Dems Party Chairman wants Kinky

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting wants Kinky Friedman to abandon his independent gubernatorial bid and instead run for governor as a Democrat.

Declared Democratic candidate Chris Bell can't be happy. It usually stings a little when you get slapped in the your own party's chairman. It's an implicit admission by Chair Charles Soechting that the one-term congressman would be a weak candidate in a general election.

A Houston lawyer said he recently told Soechting that he was supporting Friedman and that Soechting replied: "He ought to run as a Democrat."

The lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, who backed Democratic gubernatorial choice Tony Sanchez in 2002, said Soechting seemed serious about considering Friedman.

"Politics has gotten to be such a mess," DeGuerin said. "It's gotten so polarized that someone needs to shake up the status quo. The Democrats have been in disarray. They've let the Republicans run all over them."

Soechting confirmed DeGuerin's recollection, saying he'd like to visit Friedman to gauge his Democratic Party values.

"No question he's a real smart guy; people like him," Soechting said. "A lot of people would like to see a candidate for governor appear to have a little wild man like Kinky in him. There's something to be said about being a little wild, a little unpredictable. I've been accused of that myself."

Friedman, who has previously indicated no yen for running as a Democrat, said: "I'm flattered at the possibility of being the Democratic pallbearer, I mean standard-bearer. . . . I'm open to talking to them. I don't think it's going to happen."

It's got to be attractive to Kinky: if he was the Democrat's nominee, he wouldn't have to gather 45,000 signatures of non-voters in the primaries to get on the ballot. Still, I doubt it will happen. Kinky has spent too much time touting the benefits of being independent.

More importantly, Kinky's campaign manager, former Senator from Minnesota Dean Berkeley (appointed by indepedent governor Jesse Ventura as a caretaker for several months after the death of Senator Paul Wellstone), is very committed to independent and third party candidates. It's hard to imagine that he and the other consultants he brought on board would be willing to run on a major party line.

Meanwhile, Kinky confirms that he didn't vote between 1992 and 2004. Maybe that's a plus since he's asking people not to vote in the primary!

Posted by Evan @ 08/09/05 08:26 PM


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