January 22nd, 2008

Abundantly clear

Texas-99 State Rep Primary

Two years ago I was hoping my state rep, Charlie Geren, would lose his primary against the challenger, Chris Hatley. No luck. So I was glad to see someone else trying to challenge Geren this year.

Until I started looking at the challenger.

Tom Annunziato has been sending a steady stream of fliers to my mailbox. But there's not much content to them. It's mostly been biography, and while I admire him for serving a hitch in the Air Force it doesn't translate directly to why I should vote for him. The issue statements don't have much either, they're boilerplate that every Republican in the state would sign on to. And there's nothing about why I shouldn't vote for Geren.

It made me start wondering why the guy is running if he's not trying to win. One possibility is that he's running to be the Representative from Optometry. Given the level of government regulation they have to put up with I can't blame the profession for wanting their own man in Austin. But that's no reason for me to vote for him--and given that those kinds of regulations wind up protecting the providers from competition more than they protect patients I'm rather they stuck to lobbying instead of buying a seat.

The other theory out there is that Annunziato is a pawn in Speaker Craddick's strategy to keep his job. That fits the data pretty well. Dr. Tom was asked to run to knock off this annoying back-bencher and is being carried by the establishment.

The establishment, according to another site, being political consultants Ryan Erwin and Cory Kennedy. Those guys I feel sorry for. They've got to build a campaign with no platform, no dramatic biography, and a "play nice" constraint that keeps them from going negative. They must have been really desperate for material to call the candidate's 18 year old daughter to ask her to say something nice about her dad ("I love my dad very much and I know that he would do only wonderful things as State Representative" - latest flier). I admire their work ethic. But it's not going to make me vote for a candidate whose campaign theme song is Carla Ulbrich's "I Have Nothing To Say".

EDIT: Chris Hatley speaks up for Tom Annunziato in comments and answers a lot of my concerns.
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