Burnt Orange Report
In Recognition Of John Cornyn’s Great Achievements in Electing Female Democratic Senators

Dear Senator John Cornyn,

I want to personally thank you and congratulate you on your tremendous electoral successes for Democratic Senate candidates this year. Thanks to your feckless leadership as chair of the NRSC, Democrats not only retained our majority in the Senate, we actually picked up a seat and helped elect and re-elect several strong progressive women. It’s kind of remarkable. Democrats entered this cycle needing to defend 23 seats to the Republicans’ 10, and yet we managed to make gains!

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The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur riffed recently on how Sadler could effectively attack Cruz:

Texas Senate Showdown: What Were Sadler and Cruz Up to During the DNC?

Texas Senate Showdown: Cruz and Sadler Will Debate

Good news in the first days of the general election: Cruz will debate Sadler. On the night of the runoff, Sadler challenged Cruz to a debate - and Cruz accepted.

After learning that Cruz accepted the invitation, Sadler said, “Good. The people deserve a debate.  Ted Cruz doesn’t belong in the United States Senate and I’m glad I will get the opportunity to show why. I’m prepared and excited to discuss the important issues that are affecting Texans’ everyday lives.  Now we have to set a date.”

Coming out swinging is always a good look, and Sadler’s doing just that. In a statement, Sadler explained, “Ted Cruz sees a future controlled by giant corporations and the super wealthy.  If Ted Cruz gets his way, the wealthy will control jobs, the capital, and health care.  The rest of us will be left to fend for ourselves.”

This is a smart attack on Cruz, pointing out that he’s a fraud who claims to represent Texans but is really vying to be the lapdog of his corporate donors. It is Sadler’s responsibility in the coming months to show Texans that Ted Cruz can’t be trusted because he doesn’t have their best interests at heart. There are other ways that Sadler can go after Cruz - like pointing out that he’s crazy and his conspiracy theories indicate that he could be mentally unstable.

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Democratic Senate Primary Runoff Preview: Paul Sadler vs. Grady Yarbrough

From the get-go (by which we mean the second filing deadline for the primary), the question was which other candidate would join Paul Sadler in the run-off given the four-way race between four under-funded candidates. Few onlookers expected it to be Yarbrough, who perhaps coasted on his homophonic last name. Late Senator Ralph’s relative he is not. Sadler, on the other hand, is a distinguished former legislator who  racked up newspaper and elected official endorsements. Yarbrough has run before for statewide office as a Republican. Sadler prevented a public education financing crisis in the Legislature.

Sadler’s campaign has been hamstrung by lack of funding. Democratic donors in the state need to get behind him if he is the nominee and provide resources to run a professional campaign. Sadler needs to spend more time locked in a closet with a phone and a list of donors. The choice is excruciatingly easy — Sadler’s vastly better. Furthermore, if Cruz bests Dewhurst, Sadler has a chance of picking off moderates, if he has the funds to communicate with them.

Results from the May 29th primary in the top 10 most populous Texas counties below:

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The Democratic US Senate candidate who is often perceived as a joke, Grady Yarbrough, is apparently releasing an ad.

"I will support the Dream Act 100%," he says as the ad begins. He also proposes to "grant citizenship to all undocumented workers living here for more than 7 years without a criminal history."

That sounds like a big liberal limb to jump out on to Texas’s voters, and it’s certainly not a place that Paul Sadler is willing to go.  

Yarbrough says he’s spending $25,000 to $30,000 on this advertisement, which is nothing compared to his counterparts on the Republican side of the aisle. If true, however, that amount represents a lot in a Democratic primary devoid of any extra cash.

Yarbrough might have problems with both his stances and his money, however. As the Tribune reports: 

Yarbrough’s campaign spending has become an issue in his runoff against former state Rep. Paul Sadler. Yarbrough, who says he is spending only his own money, had not filed a single campaign finance report when he came in second in the May 29 primary. Since then, Yarbrough has filed reports, though he has not spelled out where he is spending his money. The Federal Election Commission has sent him two letters asking for more information.

Sadler said Yarbrough’s immigration stance is not in line with the state’s Democrats and is turning off voters. He pointed to Yarbrough’s reference to building a “Berlin Wall” at the U.S. southern border in last month’s televised debate.

