Lampson losing, Culberson winning

Houston Chronicle:

Two Houston-area congressmen under political siege likely face opposite fates in the Nov. 4 election, according to a poll conducted for the Houston Chronicle.

U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, trailed Republican challenger Pete Olson by 17 percentage points early last week, according to the survey by Zogby International. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, led Democratic challenger Michael Skelly more modestly, by 7 percentage points, with virtually the same margin of error.

In both Republican-friendly districts, a key factor appeared to be the Democratic candidates' inability to run strong among independent voters and cut deeply into the ranks of Republican voters.

In the 22nd Congressional District, represented by Lampson after the 2006 resignation of Republican powerhouse Tom DeLay, only 5 percent of Republican voters in the survey had defected to Lampson.

Lampson led Olson among independents, 45 percent to 39 percent. But only 16 percent in the poll identified themselves as independent; while 52 percent said Republican and 32 percent said Democrat.


The 7th District, represented by Culberson, is one of the state's wealthiest and most reliably Republican. Skelly, however, has forced Culberson into what the congressman calls his most competitive and expensive race. Skelly, a wind-power executive who lives in West University Place, has gained national attention by raising and spending more campaign money than the incumbent, in addition to lending $1 million in personal funds to his effort as a first-time candidate.


"This poll shows that despite being outspent 2-to-1 in a bad environment for incumbent Republicans, the voters of District 7 remember that they can trust me to represent them as an independent thinker and a principled, fiscal conservative," Culberson said. "The loyalty of District 7 voters cannot be bought, it must be earned."

It also shows, he said, that voters "are not fooled by my liberal opponent's multi-million-dollar ad campaign intended to make us believe he is more conservative than I am."


These poll results must be a bitter pill for the Democrat leaning Chronicle. Culberson has been one of the most effective congressmen in Washington and showed real leadership ability especially in the recent fight over offshore drilling. I have called him the congressman from Twitter because of his effective use of technology to get around the media bias that Republicans have to deal with.

I am not surprised by Olson's race either. The Democrats stole that district for Lampson in 2006 by keeping the Republicans off the ballot when DeLay resigned because of Democrat efforts to criminalize their political differences with him. Ronnie Earle acted like Hugo Chavez in trying to put his political opponents in jail. Olson is a strong candidate. Democrats are trying to use non issues to defeat him. They would also like to suppress the Republican vote by discouraging turnout.

It is very likely that Republicans will actually pick up a seat from Texas in the next Congress.


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