With Labor day just around the corner we can expect the 2014 campaign season to get underway.
Will 2014 be the year the Democrats make a comeback? Democrats are hopeful, Republicans are confident and most of the pundits are skeptical. State Sen. Wendy Davis' rise to fame because of her abortion bill filibuster has fanned the flame of hope among Democrats, but Davis is coy about her decision. She previously said she would announce her intentions to run for governor or reelection to the State Senate by Labor Day, but has recently postponed the announcement. With the announcement delayed, Democrats are trying to find credible candidates to run for other statewide offices.
While Davis' filibuster did give her more statewide name identification, the abortion issue is a double-edged sword and most polls indicate the majority of Texans are more pro-life than pro-choice. There seems to be a "you go first" mentality with other candidates waiting on her decision and perhaps she is waiting to see if others will join here Quixotic quest. While names mentioned for other statewide spots have good qualifications, none have statewide name identification, which means they all will need lots of money to have any chance at all against the well-funded Republican candidates.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, considered the favorite if not a shoo-in to be our next governor, got good news today from a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. The Democrats hope to use the voter-ID controversy and the voter discrimination battle between the US Justice Department and Texas as fodder to help turn Texas blue, but the UT/TT poll indicates that these issues actually favor "the presumptive Republican nominee." In an Oct. 2012 poll 92% of Republican voters favored voter-ID as did 73% of independents. Those numbers total more than all the Democrats in the state and some polls indicated even some Democrats are pro-voter-ID. In a Feb. 2013 poll 75% of Hispanics, a target voting population for Democrats, also expressed support for voter-ID. On the issue of allowing Texas to make changes in voter laws without Justice Department intervention the numbers are not as clear, with 67% of Republicans saying the Justice Department should take a hike but 57% of Hispanics saying Texas and some other states should be under Federal supervision.
You can read more about the surveys in the Texas Tribune.
Speaking of voter ID, the first Texas election under the new requirement was held in Edinburg, Texas and according to the San Antonio Express-News, it went off without a hitch. It's only one election, but it might be an indication, as is frequently the case in politics, that the rhetoric about an issue seldom reflects the reality.