Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tonight at KURV

What an exciting night! It was great to watch State Rep. Aaron Peña and Sergio Sanchez receive and analyze all of the incoming poll information for all the Rio Grande Valley races. There are two things that cought my attention tonight. The first, is the thought that The Rep. put into the races. The second observation is the level of teamwork that the station displayed.

In the first case, it's interesting to watch a politician think about factors that affect races. In the case of State Rep. Aaron Peña, he has an advantage for analysis because of his exposure and responsibility to know about what is going on in Austin. In addition, he has to know about running a race in the RGV. You can tell that he loves the sport. The Rep. came to the KURV studio with a manila folder full of information about different races. He was ready to go to work.

In the case of Sergio Sanchez and the rest of his team, their level of teamwork is impressive. One thing of note about Sergio is that he must have a timer built in somewhere because he is able to run around the studio, grab a taco, talk to the producer, make a phone call, and then come back to the microphone at the right moment and know what he's going to say. That is some concentration. On top of that, he has to make decisions about what the team will be doing while he's doing the show. He directs where Tim Sullivan, Tony Forina, Diana Garza, and Claudia should be. I don't know if it's true of Davis Rankin. He seems to know where to be. But the thing is, Sergio is given options and then he makes the decision. His producer Joe Salinas is working hard in the mixing room making calls, queing the remotes, and talking to Sergio through the headset.

Everything went perfectly, right? Well, that's how it seems. I thought they were great, but in their chat after the show they reviewed areas of improvement. As in the case of Laura Hinojosa, who won by a HUGE margin, she made the whole effort look easy, but she and her people were out working hard. I saw how she had block walkers go out daily. There was phone banking, I personally called Sullivan City on her behalf. There were personal appearances at local events. There were people putting up signs. There were people fixing vandalized signs. They worked every single means at their disposal to ensure she would be present in people's minds. And it paid off. Of course there were accusations that she took it for granted that she would win because of whatever reason. No. She just made it look easy.

Going back to KURV, seeing them chat after the show about some of the mistakes they made reminds me of some teams on which I've participated where we all knew the job. They all know what to do. They know how to read each other. And they can jump in and fix little slips before anybody realizes. I suppose that when you are live, unlike my podcasts, you have to think quickly and act quickly to provide continuity of the show. They make it sound easy. It's great to see that level of teamwork in action.

In my case, I was totally lost at first. I didn't take pen and paper with me to write down the results as they came in, so I had to try to memorize everything fast and not mix things up. So, I started posting blog entries from my phone as fast as I could. So, I was lost through the beginning because the information was coming in fast and furious, except for Cameron County. Later, when I got a hold of a pen and was able to keep notes, I finally caught up with Sergio and The Rep. I also stopped posting.

I really didn't see any segues where I could jump in very much. I am generally timid and try not to interrupt conversations. This probably makes me a bad guest. I was telling The Rep during a break that it's tough for me to work up the courage to talk to officials. I have to work up the courage to do it. After interviewing candidates and winding up hanging out at KURV tonight, you might think that I have rock solid self confidence. Especially with the opinions I write sometimes. I don't. At the end when I jumped in a little, I had to convince myself that I had to say something after all the intros that Sergio gave me.

Still, I am grateful for the opportunity to see all the action. As far as the local races go, we were really suprised at how close the race for County Judge is. If you look around in the blogs and other information, you see that JD was written off days ago. If you didn't eat barbecue tonight, you were eating crow. There is still a small chance that Judge Garcia can win with mail-in ballots. But, it's been called for JD.

Another suprising race was for District 38. I was expecting a runoff between David Gonzalez and Eddie Lucio III. Partially because I know the power of name recognition. This is the reason why you can't use a trademarked name. The company that owns the name has put a lot of work to make it well known. The same with Lucio. Eddie Lucio Jr has put a lot of work into making his name known. The power of the name, I knew, would be a factor in much the way it is in product marketing. My poll was really off on this race. I have my theories why this happened, and I have an idea how to fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.

In the case of Ricardo Rodriguez, I pretty much had a good feeling he would win. Even with Eric's backing, you have to keep in mind that people remember who helped them. When I interviewed Ricardo Rodriguez during the early vote, he seemed very humble and seemed to want to make a difference. To me, the right person isn't always who is the smartest. It is often who will work the hardest, who has his heart in the right place, and who has a history of doing good. In the case of Ricardo Rodriguez, I've read on blogs that he has had many court appointed criminal cases. These people he has represented will remember these things. Their families remember these things. Eric Cardenas Jarvis did not have that. He may be brilliant and have had heavy duty financial backing, but where is his rapport with the community? I had a friend who won class president four years in a row. While other candidates focused on getting votes from the other well known people, he did that and worked to get votes from people who would otherwise not vote. He had friends at all levels of our social microcosm. The same with Ricardo Rodriguez. He has friends from many different walks of life through his previous office and his law practice. Maybe he did not pass the bar on his first try, but he passed. This is like the old question, what do you call a med student who graduates last in his class? You call him doctor. What really made the difference is the plane with his banner. He never would have won without that.

For Hidalgo County Clerk, I thought for sure there would be a runoff between Arturo Guajardo, Jr and Balde Morales. Not gonna happen.

County Commissioner Prec. 2 race was pretty much a given for Tito Palacios. Again, name recognition plays a factor. You have the Edinburg Palacios and the Pharr Palacios. They both share the name and some of the name recognition. So, Tito is safe because of the popular family name.

In the case of Hidalgo County District Attorney, I thought Rene Guerra would win with a higher margin. He still has a shot, he just has to shave some points off of Mauro Reyna's camp. However, as I observed on the radio show, it is likely Reyna's supporters will jump over to Alma's camp. Both candidates shared one goal, as do their supporters, they want Rene Guerra out of office. Rene is going to have to campaign hard to either bring in new voters or convince some of Mauro Reyna's voters that he will make some changes.

My poll was way off in the case of Jesse Contreras. What hell happened there? I have no explanation for that.

For 13th Ct of Appeals, Place 4, Nelda Vidaurri Rodriguez took the race according to the poll and election results. I don't know much about either candidate. From my business law class, I know that the district is both here and in Corpus. I don't know how effective an argument that you're from the RGV has in a judge's race. The law is the same all over Texas. I think Esther Cortez, a brilliant attorney, should have stressed other strengths and made being from the valley a sidenote. Her recent radio commercial about graduating top in her class and other good things was more convincing to me.

Well, that sums it up. I look forward to the runoff elections in April. Maybe I'll interview the candidates for the new election. I want to thank the Rep and Sergio for letting me tag along. I had fun. For a moment, we had a really good laugh when Davis Rankin read us a list of candidates with nicknames. Poor Aaron had to work hard to compose himself. I want to thank Tony Forina for letting me take a picture. My son likes hearing Tony in the morning when we drop off his sister at school. I also want to thank you, the readers for visiting this blog and SpinRGV. I'm not a journalist (I don't know if you can tell), but I promise to try to improve my work.
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