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Disarray of Wendy Davis, Democrats Evident in Texas Vote

Image: Disarray of Wendy Davis, Democrats Evident in Texas Vote

By John Gizzi   |   Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 08:16 AM

The first primaries of 2014 Tuesday clearly illustrated the weakness of Texas Democrats. This was especially true in the nomination for governor of state Sen. Wendy Davis, widely billed as one of her party's brightest stars.

Famed for her marathon filibuster against pro-life legislation before the Texas Senate last year, Davis won the Democratic primary with 79 percent of the vote over token opposition.

Little-noted by the national press, however, was that Davis was beaten in 26 counties with strong populations of Hispanic-Americans. In counties such as Jim Hogg, Zapata, and Presidio, Davis, who had more than $11 million in her campaign kitty, lost to political unknown Reynaldo "Ray" Madrigal.

According to veteran election analyst Jay O'Callaghan, "The total Republican turnout in 2014 was higher as a percentage of the vote and set a Republican record. The turnout among both parties slumped, but the Democratic turnout in 2014 went down from what it was in 2010 and 2006. Davis has with nearly complete results almost 100,000 less votes than the last Democrat nominee Bill White."

Davis's poor showing comes as state Attorney General Greg Abbott, winner of the Republican nomination for governor with 92 percent of the vote, is making a strong appeal for Hispanic-American votes.

Abbott launched his campaign in San Antonio, which has a strong Hispanic-American population, and frequently reminds audiences that his wife Cecilia will be Texas's first Latina first lady if he is elected.

"Wendy Davis had a weak primary turnout compared to past primaries, meaning that the Democrat operation to turn Texas blue failed miserably," O'Callaghan told Newsmax.

O'Callaghan was referring AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka telling Newsmax last August: "We'll be in Texas in a bigger way than we were."

As to why organized labor would make a priority out of a state that has been solidly Republican for nearly two decades and where unions have historically been weak, Trumka said that "it's a majority-minority state, and minorities are denied the effective voice they are entitled to. We're going to try, by giving it more attention."

Compounding the Democrats' uphill struggle in Texas this year is the run-off they never expected coming out of their primary to oppose Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

Although businessman David M. Alameel was expected to win easily, he came in first with 47 percent of the vote and must now face a runoff in May against Kesha Rogers, an activist follower of Lyndon LaRouche who has called for President Barack Obama's impeachment and said Obamacare is "facist."

Rogers was repudiated by state and national Democrats in 2010 when she won the Democratic nomination for Congress in Texas's 22nd District.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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