ing the analogywhat major appliance did Dr. Tom Annunziato hurl at restaurateur and state Rep. Charlie Geren? A full-sized washer? A walk-in freezer? Their Republican primary to determine who represents north Fort Worth in the Texas House devolved into a shout fest, with both candidates calling the other a liar. One Annunziato mailer even claimed Geren “put more drunk drivers behind the wheel.” No matter. Gerena Republican moderate and vocal critic of House Speaker Tom Craddickwon a fifth term in the Legislature. Annunziato, an optometrist, poured more than $400,000 into the race. A lot of that money came from Craddick allies, including the group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and San Antonio millionaire James Leininger, who chipped in $75,000. Even with all the help, Annunziato lost by 17 points. Maybe he should stick to eye exams. DUKES UP Seven-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Dawnna Dukes survived charges of being cozy with Speaker Tom Craddick and taking cash from Houston developer Bob Perry to win District 46 with 61 percent. Dukes, who was born in East Austin, painted opponent Brian Thompson, a lawyer who recently moved to the area, as an interloper recruited by disgruntled Democratic activists outside the district. Both candidates unleashed mudslinging television ads. In the end, Dukes turned down a $50,000 contribution from Tom Craddick’s PAC, Texas Jobs & Opportunity Build a Secure Future Inc., to distance herself from the controversial speaker. Nonetheless, she raised more than $350,000exactly what she estimated she needed to win. Thompson raised $146,177. When it comes to the money game, Dawnna knows how to play. MARGO’S CONSERVATIVE WIN Dee Margo bested longtime incumbent Pat Haggerty in El Paso’s only Republican district. The GOP primary campaign cost nearly three-quarters of a million dollars and featured candidates who courted conservatives and hurled insults. Haggerty characterized Margo as a car petbagger who only recently moved into a well-appointed apartment in the district. Margo summed up his opponent as too liberal and too friendly with lobbyists. The Texas House is going to miss the hard-partying Haggerty, judging from the numerous campaign contributions from legislators and beer distributors. After all, it was Haggerty who, at the 11th hour, led the suicidal charge against Speaker Tom Craddick’s ham-fisted leadership of the House. Margo will next face Democrat and El Paso County Assistant District Attorney Joe Moody in the general election. Democrats who voted for Haggerty in the past expect the district to swing back to the Democratic fold. MONEY ISN’T ALL Armando Walle defeated incumbent Rep. Kevin Bailey in the Democratic primary because of turnout, not dollars. The 30-year-old Walle is a product of District 140 in northeastern Harris County. Until March 4, it was consistently one of the lowest-turnout districts in the state. In the Democratic primary in 2006, only 1,295 people cast ballots. This cycle Bailey MARCH 21, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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