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Texas: Dems Try to Split GOP Vote in Race for DeLay's Seat

On the heels of a Houston Chronicle poll that showed a write-in Republican candidate with a chance of winning the Texas House seat long held by former Rep. Tom DeLay (R), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has sent a piece of direct mail to voters in the district hoping to muddy the waters.

Texas's 22nd House District

The mailer -- a feat of political jujitsu -- touts Republican write-in Don Richardson's support for President Bush on the Patriot Act. The front of the mail piece asks: "Republican Congressional write-in candidate Don Richardson supports President Bush's Patriot Act. Do you?"

It also mentions that Richardson backs a plan to put American troops on the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration and warrantless wiretapping of phone calls made by suspected terrorists. In other words, Richardson holds views that are thought to be rather popular in this district.

Richardson is one of three Republicans running as write-in candidates in Texas's 22nd District. Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is the best known of the three and the one with the support of the state and national party. Businessman Joe Reasbeck is also running as a write-in. (Due to a ballot snafu surrounding DeLay's resignation, Republicans were unable to replace his name on the ballot, forcing GOP candidates to run write-in campaigns.)

Why would the DCCC send out mail that would seem to benefit a Republican write-in candidate? The results from the Houston Chronicle poll explain the strategy. The poll showed Democrat Nick Lampson getting 36 percent of the vote while a write-in candidate took 35 percent. Of that 35 percent, eight in ten said they planned to vote for Sekula-Gibbs. If that level of support is born out she would only trail Lampson by mid- to high-single digits.

Remember that the National Republican Congressional Committee has been actively educating voters about how to write-in Sekula-Gibbs for the last few months. This is a highly educated district and Republicans believe that voters are well aware of what they need to do to cast a write-in ballot.

For Democrats to win in a district like this one, they must find a way to divvy up the GOP votes -- keeping Republicans from unifying behind Sekula-Gibbs. Since neither Richardson, who hasn't even filed a report with the Federal Election Commission, or Reasbeck, who had $1,500 on hand as of Oct. 18, has the financial resources to communicate with voters, the DCCC is doing it for them.

Will it work? It might. In past cycles we've seen efforts like this pay off. Remember back to 2000 when the NRCC sent out mail to Democratic primary voters reminding them of a variety of conservative issue positions held by Rep. Michael Forbes, who had recently switched from the Republican Party to the Democrats. It worked. An elderly librarian named Regina Seltzer won the Democratic nod and went on to lose the seat to a Republican in the general election.

Republicans are increasingly confident about their chances in the 22nd District. Democrats' decision to send what is essentially a pro-Richardson mailing shows they too are getting a bit jumpy. Regardless of the outcome the race is clearly more competitive than anyone expected a few months ago.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 1, 2006; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Maybe aim the fork at is too early on the last post, obviously a brain f%rt on knowing what thread I was on.

Posted by: STick a fork in It | November 2, 2006 6:55 AM | Report abuse

There are three people attempting a write in campaign. There was a story yesterday where the DEMS did a direct mail piece on behalf of another write-in candidate, presumably to split the GOP write-in effort.

I agree with Repairman, This one is over...done...stick a fork in it.

Posted by: Stick A Fork In It | November 2, 2006 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Rep. Delay! Reminds me that a candidate's name can sometimes be the key to victory. Take Indiana-2 for example: the Dems would win against GOP Rep. Count Chocula if they had found a candidate named "Frankenberry." Or in Montana, they could easily beat Sen. Monty Burns if they ran Bart Simpson. (Names may differ on ballot). Now as for California-4 between Congressman Do-little and Charlie Brown, that's such low-hanging fruit that I won't even... well... I will note that "Doctor Doolittle's Amazing Book of Oppo" has evidence Lt.Col Brown owes his rank to the back-room string-pulling of - you guessed it - Major General Snoopy!

