Sunday, October 03, 2010

This Time Vote Veronica Torres for District Clerk

Veronica Torres for Fort Bend District Clerk
We have on the ballot in Fort Bend County a rematch in the District Clerk race. Veronica Torres, a Democrat was barely edged out in 2006 by the former Assistant DA’s wife Annie Elliott. The final vote was 51,202 (54.04%) to 43,538 (45.96%). If that doesn’t seem impressive, then take a look at all of the other county-wide races that were opposed in that election. Veronica got more votes than any of her fellow Democrats.

This means that some of those who voted for Veronica Torres were Republicans.

But the election results also revealed that in that race that 5,781 people who voted in that election chose not to vote for either candidate. Granted this is not enough voters to have made a difference in the outcome, but it does support one of my theses in 2006 that voting for District Clerk is just not as sexy as voting for governor. In that election, there were four candidates for governor and 98,667 Fort Bend Voters had one opinion or another, and only 1,854 under votes were recorded in that race.

So, as I indicated above, we have a rematch of two employees of former District Clerk Glory Hopkins. Some voters made the mistake of voting for the lesser qualified of the two simply because of the R after her name, or maybe because her husband was a wheel in the DA’s office. And then some voters made the mistake of not voting for either.

Most times in life we don’t get to correct past mistakes we make. There are no “do overs” or as they say in golf, no “Mulligans.” This time you can correct that little mistake. This time cast your vote for Veronica Torres for District Clerk.

The background for this race is something I discussed in this blog four years ago. It was a sordid tale full of intrigue and lawsuits. Go and read about it to refresh your memory of how the Republican Party purged their candidate for District Clerk, Glory Hopkins, a 20-year veteran of the position who ran afoul of the county’s political machine, and who had the misfortune of being primaried by the wife of the 2nd most powerful person in the District Attorney’s office.

And now consider this. In this rematch the playing field has leveled a little. This time instead of being the wife of a Republican who had both power and influence in the county government, Annie Elliott these days is the wife of a former ADA, Mike Elliott, who was soundly and not just a little indecorously fired by District Attorney Healey.

At the time Elliott charged that Healey did this so he could win in the Republican primary that took place earlier this year. Healey was opposed by two Republican attorneys and yes his former employee’s antics did come up in the election. But now consider this: Elliott’s firing and Healey’s renomination earlier this year exposes the suppurating wound that still exists in Fort Bend County government: cronyism that borders on incest.

Like for instance, as reported in FortBendNow, how Annie Elliott benefitted from her husband's position as county prosecutor by receiving campaign contributions from a roofing company that her husband was helping by filing criminal charges against one of their competitors.

A vote for Veronica Torres is a vote to end the cronyism that pervades county government. So in voting for Veronica Torres, you get a two-fer: not only can you cast a vote against cronyism, you can also cast a vote for the better-qualified candidate.

But don't just take my word for it. Veronica Torres has received the endorsement of Annie Elliott's former boss, Glory Hopkins. Hopkins made the endorsement as a life-long Republican who simply opts for the most qualified rather than the most connected candidate. In her endorsement Glory Hopkins said that Veronica Torres is "the most qualified candidate for district clerk. I, like many others, trust her…I believe that with her education, experience and ethics, she will serve the public trust."

Geez, I wish people would talk like that about me.

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