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Supporting The Texas Observer with every referral and transaction. You Know Me \(with a few degrees of Get real estate help from someone you know. Call me today! Larry Hurlbert, Realtor 512.431.5370 [email protected] The Kinney Company, Real Estate Services, Austin, TX Sulu Ruin International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar than $200,000 of it went toward grassroots organizing and field operations. \(Angle told the Observer in 2008 that the turnout efforts that year in Harris County were sufficiently funded and that the Democrats made The turnout numbers reflect Democrats’ failure in the ground game. Overall turnout in Harris County in 2008 rose only 2 percent from 2004 a meager result given the record-breaking voting numbers seen all over the country. Particularly galling was that onequarter of the 400,000 Harris County residents who voted in the 2008 Democratic primary didn’t return in November. \(Those 100,000 votes were muchneeded. Three Democrats who lost key countywide The Latino turnout was equally dismal. The county has an estimated 650,000 Latinos who are eligible to tured to the polls. In that sense, the Democrats’ shortcomings in Harris County were indicative of their problems with turnout statewide. Consider these numbers: Texas is already 53 percent minority. Latinos make up about 35 percent of Texas’ eligible voters but only about 20 percent of the electorate. Only 37 percent of eligible Latinos turn out to vote in Texas, according to the Census Bureau. The national average is 49 percent; in California, it’s 58 percent. For Texas Democrats, that’s especially problematic, since Latinos have leaned heavily Democratic; in 2008, 63 percent voted for Obama in Texas \(and 67 percent of Latinos under age 29 voted The simple truth is this: If Texas Latinos voted anywhere near the national average, Democrats would be well-positioned to win statewide races this year. National Democrats have taken notice of the disconnect between Texas’ demographic potential, and the Democrats’ poor election results. “The fundamental problem for Texas Democrats will not be solved until the political class there and nationally finally does something about the elephant in the room: the abysmal turnout of minority voters, especially Hispanics,” Democratic consultant Mike Lux wrote on The Huffington Post in July 2009. “Money alone is not the reason: Texas Democrats have raised and spent tens of millions of dollars per election in statewide races over the last couple of decades, but they’ve spent the vast majority of their money on expensive TV advertising buys. “The consultants who run Texas Democratic politics don’t make money on voter registration or GOTV drives, they make money on TV ads, and they have never invested in the kind of project that would pick up far more voters for Democrats than most media campaigns. And while I don’t believe you can win a statewide campaign without spending money on TV, I also don’t believe you can win in Texas as a Democrat if you don’t devote a whole lot more to the field.” Quite a few Texas Democrats likely would agree with that statement. But habits die hard. In late July, a Democratic-leaning political action committee called Back to Basicsfunded largely with money from trial lawyersbegan airing an attack ad against Perry. The television spot accused the governor of AUGUST 06, 2010 appeasing drug company interests with his ultimately unsuccessful effort in 2007 to require girls to be vaccinated for HPV. It’s an ad designed to move socially conservative Anglo voters against supporting Perry. Back to Basics PAC reported spending $250,000 on the ad. Perhaps a few middle-of-the-road voters were won over by its reference to a three-year-old scandal. But according to Green and Gerber’s research in Get Out the Vote, that amount of money spent knocking on doors in Houston produced 10,000 Democratic votes on Election Day. Meanwhile, in Dallas, Darlene Ewing is relying even more heavily this year on grassroots campaigning and door-knocking. She reports that the county party plans to spend 75 percent of its 2010 election money on field operationsincluding block-walking, live phone calls and community events. If you include all the candidates’ outlays, Dallas Democrats will spend roughly twice as much money on field operations in 2010 as on paid media. Because it works. “It’s not sexy,” Ewing says. “We don’t have these nice ads that everybody talks about and sees on TV and critiques. It’s just grunt workwalking door-todoor, saying ‘hi’ to the voter, shaking hands. It’s just old-fashioned hard work, and we believe in it.” El WATCH the Back to Basics ad at