Posted by: Dude | November 2, 2006 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Rep. Delay! Reminds me that a candidate's name can sometimes be the key to victory. Take Indiana-2 for example: the Dems would win against GOP Rep. Count Chocula if they had found a candidate named "Frankenberry." Or in Montana, they could easily beat Sen. Monty Burns if they ran Bart Simpson. (Names may differ on ballot). Now as for California-4 between Congressman Do-little and Charlie Brown, that's such low-hanging fruit that I won't even... well... I will note that "Doctor Doolittle's Amazing Book of Oppo" has evidence Lt.Col Brown owes his rank to the back-room string-pulling of - you guessed it - Major General Snoopy!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Sekula-Gibbs is formidable in Tex 22. As a Houston resident I can attest to the large advertising on her behalf by the RNCC. Her ads follow the DeLay mode, always calling Lampson a Liberal from the Democrat Party. Lampson's ads seem less effective in comparison. Several things make this race impossible to call:
1) How many Dems were disillusioned by Republican hegemony to not vote in the past?
2)How many Republican will attempt to vote for Sekula-Gibbs and fail?
3) What is the exact breakdown of this changing district? To maximize the Republican total, DeLay gave away some heavily Republican precincts while taking in some more Democratic areas. Add in the fluidity of the Houston suburbs, I say anybody who claims to know is spinning.
I think Lampson in a squeeker, but that depends upon the flakey Hispanic vote...Jackie

Posted by: Jackie | November 2, 2006 12:38 AM | Report abuse

If Bush appears with Limbaugh, DEMS ought to take a page from the sleazy GOP playbook. Show Limbaugh slamming Michael J. Fox and Bush endorsing this behavior or too cozy.

Posted by: Stick A Fork In IT. | November 1, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse

That poll means little because it doesn't account for the fact that Lampson's name is on the ballot while Sekula Gibbs' is not--and that voters must endure a complicated procedure to write in her name. Lampson wins.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | November 1, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Try out the voting system for yourself by clicking on the vote demo for this district.

The machine is a dial system and you must dial each letter of a person's name i.e. Sekula-Gibbs to cast a write-in vote. There is no hyphen character so I imagine Gibbs would be acceptable. Still, it is quite a choir. Anyway, there is also a special election with Sekula-Gibbs' name on the ballot and some may think that voting for her there would be enough. Go Lampson!

Posted by: gomer | November 1, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Henly: Thanks.

If the vote counts are close on the 7th, then that would put us back to what I was speculating on before - "I can see the law suits being drafted by both sides already."

Judge, my "§65.009" trumps his "§146.031" !

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 1, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

It is academic, in that "writing-in" on an electronic voting machine essentially eliminates the opportunity for a write-in candidate to prevail, but the law for "interpreting" the voter's intention is different than for ballot candidates. Here's what the code says:

authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared shall
prepare a list containing the name of each write-in candidate
certified to the authority. Each name must appear in the form in
which it is certified.
(b) A write-in candidate's name may not appear more than
once on the list.
(c) Copies of the list shall be distributed to the counting
officers in the election for use in counting write-in votes.

Since "each name must appear in the form in which it was certified" and "copies of the list shall be distributed to the counting officers", it is implied, and has long been the interpretation, that a write-in vote must be identical to the certified name, otherwise the vote may not be counted. Remember, these statutes were written by people who had no sympathy for write-in candidates.

Posted by: Henly, Tx | November 1, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse


The language in the Election Code is geared to paper ballots. However, the following language may provide the answer:

Failure to mark a ballot in strict conformity with this code does
not invalidate the ballot.
... (d) The intent of the voter in marking a ballot may be
determined by:
(1) a distinguishing mark adjacent to the name of a
candidate or political party...; or
(4) any other evidence that clearly indicates the
intent of the voter in choosing a candidate or political party or
deciding on a proposition.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by
Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, § 33, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.

Looks to me as if "close" counts.

Which would seem to leave the awkward method of entering the name as the major impediment for ShellE Sekular Gibbs. (Count it!)

