28 June 2006
Slater on the race
Couple days old, but Wayne Slater has a good look at the gubernatorial race.
It's trendy among my demographic slice to bemoan the two party system.
Certainly there are drawbacks to our current two party system, but it means that we get relatively centrist governments in America. Why? With the base tied up, political candidates have to appeal to the political center to win election and have power.
The more candidates, generally the less the center gets appealed too. I think you're already seeing some of that in this election, and you're likely to see more.
UPDATE: On the other hand, the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise doesn't agree.
Tend to the base
Bell hires Maxey:
Pick up a field director and try to help heal any divisions in the party since Bell endorsed Richie for party chair.
Maxey recently ran for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, but attorney Boyd Richie prevailed at the party's convention. In the last presidential election campaign, Maxey led candidate Howard Dean's Texas effort.
24 June 2006
In which petitions are valid and invalid
I didn't really point it out, because I don't think it really means anything, but even though Carole Strayhorn turned in many more signatures, it turns out that Kinky Friedman had more valid signatures. There was a huge disparity in the validation rate.
Clay Robison speculates:
This is just speculation, but perhaps Strayhorn collected signatures from many Republicans who had voted in the GOP primary and weren't eligible to sign. Although she began political life as a Democrat, she has been a Republican officeholder for several years now. Strayhorn also contended that her own campaign had verified thousands of more signatures that Williams did. But Williams had the last official word.It more likely had to do with the fact that Friedman's signatures were gathered by volunteers, whereas Strayhorn's were mostly gathered by paid canvassers.
Paid canvassers have an incentive to get everyone to sign. It can't hurt, besides the lost opportunity cost while someone signs (which is very small). Volunteers are much more likely to carefully screen potential petition signers.
Strayhorn issues report
Comptroller's office issues a report criticizing executive branch department:
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Friday that about 100 Texas children were treated for poisoning by medications they were given while in state foster care in 2004.Something tells me that the Strayhorn campaign might pick this up.
According to her investigation, large numbers of psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to children in the foster care system.
However, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released a report showing the success of guidelines issued for the use of psychotropic medications for foster care children. More than 30,000 children are in state foster care.
The report found the percentage of children in foster care who were prescribed a psychotropic medication fell seven percent in the five months after the guidelines were released. And there was a 29 percent decrease in the percentage of foster care children taking two or more psychotropic drugs after the guidelines.
Strayhorn blamed Gov. Rick Perry's Health and Human Services Commission for not providing data needed to complete her investigation. State and federal law prohibits HHSC from releasing client-specific Medicaid data.
Everybody wants a nickname
Texas law allows political candidates to be called by a nickname on the ballot. And apparently everyone wants a nickname. Chris Bell is actually R. Christopher Bell, Rick Perry's real name is James Richard Perry, and Kinky Friedman isn't known by anyone as Richard.
As probably everyone reading this knows, Carole Keeton Strayhorn apparently wants to be on the ballot as Carole Keeton Grandma Strayhorn. She's never been on the ballot as Strayhorn before. Last time she was Carole Keeton Rylander.
Is Grandma a nickname? Or a slogan? Secretary of State Roger Williams says slogan, but is giving her a chance to prove otherwise:
"It appears that your use of the term 'Grandma' within your name constitutes a slogan," Williams said in a letter to Strayhorn, explaining that the Texas Election Code bans the use of a slogan as a nickname.
He asked Strayhorn to provide any information to verify that "Grandma" doesn't constitute a political slogan. Secretary of State's Office spokesman Scott Haywood noted that "Grandma" even appeared on the campaign letterhead Strayhorn used in asking that her name be listed as "Carole Keeton 'Grandma' Strayhorn" on the ballot.
Strayhorn calls herself "one tough grandma" and says she's been known by the nickname since being elected Texas comptroller in 1998. Strayhorn ran as a Republican for that office, but opted out of the GOP primary this year against Perry to run for governor as an independent.
At an unrelated news conference Friday afternoon, Strayhorn said she has been known as "Grandma" for more than 11 years and said people call her that everywhere she goes.
"I am not a slogan. I am a grandma," she said, displaying a photo of her newest granddaughter.
Seems to me that there are several categories of nicknames here:
1) Middle names commonly used as a first name, eg Perry or Bell.
