Monica Roberts

Texas Primary Primer

Filed By Monica Roberts | February 19, 2008 4:24 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, Houston, Monica Roberts, Texas

In a few hours the polls will open in Wisconsin, Hawaii and Texas for the next round in the Democratic nomination battle between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.


Yep. Election day may officially be March 4, but my home state allows early voting starting two weeks before the actual election date. So for the first time since 1988, candidates are gonna have to come to the Lone Star State and do more than just use Texas as a political ATM machine.

Since I'm the native Texan on the Project and it's been a while since my home state mattered in a presidential primary, I thought I'd give y'all some insight on what to expect as the battle for Texas unfolds.

First, the basics. Texas contains three of the top ten largest US cities in population, Houston (4th) San Antonio (7th) and Dallas (9th). When you add the top 25 cities in population, Austin is 16th, Fort Worth is 18th and El Paso is 23rd.

There are sizable concentrations of African-Americans and Latinos in my home state in addition to large chunks of GLBT people concentrated in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

Contrary to what you've heard about Texas being a 'red state', Republican control of it is only a recent phenomenon. Texas historically is a progressive state. After 20 years of GOP mismanagement and chicanery, even loyal Republicans are sick of it.

So what to expect once the returns start getting counted on March 4?

Texas is an open primary state, which means you can be registered to one party and crossover to vote in the other's primary.

Turnout will be heavy in the Latino and African-American communities. Latinos have an historic opportunity to give Rick Noriega a chance to secure the Democratic nomination for US Senate and take on John Cornyn in the fall. African-American Texans see a historic chance to help Sen. Barack Obama get one step closer to our people's long term dream of an African-American president.

Focus on the Houston/Harris County area. Houston's not only the largest city in the state, but it and Harris County provide 16% of any votes cast in a statewide race. Dallas/Fort Worth is next in importance returns wise.

Out of the 228 total delegates Texas is allocated by the Democratic party, 35 of them are superdelegates. 193 will be up for grabs on March 4. The popular vote will only determine 75% (126) of those delegates and those are the ones Senators Obama and Clinton will do battle to add to their totals that night.

42 delegates get allocated during the caucus phase at the primary and county convention level, and 25 at the state convention level June 6-8. Delegates are dispersed based on voting strength in the 31 state senate districts, not congressional districts as other states do it.

Oh yeah, bad news for you Hillary lovers. Latest AP poll shows Sen. Obama and her in a virtual tie, so sit back, relax and enjoy the fun as the focus on Election 2008 shifts to the Lone Star State.

Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

"Oh yeah, bad news for you Hillary lovers. Latest AP poll shows Sen. Obama and her in a virtual tie, so sit back, relax and enjoy the fun as the focus on Election 2008 shifts to the Lone Star State."

Can we assume that Hillary (or Bill) might be making a midnite trip to Duval and/or Jim Wells counties?

Lets hope that Hillary doesn't emerge from this with the nickname 'Landslide.' It worked okay in the long run with LBJ, but I don't want deja vu for HRC.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 19, 2008 8:48 AM


Your claim to being "the native Texan on the Project" is partially true. You are a Texas native, but so am I. I moved to D.C. eight years ago.

I have spent much time in Ninfa's (even though she is Republican), danced many many nights away at Numbers and Rich's, was a lead organizer for the massive rallies that occurred after the murder of Paul Broussard and I have still have great love for Ray Hill.

There are at least two Texas natives on the Project.

Oh Good Lord. That explains a lot. There's two of you! :)

It's good to see more and more states actually mattering in the primary. Being from Indiana, our votes never mattered. I hope it's not decided before we actually get to have our say too.

Michael Bedwell | February 19, 2008 10:55 AM

"Contrary to what you've heard about Texas being a 'red state', Republican control of it is only a recent phenomenon. Texas historically is a progressive state."????????????

Yep. Not forbidding their slaves by law from learnin' to read made them more progressive than southern states further east. Yep. One could look at it that way.

And just because being a part of the United States which would allow them to legally keep slaves whereas slavery was illegal under the Spanish/Mexican law was a big part of the motivation of the "Independence" movement [see "Alamo"], yeah, that was certainly progress—unless you were a slave. Or even a free black who was subject to harsher treatment in early Texas than many other states. And don't get me started on the way white Texans, Republican and Democrat, have traditionally treated Brown people.

One last thing, while I'm a Hillary voter not a "Hillary lover," since YOU brought it up, your reduction of the motivation of Texas African-American voters supporting Obama to race is not only unfortunate, it contradicts your own earlier post about how it's really about the issues for them. But getting too close to all the gaseous fumes surrounding the Dali Obama's Crusade can have that dizzying effect on even the most intelligent and objective person. We've seen it before. We'll see it again.

contrary to the popular misconception;
The Texan, cowboy president is
neither a Texan (borne in Maine)
and it afraid of horses.

