Sunday, July 17, 2011

Newly redrawn District 25 a referendum on Obama

The GOP primary lineup in the newly gerrymandered District 25 holds a few surprises, but predictable party support goes to the most experienced candidates.

Judging from close scrutiny in the social media, the hot button issues are hinged on a referendum on Obama and Democratic Party leadership – debt crisis, prayer in the schools, abortion, undocumented immigration, entitlement spending – and the list goes on.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the announced contenders, ranked by party stalwarts as to their attractiveness based on their ability to raise funds and help get out the vote against any well-funded Democratic candidate, including the incumbent Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin. GOP honchos predict that Mr. Doggett will move over to District 35, which he has represented in the past.

As a state Senator, Mr. Doggett was in the number of the “Killer Bees” who stalked out of the capitol and hid in a parking garage across the street to prevent a quorum call. A former University of Texas Law School professor and Supreme Court judge, he is noted for backing liberal causes such as ObamaCare, education benefits for undocumented aliens, and other items very unattractive to the kind of red-state conservatives who have been added to his new 13-county district, which has been split 5 ways by the Legislature.

Even thus reduced in numbers, the Travis County electorate in the newly re-drawn district still numbers approximately 25% of the total number of registered voters.

Bill Burch is an Arlington business man who organized a coalition of Tea Party activists called Grass Roots Institute of Texas. He is noted for taking an activist role in the redistricting process, credit for which he has trumpeted long and loud at the annoyance of certain elected Republican officials. His ability to raise campaign funds is believed to be limited because he is saddled with debt from previous campaigns.

Hayes County Commissioner William Conley lives in the district. He raised some $900,000 in campaign funds, which he used to defeat a comfortably ensconced lesser light of the Democratic Party. He is noted for chafing under the yoke of federal regulations, interpretation of which to get approval for local projects irks he and his supporters to some extent. He is noted for his ability to raise campaign funds and his experience with the federal system as it relates to local policy.

Dave Garrison is an upper level executive in the insurance industry who works in the San Antonio area. He has served in a liaison capacity representing corporate interests in the maze of federal regulatory agencies and knows well the Capitol Hill hurdles and hoops necessary to navigate to get anything done in the money management and risk insurance industries.

Itamar Gelbman holds dual U.S. and Israel citizenship. He is a native of New York and immigrated to Israel when his parents returned there during his childhood. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as a commando, then as a reserve police officer before returning to America to found an international security agency. Though he has clients throughout the globe, his business seems to center in California. His chief interest is in the protection of Israel's expanded borders in the occupied territories and insuring continued American protection of Israeli interests.

Jason Isaac is a young Republican State Rep from Dripping Springs who is viewed as having made an excellent beginning in legislative procedures and politics. A family man, he is gaining the type of seasoning required to make it in the tough contact sport of lawmaking.

Little is known of Jeff Monk. He is believed to be a minor elected official from Johnson County who didn't show up for interviews with party officials. A source who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to comment on the subject said one of Mr. Monk's many friends thought he may have dropped out of the race.

Wes Riddle is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who operates two businesses in the Belton area. A West Point graduate, he earned a Masters in Philosophy from Oxford University in History and is a frequent contributor to the opinion press on both sides of the Atlantic. Col. Riddle spent time working overseas for a defense contractor to build and organize two new brigades of mechanized infantry for the Royal Saudi Army. He writes a regular column called Horse Sense, in which he explains current conservative thinking. He is the founding chair of the Central Texas Tea Party.

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