October 11, 2018

Candidate forum in NE Texas — a few thoughts

We had a forum here in Northeast Texas Tuesday night, sponsored by the area retired teachers org.

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mike Collier was here, so of course Danny Goeb was not.

A staffer for state senator Bob Hall was here. And even got a boo or two at the end when he defended Hall on both vouchers and wanting to put future teachers on a 401k.

His opponent, Kendell Scudder, continues to impress me as far as what you'd find as a Dem candidate in a semi-rural race. He loathes Hall as a politician, and with good reason; he's as much a nutter as Goeb.
State Rep. Dan Flynn was here too. Him of the anti-sharia bill. Other than that, which is a big other, he's not a total nutter. His challenger is Bill Brannon, long-time state party apparatchik, who said he tried and failed to recruit other candidates before running himself.

All three Democrats called Flynn out on the anti-Sharia bill, which technically doesn't mention Sharia, because that would be unconstitutional per federal appellate court, but everybody knows who the bill was directed at.

The actual needs for it is somewhere between "nonexistent" and "less than the need for a similar bill for regulating ultra-Hasidic Jewish law at Kiryas Joel." (No winger Religious Right Republican would dare do that, of course.)

Collier, on the fiscal stuff, isn't bad overall, though too much a big biz Dem. He's right about the biz franchise tax and schools and also about the loophole for businesses to appeal their appraisals, which is a documented problem; newspapers in Texas' medium and large cities have written repeatedly about it.

Scudder has mentioned rural issues, specifically better, and better access to, rural broadband Internet, in his platform, which appeals to the half or so of State Senate District 2 not in the Metroplex. He also smartly pulled endorsement feathers of of his hat: He mentioned that both the Dallas Morning News and Hall's predecessor, not-nutbar Republican Bob Deuell, had endorsed him.

Brannon was the most "Kumbaya" of the three Democrats, even saying at the end, if you're going to vote for one of the three Republicans, vote for Flynn. All three Democrats, in some degree, went Kumbaya.

Note to Democrats: Republican voters even short of tea-party leaning status, in rural areas, generally aren't listening. (Sidebar to Beto O'Rourke: In urban areas, like older portions of Collin County and certainly Dallas County suburbs, you might find those mythical moderates, independents, swing voters, etc. Not in Northeast Texas and certainly not in Iraan.)

Election odds: To riff on Brains, I think Collier's chances are still a fair bit behind O'Rourke's. Brannon will likely get smoked. Scudder? I think he'll lose, but his regional chances are, IMO, not a lot worse than O'Rourke's statewide. The endorsements probably will have little play out here, but certainly will in the Metroplex portion of the district. The middle ground of Greenville, where Deuell is from? If his endorsement plays there, who knows. And, should he lose, he's feisty, in any case, and has done a fair amount of campaign homework.

That said, while Hall barely toppled Deuell in the 2014 primary in a runoff, and barely fended off State Rep. Cindy Burkett in this year's primary, no Democrat ran in 2014.

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