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 1, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I saw some news program that said it is the intent of the voter that counts, not the precise spelling. I can't imagine that there would be a lot of people who would want to throw out a vote for Sekulo-Gibbs for example. The Florida court thought that the intent of the voter was important. Deploy the lawyers. we will not have an outcome for quite some time I predict.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 1, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Sucking up to Rush Limbaugh: Bush makes room in his schedule to visit the radical talk show host, media continue to legitimize Limbaugh's vicious rants - AMERICAblog: "Limbaugh, you'll recall, was arrested recently on the suspicion of bringing illegal drugs into the United States. As if that weren't enough to keep a "family values" president away, just last week Limbaugh mocked Michael J. Fox and people with Parkinson's disease on his radio show, even going so far as to imitate the symptoms of people with Parkinson's in order to belittle them.... Will George Bush and the Republican party ever hold anyone accountable for any of their actions?" ..... Eric Boehlert adds, "Despite Limbaugh torrent of rhetoric about how the press vilifies him (it's called a schtick; every radio talk show host needs one), the truth is Beltway media players routinely play nice with Limbaugh and his fringe brand of conservatism. Anxious for his right-wing seal of approval (and spooked by his liberal bias charges), the mainstream press corps has for years treated Limbaugh with undeserved respect, worked to soften his radical edges, and presented him as simply a partisan pundit."

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a link to or quote from the Texas law, but the coverage I've seen/heard/read has claimed that the name does have to be spelled correctly, including the hyphen. Apparently while Ms. Sekula-Gibbs is not on the ballot, she has registered as a candidate; for the votes to count, the voters have to match the spelling of her name to the one she registered.

Posted by: bsimon | November 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

uthor of a new book with John Harris, The Washington Post's National Political Editor) is the living, breathing embodiment of the "mainstream media." In order to promote his book, he went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show for a three hour interview last night, and Hewitt spent the entire time trying to attack Halperin as one of the symbols of overwhelming, systemic left-wing bias in the "mainstream media."

The ironic problem for Hewitt? Halperin -- like so many of the most entrenched establishment journalists -- not only agrees with Hewitt about virtually everything, but was literally desperate to convince Hewitt that this is the case, that he is on Hewitt's side. In front of an approving Sean Hannity, Halperin last week announced his self-debasing quest "to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances." He escalated that crusade by many levels with yesterday's interview.

So many "journalists" like Halperin seemingly have as their principal objective convincing right-wing extremists like Hewitt that they are good boys and girls and do their job in a way that pleases the Right. The effort is always tinged with self-flagellating confessions that they have not been Good enough -- they have been trying to be more fair to the Right, they insist, but they still need to do much better -- but these assurances are accompanied by pleas for the Right to recognize that they are not as bad as most of the other journalists.

Just survey some of these grotesquely obsequious pleas from Halperin for Hewitt to recognize Halperin as a good boy, along with Halperin's willingness to endorse the most inane right-wing myths in order to win that approval.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Zathras - Thanks for the Texas election law cite!

"There is no detail about spelling issues." - Whoa boy, fasten your seat belts; I can see the law suits being drafted by both sides already.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 1, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Will Ken Blackwell find the ways to steal Ohio 2006 as he did in 2004?

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers

The man who stole Ohio for George W. Bush in 2004 is now trying to steal it for himself in 2006. The question is: who will stop him, and will he also affect the balance of power in the U.S. Congress?

As election day approaches, Blackwell's dirty tricks sink ever deeper.

Blackwell is now using "push polls" made infamous by Karl Rove. True to form, child molestation charges are front and center. He has also escalated the mass disenfranchisement of Ohio voters, trashing the ballots of some 10 percent of absentee voters. He has eliminated the statewide ballot initiative meant to save workers rights and wages. He's even tried to strike the Democratic gubernatorial nominee from the ballot altogether. All of which could affect not only his race for governor, but key U.S. Senate and House races as well.

Blackwell is using Rove's notoriously deceptive push poll device to spread an unsubstantiated smear against his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Ted Strickland. Push polls were rendered infamous when Rove used them in South Carolina to falsely suggest that Senator John McCain had fathered a mixed-race child. Often the impact of push polls is magnified by callers to talk shows that spread additional street rumors, as in the lie that McCain impregnated a black hooker. The reality in McCain's case: he had adopted a child from one of Mother Teresa's orphanages and prominently displayed her in his campaign literature.

In Strickland's case, the Free Press has obtained a statement from Barbara Mooney of Fremont, Ohio, describing in detail the phone call she received from the Blackwell for Governor campaign. On October 23, Mooney picked up the phone and heard: "This is a 45-second survey. Please answer yes or no."

Then came: "If you knew Ted Strickland had hired a child molester would you still vote for him?"

The electronic voice continued: "Are you going to vote for Ted Strickland?" and "Are you going to vote for Ken Blackwell?"

Mooney answered yes for Strickland, so the next question was "Are you black or white?" followed by "If you knew Ted Strickland had hired a child molester who had gone on to a playground and exposed himself to them, would you vote for him?"

A yes answer prompted: "Are you a Democrat?" and "Are you a Republican?"

The push poll then asked: "How old are you?" and "Are you male or female?"

The push poll then ended, identifying the Blackwell campaign as the party responsible for the "survey."

On Tuesday morning, October 24, the Columbus Dispatch confirmed Blackwell is using this push poll in Ohio. It reported that a former Strickland aide had committed a misdemeanor for public indecency, but his record had been expunged. There is no evidence Strickland knew of the expunged charge when the aide was later hired.

At the final October 16 Ohio gubernatorial debate, freshly scrubbed Republicans swarmed outside the Channel 10 studio in Columbus, chanting for Blackwell. Members of the Ohio State University campus-based young Republicans and fundamentalists gloated that Strickland's "child molester" scandal would elect Blackwell. In the televised debate, Blackwell tried to link Strickland to the North American Man-Boy Love Society.

The next day, The Dispatch revealed that when he was treasurer of Ohio, Blackwell had on his payroll a felon convicted of cocaine possession. The Dispatch said that when Blackwell learned of the conviction, he kept the felon on staff. Three months after leaving the treasurer's office, this same former Blackwell employee was sent to prison for four years for sexually abusing a young girl.

Blackwell attained national notoriety after serving as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee while also, as Ohio Secretary of State, running the dubious vote count that gave Bush a second White House term.

This year Blackwell will count the votes in his own race for governor, in the crucial U.S. Senate race between GOP incumbant Mike DeWine versus Congressman Sherrod Brown, and in a number of critical House races hotly contested for the first time in years.

As he does so, Blackwell is conducting the largest purge of voter rolls since the apartheid nightmare of the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow South.

Since 2000, under Blackwell's supervision, Boards of Elections in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo have eliminated some 500,000 voters from their registration rolls. Nearly all are in heavily Democratic urban areas. In a state where some 5.6 million people voted for president in 2004, this represents nearly 10 percent of the electorate. George W. Bush's alleged majority in Ohio 2004 was roughly 118,000 votes.

Skeptics claim Ohio's 88 county boards of elections are bipartisan, because each has two Democrats and two Republicans. But all appointments, and all tie votes, are controlled by the Republican secretary of state, meaning that all decisions by all Ohio BOEs are actually controlled by Blackwell.

Blackwell is now imposing restrictive voter ID requirements aimed at crippling his opponents. Passed by the Republican legislature, these strictures aim to eliminate from the 2006 vote count tens of thousands of mostly poor and black -- and thus mostly Democratic -- voters who cannot or will not obtain the required identification cards.

The Free Press has further learned that even at this early date, some 10 percent of absentee votes are being trashed by Blackwell's BOEs. Ohio's new "no-fault" rule allows anyone to vote absentee for this election, so absentee voting is estimated to increase 20-30 percent. Many Ohioans are opting for the absentee ballots to avoid electronic voting machines, which are notoriously vulnerable to tampering.

But Democratic sources in the Ohio Board of Elections have confirmed to the Free Press that about 10 percent of the absentee ballots cast so far are being rejected because of a technicality involving obscure driver's license numbers demanded on the ballot. Ohio driver's licenses contain two separate numbers: an 11-digit number above the photo, and a much smaller eight-character license number that begins with two alpha-numeric characters, followed by six numbers. It is the eight-character license number the BOEs demand on the absentee ballot. But many Ohio voters don't know that, and are using the wrong number -- and thus having their ballot invalidated. Absentee ballots cast in Ohio tend to be overwhelmingly Democratic.

