The buzz is that the Democratic Party of Texas is pushing an unusual choice to run for the U.S. Senate with the encouragement of the national party - that of Richardo Sanchez. Why Sanchez? Well, according to Senator Patty Murray, Sanchez is Hispanic. Isn't that all you need in a candidate? It is if you are a shallow and polarizing Democrat. Murray loves her some stereotypes.
During a briefing with reporters last week, Democratic Senate Campaign Committee chair Patty Murray of Washington teased that the party may have a top-tier recruit in the Lone Star State. She listed Texas among her "6 for 12," places where Democrats planned to target Republican-held seats.
"General Sanchez has spent his entire life serving our country, and there's no question he would be a strong candidate if he decides to continue to serve his country in the U.S. Senate," DSCC spokesman Matt Canter said in a statement Monday. "He's exactly the kind of independent leader who can win in Texas."
Asked why the party included the solidly-Republican state on its early target list, Murray offered: "Two word response: changing demographics." New Census data shows that the Hispanic population jumped 42% in Texas from 2000 to 2010. They now account for 38% of the state’s population.
Murray, like the rest of the Democrats, are going hot and heavy after the rising tide of Hispanic voters. Especially in Texas, the numbers of Hispanics is growing. Texas is, however, a strongly red state and there is little hope for Democrats. Yet. Plus, Hispanics are realizing that they are a naturally conservative people who just very well may lean Republican in their voting habits.
The irony in the Sanchez pick is that his own party pressured former President Bush to deny him his 4th star as he retired from his military service. You may recognize the name as one who was involved in the disgraceful Abu Gharib story during the early Iraq war days. Sanchez was the commanding officer, the top general in Iraq, during that episode and the Democrats pressed hard for Sanchez to be punished.
An Inspector General report largely cleared Sanchez of wrongdoing, but he wrote in his own 2008 book that he was denied a fourth star in part because "Senate Democrats were intentionally putting pressure" on the Bush administration "not to send my nomination forward."
Texas has a very strong roster of candidates running for the seat in the U.S. Senate. Upon Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's announced retirement the flood gates opened and the leading candidate, Ted Cruz, would likely to be Sanchez's opponent. That would prove to be a great race for Texas political observers.
Run, Richardo, run!