Thursday, November 5, 2009

NY23 and TX32: Can Lightning Strike Here?

On Tuesday, the conservatives took down the establishment GOP candidate in New York's 23rd District. Conservatives, usually reliable backers of the GOP candidate, swung their support to the Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. This split was enough to allow the Democratic candidate Bill Owens to win the special election, the first time a Democrat will represent this New York district since the Civil War.

Can the same thing happen in Texas' 32nd District, represented by Pete Sessions? Sessions, after all, is the chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee (RNCC), whose endorsement of Dede Scozzafava was rejected by the conservatives. That makes Sessions himself suspect to the conservatives and perhaps a target in his own primary campaign in Texas.

Perhaps in timing not accidental, on election day Sessions drew an opponent on his right. David Smith announced his own candidacy for Sessions' seat. Smith didn't take direct aim at Sessions in his announcement, saying only, "I am also a strong fiscal conservative. And sadly I recognize that record budget deficits under Republican leadership led to the exponentially greater debt spending that we see today."

Smith is going to have to swing harder than that if he's going to land any blows on Pete Sessions. Sessions will not be as easy to topple as Dede Scozzafava, the assemblywoman who ran for an open seat in NY, a race that drew the attention of the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and New Gingrich. Pete Sessions, on the other hand, is a veteran Congressman, a member of the GOP leadership, and a safe conservative vote on most issues conservatives care about.

David Smith has been a long-time contributor to Dallas County Republican Examiner. His upcoming campaign strategy might reasonably be inferred from his opinion pieces published there. Here are a few recent choice comments directed at Pete Sessions.

"Voting for 8 years of Bush era deficits undoubtedly led both to the 2006 and 2008 election fiascoes that saw Republicans lose control of the Congress and the White House, as well as the accelerating deficits of the Obama Administration. Coupled with his fund raising fiascoes involving Malaysian junkets, Indian casinos and hot air balloons, it would seem that Sessions might almost be best to announce his retirement than having to answer the questions a grueling campaign challenger will force and that have gone largely unasked, unanswered thus far."

"Social Security is still in a $50 trillion pit of unfunded liability. Health care legislation is still pending with the public option as its centerpiece. Deficits continue to expand. And many of the same faces responsible for 2006 and 2008 are still in office. Namely, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, just to list one."

"I don't have anything against Sessions' 'questionable' activities as far as Burlesque dancers, casinos, gambling, etc are concerned. But I realize that many others do. These range from the more tame problems with gambling in general that some have to the more universal problems with two-facedness that I believe most would take issue with. And Sessions suffers from this problem in large doses."

"The current Representative in District 32 could not stand in the presence of Sam Houston, the former President, Senator and Governor of Texas. He is a man with a deeply flawed record of influence peddling, corruption and support for deficits and corporate welfare. He has a record. And it disqualifies him from further service or leadership. So who will stand and offer themselves in his place?"

David Smith himself, evidently. Will the Tea Party demonstrators sustain their anger through the long winter? Will they turn on Pete Sessions, the candidate they cheered at his own town hall meetings last summer? Will David Smith be able to transfer their support to himself? Will he able to interest Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich to give him a second look (or first look, for that matter)? Not likely, but what do I know? Who would have thought that a no-name candidate who failed to demonstrate a working knowledge of local issues in upstate New York, who didn't even live in the district he wanted to represent, would have become the darling of conservatives nationwide and almost win a special election for NY's 23rd District? David Smith is a no-name candidate whose qualifications for public office include "speaking from the steps of the Texas Capitol at a march / rally last spring." David Smith, you have your work cut out for you. Despite your protest rally experience, you just can't count on lightning striking twice.

P.S. I wonder who the Democrats are trying to recruit just in case lightning does, in fact, strike twice and the local GOP party weakens itself in a fratricidal war. The Democrats might want to have an A-list candidate ready, just in case.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

I've been reminded that the Democrats already have an A-list candidate running in District 32. It's Grier Raggio. I knew that. Senior moment. Prematurely, of course.