Texas Democrats are Heavy Hitters
Jack Freeman is a yellow-dog Democrat who has voted for his party’s candidates for longer than he can remember. But he hopes his party’s Washington stars will stay away until after the November general election, especially from the state convention that starts Friday in Dallas.
“Please, Mr. Obama, stay home,” said Freeman, an Austin retiree, echoing the sentiments of other rank-and-file Democrats. “They’re not liked down here, and we’ve got good candidates here in Texas who can win, as long as they stay on Texas issues and not get caught up in the mess in Washington.”
As the convention ramps up to try to win statewide offices for Democrats for the first time in two decades, do not expect President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden or other top national Democrats to make appearances, or even get mentioned much, the lone exception being Julian Castro, the San Antonio mayor who is awaiting Senate confirmation as federal housing secretary.
As Obama faces blistering GOP criticism and a low approval rating, his low profile at a Texas state party convention should, perhaps, come as no surprise, since the top stars of both national parties generally do not show up except to excite the faithful and underscore any clout they have.
For their part, Republicans have been more than happy to tag every Democrat candidate as being an Obama Democrat, even if they are not, as a way to gain traction over political adversaries.
Instead of Obama or Biden, Texas Democrats starting Friday will get cheerleading speeches with a distinctively Texas flavor from state Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, the party’s nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate nominee David Alameel and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, the twin brother of Julian Castro.
Other speakers include state Sens. Royce West of Dallas, the convention chairman, and Kirk Watson of Austin, chairman of the Senate’s Democratic Caucus, and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.