Races That Could Surprise You: TX U.S. District 10
Thu, 07/31/2008 - 3:27pm
While the Texas state races are heating up, there's one national congressional seat that should be getting more attention. Democratic challenger Larry Joe Doherty looks to be making a strong contention for the seat held by incumbent congressman Michael McCaul (R) in Congressional District 10. The 10th district covers the southeast Austin and northwest Houston suburbs and everything in between.
Why is the district in play?
Rep. McCaul is a young incumbent, winning his seat in 2004 while facing no Democratic opponent. In 2006, McCaul won re-election with only 55% of the vote against a Democratic candidate that raised less than $50,000. Mr. Doherty is different: a real candidate with a real shot at pulling an upset. In the second quarter alone, the Doherty campaign brought in a quarter of a million dollars — serious money for such a race. And as a well connected Houston lawyer, he is likely to see his financial support only strengthen the closer the race appears.
Polls have also been troublesome for McCaul, who seems to have low name recognition within his own district.
Another great reason for the Doherty campaign to be optimistic is the new surge of Democratic voters in the 10th. In the smaller and normally more Republican counties of Austin, Bastrop, and Lee, primary voter turnout this year was incredibly high. In those counties alone, there were 2,500 more Democratic ballots cast in the primaries than compared to John Kerry's entire election totals four years ago. This is a sign not only that Democrats are moving into this District, but that existing Dem voters are organized and coming out to vote.
With this surge of voters, it seems possible that the 10th has become a 55(R)/45(D) base district, meaning that a candidate like Doherty, with money and organization, can really make this race a surprisingly close squeaker.