A Redeem Team for Texas Democrats?

Will Texas Democrats bring back the Dream Team? Back in 2002, Texas Democrats thought they had a great strategy. No, it wasn't to run Michael ...
by | February 20, 2009

Will Texas Democrats bring back the Dream Team? Back in 2002, Texas Democrats thought they had a great strategy. No, it wasn't to run Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson for office -- though that would be an interesting approach.

Instead, it was to recruit a diverse team of candidates for the state's top offices. The party's gubernatorial nominee was Hispanic (Tony Sanchez), the U.S. Senate nominee was black (Ron Kirk) and the nominee for the influential role of lieutenant governor was white (John Sharp). Part of the idea was to boost turnout among blacks and Hispanics, key Democratic constituencies, to help Democrats up and down the ballot. Democrats were so excited about this idea that they took to calling their ticket the Dream Team.

As it turned out, the strategy was a complete flop. Sanchez got creamed, Kirk didn't come all that close to winning and Sharp lost narrowly. The Democrats lost every statewide race and lost control of the state House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction.

VandePutte_Action Still, there's a case to be made that the problem wasn't the strategy, but the timing and particular candidates. Really, the Democrats could have nominated the beloved David Robinson (a member of the actual Dream Team) in 2002 and they still would have lost.

I bring this up because Leticia Van de Putte, a well-known Hispanic state senator, is considering a run for statewide office. Could a Van de Putte candidacy, say for governor, boost Hispanic turnout and help other Democrats?

One thing is for sure: The Democrats can't call their ticket a dream team again. If they follow the lead of USA basketball, the 2010 ticket has to be the Redeem Team.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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