Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
* Now at the new Rick Perry vs World

Monday, December 27, 2004
Sidebar maintenance and new Perry counsel
Due to the holidays it's relatively slow in the shadow primary. I took the opportunity to update the sidebar.

I should also note that Perry has named Brian Newby as his new counsel. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram profiles Newby, who is from Fort Worth.

Sunday, December 26, 2004
About me
In the very beginning of this blog, quite a few were curious as to my identity. I wanted to think about it first. I'd rather potential employers not find my blog as their first exposure when googling my name. Hence I will leave off my last name.

My name is Evan. I'm a recent alumnus of Rice University, where I spent too much of my time reading Campaigns & Elections magazine and National Journal's Hotline. One of the great things of college was having access to the Hotline.

Obviously, I find campaigns interesting. I've volunteered on quite a few. I've seen some well-run campaigns, and I've seen some miserably run. I wrote my senior thesis on the Deep South gubernatorial campaigns of the 90's.

Soy un Republicano living in Austin who considers Houston home. I'm currently unemployed, and am considering what I want to do. Whatever it is, I want it to be interesting.

2/19/05 update: I moved back to Houston, where I'm looking for a job trading energy.

Saturday, December 25, 2004
The KBH counter
Perry has clearly signaled that he will paint KBH as a liberal or moderate.

KBH's counter will be:
1. Was Republican before Rick Perry. Rick Perry led Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign in Texas. Perry didn't switch parties until 1989, when he was passed over for leadership by Democrats in the House.

2. KBH has a solid conservative voting record, based on her ACU ratings. Her lifetime ACU rating is a 91. Her 2002 score is a 100, while her 2003 score is a 75. KBH's camp will compare her lifetime 91 to Cornyn's 2003 score of 85.
Hutchison's other scores, according to the AP (presumably all 2002 scores, except Right to Life, which appears to be 2003 Cornyn has a score only for Right to Life):
Christian Coalition 100
Tax Payers Union 69
National Right to Life 80

Planned Parenthood 0
Handgun Control 10

The big story - Perry's endorsements
The big story while I was gone is that Rick Perry has released a list of endorsements from conservative leaders. Jay Root at the FWST has a rundown as does Clay Robison.

Perry's list of endorsees is as follows:
Cathie Adams, Texas Eagle Forum; Jim Cardle, Texas Club for Growth; Bill Crocker, Republican National Committeeman for Texas; Becky Farrar, Concerned Women of America PAC; Kay T. Goolsby, Texans for Texas; James Graham and Elizabeth Graham, Texas Right to Life PAC; Tim Lambert, Texas Home School Coalition; Norm Mason and Jeanne Mason, Texas Christian Coalition; Allan Parker, Texas Justice Foundation; Dr. Joe Pojman, Texas Alliance for Life; Marisa Rummell, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Texas; Kelly Shackelford, Free Market Foundation; Janelle Shepard, Texans for Texas; Peggy Venable; Susan Weddington, former Chair of the Republican Party of Texas; and Kyleen Wright, Texans for Life Coalition.
It's an impressive list. The "movement" conservatives are pretty clearly on Perry's side.

I'm reminded of LBJ's first race, for the 10th Congressional district in Austin. The seat opened up when the Congressman died, but his wife was considering running to replace the late Congressman. If she'd ran, she'd almost certainly have won. Here's how Robert Caro puts it his seminal work The Path to Power, in the words of LBJ's father:
"Goddammit, Lyndon, you never learn anything about politics. She's an old woman. She's too old for a fight. If she knows she's going to have a fight, she won't run. Announce now -- before she announces. If you do, she won't run."

Mrs. Buchanan's announcement was scheduled for Monday afternoon. After driving back to Austin on Sunday afternoon, Lyndon Johnson quickly called in reporters and told that he was in the race to stay -- whether or not Mrs. Buchanan entered it. When Johnson's decision appeared in the newspapers, Mrs. Buchanan's son telephoned reporters. "Mother has reached the decision not to run," he said.
KBH is far from a late Congressman's widow, but the situation is analogous. Perry is doing everything he can to signal to KBH that if she runs, it will be a fiercely-contested, hard-fought campaign.

That's why we had the recent media blitz, that's why Perry travelled to DC recently, and that's why he's releasing his endorsements now. The Perry campaign is doing everything possible to give KBH second thoughts about challenging him.

KBH might have wishfully thought that she and Perry could switch jobs; at one point, that seemed a possibility. It's clearly a no-go now.

Christmas Gubernatorial Race News
1. The AP provides an update on Governor Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor proposal.

Author Jim Vertuno notes that the Texas Republican Party and Texas Farm Bureau is opposed to the proposal on property rights grounds. Perry might be losing the votes of some farmers and rural Texans who are negatively impacted by the transportation plan, while not gaining any votes from those the plan positively affects.

2. Rock star Ted Nugent is moving to Texas, and newsfolks around the world have noted that Rick Perry is going hunting with him for New Year's. Welcome to Texas, Ted.

3. Rick Casey at the Houston Chronicle thinks Perry could have problems unless he has a "Ned Sweet" strategy. Ned Sweet, a liberal Houston Democrat in the 60's, used to file for GOP county chairman and then go speaking to GOP groups advocating liberal causes. His purpose was to scare GOP voters into voting in GOP primaries.

Perry's camp is probably worried about Democratic crossover votes for Hutchison.

[12/26 evening update]: Charles Kuffner will no doubt be glad to know that Ted Nugent is still threatening to run for governor of Michigan.

Friday, December 24, 2004
I'm back
I was gone a little longer than I expected, so I apologize for the lack of posts.

I saw the Pat Green show at Cowboys in San Antonio. It was my first time seeing him, and he didn't disappoint. The crowd was into it, and so was he. Awesome show. By my estimation, he's already a Texas icon.

The only political moment of the show was when Pat mentioned that they were going up to play at an inaugural ball for W. That got some pretty boisterous cheers from the crowd. The only boos I heard were from the girl I was with.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Apologies for slow posting
I've been out of town for the past few days, and I'm going out of town tonight. I should be back tomorrow, however.

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Burka reports
Texas Monthly's Paul Burka (a fellow alumnus of my alma mater) in January's Texas Monthly:
The Perry camp has always doubted that Hutchison would run -- "Those who are going to run, run," one Perry insider told me. "Those who aren't going to run, talk" -- but a $6.7 million war chest speaks louder than words.
Burka also notes that outgoing Commerce Secretary may be looking at the Senate race as well as the gubernatorial contest.

Trouble on Perry's right flank?
The Dallas Baptist Standard reports that the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission is suing over payments to a Las Vegas Law Firm.

Strayhorn and Hutchison both gave anti-gambling remarks at the Texas Republican Convention in summer 2003, and were applauded for it. Folks at the time took the criticism as a definite sign that they were thinking of taking on Perry. It will give them each an issue to try to establish a beachhead in Perry's conservative support.

However, I tend to think that while most GOP primary voters probably aren't happy with Perry's gambling stance, it doesn't rank high on their list of issues. Undocumented (or illegal, if you will) immigration isn't very popular among Republicans either, but that hasn't hurt George W. Bush's political career.

Perry hunting for endorsements?
The rumors appear to be true: the Perry campaign is out looking for officeholders to endorse the governor. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Gov. Rick Perry reportedly has been seeking support from other top elected Republican officials for his 2006 re-election race, apparently trying to defuse potential opposition in his party's primary. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn are considering running against Perry for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
But then, you have to wonder why they haven't asked Jerry Patterson?
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he hadn't been contacted by the governor's office about a formal endorsement but said he plans to back Perry's re-election. He said the Texas GOP had a "good team" in place and officials should keep it that way. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has said in the past that he also plans to support Perry for another term.

Thursday, December 16, 2004
"My governor is a Jewish Cowboy"
The folks Texas Monthly, whose new issue is out Monday, send along a link to Kinky Friedman's amusing article on his run for governor.
There once was a zoo that some folks liked to call Texas politics. In this zoo were doves and hawks, bulls and bears, crocodiles and two-legged snakes, and lots and lots and lots of sheep. But the ones who ran the zoo were not really animals. They were people dressed up in elephant and donkey suits who'd lined their pockets long ago and now went around lying to everybody and making all the rules. Even as a child, I knew I never wanted to be one of them, a perfunctory, political party hack. This did not stop me, of course, from growing up to be a party animal.

Unless you've been living in a double-wide deer blind, you know I'm running for governor in 2006. Well, I'm a rather indecisive person, so I'm not entirely sure I'm running yet. I have to weigh the impact the race may have on my family. You may be thinking, "The Kinkster doesn't have a family." But that's not quite right, folks: Texas is my family. And I intend to give Texas a governor who knows how to ride, shoot straight, and tell the truth, a governor as independent-thinking and as colorful as the state itself.
It only gets better.

I'll also note that you can buy Kinky Friedman salsa on his campaign website.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Strayhorn calls for teacher pay raise
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn called for an immediate across-the-board pay raise of $3000 for each teacher.
Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn on Wednesday called on the Legislature to give all public school teachers an immediate $3,000 pay raise.

Backed by Texas teachers' groups, her plan also would institute automatic pay increases every two years and pay bonuses to all teachers in low-performing schools that improve. She also wants to fund a mentor program for beginning teachers.

"Nearly 37,000 Texas teachers leave the classroom each year, taking their skills to better-paying jobs or simply quitting," she said. "To ensure our state's economic prosperity, we must recruit, reward and retain highly qualified and experienced teachers who are fully certified, well-paid and dedicated to a lifelong career with our most precious resource, our children."
The AP wire story noted that teacher's unions strongly backed her proposal.

That's a pretty odd friend to make if you're going into a Republican primary. I hear rumors Strayhorn is thinking of jumping into the Senate race if Dewhurst stays as Lt. Gov.

Perry media blitz continues
The Perry PR shop is awfully busy lately.

1. "Perry places education as top priority" was the headline appearing on the websites of News8 Austin, News 24 Houston, and News 9 in San Antonio. No word as to whether these stations ran similar TV reports.

The Perry camp was undoubtedly very pleased with the headline -- particularly since the thrust of the article was about Perry's proposal for a $300 million Emerging Technology Fund, to complement the $300 million Texas Enterprise Fund (in the news lately, of course, for the 7500 Countrywide jobs coming to Dallas).

2. As mentioned here yesterday, Perry announced the $600 million highway safety program.

3. Perry announced that he will ask for $25 million in job training for South Texas. He got favorable headlines in South Texas for his efforts.

4. The Longview News-Journal writes that abortion may surface as an issue in the Legislature these next few months. In fact, I would assume that Perry will quietly push for some sort of abortion bill, because it's an opportunity for Perry to contrast his pro-life stance on abortion to Hutchison's pro-choice position.

5. Perry to announce 1500 jobs at the Toyota Tundra plant in San Antonio.
Gov. Rick Perry will announce Thursday that as many as 18 suppliers of automotive parts and services will move onto the site of Toyota's Tundra truck plant in San Antonio, creating at least 1,500 new jobs, sources close to the deal say.

The jobs created could be many more -- at least two of the suppliers may create as many as 500 jobs each, sources said.

The on-site vendors either will build facilities next to Toyota or move into the 1.8 million-square-foot factory Toyota is building.

UPDATE: Kevin notes in the comments that News24 no longer exists. Good point -- that's what I get for trusting GoogleNews.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Everyone wants to be governor
Over at Lone Star Times, there's a rumor that Lt. Gov. is telling his backers that he will forego a 2006 Senate run, even if Sen. Hutchison vacates the seat. Instead, he will prepare for a 2010 governor run.

Meanwhile, former Houston Congressman Chris Bell is laying the groundwork for the 2006 Gov. race. If he gets the Dems' nomination, of course, he'll face Perry or KBH...or maybe Strayhorn or Don Evans, etc. (link via Burnt Orange Report)

My take: If the Dewhurst rumor is true, then Dewhurst thinks it most likely that Perry will win re-election. If Perry wins, the seat will be open in 2010. If Perry loses, chances are KBH is governor and runs for re-election in 2010.

Perhaps that's a reason to doubt the rumor. It seems unlikely that after 2006 (if KBH runs for gov) that a Senate seat will open up for at least a decade.

Today's campaign news
1. Gov. Perry's announcement announcement of new jobs from Countrwide is garnering him favorable headlines around the state from the Associated Press story on the announcement (eg, News8 Austin). In fact, the story actually got picked up on the AP wire across the nation.

2. Perry to announce tomorrow the "largest one-time safety expenditure in Texas Department of Transportation history."

Looks like the Perry campaign is trying to create a pre-session blitz of positive publicity for Perry in hopes of: a) keeping his poll numbers up to give KBH second thoughts, and b) giving Perry some extra political capital to wrangle with the Legislature while it is in session for the next few months.

The title of this post wasn't accidental. The Perry camp is in full-campaign mode, at least temporarily.

3. Speaking of the Perry campaign, the governor's campaign manager Luis Saenz has a positive profile in the Express-News.

Monday, December 13, 2004
Today's rundown
1. QR reports that 350 grassroots activists met last week in Austin for an organizational meeting of Rick Perry.

2. Perry plans a "major economic development announcement" tomorrow about Countrywide Financial adding 7500 jobs in the Dallas area. According to the Star-Telegram, the governor's Texas Enterprise Fund will incentivize Countrywide's decision by $20 million.

There's a potential that this could be an issue in a primary. KBH or Strayhorn might attack the Texas Enterprise Fund -- which the governor is authorized by the Legislature to provide financial incentives to attract jobs and companies to Texas. Perry's camp thinks the TEF helps spur Texas economic development. Opponents tend to think TEF is a giveaway to big business that was already coming to Texas anyway, and provides Perry with a chance to reward political donations. It's a tough attack for opponents though, because people tend to be less wary when jobs are coming to Texas.

3. QR also reports various El Paso state representatives reactions to the dustup in El Paso between Sen. KBH and some of Perry's big donors.

4. I'm still not real sure how the dustup in El Paso is playing. I don't think it will make anyone perceive Perry more negatively -- these are just his financial supporters, not him. Does it make Hutchison look good, because she's crusading against money in politics? I doubt it, she's been a prodigious fundraiser herself. Does it make Hutchison look bad? I doubt it, because the public doesn't have any impression of KBH as a hothead, so any potential "lecture" negativity (as some accounts called it) won't stick politically.

It seems like a wash to me.

5. John Fund noted the power of Daschle v. Thune and the Dakota Alliance in the South Dakota Senate race. He also mentions Dayton v. Kennedy, but neglects to mention this fine blog.

Saturday, December 11, 2004
The dustup in El Paso
Some El Paso Republicans have decided that they need to give their city some more political clout. Political clout can certainly pay real dividends for a city, and El Paso has lacked clout for decades. As such, they became big supporters and contributors to Governor Perry, and Governor Perry has responded by naming some El Pasoans to important positions. Hence, the El Pasoans want KBH to remain in the Senate so El Paso doesn't lose its clout.

Not surprisingly, KBH wasn't happy and interpreted their comments as "pay for play" political contributions. She pledged it would not be that way in a KBH administration.

The El Paso Times reports that Senator Hutchison became quite angry at a meeting when a group of Rick Perry contributors asked her to remain in the Senate and not run against Perry. The meeting, which was called by a Hutchison supporter, didn't quite go as planned.
The meeting with Hutchison was not designed to start the political debate, its organizer said.

"I told her, 'The next time you're in town, give me a holler, so I called some of my friends,'" said Rogers, who was El Paso's mayor during 1981-89 and has been the senator's friend for 30 years.

"I felt that she was here talking to us to see what's going on and to give us some good news, which I'm not privy to talk about because it was supposed to be a closed meeting," Rogers said.

Houghton and Hunt led the opening discussion about El Paso's emerging role in state politics.

"What we did tell her was, 'Senator, we love you. We've been working in this community for 50, 60 years and, finally, the moon and the stars have all lined up,' " Houghton said.

"The monetary issues never came up from our perspective. She brought it up," Houghton said. "We said we have made an investment in the leadership of the state. That's as far as we went."

The senator's spokesman said Hutchison reacted to Perry supporters specifically touting the accomplishments produced after significantly stepping up their political contributions.

Houghton and several others in the room agreed that the senator took a swipe at Perry's leadership record, particularly about the state's failure to solve the school finance crisis and its accompanying high property taxes.

Several El Paso businessmen who support Perry asked Hutchison to run for re-election to the Senate rather than challenge the governor, according to those at Tuesday's meeting at the Bank of the West in El Paso. The El Paso Perry supporters -- who so far have given a combined $800,000 to the governor and plan to donate hundreds of thousands more -- said their large campaign contributions to state leaders have increased El Paso's influence in Austin.

Hutchison then gave a lecture-like response, denouncing the role big-money contributions play in state government, several of those attending said.
The Associated Press of Texas then picked up the story, so it ran statewide:
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison reacted angrily recently after several El Paso business leaders suggested that she not challenge Gov. Rick Perry in 2006 because their large campaign contributions to state leaders have increased the city's influence in Austin.

During the private luncheon last week, Hutchison, R-Texas, was asked to instead run for re-election for the Senate. She responded by denouncing the role large contributions play in state government, some of those attending said.

Friday, December 10, 2004
KBH promoting stem cell research
Some excerpts from the Express-News story:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Friday that state leaders should work with Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature to develop a stem-cell research policy that keeps Texas from being "left in the dust by California."

Hutchison, a potential 2006 Republican primary challenger to Perry, referred to a landmark $3 billion initiative to fund stem-cell research passed by California voters in November.

"I think that Texas needs to have a responsible, ethical policy regarding stem-cell research," she said after the meeting. "I think if we are going to stay in the forefront of scientific discoveries, we are going to have to find an ethical way to keep the state-of-the-art experiments on stem cells and how they can displace unhealthy cells in people's bodies."

Robert Black, a Perry spokesman, said the governor will soon announce an aggressive technology research initiative "that will give Texas a significant competitive advantage in the emerging technologies field, and that includes biomedical technology."

"Unlike Sen. Hutchison, who supports embyronic stem cell research, Gov. Perry supports President Bush's position that we must strike a balance between science and the protection of life," Black said.

"It's one of many issues that the Legislature will be facing," she said. "I just wanted to say that it's one that I think ought to be included when we're talking about research."
A few notes:
1. KBH is talking about state Legislature issues. That sends a pretty strong signal.

2. It seems odd for KBH to be making an issue out of stem cell research. That might be a good general campaign issue, but this seems likely to break against her in a Republican primary. It appears to hand Perry an issue where he can attempt to paint himself as closer to George W. Bush than KBH. Also, GOP primary voters probably don't want to hear a candidate contrast California favorably with Texas.

Rick Perry's polling
Baselice writes in to Quorum Report:
"Our last survey of N=602 actual Republican primary voters has Rick Perry at 47% and Kay Bailey Hutchison at 43%.

It will be interesting to see an informed ballot test. Experience shows that a senator's record that is closer to John Kerry's than to John Cornyn's on some key issues will have a difficult time in a GOP primary."
Sounds like we have a preview of Perry's attacks on KBH: closer to John Kerry than George W. Bush.

It's surprising to see such a big disconnect between Montgomery's polls and Baselice's. I'll probably write more on this later.

Credibility, South Dakota, "Show me the money!"
Kevin Whited, who I added to the blogroll, writes that "anonymous blogs like Rick Perry vs. The World are going to have to work even harder to be taken seriously," in light of the CBSNews report that Jon Lauck (the Daschle v. Thune blogger) was paid $27,000 by the Thune campaign for consulting. What CBSNews fails to mention is that the Argus Leader reported Lauck's consulting work on the frontpage during the campaign.

