Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.   Political Note #358 Laura Kelly Kansas Governor, Political Note #366 Tony Evers Wisconsin Governor, Political Note #381 Gretchen Whitmer Michigan Governor, Political Note #402 Katie Hobbs Arizona Governor, Political Note #407 Janet Mills Maine Governor, Political Note # 367 Josh Kaul Wisconsin Attorney General, Political Note #360 Aaron Ford Nevada Attorney General, Political Note #367 Josh Kaul, Wisconsin Attorney General, Political Note #409 Bee Nguyen Georgia Secretary of State, Political Note #415 Dana Nessel Michigan Attorney General,

 Virginia votes on November 2, 2021:  Political Note #396 Terry McAuliffe Virginia Governor, Political Note #401 Hala Ayala Virginia Lt. Governor

October 12th.                        Political Note #418 Matthew Dowd Texas Lt. Governor

2022                                  General Election

Beto O’Rourke hasn’t announced for Governor of Texas yet. Josh Shapiro has finally announced for Governor of Pennsylvania.  Both mastered a great technique.   Make it clear you are running, but don’t announce.  Collect money for your candidacy, but don’t announce.  Freeze potential primary opponents out of the process.

Matthew Dowd is different. He has announced.  He may have a primary opponent, the previous nominee.  But Matthew Dowd is too intriguing to ignore.  He is a white collar rebel from Detroit.   Not that he is among those who left the Democratic Party to vote for Nixon.  When there were riots in Detroit in 1967 he was six years old.  When anti-war Democrat George McGovern was nominated for President in 1968, he was seven years old. Those events did not make Matthew Dowd a Republican.

Matthew Dowd’s father was a Chrysler executive and a Republican.  When the Nixon impeachment investigation was on television, Mathew Dowd was twelve years old and was affected by the experience.  Hemoved toward being a young Democrat in a Republican household as a result of that television spectacle.  He didn’t get to be a Democrat right away.  He volunteered to work on Michigan Republican Congressman William Broomfield’s campaign.  Away from home and at Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis, he volunteered for Missouri Democratic Governor Joseph Teasdale’s campaign. Then he worked for Missouri Congressman and eventual presidential candidate and House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt.

In 1983, he married his first wife – Tammy Edgerly, a Texan and worked for Texas Democrats.  Senator Lloyd Bentsen was one. Bentsen was Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis’s choice as the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1988.  He worked for Bob Bullock, Democratic Lt. Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1999.  Working for Bullock, Matthew Dowd got a first-hand view of the most powerful Lt. Governor position in the country.  Bullock became Lt. Governor the same year that Ann Richards, the last Democratic Governor of Texas, was sworn into office.  In 1995, Bullock began his second term, this time working with the newly elected Republican Governor – George W. Bush.

The Lt. Governor of Texas is the most powerful Lt. Governor in the country.  Some of that power depends on the Texas Senate, its rules and traditions which the Lt. Governor oversees. The Lt. Governor appoints the members of all committees and the chairs of all committees.  The Lt. Governor assigns legislation to committees, decides questions of parliamentary procedure and Senate rules. By statute, the Lt. Governor is a member of several legislative boards or committees and serves as chair of the legislative budget board which manages the process of creating Texas’s budget.

As Lt. Governor, Bullock was credited with creating a budget process that had integrity and efficiency, for consolidating Texas’s environmental agencies and strengthening the state’s water management, for creating the conditions and purposes that would govern an income tax in Texas (if it ever chose to have one), for getting Texas to conform to federal legal requirements regarding prisons and mental health standards, and for improving education funding.  He worked at least as well with Republican George W. Bush as he did with Democrat Ann Richards.

Bullock died from cancer in 1999.  Matthew Dowd, who had become an expert on polling and the analysis of polls, switched parties, endorsed George W. Bush for President, and became Bush’s chief pollster.  He admired George W. Bush for his capacity as Governor to bring Republicans and Democrats together in Texas, to work effectively with Lt. Governor Bob Bullock and the Texas Senate.  Matthew Dowd thought George W. Bush was someone who would bring Americans together.

GW Bush did not bring Americans together. Nor did Matthew Dowd’s work bring American’s together. He was in charge of GW Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and was responsible for tagging the Democratic candidate for President, John Kerry, as a flip flopper.  By 2007, Matthew Dowd was done.  He was done with GW Bush.  He was done with the Iraq War (He described the reasons for going to war as “erroneous”). He was done with a GW Bush presidency that had made the United States more divided than it had been before.  Internal members of the Bush administration, perhaps Karl Rove with whom Matthew Dowd still won’t speak, claimed Dowd’s break over the Iraq War was because his son was about to be deployed there.  Matthew Dowd acknowledged that his views on the war had something to do with his son, “but there’s much more involved in what I believe about decisions that have been made, especially related to Iraq, than have to do with the direct interest of my son.”

When he left the Bush administration and left the Republican Party, Matthew Dowd was attacked as an “opportunist” – by a Democrat.  Matthew Dowd became an Independent in 2008 and remained an Independent until recently.  Conscious of the priority that GW Bush placed on loyalty, he responded in an interview “I finally decided that, really in our hearts or really who we are — we’re not supposed to be loyal to a person, and we’re not supposed to be loyal to a party. We’re supposed to be loyal to what truth we believe in ourselves and where our heart leads us.”

