Texas Ds Who Took Part in the Stupak Attack, Part 1

Four of the 64 Democratic votes for the Stupak amendment came from congressmen from Texas:

  1. Henry Cuellar – TX 28th
  2. Solomon Ortiz – TX 27th
  3. Silvestre Reyes – TX 16th
  4. Ciro Rodriguez – TX 23th

What boobs.  I wondered to myself, and then to several other people, isn’t it about time these guys got the boot so they could go wreck havoc upon the world by challenging Tom Delay to a dance-off instead of screwing with women’s lives?

Their districts start in El Paso (Reyes), swing south and west through the Trans Pecos region and western side of the Valley (Rodriguez), cover the rest of the Valley from Laredo to McAllen (Cuellar), then swing up the coast to Corpus (Ortiz).

Basically, the bottom crescent of Texas voted for Stupak.

Open Left provides a handy chart to help analyze which of the 64 would be best to target for replacement, considering the percentage of the vote they received in their primaries and general elections, and assigning “progressive punch scores” on general D and critical D votes from both the last session and over their total time in Congress.

Project Vote Smart compiles a great deal of candidate data, including how special interest groups evaluate members of the House and Senate.  Love that they call it a voter’s self-defense system!

I will now engage in highly unscientific mish-mashing of data from these two sources to evaluate the risks and rewards of targeting any or all of these four members of the left wing of the Stupak Attack.

  • Ciro Rodriguez has (more accurately HAD, I would hope) a 100% pro-choice rating from Planned Parenthood.  He lives in a district most progressive folks consider a swing district.
  • Silvestre Reyes has (had) an 87% pro-choice rating from PP.  His district is most often identified as solid D.
  • Cuellar, in a strong D district, drew only a 40% PP rating in 2008, although a year earlier, NARAL and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association gave him 100% positive.   Huh.
  • Ortiz, in a district that only leans D, has drawn big, fat zeros from PP and other pro-choice groups.  Anti-choice groups are much more appreciative of his voting record, giving him fairly high marks on a consistent basis.

Ortiz would seem to be the most attractive target as far as ideology goes.

Cuellar and Reyes are your picks if you are most concerned about party – presumably in a safe D district, you can get another D elected more easily than in one of the leaning or swing districts, where you might get an R who is even less supportive of abortion rights and family planning.  Of the two, Reyes seems slightly more vulnerable, as he had a primary opponent who took 20% of the vote.  Cuellar ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Rodriguez, perhaps, just needs more persuasive lobbying.  He’s in a swing district yet still draws a 100% PP rating, so he’d be the riskiest to attack, both from the perspective of losing a strong pro-choice candidate (strong before Stupak, anyway) and risking an anti-choice R taking the seat.

Some pro-choice lobbyist needs to adopt Reyes, who covers El Paso, because Planned Parenthood in El Paso closed earlier this year.  That’s right, closed.  Certainly, this leaves his constituents in a bind.  Would it have made a difference if PP El Paso had still be open and could have rallied supporters and clients to call in to change his mind about Stupak?

When it comes to punch scores, I have to say we could do better in all 4 of these districts.  They all show significant drop-offs between their records on easy votes and the votes on core D/progressive issues.

OK, this wonk-a-logue is about to permanently cross my eyes.   Time to sign off and get ready to meet Ellen Malcolm, the founder of EMILY’s List.  At my house!  Soon!  If you simply can’t wait on the report from that meeting, I hear EMILY’s List is involved with StopStupak.com.

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