This absentee vote purge echoes another Blackwell dirty trick: the 2004 trashing of thousands of provisional ballots on which voters had not included their birth date. There was no statutory requirement to include the birth date, and thousands of provisional voters (and election officials) were never informed of Blackwell's special requirement. But he thus eliminated large numbers of mostly Democratic provisional ballots, benefitting Bush -- a service he is now repeating for his own benefit with the absentee ballots.

Blackwell has also attempted to eliminate his Democratic rival from the ballot outright. Seizing on a residency technicality, Blackwell's attack has elicited widespread scorn, including a lead editorial in the New York Times. Thus far, Blackwell has lost a series of court battles. The Columbus Dispatch has reported that the woman who originally filed the complaint -- allegedly a Democrat who supports Blackwell -- has asked that it be withdrawn. It remains to be seen if Blackwell has defnitively given up the effort.

The GOP has already eliminated a statewide referendum on worker rights. Issue One would have rejected parts of the Ohio legislature's vicious anti-labor Senate Bill 7, and was expected to draw pro-worker voters to the polls. But Blackwell disqualified thousands of signatures from the ballot petition, then sabotaged attempts to bring in more. On October 20, the GOP-dominated Ohio Supreme Court killed Issue One altogether. Fittingly, it will appear on many Ohio ballots, but will not count.

Overall, Blackwell currently trails Strickland by 20 points and more in state polls. Ohio Democrats have begun to crow that Blackwell's defeat is a done deal, just as they celebrated John Kerry's "victory" in 2004.

But Blackwell's push polls, voter elimination campaigns and ballot attacks cannot be underestimated. At the very least, they could tip the balance in the state's hard-fought U.S. Senate and congressional races, any one of which could help determine whether the Democrats retake control of the Congress. Local pundits are already talking about a last-minute shift toward the Republicans, and bracing for thousands of alleged fundamentalist voters who will supposedly swarm the polls at the last minute.

In-depth studies of the 2004 ballots now cast serious doubt on the actual existence of such alleged voters, then or now. But unless Americans truly committed to tangible democracy are careful, J. Kenneth Blackwell just might find the ways to steal Ohio 2006, as he did in 2004.

This article orginally appeared in The Free Press.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, just released by The New Press. They are of counsel and a plaintiff in the King-Lincoln lawsuit that has preserved the Ohio 2004 ballots. Fitrakis is an independent candidate for governor of Ohio, endorsed by the Green Party. Wasserman is author of SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED PLANET, a.d. 2030, available via

Posted by: che | November 1, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

We should decry all trickery, no matter who fashions it. No way to call this anything other than a dirty trick to confuse voters.

Posted by: TG | November 1, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Out doing errands, listening to NPR Talk of the Nation and, while hoping to not sound like a broken record, the Political Junkie segment had two Cook's people on and one has the MD Senate race on par in the uncertainty factor with the VA race. . .so at least it looks like I am not the only one who sees the potential. . .

Posted by: star11 | November 1, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

If you heard Gibbs' singing her jingle to show people how to write her in...well let's just say I'd rather hear Joe Gibbs sing. Ouch.

Yesterday's John Kerry fiasco ruined any chance of a substantive midterm debate. So when crying won't help--laugh America, laugh.

DNC Votes to Ball gag Kerry; RNC Launches $50 million Campaign Calling Dems Kinky

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | November 1, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"deceptive strategem relying on misrepresentation to take advantage of an opponent."

o coin a phrase, I would call that classically "Rovian" or, on a more local level, "Blackwellian."

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"(b) A write-in vote may not be counted if a sticker containing a candidate's name is affixed to the ballot by the voter."

Bet the Texas R's wish they'd rethunk that little ordinance...

Posted by: JEP | November 1, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Placing a sticker on the ballot could be difficult with a voting maschine.


Today you are just plain boring to write the same thing (differently spelled) over an over again. But to your rescue you are not the only one with this problem.


