by JEN BIUNDO
In his first hard-fought political race at the age of 24, Patrick Rose stole the District 45 House seat away from incumbent Rick Green by just 400 votes, a margin of less than one percent.
But in the eight years that have followed, the Dripping Springs native has easily defended his seat against challengers from both parties, and Tuesday night’s primary elections were no exception.
Rose took just shy of 80 percent of the vote in the Democratic primaries against Driftwood resident Andrew Backus, the former chair of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.
“I am proud that tonight this district spoke loudly for a positive, issue-oriented campaign that put consensus-building and solutions ahead of partisanship and divisiveness,” Rose said as the election returns rolled in Tuesday night.
The District 45 seat represents Hays, Caldwell and Blanco Counties in the State House. Rose will go on to face Dripping Springs GOP businessman Jason Isaac in the general election.
“I’m positive we will be keeping the seat in November,” said Hays County Democratic Party Chair Katie Bell Moore.
Though the race and other in the past turned into an overwhelming victory, Rose said he takes each challenge seriously in his bellwether district.
“Each of them could have been close,” Rose said. “Each party has to go out and run each time, and that’s a blessing for the voters. It rewards the consensus builders.”
Backus took 23.57 percent of the Hays County vote and 20.29 percent of the ballots in the tri-county district. He ran a race that primarily centered on water issues; specifically, Rose’s refusal to sponsor legislation expanding the authority of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.
On the campaign trail, Rose countered that he was endorsed by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, and has been a leader in groundwater and surface water issues.
Other issues in the race included job growth, road infrastructure, higher education and conservation in the Hill County.
“Our local economy is the most important thing on the voters’ minds,” Rose said.
Rose currently chairs the House Human Services Committee and also serves on the House Higher Education Committee. He is widely considered to have broad support, both politically and financially, on both sides of the aisle, and is heading into the general election with more than $350,000 in the bank.
After 2010, Rose said that he is “absolutely planning to run for another term” in the District 45 seat.
“I’m excited to stay here and continue our work,” Rose said.
Tuesday night, 3,460 Democrats and 9,457 Republicans turned out to the polls.
Rick Green, the former District 45 State Representative who lost his seat to a young Patrick Rose in the 2002 races – and then made headlines in 2006 for throwing a punch at Rose outside an Election Day polling place — made a bid this year on the GOP ticket for the Supreme Court Justice Place 3 nomination.
Hays County voters gave their native son 41 percent of the vote in a crowded field of six candidates, but statewide, Green took just 19 percent of the vote, putting him in a run-off with Debra Lehrmann.
In other upballot races, more than 85 percent of Hays County Democrats turned out for gubernatorial candidate Bill White, well above the state returns of 75.97 percent, while 8.14 percent supported Farouk Shami, compared to state returns of 12.59 percent.
Hays County voters showed a strong preference for Lieutenant Governor candidate Ronnie Earle, but voters statewide gave Linda Chavez-Thompson the nomination.
Among GOP voters in Hays County, 52.37 percent supported incumbent governor Rick Perry in his bruising three-way primary race, close to the statewide turnout of 51.2 percent.
But Hays County made a strong 26 percent showing for Debra Medina, the long-shot candidate who went on to pull 18.48 percent at the statewide polls and nearly force Perry into a run-off with Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Jen Biundo is managing editor of the Hays Free Press where this article was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Mercury and the Free Press.Email | Print
Reporter Jen Biundo misses the Backus/Rose election contest big time. Anyone can look up the voting results but understanding what they mean separates objective insightful analysis and reporting from simply parroting.
Biundo asserts that Rose, “…in the eight years (of his incumbency), the Dripping Springs native has easily defended his seat against challengers from both parties …”
Is she kidding?
Rose, for the first time faced a Democrat primary opponent, Andrew Backus. Even against an eight year incumbent with widespread name recognition, a paid organized network of workers and tons of money to throw into a campaign against an obscure opponent who had less than three months to campaign Backus still received over 20% of the votes.
