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Carrillo’s message to supporters

Ousted Railroad Commission Chair Victor Carrillo sent a sharply-worded email to his supporters about how he lost his race on Tuesday.

Early polling showed that the typical GOP primary voter has very little info about the position of Railroad Commissioner, what we do, or who my opponent or I were. Given the choice between “Porter” and “Carrillo” — unfortunately, the Hispanic-surname was a serious setback from which I could never recover although I did all in my power to overcome this built-in bias.

I saw it last time but was able to win because the “non-Carrillo” vote was spread among three Anglo GOP primary opponents instead of just one. Also, the political dynamics have changed some since 2004.

Carrillo had three primary opponents in 2004, when he ran for his first full term. He got 49.60%, then easily dispatched runnerup Robert Butler in overtime with 62.77% of the vote. As Leo Vasquez could also attest, this was not a good year to be running in a Republican primary with a Hispanic surname.

Carrillo did not endorse his opponent, David Porter, nor did he urge his followers to support him in November. That’s not too surprising, given that he described Porter as follows:

Porter, an unknown, no-campaign, no-qualification CPA from Midland residing in Giddings filed on the last day that he could file while I was waiting in Abilene to bury my dad.

He has never held any elected office, has no geoscience, industry, or legal experience other than doing tax returns for oil and gas companies.

I’m thinking that might show up on some of Jeff Weems‘ campaign materials. I just hope he can raise the funds to distribute those materials widely enough.

More from this DMN story:

Privately, some Republicans said they felt that Carrillo should have campaigned more. In recent months, Carrillo has endured health problems, and his father died in January.

Carrillo spent more than $600,000 on mailers, radio spots, newspaper ads and other materials, records show. Porter spent nearly $30,000, including $15,000 from his own pocket.

“I wish [Carrillo] had been more aggressive and astute in how his resources were spent. I think that made the difference between winning and losing,” said Ted Delisi, a Republican strategist who helped direct Republican Tony Garza’s campaign for railroad commissioner in 1998.

That sounds like something you’d say after a candidate lost by two points. Carrillo lost by twenty. Other than having a few million dollars at his disposal, I don’t know what he could have done about that. The Trib has more.

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8 Comments

  1. Greg Wythe says:

    Can’t wait to see how the Republibloggers play up Porter’s “qualifications.” Remember … that’s apparently all that matters to them.

  2. JJMB says:

    Sorry, I don’t get the analysis here. Anglo Republicans elected him against “Butler” in 2004 with a sizable margin. “They” (stereotyping all Republicans) liked voting for Hispanic surnames back then, but now in 2010 “they” have decided to vote against all Hispanic surnames? What exactly is this change in political dynamics?

  3. trowaman says:

    Change – Immigration reform began to hit the mainstream at the national level in 2005-2006. Bush and Rove knew Hispanics were the future and were working their butts off to win them over. Post 2006, that idea seems to have died with the Tancredo’s heading this line of thought publicly, or most vocally.

    Watch the run offs for TX-17, TX-23, and Denton probate judge. We’ll see how the hispanics do in these races.

  4. It was Carillo who posited that Republican primary voters would not support a candidate with a Hispanic name, at least not at this time. If you follow that Trib link, you’ll see that Matthew Dowd agrees with him, and Mike Baselice notes that the GOP primary electorate is overwhelmingly white. What is your explanation for why Carrillo lost?

  5. Mainstream says:

    Ethnicity is at least a significant part of Carillo’s loss, and Vasquez’ as well. And Carillo had none of the negatives which Vasquez is now being tagged with, which kept him off archconservative endorsement lists, but which were only known to activists prior to the election. Neither had as visible a campaign as was needed, yard signs, bumper stickers, mailings and the like. On the other hand, Fernando Herrera defeated Howard Hughes Gano in a Heights area district in which the overwhelming majority of the voters in a GOP primary are older and Anglo, and Roy Morales romped over 3 white/Anglo opponents with 58% of the vote. Again, most of the GOP primary participants in CD 29 were likely Anglo, although in total population the district has a large Hispanic population.

    The more interesting racial voting result from the primary is on the Democrat side of the ledger, where black voters turning out for the contested CD 18 and Miles v. Edwards house contest propelled black candidates to victory in just about all contests between candidates who were black and others who were not. A black LaRouche-ite is even the D nominee in CD 22! And Sue Schecter could not defeat an unknown, weakly funded black opponent despite being a past county Democrat chairman and past elected state representative! Campaign signs and literature and websites for these black candidates prominently featured their photos, identifying them by race. All the endorsement slates made little difference; race is the unifying explanation for almost all the results on the Democrat ballot.

  6. Mainstream,

    1. I’ll grant you Herrera/Gano. Of course, Gano was the losing candidate for the GOP in 2008. Maybe people didn’t want to give him another chance.

    2. I think it’s safe to say that Roy Morales has established his credentials with the local GOP. He was by far the best known person in that race, and that counts for a lot.

    3. It’s true that Ann Harris Bennett didn’t have a lot of money, but honestly, neither did Sue Schechter. I don’t remember getting any mail from her, in any event. From what I understand, Bennett has a large personal network, and did a lot of in person campaigning. She was also listed first on the ballot, and with the County Clerk race being that far down, that has to have helped, too. Here’s a news flash: I have the draft canvass report for Harris County. I’ve sorted it by state rep district. If you take out the six African-American districts, Bennett still beat Schechter by 5,000 votes. Ballot position matters too, especially in a low-profile race. I’ll have more to say on this later.

  7. Mainstream says:

    I will look forward to the further analysis. The difficulty in attempting any race-based voter analysis is to figure out who actually voted, in contrast to population data for a district. I would be interested to know if the portion of the county outside of African American CDs 9 and 18, or perhaps African American Commissioner District 1, still supported Bennett over Schechter. And who DOES vote in a Democrat primary in Spring or Tomball or Kingwood? Is it possible that blacks are a significant part of Democrat primary participation in the suburbs?

  8. […] Assessor Leo Vasquez makes the same complaint about why he is headed for the unemployment line as Victor Carrillo did. Carrillo started the ethnic angst with an e-mail to supporters indicating racial bias had […]