2) Nicknames derived from the name, eg Junior.
3) Nicknames not related to name in anyway, eg Kinky Friedman.
I fall into the third category, so I have some familiarity here. Evan isn't my real name, although nobody knows me by my real name, and only close friends could probably tell you my real name. If you were to call me my real name, I wouldn't respond because I'd assume you weren't talking to me. These sorts of complications can occasionally get annoying.
It's tough for me to see how Strayhorn will convince Roger Williams (or a court, depending perhaps on the standard of review) that Grandma is a name. It seems like a slogan to me. I've never heard her referred to as "Grandma" outside of "One Tough Grandma," which seems to be undeniably a slogan (and a very effective one at that). Thus I'd conclude she probably won't be on the ballot as Grandma. That's a shame for her, because it is something that voters connect with her.
On the other hand, I think you should be able to get on the ballot as anything you want, under the 1st Amendment.
22 June 2006
Bell returns illegal gift
From the McAllen Monitor:
In an election cycle where immigration is a hot-button issue, this is fodder for a potential attack ad.
The Chris Bell for Governor campaign has returned a collection of gemstones after learning the donor -- a Mexican national staying in McAllen -- is not a permanent resident of the United States, which makes the contribution illegal.
Max Garcia gave the campaign several stones including a ruby, a sapphire and an emerald, valued at $8,225 by a campaign-hired appraiser.
Bell listed the gift on the disclosure report filed last week with the state. That report included a false McAllen address for Garcia, which the campaign said Garcia furnished.
Since February when he offered the gemstones, Garcia told campaign workers in the course of conversation that he had the legal status necessary to give the gift, said Jason Stanford, spokesman for the Bell campaign.
But what Stanford called several "red flags" about the gift led to a personal phone conversation between Bell and Garcia this week, during which Garcia told the Democratic candidate he was in the United States on a tourist visa, Stanford said.
"He had told us two different stories about whether or not he had the legal status to give us those gemstones, and once we got the second story we decided to give those back," Stanford said.
Garcia confirmed on Wednesday he is staying in McAllen on a tourist visa and said he never lied about his legal status. He thinks the campaign assumed he was allowed to give the gift, he said.
On the other hand, who wants to attack Chris Bell right now? And who will in the future? Perry is unlikely to use this unless things look awfully bleak for him. Strayhorn and Friedman will probably keep training their fire on Perry. Unless Strayhorn decides to fire back as a warning since Bell has been attacking her.
We're on! Four-way race!
The race is on. It's the not-often-seen four-way race! Here's the Chron's Clay Robison:
So, it was obvious from the start that any serious candidate should be able to get on the ballot. I was saying that from the start. And it was obvious during the signature gathering period that they would get enough signatures. Then they turned plenty in.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and author-musician Kinky Friedman have qualified for spots on the November ballot as independent candidates for governor, Secretary of State Roger Williams ruled today.
Williams, the state's chief elections officer, deferred a decision on whether Strayhorn will be allowed to use the nickname, "Grandma," on the ballot, as she has requested. The secretary of state needs to do more research on that issue, a spokesman said.
Williams said Strayhorn and Friedman far exceeded collecting the 45,540 signatures that each needed for a ballot spot. All signers had to be registered voters who didn't cast ballots in either major party's primary or runoff elections.
After a preliminary review, Williams certified 108,512 of the 222,514 signatures submitted by Strayhorn and 137,154 of the 170,258 signatures submitted by Friedman.
But now we know for sure that they are on the ballot. Let the games begin, R. Chris, J. Richard, Richard, and Carole.
In other news, Steve Stockman will not face Democrat Nick Lampson and Republican To-Be-Named-Later. He didn't gather nearly enough signatures.
08 June 2006
World Cup begins tomorrow
Since I'm going to spend the next month being obsessed with the World Cup without enough people to discuss it with, I'm going to have a month-long World Cup blog.
What's it called? You guessed it. USA vs. World.
02 June 2006
Rick Perry calls Chris Bell "my principal opponent"
Chris Elam is liveblogging the Texas Republican Convention over at Texas Safety Forum.
1:13 - Perry just referred to Chris Bell as "my principal opponent." What an ego boost for the Mandate!Not too surprising that Perry is poking Strayhorn at the GOP convention.