I have no problem with Lauck's failure to mention on his blog that he was on the payroll. From it's inception, Daschle v Thune was unabashedly pro-Thune and anti-Argus Leader. Eventually the Thune campaign decided to support Lauck. So what?

I find Kevin's statement -- that I need to "work even harder to be taken seriously" -- hilarious. I started this blog because I wanted to chronicle what I suspect will be a very interesting campaign season. I did so for my own amusement. Folks have linked to me, but I haven't asked for those links. Whether folks take me seriously isn't important to me. But I hope this blog will be a good place to find the latest poll numbers, rumors, and scintillating analysis.

"Show me the money!" If anyone wants to pay me $27,000 to blog, then please see my email address on the right sidebar. We should talk...immediately! Right now I don't know who I'll vote for, because the candidates aren't even certain. I'm pretty open-minded at this point. If someone were to pay me to blog, I'd likely disclose it. But then again, I might not.

I can disclose this: I will always report things as soon as is practicable, and I will always give my honest opinion.

Texas Weekly rumors; potential primary lineup
Texas Weekly's new issue is out.

TW notes that Roger Staubach is rumored to be thinking of a Senate run if KBH runs for governor. He's a perennial mention as a possible candidate, they note. Also, TX Supreme Court Justices Dale Wainwright and Harriett O'Neill and State Rep. Dan Branch (Dallas) are interested in running for Attorney General if Greg Abbott runs for something else.

So, let's do a rundown of the primary lineup on the Republican side:
Gov. Rick Perry
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (all but a given at this point, unless she changes her mind)

Roger Staubach (?)
Congressman Henry Bonilla
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Lt. Gov
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Attorney General Greg Abbott

Attorney General
Justice Dale Wainwright
Justice Harriett O'Neill
State Rep. Dan Branch

Ag Commissioner Susan Combs
BushCheney04 Strategist Matthew Dowd

Thursday, December 09, 2004
The pollsters argue -- Baselice vs. Montgomery
Mike Baselice, Perry's pollster, has been criticizing the poll by Jeff Montgomery that found KBH leading Perry 60-32. Most of the sniping has been on Quorum Report.

When the poll came out, I noted that I didn't think the lead was 28 points. I guessed (and that's what much of polling is) the lead to be about 10 percent.

I'll summarize and excerpt some of the arguments in timeline form.

1. Montgomery releases press release with poll results showing Perry losing to KBH by 28%, but with Perry leading Strayhorn by a similar margin.

2. Perry campaign manager Luis Saenz says:
This data and a $1.95 will buy you a venti-sized cup of coffee at Starbucks. This is a transparent attempt by a Democrat pollster to taint the Republican primary process by cooking up flawed
numbers derived from non-voters and unlikely voters.

3. Montgomery responds:
There are two traditional, accepted methodologies for identifying party and voting propensity in political polling. One is to use a random sample and a series of screen questions; the other is to work from a voter list. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses.

The random-sampling method [that Montgomery used for this poll] requires the pollster to rely on what respondents say about their voting tendencies, but it also allows us to call both listed and unlisted numbers. The voter-list method excludes those with unlisted phone numbers, which is up to a third of the statewide population.

Both methods are widely used and accepted. In fact, Gov. Perry's own campaign pollster, Michael Baselice, uses the same random-sample method we used in this poll -- as do many other reputable national pollsters.

4. Baselice responds. The second paragraph is a summary by Harvey Kronberg.
"It is not accurate to state that Baselice & Associates, Inc. uses the same random-sample method that Montgomery & Associates used in its recent poll," Baselice said. "To determine whether any two sample methods are similar, we would have to compare the calling designs, the number of completed interviews desired in each region of the state, gender quotas, etc."

Baselice said that while his group does use random-digit dialing for statewide voter surveys of the general electorate, it recommends using a voter list of known Republican primary voter households when attempting to measure the opinions of Republican primary voters.

"However, our experience is that an RDD methodology does not produce a
representative sample of primary voters," Baselice said. "The recent
Montgomery & Associates survey attempts to measure support among Republican
voters in a primary election, however we believe the respondents should be
termed "casual" Republicans since they are not 'actual' primary voters."

Baselice said if 46 percent of the adult population in Texas voted in a
Republican primary at least some of the time (as the Montgomery & Associates
poll represents with 478 casual Republican primary voters out of 1,035
adults interviewed), then, proportionally, there should be more than seven
million Republican primary voters identified statewide on voter files.

"There are not even half that many GOP primary voters when we look at recent
primary elections combined. For comparison, there were 7.4 million total
Texas votes cast in the entire 2004 general election for president,"
Baselice said.

Baselice said he does not agree with a sampling methodology that produces
"casual" Republicans and then attempts to portray those opinions as
reflective of "actual" Republican primary voters.

5. Montgomery responds:
I appreciate Michael Baselice's thoughtful comments on our poll. I am also
confident that our numbers are accurate. I might share his concern about
polling "causal voters," but for two reasons.

First, there was no statistical difference in the trial heat response
between those who said they always vote in the GOP primary and those who say
they vote in the GOP primary only some of the time.

