Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Monday, March 31, 2008

Huge Attendance At District Conventions

On Saturday there were five Senatorial District Conventions held in Dallas County. Just as with the Precinct Conventions on primary night, more people turned out for these than ever before in Texas history. This meant very long lines at sign-in. Because of the large number of people new to the process whose paperwork from that night was sometimes unclear, there were many questions that had to be resolved by Credentials Committees before all the delegates could be seated. Overall, the process worked, but the size of the crowd meant it took a very long time. Some did not finish until after midnight.

The delegates and alternates who were elected to the State Convention in June on Saturday will get a mailing from the state party. First the district convention organizations have to prepare their long and complex minutes to send to Austin. If you are one of the many who left early, please give them a few days to finish those (and to recover from lots of hard work putting on Saturday's events) before emailing or calling them to ask if you made it on the at-large list. Please DO NOT call the county party office asking, because those lists go to the state party, not us.

Unofficially, the Dallas News reports that the Presidential sign-ins of District Convention attendees in Dallas County favored Obama. Because of the intricacies of how delegates are allocated, these percentages will not be a precise reflection of the state convention delegates that were chosen, and of course the number of total delegates that each district gets varied widely. With that caution, here's what the paper showed:


Senate District 2
Obama: 73 percent
Clinton: 27 percent

Senate District 8
Obama: 59 percent
Clinton: 41 percent

Senate District 9
Obama: 61 percent
Clinton: 39 percent

Senate District 16
Obama: 59 percent
Clinton: 41 percent

Senate District 23
Obama: 82 percent
Clinton: 18 percent

All of these district conventions were huge undertakings, some approaching the size of a state convention. They all required the exhausting labors of hundreds of volunteers. Please thank them all for the endless effort and dedication to democracy that drove them to such sacrifice.

Election Judge Supply Pickup Saturday

If you are one of our Election Judges for the April 8 Runoff, you can pick up your supplies (at the usual regional sites) on this Saturday, April 5, from 2 to 7 PM. Call
the party office at 214-821-8331 with any questions.

Early Voting Starts Today For Primary Runoff

Monday through Friday of this week, from 7 AM to 7 PM each day, you can vote early for the April 8 Runoff election. There will not be any weekend early voting for this runoff. The early voting locations are at this page.

If you miss that chance, then you will have to go to your local polling place to vote on Tuesday, April 8. NOTE: Some locations may have moved for the runoff. Check the list to see where your precinct will vote on April 8 at this page.

We have three county-wide runoffs, plus a fourth one for those who live in Congressional District 32. The contests are:

U.S. Representative, District 32:
Steve Love
Eric Roberson

Railroad Commissioner:
Mark Thompson
Dale Henry

Criminal District Judge, Court No. 3:
Gracie Lewis
David Jordan

County Tax Assessor-Collector:
Diana L. Lackey
John R. Ames

Thursday, March 27, 2008

23rd Credentials Committee

The following document was voted for by the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) at their most recent meeting:

PURPOSE. The purpose of these Clarifications is to ensure a fair and uniform set of procedures to handle delegate selection and Credentialing Challenges at Conventions. These Clarifications are in addition to the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Election Code. ...

A. I. Appointment of Committee. ... It is the policy of the Texas Democratic Party that a Credentials Committee ("the Committee") ought to be appointed by respecting the diversity of the Democratic Party including ethnicity, gender, age and sexual preference when reasonably possible. Members should also be elected, insofar as possible, with the same number of seats granted to delegates with each of the major presidential preferences.
In accordance with this directive, I have named a Credentials Committee consisting of eight women and seven men, of seven African-Americans and four Hispanics and four Anglos/Others, and of eight supporters of Senator Obama (including the Chair) and of seven supporters of Senator Clinton. The Chair is an elected official (and a former SDEC Member and Precinct Chair). Eleven other members of the Committee are current Precinct Chairs, including the Vice-Chair, who is also a former SDEC Member, and one more is a former Precinct Chair.

For the other three Committees, I have endeavored to follow the same policies on diversity in selecting Committee members, but I have chosen them to reflect the proportions of the Presidential vote in the primary in Senate District 23. That vote was approximately three to one for Senator Obama. My goal for those committees was therefore a break of 11 for Senator Obama to 4 for Senator Clinton on each committee of up to 15 members. I decided to name three Committee Chairs supporting Senator Obama (these being Credentials, Nominations, and Rules) and one Chair supporting Senator Clinton (that being the Platform Committee). Yes, this is lopsided in favor of one candidate, but it is proportional to the election results, and on specifically political positions (as opposed to the quasi-judicial nature of hearings over credentials challenges), I fully support the traditional Jacksonian Democratic doctrine of "to the victor belongs the spoils".

