Five Democrats have filed to run for John Cornyn’s US Senate seat in 2014. The Democratic primary has gained added significance, because Cornyn also faces a tea party challenge from right-wing extremist Congressman Steve Stockman, opening up a greater possibility that the seat could be put into play by Democrats in 2014. If Stockman wins the GOP primary, Democrats’ odds of winning the seat improve considerably. For that reason, it is important that the Democrats put forth the best candidate possible. Only one of the five Democratic candidates seems worthy of support from progressives, liberals and centrists interested in flipping the seat from red to blue. That candidate is El Paso attorney Maxey Scherr who is openly campaigning on strong progressive issues like supporting same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and raising the minimum wage. Scherr’s politics align well with Wendy Davis’ politics. Davis is running for governor at the top of the statewide slate. The other announced Democratic candidates for US Senate are less progressive and far less appealing than Scherr.
The other four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination are Odessa physician Harry Kim, Lyndon Larouche supporter Kesha Rogers, Houston businessman Michael Fjetland, and Dallas millionaire David Alameel. These four candidates all have flaws which make them unsuitable choices for the Democratic nomination.
Hyetae “Harry” Kim is an Odessa-based physician. He may or may not have strong positions on issues important to Democrats, but to date he has no website and an online search finds no reference to his positions on major political issues. Until Kim takes a public position on issues and until he shows that he is actively and aggressively campaigning to win, his candidacy merits little consideration as posing any realistic chance of winning a US Senate seat in the state of Texas.
Kesha Rogers is a Lyndon LaRouche acolyte. She previously campaigned for Congress by calling for impeaching Barack Obama. She also dismissed the theory of global warming by accusing scientists who back the theory as promoting “imperialist genocide”. She also has carried posters of Obama sporting a Hitler mustache, and like most LaRouchites she has a curious fixation with the idea that the British crown is trying to derail the US economy. She deserves no consideration as a Democratic candidate.
Michael Fjetland, is an ex-Republican who left the party because it became too extreme. He is president of Armor Glass International and he ran against Tom DeLay in four consecutive elections from 2000 to 2006 (three times in the Republican primary and once as an Independent). Fjetland has reasonable positions on the issues. He supports a minimum wage increase, comprehensive immigration reform and ending discrimination against the LGBT community. However, he ran for congress four consecutive cycles without garnering much support, so his candidacy does not seem to have the gravitas needed to win an expensive and highly competitive US Senate race.
David Alameel, a multimillionaire dentist, argues that he has the money to compete with John Cornyn. Alameel is reportedly worth over 50 million dollars, and he is certainly capable of self-funding his campaign. However, he is part of the problem in Texas, given that he plans to run as a “conservative Democrat” and that he has heavily contributed to Republican candidates in the past, including ironically, John Cornyn. Alameel donated thousands to Cornyn’s Senate campaign and his political action committee in 2004 and 2005. He has also contributed heavily to Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Greg Abbott. In fairness he has also donated a great deal of money to Democrats, but playing both sides to curry favor should hardly be a selling point in a Democratic primary. In addition, although Alameel boasts about how much money he can spend to compete, voters should remember that in 2012 he spent 4.5 million dollars (the most of any Congressional candidate in Texas) to finish a distant fourth place in a Democratic Congressional primary. Apparently he has the money to compete but not the message to win.
Although five Democratic candidates have filed paperwork to try to turn one of Texas’ US Senate seats from red to blue, only one of those candidates has the progressive credentials and the resume to be a viable option in 2014. Maxey Scherr is the lone Democratic candidate who can stand up for liberal values and still mount a serious race to flip Texas from red to blue. Progressives, liberals, and centrists in Texas should take note.