The 2010 election results guarantees that Rose will have a primary opponent in 2012 if he is elected this fall, and the Rose primary opponent will be well prepared and funded long before the 2012 primary. Backus was just a wake up call for young Mr. Rose.
Rose spent more than $ 151,121.96 (as of Feb. 20, 2010) while Backus spent about $10,000. Do the math. Rose spent $1,889 per percentage point while Backus spent $500 per percentage point of voters. That’s what the special interest contributions do for Rose. It doesn’t speak well for voters but money talks in elections—even if it’s lying.
Rose characterized Backus as a “one-issue candidate” which is true. He was. That one issue is Rose and his record in the legislature. Most voters demonstrated they believed the slick Rose version of his legislative record despite it being a super spin job. Spin is how Bernard Madoff got away with his Ponzi scheme for so long. Investors believed the Madoff spin and it cost them dearly.
Anyone who looks past the spin recognizes Rose for the slick politician that he is.
For example, Rose claims he exposed the PEC board. That’s simply not true, and I defy anyone to produce a single shred of evidence to show that Rose sounded the alarm, obtained any internal PEC documents, passed any reform legislation or did anything more than jump on a bandwagon so he could claim credit for the work of others.
Following four years of investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding abuse and civil rights violations in our Texas state run schools for disabled individuals, the Governor’s Office entered into a Settlement Agreement with DOJ to resolve a federal suit against the state. A major part of that Settlement Agreement (submitted in the El Paso District Federal Court suit against the state of Texas) required the legislation that passed through the House Human Services Committee that Rose chairs. Rose did not write the bill and the legislation was required as part of the Settlement Agreement. Yet Rose takes credit for yet another bill that he did not write. It would have been passed with or without Rose’s support.
But Rose doesn’t take credit for all the special interest bills he introduced or the bills he made sure died in committee that special interests didn’t want passed. If a voter wants to learn about a candidate’s record, the most biased and misleading account is the candidate’s spin. Ask the Bernard Madoff victims.
Here is an example of media cooperation in political spin.
Biundo repeats the Rose propaganda in her article that, “on the campaign trail, Rose countered that he was endorsed by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, and has been a leader in groundwater and surface water issues.”
Doesn’t Biundo know that the League of Conservation Voters only endorses incumbents? If Jacques Cousteau were running against Rose the League of Conservation Voters would only endorse Rose because he is the incumbent. A member of the Sierra Club Political Committee responded that he was “shocked” his organization had endorsed Rose. The Sierra Club endorsement was promoted by a lobbyist and created outrage in local Sierra Club staff who are familiar with Rose’s abysmal environmental record. Can anyone give just one example of Rose “leadership in groundwater and surface water issues?” You can’t because it isn’t true and Rose’s record clearly shows that it isn’t true.
Rose said: “I am proud that tonight this district spoke loudly for a positive, issue-oriented campaign that put consensus-building and solutions ahead of partisanship and divisiveness.”
Only Rose could translate millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the likes of the Bob Perry/Tom Delay crowd of Republicans and special interests as “bipartisanship” and “consensus-building.” Rose’s sound bite may sound great in passing but any way you cut it his “bipartisanship” is nothing more than special interests buying Rose. Just look at Rose’s legislative record (not what he claims but what he actually did and didn’t do for special interests).
Former State Comptroller, John Sharp said it best: “When those at the capital say they have been ‘Rosed’ they mean they have been lied to.” Clearly, District 45 voters were Rosed.
Voters don’t want to believe the truth but that’s what election campaigns are all about. If you don’t do your homework then pay attention to what the opponent is saying. Then check it out for yourself.
Wait till the 2012 Democrat primary. If Rose is running he will be opposed.
One last observation is in order. Reporter Jen Biundo is managing editor of the Hays Free Press; Cyndy Slovak-Barton (photo credit) is wife of Hays County Pct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton and both own the Hays Free Press; and Brad Rollins, Editor and Publisher of The San Marcos Mercury is also a reporter for the Hays Free Press. Jeff Barton endorsed Rose.