Take a look at the ad, though. If only Texas Democrats had a top-of-the-ticket candidate willing to stand up for our ideals while also sounding serious… 

Texas Senate Showdown: The Real Final Debate

On Monday night, Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met in Houston for their second final debate. This one is actually the last one; there’s simply no more time. That’s right: we’re less than a week away from the runoff election. On Tuesday, we’ll which one of these cretins is our next senator.

The debate was feisty and covered the classic issue of this campaign: conservative credentials. Both candidates had strong performances, but because Cruz’s was considered somewhat weaker last week, Monday’s debate can be seen as a bigger success for Cruz.

Texas Tribune’s liveblog of the debate caught a symbolic exchange at the end:

The candidates each got 2:30 for closing arguments.

Echoing a Dewhurst line from earlier in the program, Cruz said, “”I very much agree with my opponent. We need doers.”

He spoke about his work fighting for conservative causes before the Supreme Court.

We have seen conservatives all over the state of Texas to come together in this campaign,” Cruz said. He listed several conservative leaders who have endorsed before running out of time.

Dewhurst said voters need to pick the candidate with the “character, values and judgment” to represent Texas.

"If Texas were as bad as my opponent keeps saying in these ads, Texas would look like California," Dewhurst said.

"Texas is a good state. I’m proud of Texas."

Republicans may agree that Texas is a good state, but don’t necessarily associate Dewhurst with its success. Dewhurst, who seems uncomfortable in social situations and rarely goes on the campaign trail, has been behind the scenes for years. He has no perceptible personality or emotional element to his campaign. He is running entirely on the myth about Texas’s economy. It’s not inspiring. If you want visual evidence of this, search for the “#txsen” hashtag on Twitter. By my count, Cruz’ screechers outscreech Dewhurst’s screechers 9:1.

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Extra! Extra! Read All about it! Newspaper Editorials Choose Sides in Runoff Elections.

With runoff early voting kicking off on Monday, major newspaper editorials are weighing in on the contentious races throughout the state.

Republican Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: David Dewhurst
Houston Chronicle: David Dewhurst
San Antonio Express-News: David Dewhurst
Austin American-Statesman: Ted Cruz

The Austin American-Statesman stood alone in their endorsement of Tea Party star Ted Cruz. The Statesman’s endorsement had little to do with substantive differences (as there are none), but rather their distaste for how Dewhurst has run his campaign. The board was bothered by Dewhurst ducking events and instead focusing on an expensive ad campaign. In their endorsement of Cruz, the editorial board wrote “We’ve supported Dewhurst in the past, but cannot recommend a candidate who plays hide-and-seek with voters.” The Statesman endorsed the obstructionist and inexperienced Cruz simply because Dewhurst wisely chose to hide the fact that he is about as interesting as a jar of sand. Dewhurst is a much more appealing Republican candidate wearing a cowboy hat and admonishing undocumented immigrants in a 30 second TV ad than giving a substantive policy speech, but that is hardly a rationale for endorsing Cruz. The Statesman’s editorial board should be embarrassed, as their endorsement appears to have nothing to do with how either candidate would govern.

The Dallas Morning News and San Antonio Express-News focused on Dewhurst’s more substantive record in explaining their endorsements. The Dallas Morning News described Dewhurst’s experience as Lieutenant Governor as “invaluable” and went on to describe him as a “fair minded problem solver.” The San Antonio Express-News wrote, “Both GOP Senate candidates are solidly conservative, but Dewhurst has a track record of effectively working in the legislative process to translate goals into accomplishments.” The campaigns truly have no divide on the issues. Choosing which of these empty suits to send to Washington is no simple task, but comparing records should make the choice pretty easy. Dewhurst served in the Air Force, ran a business, has served as land commissioner, and as Lieutenant governor for a decade, while Cruz has been an attorney shouting at government from the sidelines.

The Houston Chronicle joined in an endorsement of Dewhurst but it seemed to reflect fear of Cruz more than admiration of Dewhurst. The Chronicle’s editorial board wrote “Texas doesn’t need an obstructionist in the Senate. It needs a constructive voice.” The endorsements of Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Sean Hannity should inspire a great deal of fear. Cruz is exactly what Texas and the nation do not need, another politician who views compromise as a dirty word and is only content in stalemate or victory. Cruz represents the inexperienced and clueless Tea Partiers that thought the debt ceiling was a “blank check.” The Chronicle editorial writers are right to be afraid of Cruz. Hopefully Texas wakes up and joins them.  