For example, the Nominations Committee tentatively consists of seven women and eight men, of seven African-Americans and five Hispanics and three Anglos/Others, and of eleven supporters of Senator Obama and four of Senator Clinton. The members presently slated include a State Legislator, two City Council Members, a School Board President, present and former SDEC Members, and six current and and least two more former Precinct Chairs. (This Committee membership is not final yet because it is possible that one of members might decide to move to another Committee.)

The remaining two Committees I intend to fill in the same representative and proportional manner. As of now, I still do not have a complete list of 15 members for either one, since there seems to be much less interest in serving on these at the Senate District level. Both Platform/Resolutions and Rules/Procedures still need additional supporters of Senator Obama, especially Hispanic ones. Suggestions of delegates who would like to serve can be sent to my email address at BillHowellSD23 AT

I have tried to follow both the letter and the spirit of the Texas Democratic Party's Rules and Procedures. I think the approximately equal division of the Credentials Committee which they recommended will be a useful step in uniting the party behind our ultimate Presidential nominee, by allowing the losing side to feel that they have been given a fair hearing and a even chance to present any case to their peers. That will be vital in continuing the enormous outpouring of enthusiasm we have seen this Spring in our record-setting Texas primary and caucuses. This is particularly important in light of the growing polarization and suspicion between some people. For victory this November we need to be able to work side-by-side without having to repress grudges over the process.

I am disappointed that I have already been denounced and condemned for this effort to foster unity and a spirit of fair play in accord with the SDEC's policy. As for the angry threats which have been made against my political future, frankly I have no ambitions for office or position. I was honored to be chosen for this Temporary Chair spot which I had not sought, and will always continue to help the Democratic Party in any way I can, just as I have for four decades now, including three years as Dallas County Chair. But I do not seek to be an SDEC member or a delegate to national, or even to state (where I expect to be too busy live-blogging on StoutDemBlog, just as I did at the Fort Worth convention), nor do I desire to ever run for any public office.

Should any question arise, I have not endorsed or supported in any way either of our competitors for the Presidential nomination, I did not even attend the Precinct Convention and sign in for anyone because I was at the party office that evening until 2 AM answering questions about the process, I will not take part in the Presidential poll at this District Convention, and I have not even told my own spouse how I actually voted in the primary. I have taken the neutrality of this assignment seriously. This November I will be actively supporting our ticket, whatever names are on it. I hope everyone feels the same way when this Convention is over.


Chair: Gary Fitzsimmons (Dallas County District Clerk, former SDEC Member and former Precinct Chair), Martin Burrell (3103 Precinct Chair), Eli Davis (3537 Precinct Chair), Dorothy Dean (3535 Precinct Chair), Don Dureau, Gloria James, Marilynn Mayse (3347 Precinct Chair), Felicia Pitre (former Precinct Chair), Vice-Chair: Ruth Wyrick (3529 Pct. Chr., former SDEC Member), Graciela Aleman (3204 Precinct Chair), Bayardo Arellano (4211 Precinct Chair), Anne Brabham (3214 Precinct Chair), Cheri Ball Meza (3211 Precinct Chair), Vincent Rodriguez (3340 Precinct Chair), Fernando Rubio (3012 Precinct Chair).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

District Convention Info


In order to answer inquiries and provide basic information, the Dallas County Democratic Party advises all Senate Convention delegates as follows:

Senate Conventions are governed by state party rules. A copy of the state party rules may be obtained here.

Senate Conventions are organized and managed by the Temporary Chairs and State Executive Committee Members; not by the DCDP.

Challenges to Credentials:
All credentials challenges must be received in the Dallas County Party office by 6:00PM March 26, 2008. You may send the credentials challenges via:
Fax: 214-821-0995
Email: sdcredentials AT
Hand Delivery: 4209 Parry Ave, Dallas, TX 75223
Please include your Precinct Number, Senate District and contact information on your submission. DCDP can not and will not give advice on the validity of a challenge or whether any individual should file a challenge. Challenges can be filed in accordance with Article V of the State Party Rules.

No delegate training will be provided by the Dallas County Democratic Party.

All delegates will sign in and receive their credentials on March 29, 2008.

Any person who is not a delegate to the district convention but would like to be a delegate to the State Convention, is entitled to request to be elected an at large delegate to the state convention at the senate convention. Forms should be available for this at registration.

Any delegate who needs additional information should contact the Temporary Chair of their Senate Convention by email. Please do not call as these persons are volunteers with regular jobs and can not handle telephone calls. Their information is listed below. If you do not know your senate district number, refer to your voter's registration card or click here to look up your voter registration information at Dallas County Elections.

