The Politics Behind the Budget Vote; First Cornyn Poll Shows Big Advantage

The House passed the Murray-Ryan budget bill 332-94, but there are some interesting political strategies at play relating to the individual votes.

Of the 94 “No” votes, 62 came from Republicans and 32 from Democrats. The member complexion is an interesting mix and was comprised predominantly from those on the far right and far left. The opposition Republicans are mostly ardent Tea Party supported members such as retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN-6), sophomore Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID-1), and freshman Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY-4).

Eleven members, almost half of the Texas Republican delegation, were among those in opposition, including veteran representatives Ralph Hall (R-TX-4), Joe Barton (R-TX-6), and Michael Burgess (R-TX-26). The Texans supporting the budget bill are generally aligned with the House Republican leadership or have important committee chairmanships such as Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5) and the Homeland Security panel leader Michael McCaul (R-TX-10).

Another commonality came from those running for a different office or receiving primary challenges. No fewer than 10 GOP Representatives already declared for the Senate or embroiled in competitive intra-party races opposed the budget measure. Just one of the House candidates running for Senate, West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2), supported the legislation.

One of the more curious “No” votes came on the Democratic side. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1), involved in a strongly competitive Democratic senatorial primary campaign with appointed Sen. Brian Schatz, opposed the bill as an attempt to stake out the left, thus solidifying her statewide primary base within the party. Most of the Democrats who opposed the budget bill reportedly did so to a large degree because unemployment insurance was not extended.

One Democrat who voted “No” because of his general election campaign in a conservative district was North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC-7). In 2012, McIntyre was re-elected by only 654 votes, the closest election in the country. He again likely faces former state Sen. David Rouzer (R) in a re-match.

Texas Senate

The Wilson Perkins Allen polling firm released the results of the first Texas Republican primary survey. The results find incumbent Sen. John Cornyn holding a huge advantage over Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX-36) among those sampled.

According to the data (Dec. 11-12; 762 self-identified Texas Republican voters), the senator leads Congressman Stockman 50-6 percent. The challenger, trying to put a positive spin on some very bad numbers, pointed out that half of those surveyed did not voice support for Cornyn. Conversely, the senator’s camp explained their candidate’s strong showing as a by-product of Cornyn’s consistently conservative record.

WPA commands extensive business in Texas, and are the pollsters of record for Sen. Ted Cruz (R). On Monday, Rep. Stockman shocked the political world by filing against Sen. Cornyn even after returning re-election papers for his 36th Congressional District position.

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