Posted by: Kavalor | November 1, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse


The applicable law is Texas Election Code Section 65.008, which reads as follows:

Sec. 65.008. TALLYING WRITE-IN VOTES. (a) In an election in which write-in voting is permitted, the name of a write-in candidate shall be entered on the tally list and votes for that candidate shall be tallied in the same manner as votes for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot.

(b) A write-in vote may not be counted if a sticker containing a candidate's name is affixed to the ballot by the voter.

There is no detail about spelling issues.

Posted by: Zathras | November 1, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I believe the word we're looking for here is "subterfuge." A precise definition is a deceptive strategem relying on misrepresentation to take advantage of an opponent. Is it unbecoming? Sure. Any different than push calling or robo calls? Not really.

The story here is not if Lampson is in trouble in a marginally R district during an anti-R cycle. If there is one, it's that no party has a lock on electoral virtue, but... then again, we knew that already. The better story is a case study look at this write-in effort, some of the ins and outs, and how such efforts are a steep uphill climb. Given the history of this race, Lampson wins easily on Nov 7.

Posted by: smikulen | November 1, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I see the Dem strategy is to hope that the voters are not able to accurately voice their views. I note that you have no issue with electing the person desired by the district - only winning. typical.

I also notice that you Dems naturally assume Texans and Repubs are too stupid to do much of anything. that must be why they all go into the military.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 1, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Each state has their own election laws. Is anybody able to cite what Texas law is with respect to the spelling of write-in's names.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | November 1, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Brittan33: "Houston is heavily influenced by immigration from Mexico."

Right now Houston is more influenced by immigration from New Orleans.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Try spelling "Shelly Sekula-Gibbs" on an old-fashioned rotary dial telephone, while fifty grumbling would-be voters wait in line behind you for you to finish.

Game Over.

Posted by: Henly, Tx | November 1, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It is not required that the spelling be perfect, only that the voters intent is clear. you Dems should be familiar with this after chad hunting last time. do you doubt that a flyer with the name spelled out won't be available outside each polling place?

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 1, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Come on Chris, enough with this story. They don't have a prayer of holding this seat. Besides having to enter SEKULA-GIBBS in the ballot (spelled perfectly), any straight line R-vote will not count for her. The Houston Chronicle article noted that 40% of voters plan to vote straight ticket.

So BEST case scenario, she'll only get 60% of the 70% of the 36% who intend to vote for a write-in candidate--a whopping 15% of the vote. Assuming people spell her name right of course.

Posted by: Greg-G | November 1, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

How they do it-- Mark Halperin ABC news director [the guy whose book Chris shills for] shows you how the 'librul media' intends to defeat the Dems. This is the playbook -- he calls it 'Keeping the enemy on the defensive'; -- because you know, Democrats are the enemy, not al-Queda:

'The elements of Republicans achieving their best case:
Making the end-game wide message taxes, terror, and gay marriage.

Making the end-game targeted message taxes, terror, gay marriage, other social issues galore, liberal Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, and would-be Democratic committee chairs who happen to be liberal African-Americans.

The release of one terror tape.

As they did in 2004, per the Washington Post's saintly Dan Balz, finding "a way to excite and mobilize a fractured Republican base without triggering an even bigger turnout among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents that could cost his party the House or Senate."

(The Bush vs. Kerry redux rematch does that quite nicely, since the Right base loves it and most Democrats are not the biggest John Kerry fans -- and the psychology of it is huge, as Bill Clinton and Karl Rove can tell you. Bush -- and his rhetoric -- unite the Republican Party; Kerry -- and his rhetoric -- do not unite the Democrats.)

Final-days POTUS visits to Montana, Nevada, Missouri (two media markets), Colorado, Iowa, and Texas to remind Bush voters why they used to like him.

The classic "choice election" choice: the other guys would be worse.

The classic Bush-Cheney-Rove element: fear of the unknown -- you may not like us, but we've kept you safe.

Dow up; gas prices down.

Robo calls from 41 and 43 (and their First Ladies).

The 72-Hour turnout program and the potential myth that Democrats are fired up to actually vote.

Articles in the Old Media about how Democrats are promising to spend big money (Washington Post LINK) and about how powerful the Massachusetts delegation would be in Nancy Pelosi's House (Boston Globe LINK).