Matthew Dowd was a precursor to the members of the Lincoln Project – Republican hard men (character assassins, not actual assassins) whose harsh campaign tactics were often on behalf of “moderate” Republicans like John McCain or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mitt Romney.  They were at war with Democrats on behalf of a version of American democracy combined with American capitalism.  Instead, with Trump, they found, in Steve Schmidt’s words, a Republican Party that had become “an organized conspiracy for the purposes of maintaining power for self-interest and the self-interest of its donor class….”

Without an organization to turn to, Matthew Dowd spent the Obama administration and the Trump administration in a kind of political wilderness.  He was a commentator on television shows.  He wrote opinion pieces, co-authored a book in 2006  and wrote a book on his own in 2017.  He taught at the University of Texas and was a visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago.  With seven partners, he founded a strategic consulting firm for businesses, non-profits, and for politicians with offices in Austin, Texas; Washington, DC; and Mexico City, Mexico.  Vianovo, it was called, perhaps for their new lives.

Matthew Dowd, happy enough as an Independent and a commentator and advisor, began considering electoral politics after the January 6 insurrection. Donald Trump’s actions had become, he thought, dangerous to democracy.  Aware of Beto O’Rourke’s probable candidacy for Governor (though he doesn’t acknowledge that as a reason) and dismayed by the actions of the Texas legislature, he focused on the Lt. Governor position.  The legislature’s failure to address the disastrous electric grid failure and its near catastrophic unwillingness to follow professional advice about how to deal with Covid were, he said, embarrassments for the state.

He attacked Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s decision to go with culture war issues instead of dealing with real problems.  As Lt. Governor, Matthew Dowd said, he would work on eliminating the three distracting and disrupting culture war laws Dan Patrick had supported – Texans authorized to carry a handgun without a license or the training to get a license, the prohibition of access to abortion, and voter suppression. He described Dan Patrick as supporting a “tyranny of the minority” – a minority that was 5% of Texas’s population.

His 2021 campaign as a Democrat is Matthew Dowd’s first venture running for office himself.  He brings a life time of political experience.  He broke with the Republican Party in 2007 because of its divisiveness, when that divisiveness was modest compared to the present.  Is he an opportunist? Starting an electoral career running for Lt. Governor at age 60 is not opportunistic.  Nor is he an idealist.  He has a vision of a more unified country and an intention to work toward achieving that unity by serving in the second most powerful political job in Texas.  He says he looks forward to working with Beto O’Rourke and sounds like he would relish the fight (if that is how the election were to turn out).  Help Matthew Dowd get elected. In office, he can make all of our lives better, not just the lives of Texans.   He would certainly make life more interesting.

Help elect a Democratic Governor in 2021

Virginia             Governors in Virginia are limited to one term, Terry McAuliffe is running to replace the Democratic governor who replaced him. The election is in November, 2021.

 Below are candidates for Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State where there is an incumbent Democratic governor or an open Democratic seat and where the governor’s seat is not considered solidly Democratic.  Take a look and see who you would like to provide some support for.  We need to defend these seats

Kansas Gov             Laura Kelly (Toss up) 

Maine Gov               Janet Mills (Likely D)

Michigan Gov          Gretchen Whitmer (Lean D) 

Michigan AG            Dana Nessel

Michigan SofS        Jocelyn Benson 

Minnesota Gov       Tim Walz (Likely D) 

Minnesota AG         Keith Ellison

Minnesota SofS      Steve Simon

Nevada Gov             Steve Sisolak (Likely D)

Nevada AG               Aaron Ford

Nevada SofS            Cisco Aguilar  (not the incumbent)

Pennsylvania Gov Josh Shapiro (no campaign website yet for Open Democratic seat)

Virginia Gov            Terry McAuliffe . November 2, 2021 election date

Virginia Lt. Gov      Hala Ayala November 2, 2021 election date

Virginia AG              Mark Herring November 2, 2021 election date

Wisconsin Gov       Tony Evers (Lean D)

Wisconsin AG         Josh Kaul

Wisconsin SofS      Doug LaFollette

 We should be thinking about Republican Governors  and Lt. Governors we can flip.  In some cases, we know who the Democratic nominee will be.

Arizona                     Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will be the nominee (Toss up)

Georgia                     Ex State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams will be the nominee (Lean R)

Texas                         Ex Congressman Beto O’Rourke has not yet announced but will be the nominee

Texas                         Political commentator Matthew Dowd (though he may have a primary opponent)

Arkansas                  African American Nuclear Engineer Chris Jones is making a stir in the Democratic primary for this open seat that would ordinarily be considered (Safe R)

 In some states, we don’t know who the Democratic nominee will be

Florida               Ex Gov and Rep Charlie Crist and Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried are the principal competitors for the Democratic nomination (Lean R)

Ohio                   Mayors John Cranley and Nan Whaley have announced for this seat where the Republican governor is facing a primary challenge (Likely R)

Maryland          I count eight candidates so far for this formerly Republican open seat (Lean D)


 Organizations to support

Organizations to support

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA)

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS)

Fair Fight Stacey Abrams organization to support fair elections

Democratic Party of Virginia Coordinated Campaign (VADEMS)

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