Thursday, September 3, 2009

Texas War of the Roses

The War of the Roses (link). Excerpt follows...

This is a strange, uphill landscape for Hutchison, whom many Texans over the last decade had assumed could waltz into Austin about anytime she liked and claim the governorship. Think "coronation"; Hutchison was. Now it seems it will take a miracle. Think "parting the Red Sea."

Republican angst aside, it will be a great show, if only because you have a former University of Texas cheerleader, Hutchison, challenging a former Texas A&M yell leader, Perry. So, for some Texans, this is serious stuff, verging on blood sport. (The historically minded will recall that the last president from Texas, George W. Bush, who came to the White House from the Governor's Mansion, had been a cheerleader at both Andover and Yale.)

That leaves, observed Burnt Orange Report, a center-left Texas political blog, two cheerleaders "running against each other to see who can get the right-wing of the Republican Party to shout the loudest."

That's not a good spot for Hutchison, who despite her generally conservative votes and substantive legislative record in the Senate has always been somewhat suspect to the hard Right that now rules the Texas GOP.

The focus for many Republicans is Hutchison's refusal to call for overturning Roe v. Wade. That position favoring fundamental abortion rights cost Hutchison, back in 1982, a Republican primary runoff in a U.S. House race in Dallas. And it has haunted her periodically with the party's base.

That Hutchison has voted for all manner of abortion restrictions cuts little ice with the staunchest opponents of abortion. Her record "will never be pure enough to satisfy the hard-core conservatives on this issue," Houston Chronicle political blogger R.G. Ratcliffe wrote last week, as Perry won the endorsement of Texas Right to Life.

Hutchison also has supported legislation to expand research to additional lines of embryonic stem cells.

"Not only does Governor Perry defend the unborn, he has worked to stop destructive research on human embryos and other biotech assaults on human life," the anti-abortion group's president, Joseph Graham, said in its endorsement.

That blast was just part of Hutchison's long, hot summer. In the wake of a state legislative session, which kept the governor in the news and Hutchison on the sidelines, the senator has let Perry run up a lead. She trailed him by 4 percentage points in May, according to a Rasmussen poll. By last month, in the same survey, Perry had jumped in front by 10 points.

"Events are trending strongly in Perry's favor," blogged Texas Monthly's Paul Burka when the poll came out. "It's hard to beat an incumbent with 76% favorability and 74% job approval."

Kay is having a tougher time than anyone anticipated. I think this goes back to what a lot of us were saying... she has not been through tough battles. Rick has been through tough battles time and time again, while Kay has skated to easy victories over hapless no name Democrats...

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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.