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The March 3 Primary & The Importance of Groundhog Day

The March 3 Primary & The Importance of Groundhog Day
Houston, TX,
February 3, 2020

The March 3 Primary & The Importance of Groundhog Day:
An Early Spring and a New, Winning Approach

Today is Monday, February 3, 2020.  That means we are precisely one month away from our March 3 primary – to be held on what is now known as Super Tuesday in many states throughout the country.   Because of leap year, we have one extra day to campaign.

Yesterday was Groundhog Day.   Fox News reported “as light snow fell early Sunday in western Pennsylvania, the Keystone State’s most famous groundhog revealed that warmer days are apparently ahead.”  In other words, the groundhog, known as Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow and his handlers declared: “Spring with be early, it’s a certainty.”

Now, while the weather in western Pennsylvania has little relevance to what happens in Houston, Texas, the lesson of Groundhog Day must be heeded from yet an additional perspective.  As Bill Murray experienced in the 1993 movie, he relived the same day over and over when he visited Punxsutawney to report on Groundhog Day, driving him to distraction until he learned how to turn the situation to his advantage.

So it is with our Republican challenge here in Texas’s Congressional District 7: if we continue to relive the same election strategy over and over again, we will continue to lose our plurality of voters (formerly a Republican majority!) and ultimately all relevant elections.  In 2018 we lost the CD-7 seat (and with it the entire US House of Representatives) as well as our majority on Harris County Commissioners Court, including the County Judge and all of the County’s judicial races.   We also lost a large number of seats in the Texas House.  In short, we learned the hard way that elections have consequences.

Now, we can welcome Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of warmer days ahead but only if we heed Bill Murray’s experience to turn the situation to our advantage!  To do so in CD-7, we must recognize that:

  • Our district has changed: While it is highly educated and sophisticated, and quite prosperous, it is also younger and more diverse ethnically, economically and culturally, and much more flexible in its attitudes and methods of communication.
  • Washington now controls the issues of greatest importance to us:  Flood mitigation; energy policy; health care; and immigration and border control.  In the past, Houston could solve its own problems; now, however, Washington controls legislation, budgets and administration over all these key issues.
  • Our national politics have changed: with “the Green New Deal” and “Medicare for All” the Democratic leadership in Congress and those vying for President have taken aim at our two most significant industries, petroleum and health care.  And, to our dismay, our traditional fiscal responsibility and rule of law are rapidly – and quite visibly -- eroding.

Like Bill Murray in Punxsutawney, much of what I see in our campaign in CD-7, however, is the continual repetition of the same old playbook – Republicans talking to each other within the same “bubble” and criticizing and withdrawing from challenges that we are confronting but do not understand.  For confirmation, just look at the results of our recent City of Houston elections where we were unable to achieve “Regime Change” in the Mayor’s office, and voted to authorize $3.5 billion of new bonds for Metro to build more empty trains, without any explanation by METRO of how these bonds will ever be repaid!

I was educated as a civil engineer at Stanford University, and many of my classmates went on to fame and fortune in the technology industry that has changed all of our lives –unquestionably for the better -- in the past fifty years.  The highest compliment someone can pay another person in Silicone Valley is to label him or her “A Disruptor.”

To change the world, we must begin by changing ourselves.  This is what excites me about the challenges ahead for our political future here in CD-7, nationally and globally.  To change – indeed, to disrupt – our political culture that will lead to winning results, please join me in our growing quest to take back CD-7 by:

  • Expanding the base of our voters and energizing our supporters to turn out.   I am inviting our District’s new residents into the Republican Party because of their values – faith, family and hard work.  While I enjoy great support among business, religious and government leaders, the fastest growing segment of my  supporters are first and second generation LEGAL immigrants – citizens who now vote – from Korea, China, Vietnam, Iran, Pakistan, India, Japan, as well as those who, like me 28 years ago, have moved here from the most foreign places of all – New York and California.
  • Attracting most of the 25% of independent voters that separate us from the Democrats and who will decide the election.   Our District is now about 40% Republican and 35% Democrat, which means that: 1) there are approximately 25% independents in the middle; and 2) these independents will decide the election.  Very simply, our base alone is not sufficient to win.   Texans revere President Ronald Reagan.  I grew up with him: his eight years as Governor of California were my four years in high school and four years in college.  How did Governor Reagan beat Jimmy Carter to become President in 1980?  By convincing “Reagan Democrats” to join him to fix the country.  We must do precisely the same thing here and now.  With its divisive behavior and rhetoric, the Democrat leadership in Washington is both uniting Republicans and sending independent voters our way.  We must seize the opportunity!
  • Leading by example.  In recent years, Republicans have blown many opportunities, most significantly in health care.  Since its passage in 2009 and implementation in 2010, virtually every Republican has stated, “we must overturn Obama Care.”  But, no Republican has proposed a realistic alternative.  Ignoring the reality of health care was the single most important reason that John Culberson lost CD-7 and why the Republicans lost the House in 2018.  Please go to my website,, to learn my approaches for leading the solution to Houston’s major challenges, beginning with energy and health care.  My 40 years in business and my experiences in turning around and leading the recovery of two major troubled public agencies tell me that leadership is everything: we must articulate and act on our priorities in order to align the government with ourselves as voters and taxpayers; we taxpayers must hold government accountable for its results.
  • Focusing on our core values.  Today, we must address the key issues of the day: planning and financing flood mitigation; protecting our energy industry from the threat of “the Green New Deal”; fixing health care with Republican led market solutions to increase competition, continue innovation and control costs; and reforming immigration by protecting our borders from illegal immigration while also expanding LEGAL immigration.  Longer term and bigger picture, we must also: restore our fiscal discipline beginning with a balanced budget amendment; restore the rule of law at every level of government; and restore the integrity of our major institutions, beginning most especially with the behavior of Congress itself.   There are two lasting lessons from President Reagan; first, that our core values are what separate us from our Democrat opponents; and second was his civil behavior and his credo that: “we can disagree without being disagreeable.”
  • Recognizing new political realities.  Looking past the Republican primary on March 3, we must recognize that our general election opponent, Lizzie Fletcher will enjoy significant strength, including financial support from national contributors (I am told that she outspent John Culberson approximately $7 million to $3 million in 2018), the advantages of incumbency, and strong local support in some areas of our District.  Following the primary, we must close ranks to work together, campaign enthusiastically with attractive messaging and an energetic ground game, and aggressively raise contributions to finance the campaign.

The bottom line is that to change the world, beginning in Washington, we must change ourselves – we must set our priorities (such as fixing flooding rather than building more empty trains!); and live by these priorities every day, setting example for all who watch and follow.

I invite you and your friends and family to join my supporters and me in this effort.  I am asking for your vote, your support and financial contribution, and your lasting friendship.  Together, we can enjoy the warmer days ahead that Punxsutawney Phil predicted.

Thank you in advance for everything.

Jim Noteware
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