Texans will soon gear up for the general election. Politicos already are.
Last month we asked the question, “in TX, is Obama worse off now than in 2010?”. It is an important question to ask since in 2010 Texas Democrats were crushed electorally and it wasn’t for a lack of effort. They were simply helpless in the face of the anti-Obama and tea party tides.
It is hard to find a factor alive in 2010 that isn’t the same or worse for Democrats today. It feels an awful lot like the reverse of the 2006-2008 cycle, or at least it should. The difference, of course, is that Democrats fan the flames in their up cycles while Republicans generally fret and gnash.
In fact, who remembers how in 2010 the Texas Democrat Trust finished a serious half-decade attempt to control redistricting? Millions upon millions were spent to gain control of the Texas House.
And while the Trust worked on control of the house, Steve Mostyn spent lavishly attacking Rick Perry and pumping Bill White.
After these impressive efforts, however, Republicans had more members in the House than ever and Bill White was a footnote in Texas political history.
Recently capitol insider and establishment bellwether Robert Miller gave a lineup of competitive house races to watch in 2012, basically relaying conventional wisdom in Austin. Miller sees Democrats picking up around seven House seats, getting them to 55.
Below is Miller’s analysis of the competitive matchups. His chart includes ORVS (Optimal Republican Voting Strength) — a measure that indicates how well a strong Republican should expect to perform in the district based on previous elections.
|149||Diane Williams||Hubert Vo (i)||46.70%||Leans Vo|
|78||Dee Margo (i)||Joe Moody||47.00%||Leans Moody|
|34||Connie Scott (i)||Abel Herrero||47.10%||Leans Herrero|
|144||David Pineda||Mary Ann Perez||49.20%||Leans Perez|
|117||John Garza (i)||Philip Cortez||50.80%||Toss Up|
|23||W. Faircloth||Craig Eiland (i)||51.00%||Leans Eiland|
|43||J. M. Lozano (i)||Gonzalez Toureilles||51.70%||Toss Up|
|107||K. Sheets (i)||Robert Miklos||54.90%||Leans Sheets|
|105||Harper Brown (i)||Rosemary Robbins||55.30%||Leans Harper Brown|
|102||S. Carter (i)||Rich Hancok||56.00%||Likely Carter|
|114||Jason Villalba||Carol Kent||56.70%||Likely Villalba|
|134||Sarah Davis (i)||Ann Johnson||58.10%||Likely Davis|
ORVS, like any measure, is fallible. In fact, during the 2010 wave election, seven Republicans took out incumbent Democrats despite having ORVS ratings below 50%. John Garza, who had an ORVS rating of 46, beat incumbent Vince Leibowitz with 51% of the vote.
Below is a table with 2010 ORVS and establishment predictions in races where Republicans beat Democrats. We took these 2010 Austin insider predictions from Texas Monthly.
|117||John Garza||David Leibowitz (i)||46.6||Leans Leibowitz*||Wrong|
|47||Paul Workman||Valinda Bolton (i)||47||Likely Bolton||Wrong|
|33||Raul Torres||Solomon Ortiz Jr. (i)||47.1||Likely Ortiz*||Wrong|
|93||Barbara Nash||Paula Pierson (i)||49||Toss Up||GOP won|
|34||Connie Scott||Abel Herrero (i)||49.3||Leans Herrero||Wrong|
|134||Sarah Davis||Ellen Cohen (i)||49.8||Toss Up||GOP won|
|57||Marva Beck||Jim Dunnam (i)||49.9||Likely Dunnam||Wrong|
|35||Jose Aliseda||Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles (i)||50.3||Likely Gonzalez Toureilles||Wrong|
|78||Dee Margo||Joseph Moody (i)||50.5||Toss Up||GOP won|
|106||Rodney Anderson||Kirk England (i)||50.7||Likely England||Wrong|
|101||Cindy Burkett||Robert Miklos (i)||50.9||Leans Burkett||Correct|
|107||Kenneth Sheets||Allen Vaught (i)||51.6||Toss Up||GOP won|
|133||Jim Murphy||Kristi Thibaut (i)||51.9||Likely Murphy||Correct|
|45||Jason Isaac||Patrick Rose (i)||52.3||Toss Up||GOP won|
|96||Bill Zedler||Chris Turner (i)||52.7||Likely Turner||Wrong|
|102||Stefani Carter||Carol Kent (i)||52.9||Leans Carter||Correct|
|52||Larry Gonzalez||Diana Maldonado (i)||53.1||Toss Up||GOP won|
|1||George Lavender||Stephen Frost (i)||58.5||Leans Frost||Wrong|
|12||James White||Jim McReynolds (i)||59.6||Likely McReynolds||Wrong|
|3||Erwin Cain||Mark Homer (i)||61.1||Leans Cain||Correct|
|85||Jim Landtroop||Joe Heflin (i)||65.4||Likely Landtroop||Correct|
When you add conventional wisdom, predictions get worse. Insiders were wrong on 10 that they predicted and correct on only 5. Every toss-up went to the GOP.
Since 2010 the fundamentals have not been improving for Democrats in Texas. The tea party has been getting increasingly organized and efficient.
With Texas resources being sent to battleground states for Obama, it will be interesting to see if 2012 turns out to be the answer to 2008.