ve.s Austin’s Largest Selection of International Folk Art, Silver jewelry and Textiles FOLK ART & OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 209 CONGRESS AVE AUSTIN 512/479-8377 f tat: Na,WEN DAILY 10-0 www.tesoros.comIO “IT WAS LIKE GOD WAS TALKING TO ME WITH A MEGAPHONE, ‘NOW DO YOU GET IT, CAROLYN?”‘ then targeted these voters with mailers and automated calls designed for that particular group. “We’re not like some corporate PAC who just writes a check and hands it over,” says Boyle. “That would be so much easier.” On election day, all that painstaking work proved beneficial. Several races saw historically high GOP primary vote totals, although statewide, overall voter turnout was low. Parent PAC had supported 10 first-time candidates. Two of them won, including Diane Patrick’s upset; three others reached runoff elections. Parent PAC efforts had also helped three of the five incumbent Republican moderatesGeren, Tommy Merritt, and Delwin Jonessurvive Leininger’s attack. But Leininger’s efforts also paid off. He was able to topple first-term Rep. Roy Blake in Nacogdoches. More significantly, he may have defeated his top targetCarter Casteel, whose opponent received the biggest chunk of Leininger’s largesse, about $1 million. Despite all that money, Casteel lost by a mere 45 votes and has requested a recount. Asked about the staggering amount of money that Leininger spent against her, Casteel answered with her trademark irreverence. “Are we all supposed to think alike? I quit drinking Kool Aide after that James Jones massacre,” she quipped. “You know, I’ve got a brain. I may not always use it the right way, but it’s there, and I’m going to use it.” So, now that the election is over, what happens next? It’s too early to predict the full impact of the GOP prima ries on Craddick, on state Republican politics, and on public education policy. The three Republican moderates who survived Leininger’s assault return to the House with little to lose by resisting Craddick, if not openly working to dethrone him. Already there is speculation about a possible replacement for speaker of the House next January at the start of the 2007 regular legislative session. For those more preoccupied with the upcoming special session, the results of last month’s primaries mean that the Chairman of the House Education CommitteeGrusendorfis a lame duck, and the speaker’s power is not what it was before March 7. \(Two reasons Gov. Perry will likely keep the topic of the upcoming special session limited to property tax cuts, putting off the nitty-gritty of public school finance But at least one thing is certain: Parent PAC is now a significant player in Texas politics. Carolyn Boyle still has her work cut out for her. She’s busy with a few runoff elections. Then she will focus on the November elections and supporting a slate of Democrats and Republicans to ensure that whenever the Legislature reopens its debate on financing and improving schools, it will pay more attention to PTA moms. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 24, 2006
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