Senate District 2
Temporary Convention Chair: Steve Tillery, SDEC
E-mail: sd2convention AT
Registration begins at 8:30 AM
Convention begins at 10:00 AM
Location: H. Grady Spruce High School
9733 Old Seagoville Rd.
Dallas, TX 75217

Senate District 8
Temporary Convention Chair: David Griggs, SDEC
E-mail: texvol AT
Credentials Committee Co-Chairs:
Linda Camin - lrcamin AT and
Josh Wallenstein - jwallenstein AT
Registration begins at 8:30 AM
Convention begins at 9:30 AM
Location: Thomas Jefferson High School
4001 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, TX 75229

Senate District 9
Temporary Convention Chair: Dan Woolery
E-mail: danwoolery AT
Registration begins at 8:00 AM
Convention begins at 10:00 AM
Location: South Grand Prairie High School
301 Warrior Trail
Grand Prairie, TX 75052

Senate District 16
Temporary Convention Chair: Theresa Daniel, SDEC
E-mail: tmdan34 AT
Volunteer Coordinator: Judy Bruton
E-mail: ethelove AT
Registration begins at 8:00 AM
Convention begins at 11:00 AM
Location: Moody Coliseum at SMU
6024 Airline Rd.
Dallas, TX 75205

Senate District 23
Registration begins at 8:00 AM
Convention begins at 9:00 AM
Location: Ellis Davis Field House
9191 South Polk
Dallas, TX 75232
Web site:
Volunteer Coordinator: Katrina Keyes
Email: kkeyes AT
Temporary Convention Chair: Bill Howell
E-mail: billhowellsd23 AT
Committee Chairs:
Credentials: Gary Fitzsimmons - divineliturgy AT
Nominations: Myrtis Evans
Platform and Resolutions - Paul Tran

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It's Monday, [yeah, yeah, this is being posted a day late] and that means it is time for the Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up. The round-up is compiled every week based upon voluntary submissions by TPA member bloggers.

Off the Kuff takes a look at the primary vote for Democratic candidates in Harris County by State Rep district.

Dwayne Bohac: A Study in Rovian Politics takes a look at an incumbent Republican Rove clone and his basic hypocracy. It uses his public utterances on "clean air" to host him on his own corporate petard.

The Texas Cloverleaf notes that TxDOT is handing out the awards, this time to Denton County Judge Mary Horn, for her "hard work" on building roads. But why do they note the projects that have never been completed?

CouldBeTrue notes that the Texas State Board of Education has 'better' things to do than represent Hispanic children.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News tells people Happy Easter! now suck it up. If that rant about economics goes more into hedonics than you ever wanted to know he also offers a link to explaining the credit crisis for kindergarteners.

Over at Doing My Part For The Left takes a look at the bigotry of homophobic Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma and wipes tears from his eyes as he reads a letter to Rep Sally Kern from a young man who knows what it is to lose a loved one.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson after reading through the headlines asks Should Texas Be Worried About The Economy?

Hal at Half Empty has a bone to pick with Bush's Presidential Library committee. As planned on the SMU campus, not only will it cause the distruction of student housing and a strip mall, but the obliteration of a La Madeleine cafe boutique. Hal has an alternative suggestion.

For the Democratic primary runoff election (scheduled for April 8, with early voting commencing March 31) PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reiterates his endorsement of Dale Henry for Texas Railroad Commission and Larry Weiman for 80th Ciivl District Court of Harris County.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the federal government has asked the state to postpone the roll-out of the state's new troubled food stamp eligibility screening computer program.

McBlogger at McBlogger take a look at the collapse of Bear Stearns and see that JP Morgan Chase may have created the deal of the century.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin reminds us that our war hungry vice president Dick Cheney is on the war path again; Cheney Stalks Middle East One More Time but the Saudi King is playing a different drum.

WhosPlayin talks about what it was like to work at the polls on Primary Election day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Elbow Room

From the Quorum Report:
TDP spokesman Hector Nieto ... said that while the conventions must start on the 29th, there’s nothing that limits them to closing up shop that day. It is not unreasonable to assume that the largest district conventions or the most contentious district conventions could very well stretch to more than one day.

The Party is encouraging organizers to start their conventions as early as possible on the 29th to avoid that possibility, Nieto said.
It is painfully obvious that Hector has never had to find a large enough location or make arrangements for it. All five senate districts in Dallas County had to move to larger spaces because there were just so many delegates elected, and likely to attend than ever before. And that's typical of urban counties, at least (and some suburban ones I've heard of).

Not only would all of these places charge us more -- many thousands more -- than they already are, but some of them actually are already committed for something else the next day. Some are in churches that meet on Sunday. They would not hesitate to call the authorities and have us evicted by force if need be.