Second, I think Mr. Baselice may underestimate just what a high-profile race
this would be. In a district judge or low-profile state representative race,
for example, where only hard-core voters participate, I agree that voter
lists do work better. But I believe that RDD (random digit dialing) is a
better technique when a larger population becomes deeply engaged in a
contest--as in a general election, as he notes, but also in a truly historic
primary like this one, with a sitting senator giving up her seat to
challenge a governor from her own party. It would certainly be a heated and
expensive race as well. I believe turnout would be very high---especially
with a hotly contested primary to fill the empty U.S. Senate seat as well.

So even though it is a GOP primary election, it is likely to include some
general election voters, Independents, and even some Democrats. A generation
ago, it was common for non-Democrats to vote in the Democratic primary,
since that was the only place to make their vote count. As Texas becomes a
Republican stronghold, I believe the same may be beginning to happen in

For all those reasons, I believe RDD plus screen questions was the best
methodology for testing this potential race. But the more interesting
question is this: what has the Perry campaign found in its own polling on
this race--specifically, what are the results of any trial heat question
they have tested before testing messages (which sways voter response). I'd
be very curious to hear whether they found that the Governor would begin a
race with Sen. Hutchison ahead or behind in the polls.
Where to begin?

Often people call polling both "art and science," because it is science based on many assumptions. Baselice and Montgomery are assuming different things. Baselice is assuming that the primary election will be a relatively normal primary, while Montgomery is assuming that this will be an abnormal, super-heated primary that will boost turnout. Much of their disagreement flows from that simple disagreement.

Montgomery closes by challenging Baselice to release internal Perry poll results if Baselice disagrees with Montgomery's methodology. Montgomery knows that the Perry campaign won't let Baselice release Perry's internal polls because they will show KBH in the lead. Perry doesn't want to confirm a KBH lead, even if the race is much closer than Montgomery's poll suggests.

My take: Like I've said before, my guess is that KBH leads Perry by around 10 points right now among likely primary voters. Perhaps it's more like 15%, but I'm comfortable guessing a lead of around 10%.

Is Montgomery right that this primary will see a huge turnout? Well, my view of political history is that many campaigns have been based on turnout. They've almost all lost (for a recent example, see Sanchez vs. Perry in 2002).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Kinky Friedman
Kinky Friedman has an amusing interview. He's running for governor as an independent to legalize gambling and "stop the wussification of Texas."

Nonetheless, he is sure to get media attention at all stages of the campaign, and so far has been using it to criticize Perry (though in this interview, he only opines that "the governor can inspire. That's what Rick Perry has failed to do.")

Perhaps a small X factor in the race, because it could help frame the debate of Perry's tenure in office.

Tolls an issue?
Will KBH make an issue out of Perry's endorsement of toll roads?

Toll roads become one of State Rep.-elect Mark Strama's main attacks in unseating outgoing State Rep. Jack Stick.

People outside of Austin are writing about it too, even though it hasn't been in the news lately. Does the issue have traction in the general or primary?

Welcome!, Who are you?, etc
Welcome readers from Off the Kuff and Burnt Orange Report! Hope you'll come back to this page every few days for an update on the race.

Thanks to Charles Kuffner and Vince Leibowitz for the links.

Both Kuffner and Leibowitz remarked on my identity. Leibowitz even went so far as to speculate that I am "someone from Perry's camp or a GOP operative who has obvious reasons for starting the blog." This makes me laugh. I can categorically deny that I am in any way related to Perry's camp. Nor am I a "GOP operative."

The curiosity about my bio just makes me laugh, because I'm a nobody. I've never been employed by a campaign, never worked for an officeholder, never interned on Capitol Hill. In short, Leibowitz couldn't be more wrong.

Leibowitz also thinks it is funny that I mention the passage of the hate crimes bill. What he doesn't understand, since he's a Democratic party chairman, is that many on the right see hate crimes legislation as akin to McCain Feingold. To them, they aren't race or PC issues, as Leibowitz opines. Rather, conservative activists see both as First Amendment issues.

I was surprised that folks were wondering who I was. I set this up as my own way to track what I think will be a very interesting race. I didn't give any thought as to whether to remain anonymous. I'll give it some thought, but I'm not sure I want potential employers to google my name and see this blog...especially since some of it will probably be done during the work week.

UPDATE: If I were a Perry campaign operative or ardent Perry supporter, wouldn't I have picked a blog title more flattering to Perry? Would I have speculated that perhaps the White House isn't backing Perry 100%?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The poll numbers
I've been tardy in posting the numbers from a Montgomery & Associates poll.

11/16 - 12/2
478 Texas 18+ residents who will vote in a primary at least "some of the time", margin of error +/- 4.5% for subsample

2006 Texas Gubernatorial primary
Hutchison 60
Perry 32

Perry 56
Strayhorn 30

Perry 60
Outgoing Commerce Secretary Don Evans 20

Tip: BOR.

Perry's camp questioned the methodology, which Montgomery & Associates replied to at Quorum Report. (Sorry I've been slow in blogging the numbers; sometimes life gets in the way.)