Trap/trick yet another Democrat or member of the media into a polarizing fight, to cement the base's rapture.

Drudge, Rush, Sean, Brit (and their ability to influence the Old Media storylines).'

This is how the so-called liberal mainstream media defeats Democrats every time. Halperin approvingly talks about demonizing black representatives and gays,tricking Dems, using the rightwing spin machine to influennce the clueless reporters like Chris, etc. He's proud of gutter politics. They all are. How about you, Chris? Think this is just fine? Race baiting? Lies? Demonization? Propaganda?

And the 'release of one terror tape' WTF? Do they have Osama set up in cozy little studio somehwere, just so he can be around to be the occasional boogeyman?

Posted by: drindl | November 1, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

This district isn't even near the Rio Grande.

Support for a wall is quite popular very far from the Rio Grande, and Houston is heavily influenced by immigration from Mexico.

Posted by: Brittain33 | November 1, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Lampson was always going to win anyway. Polls don't capture the actual state of the race, how to vote for Sekula-Gibbs, etc.

Posted by: JoeyJoeJoe | November 1, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I hate this kind political BS. I don't think the Dems should be campaigning for someone who they don't agree with. It is obvious chicanery and I'd rather not be a party to it. While I would love to pick up Sugarland, this kind of expletive is what the folks there will remember about the D party and, by inference, me.

Posted by: Adam Hammond | November 1, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

L Sterling,

This is a highly educated, conservative district. No, that is not a contradiction in terms.

However, it is not overwhelmingly conservative. DeLay himself had a close shave in 2004, when he only got 55 percent of the vote. Republicans tried to maximize their presence in the Texas delegation, but this came at the price of making some districts closer.

If DeLay could only garner 55 percent in the district during a fairly pro-Republican year, how could a write-in come even close to winning? You are seeing the absolute cap on S-G's numbers, and any undecided are going Lampson.

Another reason occurred to me why this write-in effort will fail. In strongly Republican precincts, having to use the cumbersome write-in process will create huge lines at the booths. This will deter some Republican voters from voting. Meanwhile, in Democratic precincts (of which there are many) these problems will not occur.

Doing this kind of mailer is relatively cheap, too, (maybe 15k?) so I'm not impressed by the attempt. This is a complete non-story. If you want to cover something in Texas, talk about the governor's race, which has some fascinating dynamics, even though Perry is favored to win. Any of the other three candidates have a much better chance of winning the governorship than S-G does of winning this seat.

Posted by: Zathras | November 1, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

'A salmonella outbreak possibly linked to produce has sickened 15 Kentuckians, one person in Indiana and at least 155 people in 17 other states in recent weeks.'

One of the biggest dangers we actually face is the total lack of oversight and safety of our food supply. Because of deregulation, there are now rampant outbreaks of poisoning...

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I kinda doubt that Sugarland is noted for its 'highly educated' voters...

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

L. Sterling: are you on drugs? Did you read the story? The district in question is TOM DELAY's district. "Highly educated" apparently doesn't always mean intelligent.

Liberal? LOL

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | November 1, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This district isn't even near the Rio Grande. Are you sure that this isn't a "Kerry botching" attempt to backfire on Richardson, in this "highly educated" (read "liberal"?) district????

Posted by: L.Sterling | November 1, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

'A bit jumpy'? If R's were doing this, I'm sure it would be c alled a 'bold strategy' or something...

'AP: Republicans scale back spending on Weldon race.

The information about the various moves came from public records at the Federal Election Commission as well as experts in both parties who track television advertising and campaign strategy. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss confidential matters in public.

Weldon, a 10-term lawmaker, has become ensnared in a federal corruption investigation. It appeared that much of the advertising money the National Republican Congressional Committee had intended for his seat in the campaign's final days would be redirected to help Pennsylvania Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach.

The two other races where Republicans are scaling back advertising include the Ohio district that convicted Rep. Bob Ney has represented, and the one Rep. Bob Beauprez vacated to run for governor of Colorado.'

Posted by: drindl | November 1, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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