Prelude to the Harris County CD22 Proceedings

To catch up a bit, the Democrats, trying to steal the CD22 seat in the courts instead of having to earn it at the polls, obtained a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) prohibiting the Republican Party from taking any legal steps toward replacing Tom DeLay on the November ballot. Late last week the TRO expired, so multiple meeting calls have gone out in each of the four affected counties for the CD22 Precinct Chairs to meet and select their respective representatives for what I believe the rules call the "District Executive Committee". Most just call it the "Committee of 4". This "Committee of 4" are the actual people who will select the Republican Nominee for the ballot; however, most will go in under some agreement with their county precinct chairs to select the candidate that the county precinct chairs prefer.

Each county meeting, as I understand it now, is scheduled as follows:
Harris County: 29 June
Fort Bend County: 05 July
Galveston County: 06 July
Brazoria County: 07 July (Tentatively)

Admittedly, I don't know much about any of the meetings, except for the one in Harris County, which will be held in Judge Ditta's courtroom in Clear Lake. And no, I'm not posting any great secret, as these meetings are open to observation by the public. I think because I will be a participant, that T is considering blogging the event just for your edification and enjoyment, and because he'll see things that I won't.

What I have found to be the most interesting is the backroom bullshit leading up to this thing. In Harris county, there are 2 major factions of which I am aware. If there is a third, please e-mail me, make yourself known, and I'll update the post. One faction, which seems to consist mainly of the party leadership and officers within the Senate District (State SD11 makes up the vast majority of CD22 in Harris County), is supporting Robert Talton. The other, which seems to be a surprisingly respectable number of precinct chairs from the South, Southeast, and Clear Lake areas, is firmly behind Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

There has been some discussion over the last couple of days that the Talton faction intends to introduce some type of supplemental rules at the meeting that would allow Jared Woodfill, the Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, to act as chairman of the Thursday caucus, and in essence allow the Talton faction to control the direction of the meeting. Please understand that this is nothing more than an interesting rumor, that I will add that I'm having a hard time believing, because I don't believe that our County Chairman would want to compromise the integrity of the proceedings by attempting to chair this particular meeting.

Mainly this is because it seems to me that he isn't eligible, as participation in this meeting should be limited to CD22 precinct chairs in Harris County, and he doesn't meet the definition. Further, Robert Talton is employed with Mr. Woodfill's law firm, Woodfill & Pressler, which creates a conflict of interest, and an appearance of impropriety that I don't believe Mr. Woodfill would want to affect the proceedings. This is especially the case since Mr. Woodfill has seemingly failed this round to maintain an across the board neutrality when it comes to endorsing candidates who work for his firm for other open ballot positions. I personally wish that Mr. Woodfill had observed Reagan's 11th Commandment and had remained neutral, but since he has already made endorsements of other employees, it stands to reason that he would have a preference for Mr. Talton, but I digress.

On the flip side, I think the Sekula-Gibbs faction is preparing in case this rumor turns out to be true, and may be ready to counter with some rules or proposed procedure of their own. The Sekula-Gibbs folks I've spoken with genuinely seem to have an interest in just making sure the proceedings run as neutrally as possible. My take on this is that I think the Sekula-Gibbs faction honestly and passionately believes that if precinct chairs are allowed to vote for their candidate of choice by secret ballot, that Sekula-Gibbs has a lock on the majority of the precinct chairs' votes. They obviously know something I don't.

As today is Monday, who knows what will come of any of it yet. We have a meeting tonight to fill both a vacated judicial slot and the nomination for County Treasurer, which was filled by the late Jack Cato, so I'm sure the maneuvering will run crazy in preparation between today and Thursday. Being a person who is more interested in issues and policy than the petty politics that goes on around the crafting of issues and the making of policy, this is little more than an annoyance. But, alas, it is an annoyance that I am compelled to share.

Update: Many thanks to Chris over at Texas Safety Forum for the traffic! Let me clarify, however that I am not so sure that the Talton person will end up being the person elected to the Harris County Committee of 4, especially if someone else has the majority approval of the precinct chairs and that person cannot wholeheartedly commit to the majority choice. I see a very convincing "dark horse" on the horizon, and a lot of people will be standing around thinking, "who the hell is this guy?"


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