The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Race To Oust Chet

It now has a clearly defined leader- Van Taylor:

Iraq war veteran Van Taylor sprinted to a huge fundraising lead in Waco's 2006 Republican congressional primary with help from $325,000 of his own money.

Taylor's wealth emerged as an asset in his effort to unseat eight-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco as Republican candidates filed their campaign finance reports for the first time Saturday. Adding in contributions from others, Taylor raised a total of $643,000 in the first 40 days of his campaign.

“My wife and I invest in causes that we feel passionately about,” Taylor said, “and we feel passionately about providing Texans with the opportunity to have someone recognize their values in Congress. And we're prepared to invest in this race.”

Meanwhile, Edwards is raising money at a personal record pace, leading all district candidates with nearly $980,000 raised.

Former congressional aide Tucker Anderson also raised about $100,000, and Purple Heart veteran Bentley Nettles said last week that he had some success with fundraising. Nettles' report was not filed electronically by Saturday afternoon and did he not return two phone messages.

First reaction, the guy's serious- real serious. Three hundred thousand plus in about forty days is alot of money. Add in his own personal wealth, and the guy has over six hundred thousand in the bank right now. That's impressive. The only problem is all that money's gonna be gone by March and April, and Chet's just gonna keep adding to his warchest.

Next reaction- Tucker Anderson's $100,000, while still a decent start, is disapointing in light of Taylor's numbers, but I think he'll be able to start fundraising a good amount (come on, you don't think Pete Sessions is not gonna stick his hand in this race huh?) and cut into Taylor's lead. Still though, a half million dollar lead this early is nothing to sneeze at and it's gonna be tough going for Anderson.

Bentley Nettles doesn't have a finance report up yet. It'll be interesting to see if he's a serious enough candidate to pull just enough votes to push this into a run-off between Anderson and Taylor. If that happens, it'll only help Chet.

Another interseting thing to see is Edwards opening a new line of attack against Taylor- "He's not from here/ He's not one of us."

“The question is no longer whether (Taylor) is wealthy or can raise money, but can someone move to our district from North Dallas and buy a congressional seat? I don't think that's going to happen,” Edwards said.

Looking at Taylor's bio from his website, this looks like it could be a successful attack. It says nothing of where in Texas Taylor was raised, just that he's a seventh-generation Texan. He didn't go to school at either A&M or Baylor, rather he received his Bachelor and Master's degrees at Harvard. Nothing to scoff at, but since Wohlgemuth's '04 campaign tried a whipser campaign against Chet for having an MBA from Harvard ('just another Harvard liberal'), it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Plus, this helps Chet out in Aggieland. Hey Ags, want to be represented by an Ol' Ag, or a Harvard man?

But all of this only matters if Taylor can wisely use that money to win. That's still up in the air right now.

Tip of the hat to Nate for the find. I'll be up later on today with more campaign finance news.