to the second point, how much education does the US Constitution require a United States Congressman to have? Let’s look – Article I Section 2:

“No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.”

That is the sum total of the prerequisites to be elected to this office.

Oh, by the reasoning given, given the choice between a fancy lawyer with a fancy law degree and a lowly police chief with whatever degrees he has, or doesn’t have, we should opt for the one with the highest level of education.

Whether this is a fair way to judge who you should vote for depends on how you would answer this question:

Who would make the best President:

  1. a guy who graduated from Yale with an overall GPA of 76 (81 in his senior year), then took some time off, then came back to earn his J.D. degree from Boston College, or
  2. a guy who graduated from Yale with an overall GPA of 79, a degree in History, then took some time off and came back to earn his MBA from Harvard Business School (overall GPA 3.5).

If you opted for the Yale guy who then went to Harvard, then George W. Bush is your man and John Kerry is clearly the more under-qualified.

Which of the two candidates, on the other hand, Cochran or Pruett, is the lifelong Democrat? The one who we can depend on in the close votes?

Pruett claims to be a lifelong Democrat. That fact is not easily proven since his primary voting record indicates participation in the Democratic primaries only in 2008 and 2010. However, I am willing to take the man’s word for it.

Cochran also claims to be a Democrat. His primary voting record, it seems, is even more dismal than Pruett’s. Cochran has never voted in a primary election, Democratic or Republican as far back as the online voting records go. Except for the 2010 primary. He voted in the Democratic primary in that one. So we have actually uncovered a Texas Democrat who did not participate in the 2008 Democratic primary process.


But most damning is the absolute fact that Winston Cochran was on the Republican ballot in the 1992 primary for the House District 135 seat. He was. Look for yourself. Here is the screenshot.

But here is the real problem. TX-14 is a pretty safe Republican district. So winning the primary is only the beginning of an uphill battle. Take for instance the primary voting records. In the 2010 Democratic primary, a total of 16,436 votes were cast, spread semi-evenly over the three candidates. On the other side of the aisle, despite the best efforts of mainstream Republicans to unseat their Libertarian congressman, Ron Paul garnered 80.76% of the vote and that translates to 45,947 votes.

This is a very uphill battle for any Democrat, a sometime one or lifelong one, it doesn’t really matter. Ron Paul has a lot of popularity among his constituents for some unfathomable reason. But here is my best guess. My best guess is that if there is some reason to vote against Ron Paul, like him getting caught on the runway in a stripper bar (something that arguably could even up his polling among his constituents) Robert Pruett could more easily capture that vote than Winston Cochran.

Pruett looks like a guy you don’t want to mess with. He acts like it. He dresses like it.

He looks to me like the kind of guy who would appeal to Independents who are sick and tired of not being represented by “Dr. No.” He looks to me to be the kind of guy who might appeal to mainstream Republicans who are tired of having a Libertarian ideologue as their standard bearer in Congress.

So I still think Pruett Can Do It, even if his website doesn’t load anymore.


Kevin M. Murphy said...

I'm proud to count Robert Pruett as a friend. He may not have a law degree on his wall like I do, but he's one of the smartest candidates I know. He is also what the aunts call "good people." He is a great campaigner and has the best chance of anybody of winning this race.

Susan said...

I'm going with Pruett, too. I recall fighting Winston Cochran, the Republican, when he was an ADA in Fort Bend. We suffered under the DA he worked to elect.

Pruett is a fighter and his work ethic cannot be questioned. Plus, he has very cool hats.