HCA Welcomes Political Analysts Jacquie Baly and Mustafa Tameez
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Posted by: Mark Dubuisson
April 2014 by Jeffrey Nielsen
The Houston Contractors Association was proud to welcome the two stars of the Fox Sunday morning political talk show “The Roundup” to our luncheon this month. Public policy analyst Jacquie Baly and news analyst Mustafa Tameez are the two hosts of this popular local show that covers political issues important to Houston. The two hosts spoke on topics covering the recent Texas primary elections, the upcoming general election and the tendencies of voters in Texas.
Ms. Baly started off the conversation by stating that they were going to give you a brief analysis of public policy in Texas and began with a review of the last set of primaries. She focused on two key races, the Lieutenant Governor’s race and the Attorney General’s race. In the Lieutenant Governor’s race she stated that it was quite a surprise to some that Senator Dan Patrick was the top vote getter over David Dewhurst. Most people were of the opinion that there would probably be a runoff between Patrick and Dewhurst but thought that the numbers would have been reversed. Ms. Baly stated that during Dewhurst’s race against Ted Cruz for Senate, Dewhurst got painted as a moderate and that label has followed him into this race. Being a moderate in today’s Republican party is a bad thing. Ms. Baly said that the average voter does not even know that there is a primary runoff election in May and that only the hardcore voters from each party will turn out meaning Dan Patrick will be the state’s new Lieutenant Governor.
The other race that is being closely watched is the Attorney General race between Dan Branch and Ken Paxton. This is another example of a Tea Party candidate versus an establishment candidate. Ken Paxton had the same type of numbers and the same supporters as Dan Patrick, the only difference is that his opponent, Dan Branch is very well funded. Ms. Baly stated that she believes that Paxton will be the next Attorney General for Texas.
At this point Mustafa Tameez spoke about the Democratic Party Primary in Texas stating that there are not that many races on the Democrat side. The United States Senate race where Kesha Rogers is running against David Alameel but there is not a whole lot of conversation about it. He did state that he wanted to talk some more about the Republican primary. Mr. Tameez stated that there has been a trend where incumbents have begun to lose races at an alarming rate. What is causing this change is that there are members of the tea party that are very active and are trying to get people out of office out of a sense of frustration. They feel that nothing is getting done or that things are not going in the right direction. Mr. Tameez’s point is that you have to look at who is replacing these incumbents. He stated that most of these people you would not hire in your companies. This is causing a real problem and will only grow as this trend progresses. Issues such as bond packages will not pass if the current trend persists because these new members do not understand the importance of some of these projects and, for the most part they are looking to dismantle government. This will impact your livelihood directly if we do not fix the system.
Mr. Tameez went on to say that the voters make decisions on who to support, and thereby the direction that the state is heading. If you do it based solely on party allegiance then the system becomes more and more extreme. If you base it upon good candidates then what you get is better government.
Ms. Baly stated that if the Republican Party wants to continue to be the party leading Texas, then it needs to be more reflective of the state’s population. Texas should remain a red state for many years to come, but it will not remain so unless republicans open up their tent and do an active outreach program.
Mr. Tameez stated that change may come to the state sooner than most people think. It is the upset in elections that always surprises people. Most people have a sense that there is a demographic change occurring in Texas, but there is also an attitude change occurring as well. The vote share is changing in Texas from rural counties to very urban counties. The City of Houston is on its way to being the third largest city in the U.S. and is arguably one of the most diverse. It is that diversity of opinions that is not reflected by the republican primary voters. Mr. Tameez was quick to point out that there is a difference between republican voters and republican primary voters, with republican voters typically being more moderate than primary voters.
Ms. Baly responded back by saying that most people in the Republican party are not at the extreme but in the middle with concerns that may not necessarily be at the top of the parties list of priorities. She noted that Dan Patrick has a certain level of rhetoric as a state senator, but as Lieutenant Governor he may not be able to continue with the same level of intensity when he has so many more different groups people to appease.
Mr. Tameez stated that instead of being cheerleaders for either the Democratic or Republican side, that we need to focus on becoming better consumers, better voters and begin questioning candidates on their ability to lead. We need to create an atmosphere among the voters where competency is valued more in a candidate than the letter that appears before their name on the ballot.