Strayhorn to sue over ballot name

Here's the AP:

Independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn sued the Texas secretary of state Wednesday in her attempt to have the nickname "Grandma" listed with her name on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Strayhorn had promised to sue earlier this week after Secretary of State Roger Williams ruled that "Grandma" is a slogan, not a nickname permitted on the ballot.

At the same time, Williams allowed independent candidate Kinky Friedman to be listed as Richard "Kinky" Friedman on the ballot. Friedman has used the nickname for years.

I'm not quite sure what Strayhorn and her campaign are thinking. She could be trying to use free media to have voters associate her new name Strayhorn with her long-time slogan, "One Tough Grandma." Or she could just be firing a long shot, hoping that a judge will agree with her.

The problem is that the state's political chattering class thinks the whole ballot name is silly, and this lawsuit particularly so. She already disagree with Secretary of State Williams once before, and the courts agreed with Williams. Both times, Friedman's campaign declined to sue the Secretary of State. Even more damaging for Strayhorn, it helps cement the growing reputation that she's...running a personal campaign rather than an issues campaign. Paul Burka (whose new blog is already probably the best in the state) articulates this perfectly:

I can't quite get rid of the idea that the Strayhorn campaign has tended to view the governor's race as a video game in which the object is to score points by zapping Rick Perry and his toadies in made-up battles. That isn't how elections are won and lost.

I once worked for a candidate who reminds me of Strayhorn. She was running for re-election, but she hadn't managed to get along with any of her colleagues. She was the only woman, and she quickly came to regard her colleagues as a good ol' boys club. Like Strayhorn, she had blistering words for those she disagreed with, arguing that she only worried about the people who elected her. In my view, she was substantively right on most of the issues, but in retrospect she could have been much more collegial. If she'd done so, she'd probably have been more effective.

By the time of her re-election, the newspapers were very unsympathetic and her colleagues all supported her opponent. She lost, because the conventional wisdom (particularly among the media) was that my candidate just couldn't get along well enough with people to effectively represent her constituents.

Based on what I've seen for the past few months, Carole Keeton Strayhorn could learn from my story. It seemed to me (especially in the initial redistricting aftermath) like the Texas media was ready to be sympathetic to Strayhorn, but the tone of Strayhorn's coverage has certainly changed since, and deservedly so.

Posted by Evan @ 07/12/06 11:00 PM


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I thought the first lawsuit had some merit, at least as far as nudging SOS Williams to get started as the petitions came in, and not to sit on his thumbs until the deadline. This one is a complete joke, and she deserves the heckling she's getting for it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner @ 07/13/06 10:32 AM

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