Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Write-In Campaign in Texas CD-22? Tom Withdraws!

Early this morning, Time Magazine correspondent Mike Allen broke the news that Tom DeLay is seriously considering stepping aside and selecting a write-in candidate to replace him. He was given this information from a Republican insider who says things are not final, but that he “more likely than not” will go that route, adding as a caveat “with DeLay you never know.”

You might recall that I had a posting suggesting several different scenarios as a result of Sparks’s ruling on July 6th. Score! We are now considering Scenario 3.

“Scenario 3: 5th Court of Appeals doesn't play ball. Tom officially withdraws and Nick faces off with Bob Smithers, David Wallace, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Tom Campbell and Kristna knows who else - all candidates but Smithers and Lampson are write-in candidates. GOP vote is split, Lampson wins, but the vote totals of all his opponents combined are less than Nick's.”
Will Durst, at AlterNet, contemplated this scenario three weeks ago. His conclusion? Doable, but only in the world of a paranoid schizophrenic on speed. He wrote

“Or the Republicans could decide to put together a write-in campaign. Which might prove to be a mite ticklish, especially when you consider voters in Texas 22 are about as bright as a buried 15 watt bulb to begin with, which can be verified by their perpetual requited love affair with Mr DeLay. So, teaching an entire district to learn how to write is going to be about as easy as untying the shoes of a greased up centipede while wearing oven mitts.”
Have you actually ever seen how to effect a write-in vote on eSlate voting machines? It makes working a Qwerty keyboard look like a snap. Here is a link to Hart Intercivic, the company that markets eSlate machines. Curiously enough, though, they don’t seem to have any instructions on how to use the machines in a write-in race. I found this site, a simple PDF made available by Boulder County, Colorado. What you do to enter a write-in candidate’s name, is turn the little finger wheel so the cursor highlights a letter, then select the letter, then turn the wheel to the next letter. There is a place for a space, and a backspace key, but woefully, no hyphen. So Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, your name is not only horribly long for those of us with arthritis, we can’t even spell your name correctly.

Who does Tom select to succeed him? Well, it needs to be someone with some name recognition. And someone stupid enough to accept the challenge. Does the name David Wallace come to mind? Mike Allen writes:

“The write-in candidate has not been chosen, but Republican officials in Washington said they have a good chance of retaining the seat if it is a credible candidate like a mayor, judge or state legislator. Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace has expressed interest in running.”
Trouble is, which David Wallace are we talking about? There are four (4) individuals named David Wallace in Fort Bend County, and I haven’t even looked at Brazoria, Harris or Galveston possibles. We could be back to the 2004 CD-22 election where Tom DeLay squared off against Richard Morrison, a Democrat and Tom Morrison, a Libertarian.

This is not lost on others in the Grand Old Party. The best summary of that feeling is found in the opinion of Bill Miller, a GOP consultant:

"This would be met with ridicule and scorn. This strategy would be like handing the seat to the Democrats on a silver platter. Tom Delay will be remembered for the craziest end to his political career. Anointing a candidate never works. Voters are likely to say, 'The hell with 'em' and write in their own name, their kid's name."
And apparently according to the Texas Election Code, chapter 146, it is fairly easy to be certified as a write-in candidate. All you need is $3125.00 and a list of 500 signatures, and get that filed with the Secretary of State on or before August 29th. Not bad. My old favorite write-in candidate, X Swami X, could always get the signatures, but could never pan-handle the filing fee. So when we wrote his name in, the vote never recorded as he wasn’t officially certified. But heck, it was fun to vote for that character.

Levity aside, I have two questions for Republicans who are considering this move.

First, how can they expect the local Republicans to unite behind a DeLay-Anointed write-in candidate when they have been so willing, this year, to air their dirty laundry in public? Replacement candidates have been eyeing each other suspiciously since April. The blood-letting has been all over the media.

Second, how do they plan on handling Tom’s fanatic base? Those squealing, squirming, ladies and back-slapping gentlemen that we saw at Tom’s Thank You Event at the Sugar Land Marriott last month? What’s to keep them from dialing in “TOM DELAY” on the eSlate machine?

So in this, Tom has a distinct advantage among the arthritic that have trouble turning that eSlate dial. Like his most recent poll numbers, the number of letters in his name is also low.

Flash Update:

CNN correspondent Dana Bash has just reported (1:52 pm) that Tom DeLay will not run for re-election, this from three GOP sources. An announcement from DeLay is expected later today.

And now just in Tom DeLay's withdrawl announcement at FortBendNow. Left out? Any direction of what Republicans are to do:
“I strongly encourage the Republican Party to take any and all actions necessary to give Texas voters an up-or-down choice this Fall between two major party candidates"

[Emphasis mine]

What? Did someone misplace the holy oil?

TexRoots Update:

As of this posting, we have achieved 26.2% of our goal in an amazingly short amount of time. Those of you who haven't chipped in yet, go here.


Montag said...

Casting a write-in vote wasn't easy on the old optical scan ballots, either--although it should have been. You had to remember to color in the oval next to the write-in line so the ballot would kick out of the counting machine for manual tabulation. Then the frickin LINE was very small, and you had to try to make the name legible. All I know is that I cast write-in votes for a SOS-certified Presidential ticket in five elections and they were only counted in two. It's possible that it might actually be easier to cast a write-in vote on the e-slate that would actually be COUNTED, but we'll see. Er, not that I'd cast a write-in vote for any of the Seven Dwarves, of course!

Ding-dong the witch is dead--dibs on his ruby slippers!

TheSarc said...

New Article: Texas Republicans plan to vote for Delay, despite his intention not to run

Hal said...

Don't get too excited people. The Sarc is a satirical news blog. Still, I'll bet you DeLay Dollars to Doughnuts that there are some hard cases in the district who will do exactly that.