In a pretty surprising move two members of El Paso's Democratic delegation are included in Republican State Representative Dee Margo's latest mailer. Both State Representatives Marisa Marquez (HD 77) and Naomi Gonzalez (HD 76) were featured in the piece giving pretty glowing remarks about Margo.
Margo and former State Representative Joe Moody are locked in a very competitive race for state representative and is one of the few districts in Texas where a Democrat has the ability to gain a seat in the legislature.
Representative Gonzalez states in part, "Dee has demonstrated time and again that he is willing to listen to both sides of an issue and work across party lines for the good of El Paso."
Which is interesting and problematic for Gonzalez and Marquez because Margo was the only member of the delegation to vote in favor of the controversial budget last session. The duo both expressed opposition to that budget and Marquez specifically mentioned the cuts to women's health funding as the reason she "...could not in any good conscience vote for that bill. Absolutely not..." (around the 16:00 mark of the video posted below.)
Marquez's quote about Margo is also problematic because she appears to contradict herself by saying that Margo remains "a trusted ally in our fight for a better El Paso."
I'm pretty sure the teachers affected by Margo's vote on the budget aren't going to be happy about that quote. Especially considering we have 230 less teachers in El Paso County than we had a year ago.
This breaks a cardinal rule about supporting people in your own Party. Its not like Margo's opponent, former State Representative Joe Moody is some long-shot candidate with no chance of winning. Moody has a great chance at winning that race especially given the numbers. Moody stayed out of Marquez's primary challenge earlier this year.
It also represents an about-face from Marquez. In her remarks to the El Paso Young Democrats during the primary portion of this election cucle, Marquez declared her support for Moody. "I support Joe. I've always supported Joe Moody. I do support Joe Moody, and yes I think its absolutley important that we have more Democrats in the State House." (It starts at 13:20 mark of the video)
Both of those factors make this mailer a big deal. They are working against a Democrat in a seat that Democrats have a chance of winning back. Both have expressed the need to have more Democrats in the legislature.
It probably wouldn't be a big deal if both candidates were doing it to a candidate in a race with no chance of winning. But they are hurting a viable candidate. And one from their own Party.
Frankly my initial reaction to the piece was along the lines of What is Margo thinking? My initial thoughts were that a pair of Democrats in another district aren't going to appeal to Margo's base so what is the point of putting them on a piece of mail. Then I found out it was mail specifically targeted to Democratic voters in the district. Which puts an even sharper edge on the effort.
But it might be for a couple of reasons. District 78, more than any other district in El Paso and possibly in the state of Texas with the possible exception of CD 23, tends to reflect the top of the ticket. If its a gubernatorial year, it will go red. If its a presidential year, it will go blue. Lets face it Romney sure isn't inspiring a lot of support and Margo has to pull some cross-over votes if he's going to win re-election. So that might explain the inclusion of two Democrats in the piece.
I also can't help but notice that Mitt Romney is trying to run as something he's not and perhaps Representative Margo wants to do the same thing.
However there are a couple of other connections between the three candidates. All three have rather famously received money from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR). The TLR funds, almost exclusively, Republican candidates. All three of the candidates also happen to be clients of Forma Group as well. Forma is El Paso's top political consulting firm.
By contrast, Democratic Representative-elect Mary Gonzalez is out-front with her support of Moody.Now that I think about it, Senator Rodriguez has also been supportive of Moody.
This move also has to put Congressman-elect Beto O'Rourke and El Paso County Democratic Party Chairman Rick Melendrez in a tough spot because they are trying to push for the UNITY campaign. So much for supporting Team D.
I guess it was confused for Team Dee.
Support for Margo from a few select Democrats isn't a new thing. As you can see in this photo, former County Judge Anthony Cobos also supported Margo in the past.
Prominent Democrats supporting a Republican over a candidate in their own party for personal reasons?
Hmm....where have I heard that before?
Marquez and Gonzalez's support of a Republican is frankly no different than the group of Sore Loser Democrats that are supporting the Republican Congressional nominee over fellow Democrat Beto O'Rourke.
Many within the Party are trying to take action against the vocal Democrats that are also officials within the Democratic Party for not being supportive of the nominee. Those efforts are now undercut by two members of the delegation who are essentially doing the exact same thing.
Since their public policy positions are well documented, its extremely difficult to see this public support for a Republican as anything other than a personal beef. That is reminiscent of Marquez's former mentor and Gonzalez former rival doesn't it?
I attempted to reach Representative Marquez for comment but have not heard back from her yet. If she responds I will include her response in another piece. I am also waiting to hear back from the Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party Gilberto Hinojosa on the matter as well.