I have been blogging about this race for the past two months or ever since Lloyd Doggett's opponent, Dr. Donna Campbell, showed up at the Redstate Event. It has provided some excitement and controversy here in Texas, where almost all the serious races have already been decided. Bill White will be lucky to top 40% against Rick Perry. Chet Edwards looks like he's finished. That leaves TX-23, TX-27, and surprisingly TX-25, which was was one of eight districts the Cook report moved from safe seats to likely Democrat last week much to the chagrin of Mr. Doggett. I continue to believe, especially having talked to friends who are mildly enthusiastic Democrats and hate Rick Perry, that Dr. Donna Campbell can pull the upset here. In other words, and it's just anecdotal evidence but you can imagine the lagging effect, I have friends who have voted for every Democrat on the ballot in Travis County except Lloyd Doggett.
Why the distance from this longtime Austin legislator? I think it boils down to two words - inaccessible and arrogant. These Democrat friends of mine may not agree with the tea party, but they certainly don't believe it's right for their representative in Congress to belittle and/or avoid concerns of his constituents just because they don't act like typical Travis Heights progressives. It just feels out of touch and so Washington establishment. People on both sides of the aisle are sick of partisan, career-oriented politicians (and it's one reason people flocked to Obama 08, although the more discerning among us knew his statesmanlike ability to unify differing parties was completely manufactured).
The problem is as much as Rick Perry has come to represent Governor-Crony-for-Life to Democrats, he hasn't been around nearly as long as Lloyd Doggett. Mr. Doggett really epitomizes career politician. It doesn't help that his speaking style is more 19th century schoolmaster lecturer than empathetic charmer. And he's actually got a challenger who cuts an image as far from the establishment mold as possible.
Dr. Donna Campbell uses her latest TV spot, which has been running a fair share during network primetime, to highlight these personality differences with her opponent, including use of the famous footage where Mr. Doggett fled his constituents at a town hall on Obamacare last summer. She then ties his votes to Nancy Pelosi, who rammed most of the far left's agenda down our throats during the 111th Congress. Doggett, of course, voted with Speaker Pelosi 98% of the time.
It's an effective ad, and hopefully the last thing voters will remember before they cast their ballot with such a distinct choice. Will they elect the newcomer emergency room physician or the longtime Washington insider who stopped listening a long time ago?