POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Frost Flexes Muscles A poll taken by Cong. Martin Frost of Dallas, who represents a newly drawn 64 percent minority district, shows him beating two of the most frequently mentioned minority challengers by almost 2-1 margins. The sampling of 467 residents of the Frost district, taken recently by Pretest Systems of Fort Worth, shows Frost defeating former Dallas City Council member Lucy Patterson by 57 percent to 29 percent. It also shows him defeating former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson 59 percent to 24 percent. The district, 47 percent black and 17 percent Mexican-American, was created by the Legislature with the blessing of Gov. Clements who was of the opinion that both Frost, who will be seeking his third term in 1982, and Cong. Jim Mattox should be replaced. The creation of a minority district was supposed to have accomplished that end. Looking For New Leaders tor San Antonio Express columnist Kemper Diehl offered up some interesting observations recently about the sudden blossoming of activity among Texas Democrats. It has to do,he suggests, with what Democrats perceive as Gov. Clements’ vulnerability, on several fronts. One is the growing prospect of a bloated federal deficit, continued high interest rates, and bruising battles over new taxes. Though the troubled economy is primarily a Reagan problem, Clements, because of his rough-andready support of the administration, would obviously feel the fallout. Diehl also notes recent polling results showing Clements stirring high negative responses. He quotes one Democrat whose poll showed a 47 percent negative rating for the governor. Other polls, however, show a precipitous drop in the percentage of Texans who consider themselves Democrats, 47 percent according to recent figures, compared to a low of 52 percent during the Carter years. Democratic leaders are quick to point out that voters are calling themselves independents, not Republicans, and these voters, they believe, can be wooed back into the fold. What Texas Democrats are counting on, Diehl points out, is a new generation of political leaders people like Henry Cisneros and Bob Armstrong. “Armstrong is the sleeper,” a pollster told Diehl. “He has no negatives, he is attractive and strong, and has a youthful image the Henry Cisneros routine.” Kathy Whitmire, and possibly John Hannah and John Bryant also fit the image. “Many Democrats,” Diehl writes, “also hope that the emergence of a new generation will serve to banish the ancient conservative-liberal feuds that have bloodied party politics.” “We want to put Allan Shivers and Ralph Yarborough behind us,” a young campaigner told him. “We’ve been fighting that too long.” Another factor, Diehl notes, is the Jim Collins/Walter Mengden race for Lloyd Bentsen’s Senate seat. Bentsen is taking the race seriously, his staffers say, because he realizes that his eventual opponent will be running in tandem with a Republican governor who knows how to get the vote out. Bentsen, as Diehl points out, also knows how to bring out the vote. Mengden Muses Ao” And now the Mad Dog weighs in with an idea. Speaking in Amarillo recently, state Sen. Walter Mengden suggested storing U.S. nuclear waste, not in West Texas, but in east El Salvador. Here’s how Amarillo Globe News writer Colleen Cimini quoted Mengden: “We’ve marched all over the world for democracy, and there are other places in stored. If we don’t want the communists we might as well say it, the Russians, they’re not Italians coming through Cuba and into El Salvador, then we shouldn’t allow it. If we secure El Salvador for that dictator, then we should store our nuclear waste there in east Salvador, where no one lives. We want something in return, and if the people in Swisher County don’t want it \(see story Salvador, then we should.” Bryant Sitting Pretty vor An alternative to the survivor of the Hobby/Strake big bucks battle? How about John Bryant? Billy Goldberg and several other Democrats disgruntled with Hobby met in Austin recently with the young House veteran from Dallas who professed interest in the race. “He’s weighing two factors,” Bryant aide Carlton Carl explained: “if it looks like the money is there” and “winnability, whether Hobby is vulnerable.” Carl referred to a poll he had seen giving Hobby a name identification rating somewhere around 40 percent, “not very good,” he pointed out, “for someone in office that long.” Carl also noted that Hobby is “certainly vulnerable on party politics.” Carl estimated a statewide identification rating for Bryant as maybe 20 percent, but most of it would be positive, he suggested. “Strake’s not well known either,” he said, “but of course he can spend money to become well known.” The Bryant options are attractive, whether or not he jumps into the lt. governor’s race. His East Dallas House seat, which he has won four times, sometimes with as much as 70 to 80 percent of the vote, is even safer after Billy Clayton’s personal plan for the House was scuttled in favor of Rep. Paul Ragdale’s Dallas County redistricting scheme. Bryant also has his eye on the state Senate. Under the new plan, Southeast Dallas County, including Bryant’s Pleasant Grove neighborhood, goes into a new Senate District 2, a 54 percent favorable district according to Democratic analysts. It also incorporates much of Peyton McKnight’s old 2nd District. One of the few problems Bryant would have with a state Senate race is that he might be running against two good friends announced candidate Ted Lyon, the rep THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.