Take care

That's right Mike, you know what real barbecue tastes like too ;)

We'll have to chat about that one day.

I just read on that Texas' oldest Hispanic group has endorsed Obama. And yeah Texas was always a blue state until recently..quite a story on how all that changed. Its going blue again and ha ha ha ..the geri mandering of Tom Delay to create that perm rethug majority may really backfire. ...and i love the idea of that. As for Obama "mania" don't buy into it. of course their are extemely passionate people...but i ask you look to places like Iowa, north dakota , the most unlikely places..this dude is pulling in Independents who do not want a dynasty, do not want to go back to the past..the people of all stripes are saying no the clintons. Is Obama perfect , or the progressive's first choice - NO BUT i will be excited to cast my vote for him in a general election..wanting to see history made this way. Our country is long over due, will our social ills dissapear absolutely not. So i have faith in Texas, dear friends in Texas have gotten me over a "Texas phobia" Texas does a lot RIGHT ! and in a week or two we will see just how amazing things are gonna be..

Texas also has a way that devies up delegates differently , the primary only takes 70% of delegates then they get to have a caucus where 30% percent of voters get to further decide to whom the delegates will be buddies are going to that caucus..and they do support Obama.

Michael Bedwell,
I'm stating a fact. A lot of our attraction to Obama is the fact that we have a chance to make a historic dream come true in addition to all of Sen Obama's other qualities such as his intelligence, his policy stances, his oratorical skill, his vision for the country, et cetera.
Too bad if you have a problem with that because you don't like him.

Sam Houston was the governor of Texas at the time and opposed secession from the Union.

The reason 'The Hammer' is no longer in Congress is because he ran afoul of a Texas law that prohibits corporate money from being used in state legislative campaigns. That law was passed by The Lege in 1902.

The only Southern Senator to vote for the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights acts was Texas' Ralph Yarborough. As a matter of fact, when Ralph voted for the 1964 one he was in the middle of a Senate campaign. His Republican opponent stated that if he had been in the senate he would have opposed the law. The name of that Republican opponent by the way? George Herbert Walker Bush.

Maybe you forgot about the peeps who have represented my state in congress such as Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, Lloyd Bentsen, John Tower, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Sheila Jackson Lee.

Finished swallowing those Hillary hater tots yet?

Michael Bedwell | February 19, 2008 2:36 PM

Monica, while trying to soak us in Barackberry Kool Aide with your list of Obama characteristics, you left out "documented liar about passing nuclear industry legislation and LGBT rights legislation in Illinois and his support for any state's "right" to legally ban gay relationships regardless of his phony baloney position on repealing DOMA Section 2 which his own Constitutional law professor insists would do nothing to make gay lives better [therefore, no better than Sen. Clinton's position]; breaker of multiple promises not to run for Prez until his first US Senate term was over; and, the latest, plagiarist, no less guilty for having gotten retroactive permission from a supporter to pretend his rhetorial paragraphs were Obama's own.

As for your exceptions to Texas troglodytic history, and proudprogressive's revisionist horsefeces that it was "always a blue state until recently," authorities at U of T Austin seem to disagree:

“For a century after Reconstruction, the Democratic Party enjoyed electoral dominance on all levels of state government and in the Lone Star State's representation in the national government. Democratic rule was dominated by a conservative white political elite that strongly promoted economic development, but that resisted change either in race relations or social programs for the poor. Tensions within the party over these issues were effectively muted until the civil rights movement and mounting tensions in national politics finally erupted into state politics in the 1950s. The parties began to change.

Republicans were not completely absent during this period, but their electoral victories were few and limited in scope. The most common successes were at the presidential level, where Texas supported Republican candidates in 1952, 1956, 1972, and in every election after 1980 as Republican strength grew.

The history of the Texas party system reflects the political heritage of the rest of the old South, including secession from the Union, racial segregation and nationally mandated desegregation, the mobilization of conservative Christians, and continuing immigration of people from the northern states. ...

The size of the state, its unique history, and the resulting political and cultural variety of Texas society have all contributed to the development of what might be called a "pragmatic center." Scratch the surface of this pragmatism, and one is likely to find that what is "practical" is a relatively conservative, pro-business set of policy preferences, periodically affected around the edges by mobilized groups without the power to remain influential over long periods of time (such as third parties). ...

