February 28, 2014

Tea party vs. tea party lite in uncompetitive Texas House District 12 (updated)

Incumbent Kylc Kacal is being challenged by Timothy Delasandro in this GOP primary. The district, which includes slices of Bryan and Waco, is arguably the most rural district in East Texas.

And, it's largely rural white conservative. Per demographic analysis, the district, which includes only 30 percent of McLennan County (Waco) and 16 percent of Brazos County (Bryan), plus all of three rural counties, is about 60 percent white, in terms of voting age population. Per additional demographics, it's older, poorer and less employed than the state as a whole, as well as being whiter.

So, old rural white folks. This isn't the new Texas; the district is pretty much Tea Party recruiting grounds.

And thus, on to the header.

The "lite," per the header, is first-term incumbent Kacal. He's being challenged by Delasandro, one of four opponents in the 2012 primary for an open seat. Intimations have already flown that Kacal is not a true enough conservative. Part of the battle is over how Texas Right to Life, vs. other groups, scored representatives and senators on votes on two bills this last year; the Texas Tribune spells out the details. One of the issues is Kacal's missing a final vote on one bill due to a previous commitment.

So, yep, we have a Republican primary based on a challenger who's entering "eternal Tea Party candidate" territory, based on him twisting the reasons why the incumbent missed one vote in last year's Lege. 

Otherwise, on Kacal, ranking about the same as Charlie Geren is not "liberal." Or close. And, why Independent Texans would actually have an endorsement, or quasi-endorsement, of Delasandro, is way beyond me. Indy Texans just sank several degrees in my book.

Unfortunately, unlike in 2012, there's no Democrat in the race. There's also no Libertarian and no Green. That's despite Democratic challenger Robert Stem drawing nearly 45 percent in 2012, indicating this is a competitive district, or could be, if one wants to dig below the surface.

Unfortunately, in 2014, it's officially uncompetitive. Given the district's nature, I'm surprised there's not a Libertarian on the ballot, too, if nothing else.

In a race where the primary is thus the general election, to show he's Tea Party lite, and not a stealth Democrat as Delasandro claims, Kacal has already gotten official endorsements from the likes of Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

And, in an election year where everybody's touting Wendy Davis, the initial forays of Battleground Texas, etc., if you can't get a candidate to file to run in a theoretically halfway competitive state house district? Texas Dems, you've got a long way to go, baby. 

Also, note to fellow Texas Lefty Blog writers: This is why you don't see a lot of local political writing from here by me!

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