Maybe we could get Hector to pay the extra charge out of his huge salary from the party. As for real people with real lives, they have better things to do than listen to full-time political geeks rant about resolutions all night long. Quorum will fail well before 10 PM, probably by dark.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Send Me Someone Who Knows

Our only statewide Democratic Runoff is for Railroad Commissioner. Very revealing is this article from the Chronicle:
This is a quick civics quiz. How many of you know who Mark Thompson is? Or Dale Henry?

Time's up.

Thompson is a former state Capitol and Austin parks policeman from Hamilton who now trains the visually impaired, and 940,722 people in the recent Democratic primary voted to nominate him for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Henry, a retired petroleum engineer from Lampasas, got 539,300 votes for the same office.

And for those of you who are not in the oil and gas industry and may not know better, the Railroad Commission doesn't set speed limits for freight trains. It regulates the oil and gas industry.

...Thompson, who didn't raise any campaign money, is a political newcomer. ... My colleague, Gary Scharrer, even had to explain to Thompson on election night what a runoff was all about. Thompson said he limited his campaign to a simple, "Help me, Lord."
Art Hall, who came in third in the Primary, seemed not to clearly understand what the office does. Henry does, and despite (or because of) having worked in the industry, is actually taking progressive positions on the issues. Check out his web site at As for Thompson, well, I think the article above says it all....

State Chair On Verification

Below is a statement by Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie regarding the Delegate Selection Process:

The Texas Democratic Party and local Democratic Party organizations around our state are working to turn the enormous opportunity created by the record Democratic turnout experienced on March 4th into a positive outcome for Texas Democrats this fall and in 2010. We are proud of both our Presidential candidates who helped create that turnout. We ask now that the campaigns work with us rather than become an impediment to this extraordinary opportunity to build our party.

On March 4th, our Democratic precinct conventions experienced record turnout of roughly one million precinct convention attendees, a ten-fold increase from the previous high attendance mark. As expected in any record turnout involving hundreds of thousands of people, there were reports of problems caused by long lines and crowded facilities. These problems are not unique to Texas. Similar problems, in proportionately similar numbers, occurred in pure caucus states like Iowa and Nevada.

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.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Rumor Control!

We ran out of forms and used blank paper. Will that still count?

Yes, this is legal in Texas (and yes, next time they'll have more forms!)

Are the District Conventions going to be postponed or cancelled?

No, and no one has sued to do that. Some precincts were so overwhelmed by the crowd they stopped putting voter certificate numbers on convention sign-in sheets, and campaigns want to verify the delegates are registered voters, but that will be easy to check.

I'm a delegate or alternate. Why haven't I gotten anything from the party about the convention?

First, each senate district does this for itself, not the party.
Second, because the locations are still being set (see the article above).
Third, because they have only just begun entering names in a database this weekend, and need to finish that to print mailing labels and sign-in sheets for the conventions. (If you have your delegates / alternates entered already, please email them to your district convention temporary chair and it may speed that up. The list is here.)

What happens at the district convention?

Delegates from each precinct that cast enough votes for the Democrat for Governor will elect one or more delegates on the state convention. Each district will also have some more allocated state delegates that will be elected at large, recommended by a Nominations Committee. We'll also consider proposals to change or add to the state Platform and Rules. And we'll hear from lots of officials, candidates, and other speakers.

Did Republicans vote in our primary?

Yes, voter history lookups show about 9% of our voters had Republican primary histories. However, exit polls show they split almost evenly. Essentially they cancelled each other out, and let us make our own choice. They were no more competent at trying to interfere in our primary than they have been trying to run our economy.

District Convention Locations To Be Set This Week

We'll Do A Roundup Bulletin When They're Ready

On Saturday, March 29, the five State Senatorial Districts in Dallas County will hold District Conventions. These will elect delegates to the State Convention in June in Austin. All five have had to move to new and larger places because of the huge number of delegates elected from their Precinct Conventions March 4. Only District 9's new location is confirmed (at South Grand Prairie High School), but districts 2, 8, 16, and 23 hope for final word this week. We'll post the places and times on the party website ( and send Roundup subscribers an email Bulletin just as soon as they are determined. These meetings usually start in the morning and last most of the day; heavier than usual attendance may make them longer this year.

If you want to volunteer to help with arrangements for the conventions, please contact your Senate District Convention's Temporary Chair (or their Volunteer Coordinator if one has been appointed). The list is at this page.


It's Monday, and that means it is time for another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. The round-up is compiled each week by the TPA based on submissions made by our member blogs and bloggers. This week's round-up was compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

The leader of McBlogger's crack legal team has an interesting take on Gov. Spitzer's premium taste in hookers.

TXsharon at Bluedaze asks if Texas Railroad Commission malpractice like this will cost you your life or only your health.

