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Strayhorn’s signatures

The Strayhorn campaign has turned in their petitions, and I think it’s safe to say that they can feel pretty confident about getting on the ballot.

Independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced Tuesday she gave Texas election officials 223,000 signatures to get her on the ballot for the governor’s race – almost five times as many signatures as she needs to qualify.

[…]

Independent candidate Kinky Friedman plans to turn his petitions in during a noon rally Thursday outside the secretary of state’s office, which administers elections and will verify the petitions.

[…]

Secretary of State Roger Williams has said his office plans to verify each signature on the Strayhorn and Friedman petitions, a process that could take two months. Both campaigns claim such a process is intended to delay the certification of Strayhorn and Friedman as legitimate candidates.

On Tuesday, Friedman campaign manager Dean Barkley, with a cigar clamped in his big smile, watched Strayhorn’s aides load petitions into pickups for delivery. Strayhorn’s staff loaded 101 legal boxes, each half-filled with petitions.

“They definitely have more boxes than we do,” said Barkley, who still promised that Friedman will have substantially more signatures than he needs to get on the ballot.

Robert Black, a spokesman for Perry, dismissed Strayhorn’s petition collection as a paltry 1.9 percent of the state’s 12 million registered voters.

“Even with the help of three expensive signature-gathering organizations, paid petition-takers and more than four months to get her message out, 98 percent of eligible voters said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ ” Black said.

Perry won the Republican nomination in March with the backing of 4 percent of the state’s registered voters.

First of all, kudos to RG Ratcliffe for putting Strayhorn’s accomplishment in perspective with Perry’s. To be excruciatingly accurate, 223,000 signatures is 1.77% of the 12,577,545 registered voters as of November 2005, while the 552,545 votes Rick Perry got in the GOP primary is 4.39% of that total. Paid for or not – and at two bucks a sig, Strayhorn would have dropped up to about a half-million bucks here – I’d say getting the petitions signed was the harder task.

So, kudos to Strayhorn for getting this done. I’m hard pressed to imagine a scenario in which there’s any doubt about her appearance on the ballot in November. SOS Roger Williams can take whatever time he wants, I don’t think anyone will buy the idea that she can’t represent herself as being an official candidate at this point.

Still no ruling on that lawsuit from last week, by the way. SOS Williams’ office is now saying it may take only five weeks or so to verify the sigs, not the two months that had been previously stated. I still think he should have been told to get started ahead of time, but that seems hardly relevant now. At this point, I don’t see any real harm to Strayhorn’s campaign if he takes that much time and checks every name. I definitely disagree with this:

Strayhorn said her campaign’s in-house research has verified more signatures than she’ll need.

“All they’ll have to do is look at the first 45,000 petitions,” she said.

If she were the only independent wannabee, then sure. But see, there’s this other guy out there also collecting signatures, and the law says you can be on one petition or the other, but not both. That’s why they need to check them all, and if Strayhorn thought about it, she might realize that since she surely has more names in the bank than Friedman will (by that campaign’s own admission), her number is a threat to him even if the two groups looked in different places for signers. Assuming Kinky has something more like 100,000 autographs, overlap with Strayhorn imperils his viability much more than it does hers, given that a certain number of these names will be tossed for other reasons.

Now if Kinky turns in 150,000 or more sigs tomorrow, it probably doesn’t matter much. But I think Strayhorn needs to think through her strategy a bit more carefully here. Friedman’s nonchalance about that lawsuit makes even less sense now. If Strayhorn wises up and drops the issue, he may come to regret it.

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One Comment

  1. Mathwiz says:

    Well, now we can all relax and vote for Bell in November (unless he’s way behind in the polls, in which case we can hold our noses and vote for Carole).

    To be excruciatingly accurate, 223,000 signatures is 1.77% of the 12,577,545 registered voters as of November 2005, while the 552,545 votes Rick Perry got in the GOP primary is 4.39% of that total.

    It’s still an apples-to-oranges comparison and Robert Black knows it. (Typical Republican spokesman.) Anyone can declare herself a Republican on primary day and vote for Rick, if they’re so inclined; but Carole had to draw her signatures from those registered voters who chose not to do so (and not to vote in the Democratic primary either). Yes, primary turnout was low this year, and yes, some of Carole’s signatures are probably invalid ones from primary voters, but I’d still bet she got quite a bit more than 1.77% of the pool of eligible voters to sign.

    I still like Bell best, but this is quite an accomplishment. Robert Black’s comments just prove that the definition of “spin” is “sin” with some “p” in it.