[E]nduring characteristics include:

- a comparatively low level of state services maintained by a general hostility toward progressive taxation (particularly any form of income tax)
a generally anti-union work environment
- limited environmental regulation

- culturally conservative social policy in areas such as education, religion, and civil rights

These characteristics of politics in Texas have deep historical roots, ... The societal consensus on these points has been challenged and modified to some extent during various periods in Texas history, but never substantially overturned. As a result, these tendencies continue to exert a strong influence through to the present.”


Bedwell, plagiarism, seriously? Is there anything the Clinton campaign can say that you won't buy?

Why we don't have a system of rating regional primaries or something that keeps all states in play at least some of the time, I'll never know.

Michael Bedwell | February 19, 2008 3:58 PM

Blaze, seriously, is there anything I might write that you won't diss simply because I wrote it? How about: Alex Blaze is a hunk of burning love with an IQ of 200 and the cutest dimples this side of the Seine? :- )

Main Entry: pla•gia•rize
Function: verb
Etymology: plagiary
Date: 1716
transitive verb
: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source
intransitive verb
: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

ACTUALLY, I wouldn't think it was such a big deal IF the Obamaites weren't spinning so hard and badly about it [see Tapper below]. All he would have had to do was begin, "as my friend Patrick Deval once said....." and people would have forgotten that and remembered the meat of it [which IS a good rhetorical gimmick], but now it looks like just another example of Obama thinking he can pull any kind of shit and get away with it because MSM have given him a pass for so long—like lying about passing legislation when he didn't when he had to know that SOMEBODY would eventually fact-check him. ABC's Jake Tapper, I believe, was the reporter who exposed the "borrow" from Gov. Deval, and he's no Hillary Head. He flames her on a regular basis, too. His latest piece:

"Deval Patrick's Timeline Doesn't Mesh with Reality
February 19, 2008 11:42 AM

Speaking to the New York Times Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick attempted to excuse his friend Sen. Barack Obama's lifting of part of his October 2006 "Just words" speech. “In a telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Patrick said that he and Mr. Obama first talked about the attacks from their respective rivals last summer, when Mrs. Clinton was raising questions about Mr. Obama’s experience, and that they discussed them again last week," the Times' Jeff Zeleny wrote. "Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama's speechwriters.”

But Obama was quoted using Patrick's language before the Summer of 2007. ...............

Some folks have pointed out that when Obama borrowed the line on voting your aspirations in Portsmouth, NH, on December 21, 2007, he footnoted Patrick, saying, "Don't vote your fears, I'm stealing this line from my buddy, Deval Patrick, who stole a bunch of lines from me when he ran for the governorship, but it`s the right one. Don`t vote your fears, vote your aspirations." But in my original post, I wasn't referring to that quote.

I was referring to a month before, in November 2007, when Obama according to news coverage stood on the steps of the Clarendon County Courthouse in Manning, S.C., and, according to USA Today, said:

"Now, I've heard that some folks aren't sure America is ready for an African-American president, so let me be clear," he told his mostly black audience. "I never would have begun this campaign if I weren't confident I could win. But you see, I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Don't believe me OR USA Today? Fine. Check out the Obama website where they have the speech posted -- no credit to Deval Patrick is given."


As for the 300-ring circus of how delegates are chosen from state-to-state, and votes tabulated, the US has grown far too big for such inconsistencies to be fair to anybody and should be standardized nationally. There was a piece on local SF news last night that there are still several hundred thousand CA absentee ballots NOT YET COUNTED from Super Tuesday. In some places they are literally ironing them one-by-one so they will feed properly through scanners. I believe he said the recommended setting is somewhere between Wool and Cotton. Obama may win CA yet.

Michael Bedwell | February 19, 2008 4:33 PM

Eeek! Sorry. I so interpolated Patrick's name. I've heard he's a good, gay-friendly governor, but perhaps someone living in MA can comment on that.

Martin Luther King was also accused of "plagiarism".

It is only too true.

In how many ways can you say “Love your Brother.”?
In how many ways can you say “All men are created equal.”?
How many men have said “I have a dream!”?

Obama is in excellent company.

ps- Alex,you really are a hunk of burning love with an IQ of 200 and the cutest dimples this side of the Seine. LOL love you all...

M - Alex is very modest and would never admit to having cute dimples. But is he is smart and any man would be good to snatch him up. :)

MB~ What we're talking about here are a couple of throw-away lines from a speech. They both used the phrase "just words," it's not like Obama took an entire Patrick speech and redelivered it. The guy's message worked and yeah he's building on that. But that's not plagiarism, that's just the way politics, and pretty much anything, work. Even a pro speechwriter, who would probably be the most worried about this kind of plagiarism, thinks this whole thing's stupid.

