San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 19th, 2010
Courting crossover votes, Rose hosts Republican speaker Straus

Editor and Publisher

In an election year display of bipartisanship, State Rep. Patrick M. Rose, a San Marcos Democrat, welcomed Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, to a fundraising reception last week at a Driftwood winery.

The $100-a-person event was closed to the press but people who attended estimated a crowd of at least a couple hundred. Fewer than a dozen Republicans protested alongside FM 150 outside the venue’s gate, including supporters of Jason Isaac, a Dripping Springs Republican who is running against Rose in the November general election.

Patrick Rose

“We must rid our party of all the ‘RINOs’ such as Strauss who compromise while in their positions,” said San Marcos-area GOP precinct chair Naomi Narvaiz, employing a dismissive acronym for “Republican In Name Only.”

Acknowledging outrage from local Republican Party loyalists, Hays County GOP Chair Kent “Bud” Wymore said, “Of course, Republicans are disappointed.”

“The two big, important things leading up to an election like this are party unity and party morale. This definitely is the kind of thing that can hurt party unity and party morale,” Wymore said, repeating what he said he told Straus in a telephone conversation last week. “What we have to do now is look to November and make sure we have a unified party and that spirits are high.”

Skewered by a handful of right-leaning political blogs, Straus publicly downplayed his appearance at the Rose event as a “courtesy” to a House colleague. A spokesperson for Straus told Dallas Morning News reporter Robert T. Garrett, “If he’s asked by an incumbent and it’s in the Austin area and he can go, he goes.”

Rose has a history of reaching across party lines to work with Republican Speakers of the House. He was an ally of former Speaker Tom Craddick from 2003 until 2007 when he seconded Craddick’s nomination on the house floor at the start of the session but had joined his detractors by adjournment.

Early in 2008, Rose emerged as one of 85 legislators pledged to Straus in the speaker’s race thereby ensuring Straus would unseat Craddick before the session even began. Sraus allowed Rose to keep his chairmanship of the House’s Human Services committee, a position Craddick put him in in 2007.

Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of conservative PAC Empower Texans, told Garrett that Straus’ visit for Rose could damage Straus’ relationship with less moderate Republican legislators.

“It probably means he’s going to have to go to greater lengths to assure them that as speaker, he’s with them — because they’re going to be pretty critical,” Sullivan said.

The only obvious winner here is Rose who survives in Republican-leaning District 45 by pointing to bipartisan credentials as “a testament to my ability to bring people together to find difficult solutions to the problems facing us,” to use his words from a candidate debate earlier this year.

In his three re-election bids since 2004, Rose has won an average of 58 percent of the vote, although those who still think he’s beatable point out that two of those cycles, 2006 and 2008, he benefitted from a swift Democratic Party tailwind in Hays County. This year, momentum may favor Republicans.

In 2008, Republican nominee Matt B. Young did not win a single Hays County voting box, although those in which he came closest lie in the Dripping Springs area where Rose grew up and resided until he decamped this year to San Marcos.

Since setting up shop in the county seat, Rose has continued to forge in-roads in his opponent’s natural base. Rose plans, for example, a series of cocktail parties in coming months for younger voters with freshman San Marcos City Council member Ryan Thomason, who has emerged as that body’s budget hawk and conservative darling.

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10 thoughts on “Courting crossover votes, Rose hosts Republican speaker Straus

  1. Is this Naomi Narvaiz related to San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz? Is Susan dappling in partisan politics?

  2. Joe Strauss should be in a world of hurt over this: Rose’s district 45 is one of only a handful in Texas that could go to a Republican after being held by a Dem. What was he thinking?

    FYI: Your letter ‘b’ is upside down, gentlemen. The word is “dabbling”.

  3. Dan,

    Respectfully, I disagree.

    Straus has been a good conservative in a State House divided. Rose has been an ally in helping him pass some of the agenda we hold so dear. Any serious independent analysis of that district will tell you that Rose losing is highly unlikely.

    What kind of leadership would Straus be demonstrating if he dumped those that helped retain a Republican speaker into the grease because of the letter after their name?

  4. Brad,
    Two key points you missed: The State and County Republican parties have a rule against campaigning for a candidate of the opposite party. Joe Straus violated that rule. Since no one from the state Republican party took it upon themselves to make even a statement against this, local Republican grassroots activists followed through with a peaceful statement. (This included some elected precinct chairs) Joe Straus had not even taken the time to talk to the local Republican candidate before attending this event.

    Second, this fund raiser was for $100 / plate that went to a campaign fund for Mr. Rose that exceeds $500,000. This is for a job that pays $7,500 per year. If Mr. Rose and Mr. Straus really wanted to show that they were about helping the people of Hays county, that money would be going to help the people. $100 will feed a family of four for one month through one of the local foodbanks in Comal, Blanco or Hays county. It’s politics as usual, where money comes in from Austin, with strings attached, and is going into the second largest campaign fund in the Texas House.

    Personally, I could care less who Mr. Rose is working with on the political scene. It’s the People of Blanco, Caldwell and Hays county who will cast their vote in November. A good grassroots campaign for a $7,500 / year job should not run any more than maybe $1000. I think it’s time for Mr. Rose to start talking to the people around his district that, on average, make less than $36,000 per household.

    The people are awakening, and asking questions about the money, and the rules. Both Mr. Issac and Mr. Rose (among others) will need to be able to face the actual voters of this district in November and to be able to answer for where their money is coming from, and why they want the job. I for one look forward to giving each one an interview for the job.

  5. Rose already has a $500,000 warchest for job that pays $7000/yr. Why does the Speaker feel he needs to get Rose more special interest money from outside Hays County?

  6. Rob – can you tell me where to find that rule that the Republican Party has about campaigning for someone from a different party? I can’t find it. Not criticizing your post or anything – just curious

  7. Would that include Ron Paul when he ran as an independent? What about our friends in the Tea Party? Does criticizing someone in your own party count?

    Those rules (if they exist) only apply to primaries. We are past that.

    If you want Straus to only talk to Republicans, he isn’t going to be able to lead. We are lucky to have Republicans in positions of governance in our state, shouldn’t we let them do their job and govern?

    Not to mention the fact that he just gave the head of the Republican Caucus a pretty sweet post. Oh well, some people just like to be angry i guess.

  8. How adorable! These are two guys that can work together to support the invaders stay in the USA de-electing the Americans,carrying water for the oligarch Bush (NWO-Trilateral crew) and help get Georgie P Jeb’s boy become the new Hispano-America Monarch. PRECIOUS!

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