WhosPlayin looks at plagiarism by a Republican candidate for city council: John Gorena, of Lewisville who lifted quite a bit of his website from a Democratic judicial candidate.

Off the Kuff takes a look at downballot voting in the Democratic Primary in Harris County.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson shines a light on the latest Texas GOP voucher scam in HD-52, Education Matters.

Hal at Half Empty came across the latest production by the DSCC, and to his surprise and delight, found it was about (or going to be, eventually) our own senatorial candidate, Texas Democratic senatorial nominee Rick Noriega.

Good luck unemployed people of Texas. The Texas Cloverleaf exposes Governor 39%'s recent appointment of GOP idealogue and fellow blogger, Tom Pauken, as the new chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme shows how Republicans shaft Texas workers on behalf of their business cronies. Insurance companies are forced to reveal medical data on perspective employees and unemployment insurance premiums are cut to give companies a 'tax break'.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at a number of scorecards ranking Texas' Congressional Delegation in which Texas' Republicans score big, fat "F's" when it comes to children, families, the middle class, the environment, working Americans, and more.

In "Bulletins from the front lines", PDiddie at Brains and Eggs advances some of the challenges the forthcoming Senate District conventions will face, with the expected huge turnout expected to overrun facilities and organizers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

DFA Campaign Training This Weekend

"The Democracy for America Training Academy is coming to Dallas, Texas for two days of campaign training. campaign consultants with decades of experience give you the skills to run a winning campaign. Topics include: field planning, voter contact, fundraising, communications, volunteer recruitment and more." So far at least 95 people including some local candidates and precinct chairs have signed up. Find more information and to sign up on line, see this page.

District Convention Locations Uncertain

Too Many Delegates For Planned Sites; More Help Needed

The various Senatorial District Conventions on Saturday, March 29, are the next step in the process that leads to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. Temporary Chairs had already found locations for these that have been used in previous years and held all the delegates that showed up. So many more came out and were elected this time that several districts are looking for new, much larger places. As soon as these are set, we will send out news in the Roundup and post the new places on the party website. Meanwhile, if you want to help with arrangements for the now-much-bigger events (which as a result are going to need a lot more volunteers), please call contact your Senate District Convention's Temporary Chair. The list is at this page.

Turn In Precinct Convention Minutes

Lists On Homemade Forms WILL Count

There are still just a few precincts whose convention minutes, sign-in sheets and delegate lists haven't reached the local party office yet. (Some are probably in the mail.) Until those last ones get in, no one really knows what the total results of the caucuses were, because we don't know which delegates were elected to the district conventions on March 29 from those precincts. If you still have yours, bring them to the DCDP office at 4209 Parry at Fletcher, between Haskell and Peak, two blocks south of Interstate 30. Call 214-821-8331.

(Some precinct or delegation chairs have already entered their own delegates / alternates in a database or at least typed up a separate list. If you are one of these, it could speed up the process in your own Senate District, since we all have thousands of names to enter. Please email them to your own temporary Senate District chair, listed here.

Because of the unpredicted huge turnout at the precinct conventions, almost every location ran out of forms. (There's a fascinating video of one large and diverse caucus crowd at this site.) Under Texas law, the conventions are authorized to use any other paper for those lists if needed, including blank sheets or leftover forms from the primary earlier that day. So please assure other caucus attendees that their results are still valid.

We Have Runoffs April 8

In Texas primaries, if no one gets a majority of the vote, there is a Runoff between the top two finishers a month later. Based on unoffcial results, here are runoffs we expect to be voting on this Tuesday, April 8 (see links to their campaigns on my sidebar):

Railroad Commissioner:
Dale Henry
Mark Thompson

U.S. Representative, District 32:
Steve Love
Eric Roberson

Criminal Dist. Judge, Ct. No. 3:
Gracie Lewis
David Jordan

Dallas County Tax Assessor-Collector:
Diana Lackey
John Ames

Town Hall Meeting With James Carville And U.S. Senators

Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, And Others

On Tuesday, March 25, James Carville will host a Town Hall Meeting here in Dallas with Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, and other U.S. Senators. The event starts at 5:30 PM at McFarlin Hall at SMU. Tickets to the Town Hall Meeting are free and are available at the Dallas County Democratic Party Headquarters, 4209 Parry Ave. in Dallas. For more information, please call (214) 821-8331.

This will be preceeded by a VIP Reception at 4:30 PM. Tickets are limited. Ticket price is $125 for an individual, or $200 for 2 tickets. Valet parking is included with a purchased ticket. Sponsored By Baron & Budd, LLP, the Dallas County Democratic Party, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Call (214) 821-8331 to reserve yours today!

