Lackluster democratic governor primary draws to a close – houston chronicle kansas gas service login


“With a reduced turnout, it’s expected that Valdez will emerge as the winner on Tuesday,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas who has been studying Texas politics for decades, as far back as when Democrats were in charge.

“Valdez appears ill-equipped in a number of ways — familiarity with the issues and a lack of a statewide campaign organization to name two — and that will end up to an election cycle where Democratic hopes will rest almost entirely at the top of the ticket, with Beto O’Rourke (running against GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz), for any gains they make this year.”

Fellow politics-watcher Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, agreed: “Both of these candidates are six months behind where they should be at this point in their campaigns, and it’s so hard to catch up when you’re the underdog.”

To Texans like Carl Chastain, 71, a lifelong Austin Democrat, the predictions ring true. “The party is left with no great choice. Neither one can probably win short of a miracle,” he lamented after a recent Austin debate between Valdez and White.

“Don’t tell me this Latina can’t work her you-know-what off and win, to make things the way they should be,” Valdez said, stressing that her grassroots organizing Democrats across Texas — slow though it may be — will prevail over Abbott in a November surprise.

“This year, I think, will be their lowest point in history,” Jillson said. “The big donors have gotten tired of writing checks to a losing campaign. The credible candidates know this is not an election cycle the Democrats can win, and they didn’t get in. So far, (Valdez) hasn’t been able the raise the bar.”

Last week, Valdez announced that she had raised about $290,600 since February, out-raising White, and had $258,000 in cash in her account. Within hours, citing an unexplained “administrative error,” she had to amend her report downward to show she had raised just $208,000 — just a tad more than White — and had only $115,200 on hand.

For his part, White waged a brief Twitter fight with Cecile Richards, the former national head of Planned Parenthood, over him quoting her during the debate as saying there is room for people like him in “her movement.” Planned Parenthood is a big supporter of Valdez.

“Rule #1. Don’t speak for someone else, especially a woman you’ve never met or talked to, like me. Rule #2. That’s also why women don’t like politicians telling us what to do with our bodies,” Richards, daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, said in a tweet on Thursday that quickly caught fire in Texas’ political community.

After reports that White was not spending his accumulated $1 million in campaign donations, giving the appearance he may have given up, White announced that he was going up on TV in the Austin market with an ad that will air through Tuesday — a spot that touts his rescue heroics in a small fishing boat during Hurricane Harvey.

Both candidates in the closing days have continued making campaign appearances in key areas — Valdez in South Texas, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and the Houston area; White in Dallas, Houston, Austin and perhaps San Antonio, Valdez’s hometown.

“It just doesn’t look like either campaign has a chance and, frankly, neither (candidate) looks great — even in a year when Democrats are supposed to be the great choice,” said Jillian Romero, 34, a therapist from Pflugerville who said she has been doing volunteer work in a local Democratic legislative race.