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Chad’s Morning Brief: Texas Democrats Prepare for Anniversary of Filibuster, The District 3 Race Isn’t Over Yet, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 23, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

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Too Close to Call

The District 3 race is not over yet. As KFYO News notes, this election is one of the closest in years.

The Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff Election is one of the closet elections in recent memory.  After Election Day voting was counted, Jeff Griffith (772) had a six vote lead over Deanne Clark (766) (Griffith pictured, left & Clark pictured, right).

The Ballot Board will have at least 100 potential votes to go through on next Friday, June 27.  Five of those votes are provisional, five are military ballots and there are approximately 100 mail-in ballots that were requested for the runoff.

Since the mail-in, provisional and military ballots could change the result of the election, the runoff will not be decided until the Ballot Board goes over those ballots.

Deanne Clark led Jeff Griffith by four points, 52%-48% when the Early Voting was released at 7p on Saturday. Clark had 490 votes and Griffith had 455 votes.  Then on Election Day, Griffith received 317 votes and Clark 276 votes.  The Election Day surge allowed Griffith to overtake Clark by six votes.

While Jeff Griffith proved to be Mr. Election Day once again, the results of the race are still very much in doubt. No matter who wins this race, I would advise them to hold a town-hall meeting soon in order to bring a little unity to the splintered district. Both Griffith and Clark are fine candidates which is why I believe voters have been split.

Wendy Davis Prepares to Celebrate Abortion

On June 25th the Democrats in Texas will celebrate what they call the, “People’s Filibuster”. While Democrats attempt to mask Wendy Davis’ filibuster as being for the people, it was anything but for the people. Davis wanted to protect late-term abortion and as the anniversary approaches, it means Davis has to do something that she hasn’t really wanted to do lately. Davis has to talk abortion and as the Houston Chronicle points out, that could be a risk.

The thousands of Texans whose screaming protest of anti-abortion legislation brought the Capitol to a standstill June 25 will mark the one-year anniversary much more quietly this week, yielding to the reality of abortion as a political issue in the most scarlet of red states.

The activists say they are as dedicated as ever to defending abortion rights, and Democrats certainly are working to raise money off of the “People’s Filibuster” of House Bill 2, with a commemorative website and an anniversary fundraiser in Austin featuring their nominees for governor and lieutenant governor – state Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte – two players in last year’s nationally watched drama.

The strategy illustrates how the anniversary is a double-edged sword for Davis, the filibuster’s face, but also for Van de Putte and the rest of a Democratic Party eager to reignite the passion of last summer but unable to afford to alienate moderates in a state that still opposes abortion.

“At the end of the day, elections are about turning out your base and winning over swing voters,” said Mark Jones, chair of the political science department at Rice University. “The anniversary is going to mobilize the base, but it’s not going to persuade swing voters, and it’s not an issue on which a Democrat is going to win.”

“Effectively,” Jonessaid, “Davis (and other Democrats) need to walk a tightrope.”

The balancing act comes in the middle of an election year that has not centered on abortion despite the issue playing a large role in Davis becoming a national star and deciding to run for governor.

Abortion has not played much of a role in recent Texas elections, either. Former Houston Mayor Bill White, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, said it barely came up in his campaign.

“The principal job of the governor of the state is to improve public education, higher education, promote economic development and support a strong transportation infrastructure,” said White, who suggested Democrats should avoid wedge issues in favor of focusing on things that matter to middle-class voters.

In a poll this month by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, voters ranked abortion 26th out of 29 issues on the question of the “most important problem facing the state of Texas.”

Opportunities available

Still, poll co-director Jim Henson, head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin, said the issue can offer opportunities for both sides, especially for fundraising and firing up volunteers. It even can be used to appeal to swing voters, Henson said, depending on how it is framed.

“Abortion can mean a lot of things,” he said, noting that most Texans generally oppose late-term abortion but support abortion in cases of rape or to protect the mother’s health. “To Democrats, it can mean Democrats standing up to Republicans trying to hurt women’s health. To Republicans, it can mean Wendy Davis’ attempt to defeat a bill, unsuccessfully, that sought to prevent late-term abortions.”

Already, both sides have done their share of framing Wednesday’s anniversary.

Democrats, in particular, have sought to cast it as a celebration of a fight for women’s health, not abortion. In addition to banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, House Bill 2 requires abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, which advocates say has led to the closure of 21 clinics – many of which also provided such services as birth control and breast cancer screenings. Most of the 20 remaining clinics will close by Sept. 1, advocates say. Davis did not use the word “abortion” in her email announcing the anniversary fundraiser Wednesday evening at Austin’s Palmer Events Center. Instead, she opened it by saying she waged the filibuster to “fight back against Austin insiders set on closing women’s health clinics and dramatically reducing access to healthcare for women and families across the state.”

State party spokesman Manny Garcia said the bill “was about a lot of different things.”

“The Texas Democratic Party trusts Texas women,” Garcia said. “That’s where we stand – we don’t think their access to health care should be limited. I look forward to seeing the Texas Republican Party solution for how they’re going to bring that access back.”

GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak countered Garcia.

“Of course they’re going to try to make this about the abortion clinics standards instead of late-term abortions, because it’s a political loser. I wish Wendy Davis good luck in making that argument,” he said.

And then there is the Republican criticism alleging that Democrats are shying away from the anniversary, given that they are not holding a massive celebration.

You can read the rest of the story by clicking on the link above.

Other Top Stories:

Fewer Planes Taking Off From Lubbock

TX Dems: Women Key to 2014 

One on One With Rick Perry Part 1 and Part 2 

Liberals Pass Bill to Change Name of Fish

US Mayors Fight Climate Change

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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