A Flood Of Democrats

We Swamp The Republicans

On March 4 the Republican Party of Texas could read the handwriting on the wall. A record number, 2,868,454, voted in the Democratic Primary. This was twice the number of Republicans that turned out, which is scaring their campaign consultants to death. In Dallas County we did even better, voting 297,336, which was also a record and more than three times as many as the Republicans here.

We can also be overjoyed by specific comparisons of the Presidential campaigns. Statewide and in Dallas County, both Clinton and Obama each got more votes alone than Republicans McCain, Huckabee, and Paul combined. There are similar results comparing the differing party primary votes for the other statewide and local contests. This bodes very well for us for the November general election. You can read our statewide results on line here, and those for Dallas County are here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


It's Monday, and that means it is time for the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Refinish69 joins John McClelland, Democratic nominee for Texas House District 64n in asking "Where's Myra"?

Seems Shrub has a new title to add to his list. Torturer in Chief doesn't seem like one most people would want but then Shrub is a fool.

Eye On Williamson wraps up Tuesday's primary. Dembones points out that Obama won Williamson County and SD 5, as well as the unprecedented turnout for the caucuses. WCNews has initial impressions and more impressions from the primary.

Off the Kuff has been busy poring through the data from Tuesday's primary, with posts about the blueing on Harris County, and a series on Republican crossover votes.

The Texas Cloverleaf begs the question, who the hell is Mark Thompson? Is another dead dancer in our midst, or did voter apathy give us another odd run off?

Where is Myra? State Rep Crownover is missing, and the Leaf wants you to watch a video to help locate her.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wrote the advance story of Election Day in his precinct with "Today's agenda", and the postscript in "244".

McBlogger had an exciting and mostly hateful Primary Week. Things kicked off with Mayor McSleaze's recap of the primary itself, while McBlogger took the time to bitchslap John McCain for taking an endorsement from some weird-o preacher in San Antonio and chastise adults for following the lead of a child. McBlogger finishes up the week with a plea for relief from a devastating force, Rachael Ray.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin asks democrats to unite and explore Make It So! A Clinton-Obama ticket?

WhosPlayin thanks his city's staff for the help in Tuesday's primaries, and wonders why the big deal about the use of the "M" word.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston wonders When Hope turns into Whine.

Vince at Capitol Annex starts taking a look at the March 4 primary, with the first of many Primary Postmortem posts.

Go Forward Together

What Clinton and Obama need to do is hold a joint news conference and announce that each will ask the other to be their Vice-President, but that they are still continuing their campaigns through Pennsylvania and the other remaining states to see who gets to head the ticket. This would keep all the astonishing enthusiasm going, but without the fears of a bitter split after someone wins.

Failing that, when either one does win, they will still need to make the other an offer of the Vice-Presidency anyway, but by then there will be more troubled water under the bridge and a greater chance that hurt feelings will get in the way of accepting. (Refusal to make the offer at all would a political disaster in the general.)

I wish someone would call them and explain this to them. I would myself, but I seem to have misplaced their cell phone numbers....

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Very Good News

In the words of longtime Precinct Chair Tom Blackwell, who compiled this comparison of election results from yesterday's primary in Dallas County, "the revolution continues".

For US Senate:
Results in Dallas County show Democrat Rick Noriega - 105,098 **
Republican John Cornyn - 65,978

16th Senate District (which is entirely within Dallas County - and each candidate is unopposed in their party primary):
Democrat Rain Levy Minns 36,640
Republican John Carona 26,002

State Representative, Dist 108 (which is entirely within Dallas County - and each candidate is unopposed in their party primary):
Democrat Emil Reichstat 8,389
(Craddick) Republican Dan Branch 5,323

State Representative, Dist 102 (which is entirely within Dallas County - and each candidate is unopposed in their party primary):
Democrat Carol Kent 7,340
(Craddick) Republican Tony Goolsby 4,830

(Other State Representative and Senate districts had similar results)

Dallas County Sheriff (contested in each party primary):
Democratic Sheriff Lupe Valdez 116,064 *
Republians now in a run-off: Cannaday 30,448
Previously defeated Sheriff Bowles 26,343
Sub-total of Republicans now in a run-off: 56,791

* Sheriff Valdez was re-nominated with 50.86% of the Democratic Primary vote. 3 other candidates, including one endorsed by the Irrelevant Morning News, did not have 50% together.

** 3 primary opponents together did not have 50% of the vote

Monday, March 03, 2008

Needless Battles And Bad Information

This is from Vince Liebowitz, a longtime party activist from east Texas and leader of the Texas Progressive Alliance:
We continue to hear -- from supporters of both camps -- that they have recruited people to come in and take over the precinct conventions. Not just make their voices heard, but run for permanent convention chair and secretary -- in place of the people the county parties have trained. ...

