Monday, April 27, 2009

Kay's leaving the Senate giving Democrats 60th seat?

Is Kay's departure from the Senate opening a vulnerability for Republicans? Assuming Al Franken takes office, a special election in Texas that goes the wrong way could mean Democrats taking a filibuster free super majority.

The Washington Post blogs about it (link). Excerpt follows...
New Texas Senate Polling: Either state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) would be favored to claim the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), according to a new poll conducted by Research 2000 for the liberal Daily Kos site. In general election matchups, Abbott leads Houston Mayor Bill White (D) by a 42 percent to 36 margin and has a similar 43 percent to 36 percent edge over former state Comptroller John Sharp (D). Dewhurst led Sharp by seven points and White by six points in the polling. It's not clear when (or if) there will even be a special election to replace Hutchison. She was initially expected to resign her seat early this year to focus full time on her race against Perry but the current thinking has her staying in the Senate at least through the fall. Democrats believe they have a real chance to score an upset in a special election scenario and both Sharp and White have already raised better than two million dollars for their respective Senate campaigns.
John Sharp and Bill White are both stout figures, and a special election could end up being extremely expensive for Republicans. Obama will be gunning for that 60th Senate seat, and how happy would he be if it came from Texas?

The liberal blogs are all slobbering over this possibility. They really think that Kay's departure is going to mean the seat flips to the Democrats. Burnt Orange Report is included in this list (link). Commenters on Talking Points Memo are excited about the possibility of Bill White taking on a non incumbent Republican (link).

Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle also adds his two cents (link). Excerpts follow...

Nobody, with the possible exception of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, knows when or if she will vacate her seat in her quest to replace Gov. Rick Perry.

It could be at the end of this year. It could be after next spring’s Republican primary, in which she hopes to make Perry a lame duck. Or, if she is successful, she could resign from the Senate on Jan. 1, 2011, the day she is sworn in as governor.

Or she may decide to stay in the Senate and seek re-election in 2012. That’s what happened three years ago.


But these are strange times, and this would be a strange election — potentially dozens of candidates running without a primary, with the top two facing each other in a runoff.

That’s why Sen. John Cornyn expressed concern this week to The Hill, a respected Washington political paper.

Noting that Cornyn chairs the committee charged with recruiting and helping Republican senate candidates, the paper said “the one race Cornyn brought up unprompted in a lengthy interview with the Hill was Texas.”

“I don’t want this to turn into a situation where we elect a Democrat in Texas and further erode our possibilities,” he said.

Not to worry, John. For Texas to give President Barack Obama a filibuster-proof Senate would be as unlikely as Dallas electing a Latina lesbian sheriff.

It just couldn’t happen.

For those of you who don't live in Dallas, Dallas did elect a Latina lesbian sheriff. This is why liberals are so excited and a lot of GOP money guys and activists are hoping Kay changes her mind. She would not lose to Bill White in a general election, and neither would the top Republicans being named, but Kay vacating her seat early would open up a tricky special election, and there are seemingly countless Republicans running. They may split the vote and open up a very low turnout runoff a month later. If that happens, sometimes it is just the side that wants it more, and Democrats just might be more hungry.

It is a scary possibility.


  1. LOL. Salivating? Is that a more appropriate word?

    The lefty side of the aisle is as excited as I have seen since 2002, when the "Dream Team" or whatever they called it had everyone all jazzed and optimistic about Democrats winning some state wide races.


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.