In fact, their messages are so similar that Patrick was accused a couple years ago of plagiarizing Obama.

And this thing has totally been pushed by the Clinton camp. But I don't really know why, it so transparently a desperate manufactured scandal.

Michael Bedwell | February 19, 2008 7:23 PM

Come on, AB, you know that if the situation were reversed the Obamites would be crucifying Sen. Clinton. Did a Clintonite hijack and change the DEFINITION of plagiarism to "use (another's production) without crediting the source?" concede it's a "kind of plagiarism." What are your thoughts on being kind of pregnant?

As for trying to dismiss it all as a product of "the Clinton Camp," are you accusing Jake Tapper and ABC News of secretly on Sen. Clinton's payroll? That's where I first heard about it—the ABC Evening news, not some Urgent Memo to All Clintonites that you apparently imagine I get on an hourly basis.

"Thousands, if not millions, of Americans are inspired by Obama's words. They do not think they are "just words." But many of them also likely think they are at least somewhat original." - Tapper

Maybe the "Boston Globe" is on Clinton's payroll, too, having documented the similarities nearly a year ago:

"If the plaudits for Obama and Patrick as campaigners are similar, so are the criticisms. Obama is facing the same charge Patrick did last year: that he's long on atmospherics and short on specifics. Patrick overcame that critique, but Obama, given the unprecedented media scrutiny of a presidential campaign, won't have it so easy, [Dan Payne, a Democratic strategist working for Patrick at the time] said.

"I think there's a lesson . . . for Obama that things you may be able to get away with in a statewide campaign, let's say, you're not going to get away with in a national campaign," he said.

- Boston Globe, April 16, 2007

Of course, your tut tut commentary link on the alleged plagiarism ping pong between Patrick and Obama comes from John R. Bohrer a former Deval Patrick intern who's been writing hit pieces on Sen. Clinton from his desk set up in Obama's ass for nearly a year.

You cheekily try to trivialize it as "a couple of throw away lines" when the PASSAGES are similar enough that the YouTube Patrick/Obama speech clips sound like echoes of each other.

“Key section of Obama speech is adapted material.” -

But while it IS not the end of the world, like so many politico smart asses before them, Obama, Inc., who share the candidate's "How DARE Anyone Criticize ME" mantra, doesn't get that they're making it more about the cover up than the "crime," as Tapper documents at the link above to "Deval Patrick's Timeline Doesn't Mesh with Reality."

I would give a thousand dollars cash to the Obama campaign for the opportunity to ask him face-to-face: "Why did you say you cosponsored and passed the LGBT rights bill in Illinois when you did neither?" But, they won't get that money because I'd never get the opportunity, nor would credentialed gay media if enough of them had their own heads out of his ass long enough to ask, and MSM doesn't care about LGBT issues.

The cracks in the statue of St. Barack of Illinois—formerly sacrosanct behind the force field of MSM’s man crush—are beginning to show—some inherently tiny and INITIALLY insignificant like the speech passage borrowing without credit and some huge like his smile fucking lies about his record. The sad fact is that the "long primary process" has probably failed to reveal his critical flaws in time because of a MSM already programmed to attempt to disbelieve and discredit Sen. Clinton at every turn while eagerly throwing their legs in the air for Obama the moment he stepped off the 2004 DNC Convention stage. But if he gets the nomination and the scrutiny increases, the possible damaging results will only add to McCain's credibility with voters.

“Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s ‘squeaky-clean image’ got muddied up yesterday after he was forced to admit he lifted part of a speech from an address by Bay State Gov. Deval Patrick.
‘It certainly goes in the face of his squeaky-clean image’, said Republican strategist Holly Robichaud, who writes a weekly blog for the Herald. ‘It is clear he used the same words - there is no question about it. It will hurt him, but maybe not enough for him to lose ground’.” – Boston Herald, Feb. 19, 2008.

If you think the “Clinton Camp” are being mean to poor widdle Bawack, wait until the Repug machine gets a hold of him.

If you ever want a reason to go get drunk go read the Republican rules for picking delegates! Another blog I read posted them the other day whew gave me a headache trying to figure it out.

Yes I have tons of family in Texas from the very beginning to now so my the Gods Bless Texas!

Well, sometime this week or the next, I will be voting, I always vote early. The problem is, I still haven't made up my mind as to who.

The flap over the lines is just a tempest in a teapot and truthfully has no real bearing on the race. However, his taking credit for legislation that he never touched, that is a bit disturbing, and I would really like to see him stand up and explain himself on that.

As with all politicians, both canidates are slimeballs. It is just that Hillary is a known quantity as far as her sliminess is concerned. Not knowing what kind of slimeball Obama may be, is another matter.