Cahnman's Musings doesn't put much weight in straw polls. As Ron Paul supporters have proved, straw polls are easy to manipulate. Occasionally, however, a candidate will lose a straw poll so spectacularly (eg. Tim Pawlenty in 2011 or Sam Brownback in 2007) that their campaign becomes untenable.
Yesterday, that might have happened at the Take Back Harris County straw poll.
Last night, we went out to dinner with ten local conservative activists/bloggers, including Sunshine State Sarah (of Texas), who wrote yesterday:
In other words, in an event that was deliberately designed to give Smitherman a cheap win and earned media, Ken Paxton whooped Smitherman's hide.Both Dan Patrick and Barry Smitherman are from the Houston area, and should have strong bases of support with the Montgomery County Tea Party. I've heard several people who have longer experience in Texas politics mention that Patrick and Smitherman will need to "run up the score" with Houston Republican primary voters to help balance the strongholds their competition has elsewhere in the state.So, here we are with two Houston-area candidates in highly competitive primary races needing to get positive press that they do have support in Houston and are viable contenders. Let's look at how this Take Back Harris County straw poll comes into play.
Conservative Republicans of Texas is a PAC founded by Dr. Steve Hotze. Hotze has publicly endorsed Patrick and Smitherman, and multiple sources have told me that he is also an investor in Patrick's talk radio programs.I did a little more digging and apparently the other organizers of this event are also political consultants: Vincent Harris, whose firm provides digital services to Patrick and Smitherman, and Allen Blakemore, who is the general consultant for Smitherman, as well as consulting for Patrick and Comptroller candidate Harvey Hilderbran.In essence, what we have is some very smart consultants who know that strategically, Patrick and Smitherman need to make a show of strength in Houston to demonstrate viability, who have planned an event and added on a straw poll with limited tickets.
It's a free country, and Smitherman is welcome to stay in the race, but we wonder if Smitherman's donors will continue to throw good money after bad....