First meeting regarding replacing Tom DeLay

Last night I attended the first of at least 3 meetings relating to replacing Tom DeLay on the November ballot. This was just an "informational" meeting where we discussed the "official" process, already explained here, as well as the process that we Precinct Chairs in the Harris County section of CD22 would utilize to ascertain the serious candidates, meet them, and make the best possible decision for the county and the district.

As was discussed in the previous post, Harris County gets 1 of the 4 "Electors" who will ultimately decide who becomes the Republican candidate on the ballot in November. Each county in the district, Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, and Fort Bend, gets 1 Elector and each has an equal vote, regardless of how many precincts are in CD22. The way we're going to do this in Harris County is not regulated, so all Precinct Chairmen will participate in the process of meeting and interviewing candidates. The folks who I spoke with last night were pretty determined to make sure that the person who is the Harris County Elector acts on our collective behalf, and not just on his her own conscious.

So here's the scoop so far. A few of us have formed a committee which will formulate the questions that we will ask all interested candidates. Jared Woodfill, the Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP), will call the individuals who have been in contact with his office regarding the race, their degree of interest, and will inform them of a meeting within the CD22 in Harris County that will occur in the next couple of weeks. Attending this meeting will be the Harris County CD 22 Precinct Chairs, a few assorted HCRP Officials, and the candidates who wish to be considered.

The meeting and interview process will run as follows: each prospective candidate will have about 5 or so minutes to address us regarding why they wish to earn the ballot placement, and then we will ask the prepared questions of each candidate. Each candidate will be asked the same set of questions, which they will not receive in advance. We decided early that do not want "canned answers", so they'd better know why they're there. After the presentation/question session, we will decide on the time/venue of the next meeting, which will be where we rank our choices of candidates, and determine who will be the Harris County Elector.

The reason why we must split up the meetings is because, it is believed that Mr. DeLay will not be actually declared ineligible until mid to late May, and we can't make any actual decisions regarding the race until that declaration has already occurred. We just know we have to begin early because we have until August to complete the task, and there are actually no "official" actions taking place while we're just meeting and interviewing prospective candidates.

Speaking of prospective candidates, below are the individuals who have actually contacted HCRP regarding their interest in the race. Note that it isn't required that a candidate actually reside in CD22 to be considered.

Robert Talton, currently a State Representative
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, currently a Houston City Councilwoman
David Wallace, currently Mayor of Sugarland
Mike Jackson, currently a State Senator
Charlie Howard, currently a State Representative
Tom Campbell, Sugarland lawyer who lost the March primary race to Tom DeLay
Robert Eckels, currently the Harris County Judge
John Devine, former District Judge, who recently lost a State Rep primary
Brent Perry, a Houston area attorney
Rob Todd, a former Houston City Councilman
Lynden Rose, Houston area attorney and UH Regent. Mr. Rose only indicated that he was interested in the race if Judge Eckels does not run.

Paul Bettencourt (Harris County Tax Collector), Michael Berry (Houston City Councilman) and Kyle Janek (State Senator) have confirmed that they're not interested in the seat. Steve Stockman is not eligible because there is some question as to whether he declared himself running as an independent on the November ballot. It was stated that he was only planning to run if no "true conservative" was on the ballot.

Nonetheless, I suspect the list will whittle itself down somewhat more in the next couple of weeks.
For more updates on this process, stay tuned...


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