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Runoff to Determine Edwards' Challenger

April 13, 2010

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When the results came in back in March, Bill Flores had approximately 3000 more votes than Rob Curnock, but neither crossed the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. So six weeks later, both candidates are working to get voters back to the polls in a forum that traditionally has a very low turnout. Ashley Cruseturner, political science professor at McLennan Community College, says that's what makes today's election so challenging for candidates and difficult to predict.

Candidate Rob Curnock, a Waco businessman says that's been his campaign's key goal in the days since the primary.

For Bill Flores, a retired energy executive from Bryan, the strategy has been all about positioning himself against Democrat incumbent Chet Edwards, and continuing to make the point repeatedly.

The race got a bit contentious in the last week, but the majority of the focus for the two candidates has been who best can beat Chet Edwards in November. And in this week, the candidates have positioned themselves in slightly different manners. Bill Flores' campaign got a bit of star power last week with the endorsement of former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, who addressed the media in Waco last week.

Flores said he plans to use the political veteran as a mentor and sounding board if he comes out ahead tonight. But Curnock says the Gramm endorsement underscores what he's been saying: that his is a grassroots people's campaign, whereas Flores has more insider status.

Flores, not surprisingly, sees the Gramm endorsement differently.

Says Cruseturner of MCC, the closing push has been interesting and broken in Flores' favor, with endorsements coming from the two major daily papers in the district. But he says it's still very unpredictable, and the positioning of Curnock and Flores against Edwards is a good strategy for the two individual candidates.

Cruseturner also believes that voter turnout could be very high in this runoff, given the mood of the Republican electorate and a desire to field a strong candidate for the fall.

We'll have results and statements from the candidates tomorrow morning on Morning Edition. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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