Monday, March 17, 2008

Texas Democratic Party to Campaigns: Chill, We Have It Covered

Even though it will be two weeks ago tomorrow that Texas held its combination primary/caucus we have people still kicking up the dust here. The main thrust of it, although I am told that both campaigns have filed some complaints with the TDP, revolves around the “Mauro Letter”. The letter sent by Clinton’s Texas campaign chairman Garry Mauro, a former Texas Land Commissioner.

With threats of a lawsuit still hanging about, here comes Garry Mauro with a letter sent to the TDP that asks for a delay of the scheduled March 29th county conventions, a second of three steps in final allotment of Texas delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

The letter alleges irregularities in the caucus procedures, and asks for a delay of indeterminate weeks until credentials of all delegates can be verified. The Obama campaign responded that “we don't think that the record-breaking number of Texans who stood up to be counted on March 4 would appreciate the Clinton campaign's attempt to disenfranchise them and silence their votes just because the outcome wasn't politically beneficial to Sen. Clinton”.

With all that as prelude, out comes a statement today from TDP Chairman Boyd Richie telling everyone to just chill out, they have things in hand. Yes there was a record turn-out at the caucuses but that in and of itself should not be reason enough to halt the process. Here is what Richie wrote in today’s news release:

"The overwhelming majority of problems reported in Texas do not affect the legitimacy of delegate allocation. It is important to remember that the precinct conventions are just the first of three steps where delegates and alternates are selected. 'Final results' will not be determined until June 6-7 at the Texas Democratic State convention. And at each convention step, Texas Democratic Party rules provide a credentials process to address problems and provide an avenue to register complaints and make formal challenges"

"For that reason, the Texas Democratic Party will not do as suggested by one campaign and circumvent Party rules to set up an unnecessary, ad hoc “verification” process that could effectively disqualify delegates selected at their precinct conventions after the fact. The Party has never stated any intention to set up a verification process of this nature because Party rules already provide for “verification” through our credentials process. Candidates who wish to disqualify delegates must pursue formal challenges based on evidence filed appropriately in accordance with our party’s rules."

"The Texas Democratic Party plans to conduct our district and county conventions on March 29 and our June State Convention in accordance with procedures set forth in Texas law and party rules. Both campaigns have the opportunity and responsibility to do their jobs by documenting evidence, filing challenges if warranted, and turning out their delegates in a system that rewards such an effort when final delegate results are determined at the State Convention in June."

There’s this guy I know, an SDEC member who sits on the SDEC Rules Committee. This guy and a bunch of others worked tirelessly to produce a series of advisories that spell out the solutions to questions that the campaigns might have over this process. That and the existing TDP rules that are online for anyone to view should help to dispel these questions.

People don’t like to read instructions or rules. It goes against their nature, I think. Rather than read about the rules in place, the assumption is that there are no rules and people and campaigns can make them up as they go along.

Or help the TDP understand its own rules.

Or worse, if they don't like the rules they want to get out their red pencils and offer where changes can be made.

Or file lawsuits when it doesn’t look like they are going to win.

Now I know that I once wrote a piece about the campaigns coming to Texas after no resolution with Super Tuesday, and I was quite happy that they were going to spend those campaign dollars in the state that usually serves as a giant ATM (withdrawals only, mind you). And I would sure would like the campaign that ultimately succeeds in getting their candidate as the nominee to come back and help us with our downballot. Yes, we need their help, but not now. We need help later this year if we are going to begin the retake of Texas as a blue state.

But you know, for now, I sure would appreciate it if they all let us alone so we can work out our votes without all their “help”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, Hal. I'll leave it to Texas, but I do worry about the messiness of the Texas elections given the stories coming out of there. Here in Oregon we have the mail-in ballot with signature verification (not perfect, but damn close).

I want to extend my sympathies to Texas in losing Molly Ivins. And, thanks to you all for creating her. Looking forward to reading her articles carried here in the local paper got me through some hard days wondering if Bush couldn't just make things a little worse today than yesterday. Few people can so easily outdo themselves so often as W can. Molly helped make it bearable and taught me to find the humor in the darkest of doings.

Half Empty is a nice name.

Be well.

Vic from Oregon