Saturday, May 17, 2008

TX-07: The Obey smackdown

So I figured that with most of the action over in California, I'd turn to the House and Senate races around the country to highlight some interesting races. There will be a quiz in November, so take notes, LOL. I've already highlighted races in IL-14, CA-12, LA-06, NY-13, and MS-01, plus a look at some California House races and some key Senate races, which I will periodically update. Now, before anonymous Republicans try to spam the comments section, the races that I'll be highlighting do not necessarily mean I'm guaranteeing a Democratic victory in those places. Many of these places are going to be Republican strongholds. This is meant to provide a window into what's happening all over our country as we head towards November, to get other Bruin Democrats reading this more familiar and aware with what's happening on the ground in other places. In 2006, as we celebrated taking back the House with a big scorecard marking down congressional districts one by one as they flipped, most of us didn't know who the Democrats that won even were, or the Republicans that they defeated. Hopefully these posts will make it more personal come November. :-)

That said, let's look at a House race deep in the heart of Texas, in its 7th district. Rep. John Culberson (R) is the current representative, having served there since 2001. He's been the source of some comedy gold on the blogs this week for getting totally smacked down by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) on the House floor. If you're gonna rail against a bill, you might want to read it first to know what you're talking about. Oops. Oh, we had some fun with him!

Now that's some serious pwnage.

This year, Culberson is facing a serious challenge from an energy executive. What's that, you say? A Democratic energy executive? Well, yes, an alternative energy executive. His name is Michael Skelly, and he's the former chief development officer of Horizon Wind Energy. Now here's the amazing thing.

Businessman Michael Skelly is positioned to be at the top of the Democratic fundraising list for the year’s first quarter, according to a Democratic operative, raising about $750,000 from individual donors without even tapping into his substantial personal wealth. Another Democratic operative said it could be the “best first quarter ever” for any House Democrat in his first filing period.

Skelly has already handily outdistanced Culberson in fundraising — rare for a challenger — banking more than $402,000 in mid-February, according to his latest FEC filing.

Skelly's incredible fundraising is getting both local and national blog attention. By the end of the 1st quarter (January - March 2008), Skelly had 246% more cash on hand than Culberson. Here's the local ABC affiliate's report on the race.

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