CD 22 Update: Get Off the Tracks

So, in our continuing saga of the CD 22 candidate replacement process, it’s time for another update. This time, in a departure from the norm, I will be contributing since I actually went and sat in the back in the visitor section. If you cast your mind back to high school, in every class, there was some guy who was half asleep and only woke up to provide commentary, usually of the sarcastic or funny variety. That was me, all the way through graduate school. Expect more of the same, tempered only by the fact that J has to go back and deal with all the other precinct chairs. My unedited thoughts on them will not win her any friends. My opinion of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has not improved with further exposure. Also, keep in mind I am not an efenant and have no dog in the hunt. Anybody this process produces is going to be way too statist for my taste. Enough said, on to the meeting.

I don’t make a habit of going to these things, mainly because I loathe people and they bore the hell out of me. So I’ll give a slight overview of the process for those unfamiliar with how the meetings are run. The precinct chairs arrived, presented ID, and got their badges. These serve as their identification. Once the clock hit 7:00 PM, the meeting started. Quorum was 23, they had 40 chairs show up, so it’s good. Then it was on to an invocation, the national anthem, and the pledges (US and Texas). Then, the chair quickly moved to have some supplemental rules adopted to govern the process. Cheryl Berg (SD-11 Chair) threw out the usual boilerplate about RONR and complying with the law that always opens these meetings. The only interesting part was the rules for elector candidates. Executive committee members only could nominate or speak. Candidate speeches were to be given after all candidates are nominated, 3 minutes total for your speech, time may be yielded to others. I think I’ve hit the highlights.

The first comedy moment came when someone stood up to make a motion to amend the agenda. That got slapped down with the quickness. This should have been the first clue that the core group in the Harris County Republican Party had made their decisions and were going to railroad the rest of the executive committee. I can sum up the whole meeting as get on board or get run over. Next was nominating candidates. Since, in my opinion, Jared Woodfill was going to recognize Cheryl Berg first no matter what happened, Kathy Haigler was nominated first. The same woman who tried to amend the agenda then nominated Steven Williams. Nobody else got nominated, so it was on to candidate speeches.

Candidate speeches were given in nomination order. I didn’t try to take exact transcriptions, so I’ll only hit the points I wrote down. Kathy Haigler had a prepared speech. Half of it seemed to be sucking up to Tom DeLay. I have no great love for Tom DeLay as a representative, so that part fell pretty flat with me. Of course, I had no vote. It seemed to go over well with the actual precinct chairs. Notable points were that she wanted a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice for the position so she has room to "negotiate". She also made a big deal about telling everyone she wouldn’t run for any office vacated by this process. For the clueless, that’s a response to the repeated rumor that she wants to run for Robert Talton’s state rep seat if he gets the nod.

Steven Williams gave a much shorter prepared speech in which he used the word liberal about forty-leven times in the first 4 sentences. He wanted the executive committee to commit to a nominee, who he would then go and fight for at the actual elector meeting. I will make a few critiques about his performance. First, he gave no compelling reason why anyone should have picked him over Kathy. Given that everybody in that room with a vote knows Kathy, that’s a serious gap in your strategy. His next problem was that he didn’t use enough of his time. If they give you three minutes, use it. If this is your only shot to sway people’s minds, you’d better make the most of it.

My next comment applies to both elector candidates. It’s great that you’re reading from your prepared notes. Just make it a little less obvious, okay? Steven did a better job of that than Kathy, if you ask me, which you didn’t. Also applying to both candidates is the comment that you should show a little more emotion. If you’re not excited, why should anybody else be? Kathy got a little fired up at one point, but as I recall, it was during the "Tom DeLay is wonderful" portion of the speech.

So then the voting commenced, and predictably, Kathy won 31 to 10. Hmm. This implies that someone showed up after the quorum check or the people who were counting the ballots can’t count. Kathy then gave a short speech where she told us all "I’m here not to do my own will, but yours." Umm, okay. I was kind of wondering how she knew what the will of the committee was, but that got addressed. After the meeting was adjourned, Kathy handed out candidate evaluation forms and asked precinct chairs to rank their top three candidates. So if you bailed immediately, you lost out.

Other scribbled observations included the note that the candidate who must not be named was in attendance, along with a decent number of her supporters. David Wallace was there as well, as were a number of other elected officials. Somebody was also there with a video camera taping the whole thing. I dunno who the hell that was or why he was taping it. He interviewed somebody after the meeting, which ended about 7:30.

Quick and dirty observations: Kathy passed out her questionnaires and collected them. I’m presuming she’ll count them and do the tally of who the 1, 2, and 3 candidates are. My preference would be for that process to be a little more transparent to the rest of the chairs, but once again, it ain’t my club. If the precinct chairs are happy with it, more power to ‘em. My other observation is borrowed from J. If for whatever reason, the Gang of 4 can’t get reach agreement, it goes to the State Republican Executive Committee. Guess who’s on the SREC? That’s right, Kathy Haigler! Is that a little strange, or is that just me? I figure if you can’t do the job the first time, you don’t get another whack at it.

Deep analysis and insight will have to wait for someone more capable than I. Have a nice weekend.


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