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| | |-+  Texas 8th District, 1980
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Author Topic: Texas 8th District, 1980  (Read 544 times)
freepcrusher
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« on: April 25, 2012, 06:03:55 pm »
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what happened here? At the time, the 8th district was similar to the current 29th. It was only one of the few districts in Texas that had a large labor bloc of voters. It was one of the more democrat leaning districts in Texas giving 63% to Carter in 1976 and 52% to Carter in 1980.

Considering that democrats always ran ahead of the national party in the south and that the you had democrats like Hightower or Hance where Reagan was winning over 60 percent of the vote, how did Bob Eckhardt lose? The Texas GOP was very weak downballot back then and the guy who unseated Eckhardt was a novice politician who wasn't even 30.

Eckhardt hadn't gotten into any scandals or anything. The only controversial thing he had done was to support the campus walkouts/moratorium days in the late 60s/early 70s. That had been ten years earlier and was no longer of political relevance. Was Eckhardt a dem equivalent of Bill Sali? (paging smoltchanov)
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 06:06:20 pm by Atari Democrat »Logged
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Fuzzybigfoot
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 06:21:43 pm »
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Eckhardt was a prime target for the oil industries, due to his liberal voting records (especially on toxic waste).  Jack Fields (R) not only had roots in the district, but also had the advantages of a growing suburban vote and a war chest which was almost double Eckhardt's.  These factors, along with Reagan's coattails, allowed Fields to edge out Eckhardt 52%-48%. 
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freepcrusher
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 06:27:40 pm »
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along with Reagan's coattails

Reagan lost the district by seven points. He was the only incumbent I can think of that lost re-election in 1980 in a district Carter won.
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Fuzzybigfoot
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 06:32:09 pm »
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along with Reagan's coattails

Reagan lost the district by seven points. He was the only incumbent I can think of that lost re-election in 1980 in a district Carter won.

Reagan was able to weaken the Democratic vote enough to help Fields, that's what I meant.  Tongue
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smoltchanov
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 02:52:40 am »
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In addition - Eckhardt barely won primary over conservative Democrat in 1978 (something like 53-47). In 1980 vast majority of them defected to Fields. Good Republican year helped too, of course...
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Raging moderate. Big fan of "mavericks" (in all parties) and big non-lover of "reliable foot soldiers" (in all parties as well). Very much "anti-tea party". Political Matrix - E: -0.26, S: -3.48
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independentTX
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 08:30:23 pm »
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I would attribute it to a combination of the long-term decline of knee-jerk Democratic voting in Texas and in the growth of the suburbs in northern Harris County. When you put those two together with Reagan's coattails that year, it basically created a tipping point.

I actually grew up in Jack Fields' district.
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This may come as a surprise, but I do have a strong head on my shoulders and I am very cognizant of what's going on around me.

It wouldn't come as a surprise. It would come as an M. Night Shyamalan-in-his-prime plot twist.
freepcrusher
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 10:03:16 pm »
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if I remember right the democrats conceded the district to Fields in 1981. The adjoining 18th district was around 100K short of population and it took in all the heavily dem areas of the 8th. Then to compensate it took off all the overpopulated precincts from the 9th in the Kingwood area.
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