I have been aware of the fact that for some time there has been a dearth of campaign signs going up in Fort Bend County for Republican candidates. No, really, even compared to the last mid-term election in 2006 the scarcity of Republican campaign signs is noticeable.
And now I see that there is someone, a Republican no less, that is in apparent agreement with me. Bob Haenel, who writes for a local rag called the Fort Bend Herald Coaster has looked around the Richmond/Rosenberg area and sees that a virtual forest of Democratic campaign signs have been put out, and only a few rare occurrences of Republican signs have been noted. Haenel sees this as a sign of increased energy in the Democratic Party.
Now as a former sign putter outer myself, I know that this is simply not true. The number of signs that have been put out may be a little higher than in the recent past, but that’s mainly because more Democrats than ever before have filed to run for county offices.
More candidates, more signs.
So yes, there is a greater energy simply because more Democrats are laying it on the line, but if signage, or lack of signage, is an indication of anything, it is an indication of 1) Republican lethargy, and 2) more than a little hiding in plain sight.
You see, I think the two are related.
I have it on good authority that some of the Republican signs that you see are out there because of this article. Last September, the Chronicle ran a story on a local U of H demographer who predicts that Fort Bend County, is changing in its demographics and will soon have a majority of Democratic voters. Democratic voters who vote a straight party ticket.
Longtime Republican officeholders took one look at that article and went out and bought themselves some campaign signs then and there. They can no longer depend on Republican turnout and Republican straight ticket votes to do the trick.
And then there’s this poll at Fox News. Fox News found out last March that most Republican voters – as in 79% of them – want to vote out all incumbents.
In Fort Bend County, incumbent officeholders, with the exception of four individuals, are all Republicans.
Leading me to my final thesis: there may be good reason for this Republican lethargy. The best way to identify yourself as an incumbent is to put out big campaign signs touting that fact. We see this effect nationwide in conservative areas where Democrats are running for re-election and neglect to include on their campaign signs their party affiliation.
Republican candidates may just be hiding in plain sight with crossed fingers on both hands expecting the worst and hoping for a nice surprise when the worst fails to occur.
Kind of like a blogger I know.