For one thing, today, [one candidate's] supporter showed me what essentially he called the [candidate's] handout on hijacking your precinct convention at all costs. There is a similar [other candidate's] document going around, but I've not seen it.

I understand the people from both of these camps who want to be involved and make sure things are done "fairly." But, they being trained to be more like obstructionists than impartial precinct convention operators. ...

Typically, there is no contest for who will be elected to these posts. However, we're expecting -- now -- to have one person from each camp plus the [Precinct Chair, in Dallas County] to end up in knock-down-drag-outs to run f**cking precinct conventions and be secretaries versus people who have received impartial training.

I am p***ed about this.
And rightly so, if there really is such paranoia out there. Some of this may have started when those out-of-state pros sent in by the campaigns realized that there are some precincts with no Chair, where the first one who shows up from that precinct gets to ask the election judge to give them the precinct convention packet for their precinct, and open the convention since there is no Precinct Chair -- who is the one assigned by the Rules the authority to do that. The reasonable suggestion that, in that case, one should try to pick up that packet, snowballed into leading people to think they needed to struggle over it, even displacing a Precinct Chair elected by the voters in the Primary two years before.

Recommendation to all sides: DON'T DO THIS. The precinct packet goes to the Precinct Chair. If there isn't one, it's first come, first served. Don't fight over calling the convention to order. In fact, don't fight over electing the permanent Precinct Convention Chair (almost always this is simply the Precinct Chair, because it isn't a position that matters). Caucus for your candidate, elect your delegates, and if they are in the majority and the Precinct Chair is on the other side, you might want to elect your own person as Delegation Chair (instructed to carry the minutes and elected delegate lists to the party). But generally, the Precinct Chair can be relied upon to do that. Failure to do so would be illegal (and we would fix it at the District Convention anyway), and, worst of all from their point of view, almost the only way to guarantee their defeat in the next Primary.

There was a time in Texas when there were fist fights, and lockouts, and rump conventions here. That time ended with new party rules and the defection of the reactionaries to the Republican Party. Let's not bring their vicious and illegal tactics back ourselves. Play fair, be open and honest, follow the Rules, and we'll all work together to defeat the Republicans in November. Do otherwise and you hurt the chances of all of our candidates.

As for any pros from other states who misunderstand our process and urge this kind of "rule or ruin" tactic -- they don't have to stay here and live and work with the other Democrats this would make senseless enemies of. Ignore them and treat each other with courtesy and respect. We all need each other.

ONE MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: It was clear to me from Vince's post that in his county the party expects the Election Judges to carry those ballots straight to the election department after voting ends, and not wait until the Precinct Convention is over. If the Election Judge is also the Precinct Chair (which is usually the case in Dallas County), that would mean they do not get to preside over the Precinct Convention. I understand some election department people may be saying the same thing here.

HOGWASH. If you are the Precinct Chair, feel free to STAY FOR YOUR PRECINCT CONVENTION. Bring the ballots to the county afterwards. You as an Election Judge are not working for the Dallas County Elections Department. You are not working for the TV news departments. You are working for the Dallas County Democratic Party. You were also elected by the Democrats of your precinct to work for them as Precinct Chair -- and the most important part of that job is calling that convention to order. If the news media doesn't get all their results before 10 PM, too bad.

In Memory: Luke Bradley and Dottie Kerbow

District 16 SDEC Committeewoman Theresa Daniel reminds of two losses to the local Democratic community, beginning with "the passing of David Bradley's father, Luke Bradley. Without their families, many activists such as David Bradley would not be the people they are today or be able to rearrange schedules so that they can do the things they are able to do.

"Another great Democratic activist who died on February 26 was Dottie Kerbow. She was active with her husband Jay in County Party activities and a mainstay for the Park Cities/Central Dallas Democrats. Neither were out there leading the parade, but they talked with people about Democratic ideals and supported so many other people to further the goals of the Party."

David, now the DCDP Treasurer, is a longtime Precinct Chair and former candidate for Tax Assessor. His father's funeral is this afternoon at 2 at Christ United Methodist Church in Farmer's Branch.

After The Precinct Conventions

When your caucus is over Tuesday night, you can go to the Watch Parties listed below and have fun with other Democrats, or just go home and watch the results on TV. (Or you could drop by the party office, where some of us will be answering questions about precinct conventions while we follow the results here.) Needless to say, since those ballots are mostly NOT going to be turned in to the counties until the conventions are over, returns from Texas may be later than Ohio and other states.

Tuesday, March 4: On Friday there will be a Post-Election Analysis of the Texas Primary with our state party Chair and others, sponsored by the Dallas Democratic Forum, but reservations are needed no later than Wednesday.

