Notes from the campaign trail
Fuhgeddaboutit, says Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. That was his answer to Hillary Clinton's request to postpone the scheduled March 29 Democratic county and senatorial district conventions. Clinton is concerned that proper rules weren't followed for the March 4 precinct caucuses, and she asked that the million or so signatures of the participants be verified, which she says would necessitate postponing the conventions. Clinton came out of the Texas presidential primary with a slim 65-61 lead in delegates, but caucus results could ultimately tip the lead back to Barack Obama. "It is important to remember that the precinct conventions are just the first of three steps where delegates and alternates are selected," Richie replied. "'Final results' will not be determined until June 6 to 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." – Lee Nichols
Come November, there will be more Libertarians running for the state House around Austin than Republicans. At its March 15 convention, the Travis Co. Libertarian Party nominated candidates for 12 state and local races in the November election, including five for state rep. (the GOP could only muster four). The highest profile Libertarian in the House races may be in District 46, where Allen Hacker, the campaign manager for Michael Badnarik's failed 2006 Congressional District 10 race, hopes to upset incumbent Dem Dawnna Dukes. But the biggest dustups could be down ballot. State party Executive Director Wes Benedict joins Democrat Karen Huber in the hunt to remove Precinct 3 Travis Co. Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, one of the last remaining elected Republican office-holders in the county. In a strange turn of events, Republican Don Zimmerman, who is running for tax assessor-collector, turned up at the convention and asked the Libertarians to stay out of his race against Democratic incumbent Nelda Wells Spears; they ignored his request and nominated failed 2006 state comptroller candidate Mike Burris. – R.W.
The run-off race for Travis Co. district attorney, between Rosemary Lehmberg and Mindy Montford, continued in high gear this week with each candidate announcing additional endorsements in advance of the April 8 election. On March 13, Lehmberg, a 31-year veteran of the office who has served as outgoing D.A. Ronnie Earle's first assistant since 1998, picked up the endorsement of 17-year prosecutor Gary Cobb, who placed third in the four-way race for the job in the March 4 primary. "Rosemary Lehmberg has the experience and judgment to meet the challenges we face," Cobb said in a press statement. "She's tough, she's smart, she's been in the trenches, and she understands that equal justice is essential to our future. She's far and away the best choice to lead this office into the future." Meanwhile, Montford, at 37 the youngest candidate in the race, added to her pile of endorsements the approval of fourth-place Rick Reed – notably, the only candidate who promised a death penalty moratorium. Reed said he backs Montford because of her "record of professional integrity, success in the courtroom, and fairness in the administration of justice in Travis County." And on March 18, Travis Co. Sheriff Greg Hamilton echoed Reed's assessment in announcing his decision to endorse Montford, whom he says has the skills needed to build bridges in the community. "Montford is a trusted public servant who has been proactive throughout her career working to see that justice prevails regardless of a person's political, personal, or professional position in this community," Hamilton said. – Jordan Smith