Thursday, February 4, 2010

Internet Straw Polls and FEC Figures Tell Campaign Story

"You can take a poll and make it show you just about
anything you want it to say."
- President Lyndon Baines
Johnson going into the 1968 Primary season

As unscientific as they may be, two straw polls circulating
in Texas Congressional District 17 tell the story of the
hotly contested Republican Primary election in stark figures
with startling similarity.

In both cases, candidates Dave McIntyre, Rob Curnock and
Chuck Wilson are the three frontrunners.

In one poll published on the worldwide web out of Michigan,
candidate Dave McIntyre leads by 51.37 percent with 243
votes out of 473 cast, trailed by Rob Curnock with 22.03
percent, 104 votes, and Chuck Wilson with 12.29 percent and
58 votes.

Bill Flores trails Tim Delasandro with 1.69 percent, 8 votes
to Mr. Delasandro's 3.59 percent with 16 votes. Forty-four
respondents were undecided in the
informal straw poll featured on Edward Waller's website, Mr. Waller is a software engineer and
website designer who offers instant polls any time or
anywhere on any subject

In another, earlier poll generated by the Waco CBS outlet,
KWTX TV Channel 10, on January 6, Rob Curnock tallied 45.2
percent of 766 votes, leading Chuck Wilson with 23.2 percent
and Dave McIntyre with 19.7 percent.

In that poll, Bill Flores leads Timothy Delasandro with 8.1
percent of the votes, contrasted with 4.3 percent cast for
Mr. Delasandro.

Respondents were asked at that time to indicate "If the GOP
primary were held today, whom would you vote for in the race
for the right to challenge Democratic central Texas
Congressman Chet Edwards in November?"

According to KWTX Web Content Producer Micah Williams, it is
suspected that most respondents to that poll are from the
Waco viewing area of the television station.

But it's in the area of campaign finance figures that the
results are skewed heavily in favor of Mr. Flores, a retired
CEO of Phoenix Exploration, L.P., who moved to College
Station to take over his duties as President of the Texas
A&M Alumni Association.

Everything about Mr. Flores spells rainmaker, from the
pattern on his tie - an elephant hoisting an umbrella over
its head with its trunk - to his work record as an
accounting major who traded up to running energy companies
such as Marine Petroleum and Phoenix Exploration.

The figures indicating the deals he made during his career
trip across the page with hundreds of millions of dollars
tallied, indicating a thrust toward expansion and
development of domestic oil and gas fields, as opposed to
foreign production.

According to a profile published by Research and
out of Dublin, Ireland, Phoenix Exploration, L.P., a
Houston-based limited partnership that is "an oil and gas
focused exploration and acquisition/exploitation company
with a focus in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and
the Gulf Coast," acquired all the oil properties owned by
Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation for $340 million in 2006. The
oil fields thus acquired stretch from Belle Isle, Cameron,
and offshore Louisiana to High Island and Galveston.

During that period, the Carlyle Group and Riverstone
Holdings invested $250 million in Phoenix Exploration, L.P.

Of all the Republican candidates' Federal Election
Commmission war chest records, Mr. Flores' figures are
astronomically higher.

He has amassed $416,466 as of year end 2009, $303,865 of
which he contributed to his own account; $111,601 came from
individuals and $1,000 from a PAC.

This compares with the Chet Edwards war chest, which
consists of a reported $1,405,254, $800,355 of which came
from individual contributions, $500,069 of which was
contributed by Political Action Committees and $14,830
attributed to "other" sources, an amount that is more than
triple the Flores campaign treasury.

Mr. Flores' nearest rival in the political contributions
game is Robert Curnock with a total of $138,765, $85,761 of
which was contributed by individuals, $250 by the Republican
Party and $52,734 donated by the candidate.

Challenger David McIntyre reported no figures during that
FEC reporting period, but a report on
declares that he has raised a total of $123,965, spent
$49,763, and contributed a sizable portion to that total on
his own behalf.

The campaign treasury of Chuck Wilson records $122,271
total, $102,271 of which was contributed by individuals
while $20,000 was added to the total by the candidate.

This has become a sore spot between the two candidates.
Wilson campaign literature mentions that of the "three
viable candidates," meaning himself, Curnock and McIntyre,
he is the only one who is not showing a substantial campaign
debt on FEC tally sheets. He is on record expressing the
opinion that it is hard to attract contributions when a
campaign fund is in debt to the candidate.

The Federal commission requires candidates to show money
they advanced themselves as loans, arriving at a net figure
of debt owed to themselves.

Mr. McIntyre has called on Mr. Wilson to alter his campaign
rhetoric and revise the language on his website. "I owe no
money!" he has declared.

Mr. Wilson has so far not responded to his request.

Contribution figures supplied by the
website, a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation
and the Sunlight Foundation, shows that Mr. Flores
contributed $38,400 to various Republican campaigns during
the 2008 election cycle.

Aside from a $100,000 contribution he sent to the Surgeon
General of the U.S. Army for wounded soldiers and their
families at Brooke Army Hospital at Ft. Sam Houston, San
Antonio, Mr. Flores donated $31,900 to the McCain-Palin
campaign, $2,000 to the Wildcatters Fund of the IPAA, $2,200
to the Senatorial campaign of John Cornyn, $1,300 to the
Mike Huckabee for President primary campaign and a $1,000
contribution to the Republican National Committee.

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