Friday, March 7:
  • Post-Election Analysis of the Texas Primary with Boyd Richie, Chairman, Texas Democratic Party; Matthew Wilson, Assoc. Professor of Political Science, SMU; and Gromer Jeffers, Dallas Morning News; Moderated by David Griggs, SDEC. Presented by the Dallas Democratic Forum. 2008 Pat./Sust. Members -- Free; 2008 Regular Members -- $20; Non-members -- $30. Forum Membership for 2008 IS NOW DUE and may be paid at this event. RSVP Needed by Wednesday, March 5 to 214-855-7151. (11:30 AM Registration, 12 Noon Program, The Belo Mansion at Olive & Ross Avenues, Dallas)
If you are chosen as chair of your precinct's delegation to the district convention, you will need to get your precinct's paperwork to the party as soon as possible (see the information in the precinct convention packet).

After the primary is over, there will be a lot of volunteer help needed with things like collating and entering the delegate and alternate names on lists, mailing and calling them to remind them of the district conventions, and helping set up the locations and do delegate registration and the other paperwork at those conventions. Call or email your Senate District Convention Temporary Chair (after Tuesday) and offer to help. The list is at this page.

Precinct Resolutions

After the main business of the Precinct Conventions is over tomorrow night, you may then take up Resolutions. (You are not required to, and if everyone's tired, you can always adjourn and go home -- or to Watch Parties.) These can be on any of the usual topics and issues you find in party platforms. If passed they are sent to each Senatorial District Convention on March 29 to consider. If passed there they move up the ladder to the State Convention in June.

Resolutions can be written on the spot (if so make sure to include a written copy with the Precinct Convention minutes, stating which precinct it was passed in), but some groups have offered lists of suggested ones. The party isn't recommending or endorsing any of these proposals, but here are links to some we've been told about. If you like any of them, you can print out copies and take to your own convention. Or they may inspire you to write your own.

Burnt Orange Report (a list of 33, with more in comments)
Progressive Action Alliance (a list of 40, on topics from "Abolish the death penalty" to "worker rights")
Million Mom March (three on guns)
Equality Texas (against anti-LGBT discrimination)
Equality Texas (for safe schools)

Precinct Convention Information

There is lots of useful information at this Precinct Convention How To.

Some other items that didn't make it on that list:

Precinct Convention 101 (a pdf you can download)

Precinct Convention Procedures (from San Antonio Democrats)

Frequently Asked Questions (from the Texas Democratic Party -- this includes the important information that you can't start the Precinct Convention until everyone has already voted, if they are still standing in line at 7:15)

Needless Battles And Bad Information (an important update about precinct convention chairs and taking ballots back to the county)

If you haven't done this before, you really should look over this NOW and, if you have any questions, call us today (at 214-821-8331) or sometime during the day tomorrow. If you wait for 7:15 to call about something, the lines will probably be too clogged.

One suggestion: TAKE SOME EXTRA PAPER. If turnout is as huge as it looks based on early voting, you may run out of sign-in forms and have to start some new pages. If so bring them by the office and we can make the needed copies -- and please PRINT everything but the signatures. Thanks.

And finally, this important news:

You DO NOT need to bring your raccoon to your Texas convention/caucus.

Vote Tomorrow!

Unless you are one of the record-breaking 120,000 Democrats in Dallas County who have voted early in this year's primary, then your last chance will be Tuesday, March 4, from 7 AM to 7 PM. This time you will have to go to your own local neighborhood polling place where you are registered to vote. As always, a few had to be moved for the primary due to repairs, etc. If you know your precinct number, you can find your Tuesday polling place at this list. If you don't know your number, find it at this page.

The whole country is watching Texas, because this time we can make a real difference in the Presidential race. But don't forget there are several other contests in our primary. There is a list with contact info at this page.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Urgent Request: We Need More Primary Election Clerks!!

The Dallas County Democratic Party is facing a wonderful problem to have! Because of the unexpected huge record turnout of voters for this contested Presidential primary, we need to find a lot more clerks to help hold Tuesday's election.

These are the people who find voters on the lists, sign them in, and give them ballots. If we don't have enough clerks, the lines to vote are going to get so long that many voters will be discouraged. Some of them may be so upset they won't come back to vote for us in November.

All of our candidates, including whichever one we nominate for President, needs all of those voters this fall. You can help us by agreeing to serve as a clerk. We need people for as many hours as you can give, whether it's all day (polls are open 7 AM to 7 PM), or just for a few hours during part of the day. The county will pay you seven dollars an hour, but the main incentive should be to help your party making voting Democratic a pleasant experience on this marvellous -- but desperately understaffed -- day.

If you can help for all or just for part of the day Tuesday, please call the party office at 214-821-8331 and talk to Al (or leave your information and number with almost anyone to be called back). We need your participation to make this primary a user-friendly experience for all those excited new Democrats!