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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Texas -- 10

Dems Fail To Stay Competitive In 3 Texas Districts

What a difference two years makes. As voters in Texas head to the polls today to vote in their 2010 primaries, Democrats find themselves struggling to put up much of a fight in three of the most competitive Republican House districts in 2008.

In the 10th District, which stretches from Austin to Houston, businessman Jack McDonald was supposed to be the Democratic challenger who could finally defeat Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the third-term Republican who won with 55 percent or less the last two elections. But McDonald's name won't appear on the 10th District primary ballot today.

After forming an exploratory committee in February 2009, McDonald raised more than $300,000 in five weeks. In April -- 19 months before the election -- the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aired a radio ad in the district for a week that attacked McCaul for his vote against the stimulus bill. The move was a clear sign of the party's faith in McDonald and its view that McCaul was vulnerable.

McDonald would go on to raise more than $1 million in 10 months. Then in late December -- two weeks before the filing deadline -- McDonald took a look at the political landscape and dropped out.

"Since forming our Exploratory Committee last February, the environment in our District has changed significantly," McDonald wrote in a farewell message on his campaign Web site.

With McDonald out this year, the fallback challenger is Ted Ankrum, a retired Naval officer and Vietnam veteran who challenged McCaul in 2006. He garnered 40 percent that year - and held McCaul to 55 percent - despite spending only $64,000. He has yet to file a fundraising report with the Federal Election Commission and likely won't receive the same national party support McDonald would have.

Continue reading "Dems Fail To Stay Competitive In 3 Texas Districts" »

TX-10: DCCC Targeting McCaul

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will begin running radio ads next week in the districts of six Republicans, all of whom voted against the economic recovery package. One of the six targeted districts, though, sticks out from the rest.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), whose 10th District runs from the Houston suburbs west to include parts of Austin, is the only one of the six targeted members to represent a district won by John McCain in 2008. Both McCaul and McCain won the district by 11 points in November, which begs the question: Is the DCCC really targeting this seat?

Apparently they are, and in no small part because of an already well-funded candidate named Jack McDonald, whose exploratory committee announced yesterday that it had raised more than $300,000 in just five weeks. Should McDonald, a self-described "centrist Democrat" and "successful businessman," officially jump in the race, he'll face a Republican whose winning percentage has dropped significantly as his opponents have spent more money, but who held off a well-funded opponent last year.

McCaul was elected comfortably to Congress with 79 percent in 2004, when no Democrat ran in the general election and two third-party candidates spent no more than $50,000 combined. McCaul's Dem opponent in 2006 spent a paltry $64,000, yet still garnered 40 percent of the vote. And McCaul's percentage dropped to 55 percent.

In 2008, a DailyKos/Research2000 poll released late in the campaign found Democrat Larry Joe Doherty trailing McCaul by just 4 points. Doherty spent $1.2 million, about a half-million less than McCaul, and the Republican's winning percentage dropped to 54 percent, below the threshold of what should be considered a solid victory.

The other five Republican congressmen the DCCC is targeting in radio ads next week include: Mike Castle (Delaware), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11) and Bill Young (FL-10).

"Heading into Tax Day, we are again going district by district to hold 'just say no' House Republicans accountable for voting against middle class tax cuts that would immediately help ease the economic crisis for families struggling to make ends meet," said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen.

The committee is calling this the fourth phase of its "Putting Families First" campaign, with the ads set to begin airing Monday morning and run for a week. The ad can be heard here:

TX 10: McCaul (R) +4

Minnesota's Al Franken is getting all the credit as the possible entertainer in the 111th Congress. But don't overlook Larry Joe Doherty, the Texas lawyer who used to host one of those courtroom reality shows. A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll surveyed 400 likely voters between 10/20-22 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Rep. Michael McCaul and Doherty were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
McCaul.........46 / 7 / 79 / 45 / 50 / 42
Doherty........42 / 84 / 6 / 44 / 39 / 45

McCaul has refused to debate Doherty so far and the Democrat has raised good money. But the district, which stretches from the Houston exurbs to the Austin suburbs, is a very Republican area.