Democratic Senate Runoff:
Dallas Morning News: Paul Sadler
Houston Chronicle: Paul Sadler
San Antonio Express-News: Paul Sadler
Austin American-Statesman: Paul Sadler

The Newspapers found consensus in the Democratic race for Senate and all touted Sadler’s impressive legislative record. The Austin American-Statesman pointed to Sadler’s work on legislation that established public school employee health insurance for the first time in the history of the state. The Houston Chronicle pointed to his ability to cross party lines, writing, “He is smart, experienced and independent, the latter an important attribute if lawmakers are going to escape Washington’s poisonous partisanship.” The San Antonio Express News wrote, “Texas Democrats are lucky that a candidate as qualified as Sadler is willing to seek this high-profile office in an era dominated by Republicans.” Texas Democrats have hardly felt lucky in this Senate race, but Grady Yarbrough reminds us why the San Antonio Express-News makes a valid point. Yarbrough has previously run as a Republican and used the Berlin Wall as an example of how we should deal with immigration. Sadler may not be electric, but he is undoubtedly qualified and would make an effective legislator that Texas could be proud.  

See some of the newspapers’ local endorsements below the jump!

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Burnt Orange Report endorses Paul Sadler for US Senate

Paul Sadler is the only candidate in the race on either side of the aisle who could add anything of value to our US Senate. We enthusiastically endorse him in the Democratic run-off.

Sadler’s extensive legislative experience in public education and professional work on renewable energy give him a solid grounding on issues that are critical to Texas now and for the foreseeable future. He is the obvious choice in the runoff to be our Democratic nominee for US Senate, and would be the best servant in that deliberative body if elected.

Just when Gene Kelly finally stopped running, Democrats now have to contend with another pseudo-celebrity name on the ballot taking votes away from the better candidate. Grady Yarbrough seemingly snuck in to the runoff on the basis of his almost-famous last name. Ralph Yarborough the man is not. He ran twice as a Republican for statewide office. On the issues, Yarbrough is largely mainstream for a Democrat, save for his staunch support for a border wall, and suggested in a debate that the Berlin Wall was “pretty effective.”

Should Ted Cruz win the Republican Senate primary (a likely and vomit-inducing scenario) it is possible for Sadler to peel off moderate support and at least break up some straight-ticket Republican voting — if he has the resources to campaign. Sadler has struggled to raise sufficient funds; should he prevail we would like to see a more robust effort from the candidate and those party leaders who encouraged him to run in terms of raising money to mount a solid effort.

Sadler may have an opportunity to capitalize on the former solicitor general’s extreme, outlandish and non-sensical conservativism and help other Democrats on the ballot. It would be a wasted opportunity if he had no means to campaign.

Burnt Orange Report endorses Paul Sadler in the Democratic runoff for US Senate and encourages all Democratic voters to cast their ballots for the experienced statesman.

Early Voting in the primary run-off is Monday July 23 through Friday July 27. Election Day is Tuesday, July 31.

Texas Senate Showdown: The Final Debate

Rhetorical slams, elbows, and jabs: it was a regular senatorial wannabe slugfest last night in Houston, where Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met for their final debate before the July 31st runoff. Payroll taxes, Chinese firms, border walls, disclosure, and trustworthiness were primary (actually, runoff) topics. There was no clear winner of the debate.

However, Dewhurst was undoubtedly prepared to fight for his life after two polls last week showed Cruz ahead. Dewhurst had solid answers on his conservative credentials, slamming Cruz for essentially being a lackey lawyer for the state rather than leading his own fights. Cruz, at times, was surprisingly muted. It is unclear how many people watched the debate, but it is often more important whether the candidates can use debate clips in TV ads. Cruz did this to great effect with clips of Dewhurst talking about his negotiating skills.

I think Dewhurst had a good night. Even if he wasn’t the unequivocal winner, the debate didn’t fit the narrative told by those polls. Dewhurst was clear, strong, and ready to win. It’s possible the polls actually lit the fire under Dewhurst that he needed to be something other than the most obvious candidate in the world. On Monday, the candidates released their fundraising numbers. Between May 10 and June 30, Cruz brought in $1.7 million and Dewhurst brought in $1.5 million. Clearly, if Dewhurst didn’t start to make a stop this week, Cruz had a very good chance of keeping his poll and fundraising momentum going until voters go to the polls. But if Dewhurst can turn around the narrative now, he might prove Cruz to have peaked too soon. Two weeks is a lot of time in politics. Read More