Thursday, December 11, 2008

Joan Huffman Pulls a Shelley

And here I was moping around the Half Empty Hovel because we didn’t have Shelley Sekula “Draculac__t” Gibbs to kick around any more. Out comes Joan Huffman, the often unnamed opponent (on this blog) to former Congressman Chris Bell in his heroic effort to take one more Texas Senate seat in a low-turnout special election.

Huffman, a district court judge, by the way, purposely held a barbecue luncheon at the Tracey Gee Community Center in west Houston. The Tracey Gee Community Center is a voting location for early voting in Harris County. This is a violation of Texas Election Code Chapter 61.001, and is punishable by a 500 dollar fine. It's a class C misdemeanor.

According to this article by Alan Bernstein of the Houston Chronicle, the political event took place in a room in the same building that a vote was being conducted. An event where Joan Huffman along with Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve “Toilet Plunger” Radack, urged attendees to vote for her.

Now Shelley Sekula Gibbs did exactly the same thing in 2006 when she entered an early voting location in Sugar Land in her successful run to finish Tom DeLay’s unexpired term in the Texas CD 22 seat. Well not exactly the same thing. She was electioneering outside the limits set by chapter 61.001 of the Texas Election Code, when, it was reported she felt the need to relieve the pressure building up in her bladder. However, on her way to the restroom, inside the First Colony Conference Center, she stopped by several voters and introduced herself to them.

This isn’t exactly what Huffman did. What Huffman did was a 1000 times worse. It was calculated electioneering on the premises of an early vote location. Sekula Gibbs was, at least, sneaky and sly about it as a good Republican, Huffman was in deliberate violation of the law, and quite frankly, didn’t care.

Is this the kind of person we need in public office? One who violates the law whenever it suits his or her needs? Haven’t we after all had just about enough of this?

The Bernstein article reports that one voter complained about the rally to a poll worker, but the poll worker simply told the voter that it would be up to him to complain.

In the 2006 crime, a complaint was lodged but the County Elections administrator of the time, J.R. Perez, declined to follow up on the complaint, and there it sat. With a Harris County Republican DA coming into office, I doubt we will have a better result this year, and Huffman’s crime will probably go unpunished. Should this happen, then it will be clear that in Harris County it is still a place where your Republican political affiliation allows you to violate the law at will.

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