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« Could Edwards Nod Be Trouble? | Blog Home Page | Morning Thoughts: Badger State Blowout »

A Dem Deep In The Heart Of TX

Four-term Houston Republican John Culberson is not used to strong challenges, and there's no reason he should be: After winning a runoff election in 2000 to replace retiring Rep. Bill Archer, Culberson has won easy re-elections, his lowest vote total coming in at 59% in 2006.

His Seventh District, which includes the western part of Texas' largest city, was once represented by George H.W. Bush, and gave the former president's son wide 38- and 28-point margins in 2000 and 2004, respectively. But a new poll for businessman Michael Skelly, combined with Culberson's poor fundraising numbers, has at least a few Democrats optimistic. While Skelly probably has little chance in November, some of Culberson's poll results probably say something about the state in which the GOP finds itself.

The poll, conducted 12/5-12, surveyed 600 likely voters. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the respected Democratic firm based in Washington, tested both Skelly and Culberson.

General Election Matchup
Culberson 52
Skelly 33

The wide 19-point lead, though, looks less impressive when just 44% say they will vote to re-elect Culberson. 34% say they will vote for someone new. Once undisclosed positive messages are read about each candidate, both wind up with 44%. Still, if those positive messages are not released within the poll memo, any results they purport to show should be taken with a hefty grain of salt.

Skelly is not the average opposition candidate in a GOP-favored district: He's raised more than $460,000 through the February 13 pre-primary filing deadline. The incumbent has raised $322,000, though Culberson has consistently spent more than he has brought in, leaving him with just $82,000 in the bank.

The district's heavy crimson hue makes Skelly's battle more than uphill: He's scaling the Matterhorn with little more than an ice pick. But with so much money in the bank, the Democrat could put the incumbent Republican in an uncomfortable position.