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photo: Mac McLure of the Collie News Group wor BOOKS & THE CULTURE Home-Grown Politics BY JIM CULLEN Last Man Standing Directed by Paul Stekler Airs July 20 on PBS secretary of state and Dallas mayor who had shown that a black man could work with white businessmen. Sanchez was an oilman and banker wealthy enough to bankroll the campaign for governor. And he was the first Tejano to head a and vulnerability began to show, Stekler found a better story in a Hill Country state House race that forms the basis for Last Man Standing: PoliticsTexas Style. The 83-minute film is scheduled to have its broadcast premiere July 20 on PBS’s P.O.V. documentary series \(see www.pbs. Stekler moved Sanchez and Kirk and their GOP counterparts, Rick Perry and John Cornyn, to the background. Instead, the film follows Patrick Rose, a fresh young Princeton grad from Dripping Springs who challenges state Rep. Rick Green, a two-term Republican lawyer and businessman also from Dripping Springs, in the 45th District, which includes Lyndon B. Johnson’s hometown. The district, which encompasses Blanco, Hays and Caldwell counties, was a Democratic bastion a generation ago, but it has grown with Austin’s spillover and many of those newcomers are Republicans who identify with fellow immigrant New Texan George W. Bush. They are offset in large measure by the growth in the number of Latinos who, when they vote, tend to favor Democrats. In this swing district, politicking is done at the small-town parades, rodeos, chili and barbecue cook-offs and other get-togethers where the candidates frequently cross each other’s paths. Green was a charismatic 31-year-old aspiring deacon whose base was in the fundamentalist Christian churches but whose rising star also gave him entry to the Republican fundraising machine. Rose, 24, was an upstart Democrat who hoped door knocking the district to collect voters one at a time would outwork Green’s advantage. Rose estimated that he knocked on 15,000 doors over a year and a half and found out, “The more Democratic the neighborhood, the meaner the dogs?’ His rudimentary continued on page 28 Democrats thought they major-party ticket. had the Dream Ticket It looked like a good race for politi when they put up Tony cal documentarian Paul Stekler to use Sanchez and Ron Kirk to examine the challenges faced by the to head the ballot in Democratic Party as increasingly sub2002. After all, Kirk, the urban Texas trends Republican. But, as U.S. Senate candidate, was a former Kirk found that Texas ain’t Dallas and Sanchez’s lack of campaign experience 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7/16 /04