A 60th Vote… in Texas?

Photo by Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcuthrell/" target="_blank">jcuthrell</a> under Creative Commons

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


With Scott Brown’s Tuesday victory, the Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority is over, and with it, likely any chance of meaningful health care reform. Possibly. But there’s still one way Democrats could get back up to the magic number before November. It involves winning a statewide race in Texas: Democrats haven’t done that in 16 years, so you probably shouldn’t wager too many precious Liberty Dollars on it, but as Tuesday’s results show, anything can happen in a special election.

Here’s how it works: Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is currently locked in a bitter (think Conan v. Leno) Republican gubernatorial primary against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. Whether she wins or loses on March 2, Hutchison has said she’ll resign her Senate seat, although she’s been vague about when that would actually happen. Here’s Texas Monthly‘s Paul Burka on what might happen next:

If she were to resign, Perry could name a Republican to succeed her (Michael Williams is the likely choice), but Williams would have to run in a special election to fill the remainder of Hutchison’s term. If a Democrat (read: John Sharp) were to win the election, the Democrats would be back to 60.

Hutchison could very well step back on her promise to vacate her seat, or she could wait until November to do it. Alternately, Republican Michael Williams—an African-American, bow-tie-wearing, Texas Railroad Commissioner who’s become a bit of a Tea Party darling—could easily trounce a conservative Democrat like John Sharp in a special election. And there’s no guarantee that Sharp, representing deep red Texas, would be a sure-thing as the Dem’s 60th vote. But if Hutchison gives in to the pressure and resigns sooner rather than later, Democrats could find themselves in a special election, needing only a couple of gaffes and a whole lot of luck to get back to 60. Stranger things have happened.

 

Follow Tim Murphy on Twitter

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate