Even though national polls are showing Barack Obama as much as 11 points ahead of John McCain in the race for president, state Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland urged members of the Republican Party Friday to continue working to get out their party’s vote on Nov. 4.
“I’ve not heard anyone saying that Obama will win Texas,” Keffer said, “but we can’t take anything for granted. I’ve heard a lot about a Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, but I haven’t heard much about a Republican get-out-the-vote.”
Keffer was the primary speaker at the noon luncheon of the Brown County Republican Women’s Club at the Brownwood Country Club.
Keffer said he feels his own re-election race against Democrat Dave Shupp of Mineral Wells is going well, but that statewide, at least 10 Republican-held seats in the Texas House of Representatives are in jeopardy - most of them in metropolitan areas.
“A five-seat switch could change the majority,” Keffer said, noting that the GOP now holds a 79-71 edge. “You can’t go there and vote, but you’ve got friends, you’ve got family there. Tell them to get out and vote.”
A change in the House majority could affect Keffer’s efforts to be elected by his colleagues as speaker of the House. Keffer announced last year he would challenge Tom Craddick of Midland for what Keffer described as the most powerful position in state legislature.
“It’s not personal at all,” Keffer said of his decision. “We are much the same philosophically, we’re both conservative. It has to do with management style.”
Keffer said the way Craddick has served locks out Democratic Party input as well as involvement from Republicans who don’t vote the way Craddick wants.
“Every four years, we say our country is at a crossroads,” Keffer said, “but this time, folks, it is at a crossroads. This is the most striking difference as I’ve seen in two candidates. Obama has been upfront about what he’s going to do, and it’s amazing that he’s still ahead.”
Keffer said he disagrees with some of the positions McCain has taken, but he believes McCain is willing to listen to arguments on those positions.
“It’s not all lost,” Keffer said of the national election. “The polls are a snapshot of what might happen if the election was held today. The election is not being held today. We have over 20 days, and a lot can happen between now and then. We have to stay energized.”
Some of the reason for GOP partisans to stay active in the campaigns is because of the down-ballot races, including the re-election of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who has a five-point lead over Democratic challenger Rick Noriega. Cornyn’s re-election will help prevent the Democrats from having a veto-proof majority, even though it appears a Democratic majority in both Houses is assured.
That is another reason to support McCain, Keffer said.
“Americans love balance, we love fairness, and keeping a Republican in the White House will provide a check and balance to a Democratic Congress,” Keffer said.
Concerning the economic crisis, Keffer said it’s a “pox on both of our houses,” but the main thing that needs to happen is to restore trust.
“Maybe we have been a little lax in some areas, but I believe we are still the party of the principles that have made America great. We still believe in limited government. We still believe in a hand up and not a hand out.”
He said Brown County as well as Texas learned “a long time ago” that manufacturing creates wealth, not recirculating “the same dollar until it wears out,” and that is what will have to happen to strengthen the nation’s economy.