Rep. Neugebauer to Retire;
Fiorina Shock Poll

Sept. 21, 2015 — West Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) became the fifth House member this month to announce his retirement, making public his decision yesterday. The congressman is not exercising his prerogative to seek an eighth term in the House, and will end his congressional career when the legislative session concludes at the beginning of 2017.

Neugebauer was first elected in a 2003 special election, replacing resigned-Rep. Larry Combest (R-Lubbock) who had left the House mid-term from his agriculture dominated district. Combest was the former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee when he retired from Congress.

Neugebauer, previously a Lubbock City Councilman, won a difficult special election in a very different 19th CD. At the time, both the cities of Lubbock and Midland were housed in the same CD. Neugebauer defeated Midland businessman Mike Conaway (R) in that election, but the latter would then win his current post-redistricting 11th District in 2004. Conaway is now the current House Agriculture Committee chairman.

The same redistricting plan that elected Conaway forced the just-elected Neugebauer into a district with 13-term Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-Abilene). But, the new boundary configuration was not kind to the veteran Democrat, and the freshman handily defeated him 58-40 percent. Rep. Neugebauer would never again experience a close election.

We can expect a crowded Republican primary field of candidates to emerge for the early March nomination campaign. The seat, one of the most conservative in America, will remain in GOP hands.

The Neugebauer decision means that 23 seats are now open heading into the 2016 election. Twelve are currently Republican held compared to 11 for the Democrats.

Gravis National Poll

Donald Trump has been riding a polling wave for two solid months, but a new Gravis Marketing post-debate survey finds businesswoman Carly Fiorina already drawing into a tie with her business and political rival.

In Gravis’ post-debate poll conducted on Wednesday night after the major national forum concluded, 1,337 likely Republican primary voting respondents surprisingly elevated Fiorina into a 22-22 percent presidential preference tie with Trump.

Thirty-three percent of those participating said that Fiorina won the debate. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), also benefiting from a strong debate performance, rose to third place with 15 percent. Dr. Ben Carson followed with 12 percent.

It remains to be seen if this is a mere blip, or if Fiorina creates staying power. The other two candidates rated as winning the debate were Trump (21 percent saying he won) and Rubio (16 percent).

Those viewed as losing the debate became equally definitive. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) topped this undesirable list with 32 percent saying that he was the clear loser. Interestingly, Trump placed second on the debate losers list (17 percent) too, equivalent to his standing on the winner’s list. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, with 11 percent saying he fared poorly during the forum, finished third on the negative list.

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