My take: I think the numbers are accurate, given that they don't purport to measure likely voters. Does Hutchison lead 60-32 among Texas voters who may vote at least some of the time? It's definitely possible. Montgomery & Associates is a respected firm who usually do respectable work.

I'm surprised that the poll shows Perry beating Strayhorn by so much given the deficit shown against Hutchison. This really lends credence to Bob Novak's report that Strayhorn is likely to run for Lt. Gov.

I even think that Hutchison probably leads in both candidate's internal polling -- which is designed to be much more predictive of a final result than this poll -- but probably by a much smaller margin. My guess is that Perry and Hutchison's polling probably shows her with a 10 point lead among likely voters.

However, as I mentioned a few days ago, I think Perry is still a slight favorite to win this race.

Wall Street Journal summary:
This appeared in John Fund's Political Diary:
Amid signs that the state's senior senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, will challenge him in the GOP primary in 2006, Texas Governor Rick Perry came to Washington last week to rally national conservative activists in case he has to defend his job. Mr. Perry met a who's who of conservatives. He had breakfast with Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association. Then it was on to an afternoon reception at the offices of Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. After meetings with the National Right to Life Committee and the National Federation of Independent Business, he ended his day with dinner at the home of columnist George Will. He apparently made a favorable impression, especially with his account of how he closed a multi-billion-dollar budget gap without raising taxes.

One reason for Mr. Perry's stepped-up activity is that the omnibus spending bill about to pass Congress in its lame-duck session includes a provision that would allow candidates for state office to use cash they had originally raised for their federal races. In Senator Hutchison's case, some $6.7 million would become available for her gubernatorial campaign.

Senator Hutchison, a former Houston TV reporter, is allegedly bored with legislative chores in Washington and wants to move back to Texas, which she considers a better place to raise her adopted children. Her ideal outcome would be to convince Mr. Perry to abandon the governor's mansion and run for her seat in the Senate. But Mr. Perry is unlikely to view such a game of musical chairs favorably. A likelier outcome is a bloody primary for governor, combined with an equally brutal fracas to succeed Ms. Hutchison in the Senate. Two major GOP contenders are likely to be Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Rep. Henry Bonilla, who would be the first significant Hispanic Republican to seek a major statewide office.

Monday, December 06, 2004
Tacking right?
It seems very likely that Perry will use this session of the Legislature to shore up any shakiness in his conservative base.

Exhibit A:
State Rep. Frank Corte is looking to add school vouchers to a must-pass bill. I'm sure he'll see some support from Perry.
One lawmaker already is plotting ways to get school vouchers through the Legislature next year. Earlier this month, on the first day to file bills, Rep. Frank Corte, R-San Antonio, submitted a proposal for a pilot voucher program that would include the Houston and Cypress-Fairbanks districts.

Corte said he's also looking at a must-pass bill — the reauthorization of the Texas Education Agency — as a vehicle for his voucher program. Corte said that if his proposal, House Bill 12, gets stuck in committee, he's prepared to attach it as an amendment to the TEA sunset bill or another education or school finance bill.

Voucher proponents have the support of Gov. Rick Perry, a longtime advocate of a pilot program. Earlier this month, a group of Perry's business advisers called for vouchers, more funding for charter schools and restructuring the way teachers are paid.

The House has not debated vouchers since 1997, when a floor amendment proposed by Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston, failed on a 68-68 vote.

Sunday, December 05, 2004
A new angle?
Robert Novak reports a new angle in the race:
Texas political sources believe that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison definitely has decided to run in 2006 for governor, a job she long has coveted. That means challenging Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary.

Polls indicate that Perry is vulnerable in heavily Republican Texas, while Hutchison is currently the state's most popular political figure. If she runs for governor, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is interested in succeeding her in the Senate.

According to Texas sources, Hutchison's running mate as lieutenant governor may be State Comptroller Carole Strayhorn. The former Democratic mayor of Austin, Strayhorn has been called the brains of the Texas Republican Party. She is the mother of two important Bush administration officials: White House press secretary Scott McClellan and Medicare chief Mark McClellan.
Given all the sniping in the media lately, it's not a surprise that Hutchison has decided to run for governor.

Strayhorn and Hutchison as an anti-Perry ticket is an intriguing idea. It definitely seems possible -- there was a similar reshuffling in 2002 when Phil Gramm decided not to seek re-election.

Then-Land Commissioner David Dewhurst could have had the Senate nomination uncontested, but didn't jump in right away as he was already running for Lt. Gov against Greg Abbott. Folks at the time questioned Dewhurst's savvy to not immediately declare, because his personal wealth would have kept other serious candidates out of the race. So then Attorney General John Cornyn jumped in, and the White House helped clear the field to avoid a contentious Senate primary. As a result, Dewhurst stayed in the race for Lt. Gov, while Greg Abbott left the Lt. Gov race to become Attorney General.

Saturday, December 04, 2004
Is she a candidate or isn't she?
Julie Mason notes in the Houston Chronicle the sniping over a recent Rick Perry DC visit.
Perry was in Washington this week, meeting with Defense Department officials on military base expansion and related issues.

But his visit managed to tweak Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, a Republican considering running against Perry in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.

Hutchison had paid special attention in the Senate to the state's military bases, and Perry apparently neither told her he was coming nor invited her to join him in the meetings.

Asked whether he was in town poaching on Hutchison's political turf, Perry said, "I hope Texas is all our turf, quite frankly."

The Texas delegation in Congress has taken a lead in preserving and expanding Texas military base capacity, pushing through $1 billion in new construction projects during the past few years, Hutchison spokesman Kevin Schweers said.

"I'm not sure we understand yet the purpose of today's meetings or how they fit in with the delegation's effort, so I'm not in a position to comment further," Schweers said of Perry's session at the Pentagon.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who also has made military base issues a priority and is not expected to run for governor in two years, was untroubled by Perry's visit, according to spokesman Don Stewart.

"We are always happy to have state officials press the case for state facilities here in D.C.," Stewart said.
Is this an attempt by Cornyn to stay neutral or to subtlely back Perry?

Perry also did quite a bit of politicking with DC interest groups to try to steer some endorsements his way if Hutchison challenges him.

Also of note, though the Chronicle article didn't play it up, is that prominent talking head George Will had a dinner party to introduce Perry to national journalists.

Friday, December 03, 2004
The framework
The title of this blog is "Rick Perry vs. the World." It seems to be an accurate reflection of the state of the 2006 Texas GOP gubernatorial primary. Perry still doesn't have any declared challengers, but there is a definite shadow primary underway right now.

Sometimes it feels like Rick Perry really is facing the world. It seems nearly certain that Perry will face at least either Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn or Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and possibly both. At various times, there have been rumors of quite a few other Texas Republican politicos jumping into the race. Among others, they include: Bush communications guru Karen Hughes, outgoing Commerce Secretary and longtime Bush friend Don Evans, and Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd (more likely to run against Ag Commissioner Susan Combs for Comptroller).

Many folks associated with the White House have been rumored to confront Perry in a primary, leading some to question whether Bush is 100% behind his former lieutenant governor.

The primary will be in March 2006 -- only 15 months away. In January comes the biennial Texas legislative session, where Perry and Strayhorn will be prohibited from fundraising until May. At that point the race will be less than a year away, and fundraising will begin in earnest.

Assessing the candidates:

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison -- She's the state's most popular politician right now. For her first re-election bid, she went virtually unopposed. She's got money, she's popular, and she's sending strong intimations that she intends to challenge Perry for the governorship.

But can she win in a conservative GOP primary? It'll be a tough task, because she'll have a tough time running to the right of Perry. Hutchison has always been considered "moderate" and "pro-choice," both of which don't play particularly well in a Texas GOP primary.

For Hutchison to win, she has to bring out the moderates in the primary -- the folks who are willing to be persuaded by the major metropolitan newspapers (who will back Hutchison strongly) but may not vote. She may be popular enough to win on moderate turnout, but many campaigns have been based on turnout, and few of those have won.

Governor Rick Perry -- The first Aggie governor, Perry has faced much criticism in his first term. Texas Monthly criticized Perry harshly after his first legislative session as governor, calling him "furniture." The Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statemsan, San Antonio Express-News, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram can all be counted on to write anti-Perry editorials every few months. Perry's poll numbers have plummeted as a result.

Perry isn't nearly as popular as Hutchison in state at large, but is popular with GOP activists who comprise much of the votes and manpower necessary to win an intra-party war. Despite signing hate crimes legislation in 2001, Perry has since pleased conservatives with his push for redistricting, his refusal to raise taxes, and some spending cuts. He's also pro-life, and Texas Right to Life would undoubtedly back Perry loudly.

Comptroller Carole Strayhorn -- She struck gold when she came up with the slogan, One Tough Grandma.

Will she run if Kay Bailey Hutchison enters the race? She's already given the go-ahead to Susan Combs to run for her Comptroller seat. Yet, it's tough to imagine her winning a primary against both Hutchison and Perry. Hutchison would take most of the Perry dissidents, leaving Strayhorn without much of a base. In that case, Strayhorn would probably re-declare for her Comptroller race, and hope Combs would switch.

If the race comes down to Perry and Strayhorn, Strayhorn will be a dogged opponent for Perry. She has criticized him repeatedly for the past few years, earning positive stories and editorials in the major state newspapers.

But much of Strayhorn's criticisms have focused on not spending enough money on education, health care, etc. Is this a winning formula? I doubt it.

My outlook:
Most think Hutchison is the frontrunner if she decides to run for governor. She may be; but I'd give a slight edge to Perry under all current scenarios.

Of course, there are persistent rumors that Perry is considering running for Hutchison's Senate seat if Hutchison decides to challenge him. I doubt these, but they're worth noting.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Hutchison's money problem taken care of
Kay Bailey Hutchison no longer has to worry about fundraising, because Congress changed the law so that she can take the $6.5 million left over from her 2000 Senate re-election campaign and move it into a state account to run for governor.

Cite: Chron.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Test first post.

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