Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Primary Filings At a Glance

So we are 13 days away from the filing deadline for getting on the March 2nd primary ballot, and 20 days into it. With holidays ahead and post office closings that means there is really less time than that.

So I was wondering today how it was going and took a look at the Texas Democratic Party’s website. Now the listing is not numbered so I had to do a broad estimate of how many names I was seeing. With ten full pages of entries, and at a maximum of 64 lines per page, plus 25 entries on the last page, by my estimate the Texas Democratic Party currently has 665 primary candidates signed up statewide since the end of the day yesterday.

Over on the Republican side the filings are scarcer with 202 entries.

So I was wondering about this a little. According to the Fort Bend County Republican Party website they have been accepting applications since December 3rd. I could come up with only two reasons for the considerable filing gap that exists between the two parties:

  1. Republican filers wait until the last minute to file so everyone can keep guessing, or
  2. Republican county chairs wait until the last day to accept filings for exactly the same reason.

Bringing me back to the Democratic filings, 3-fold more than Republicans. Looking at the PDF that breaks down filings by county I note that of the 254 counties in Texas (a ridiculously high number in my opinion) only 95 of them have any filings at all (Republicans don’t record filings by county). Now it could be that some of these counties simply don’t have Democrats residing in them, or if they do they won’t admit to it, but I am willing to bet that like the Fort Bend County Democratic Party, filings are not accepted until the last possible day, January 4th 2010.

It is a curious thing, the way the Fort Bend County party’s website explains it all. Right on its home page, the filing policy is explained:

“Filing for Fort Bend candidates will begin on Thursday, December 3, 2009 until January 4, 2010.”

And then a little further on down the page you read this:

“We will be accepting applications on January 4, 2010 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Quail Run Community Center, 16748 Quail Park Drive, Missouri City, TX”

So you can file to be on the primary ballot in Fort Bend County, only just on that one day.

So it’s safe to say that if you are thinking of running for office by filing through the Fort Bend County Democratic Party, you are out of luck if you can’t get off work and drive over to the Quail Run development (where the County Chair maintains her residence) on that Monday.

I realize that it may be a candidate’s choice to file on the last day of filing, it is a valid strategy. However, I don’t think the choice should be in one person’s hands. Dallas County has no such restrictions. Nor does Harris County. These are two important metropolitan areas that have gone blue.

If Fort Bend County is to go blue, and everyone tells me that it is a distinct possibility next year, shouldn’t the county party be helping things along and not providing barriers and hindrances?

Is it time for new county party leadership?

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