The Trib reviews the bidding on the Martha Dominguez situation in SBOE 1.
According to the Texas Election Code, primary candidates have until 63 days before the primary election to apply to have their name withdrawn (this year it was March 12), and they must withdraw with “the authority with whom the withdrawing candidate’s application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed.” In this case, that was the Texas Democratic Party, not the secretary of state’s office.
Rich Parsons, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said that because Dominguez did neither of those things, her withdrawal was invalid and she stayed on the ballot as a legitimate candidate.
Had she successfully withdrawn from the primary, her name would not have been on the ballot, and one of the two other Democrats would have won the nomination.
Dominguez said Friday that her attempted withdrawal was based on “personal issues” that are now resolved, and that she fully intends to run against Republican Carlos Charlie Garza in November.
“The Texas voters have elected me, and I intend to win,” she said.
Had she decided not to stay on after being nominated for the general election, it’s unlikely that another Democrat could have taken her place.
Nice to see that she’s running; there had been some recent speculation that she had in fact withdrew. The fact that she hadn’t withdrew is mostly because she didn’t do it correctly, and I can’t say I’m comforted by that. The El Paso Times has more on that.
Dominguez said she tried to pull out of the race because of personal reasons, but once she saw she had won, she began to prepare to run in November. She said she has taken care of those personal issues.
“That whole week, I started emailing (secretary of state) to ask what happens and they said I was OK to run,” Dominguez said.
The certificate of withdrawal did not say why she wanted to get out of the race.
Democratic primary candidate [Sergio] Mora said he is disturbed by the fact that the Secretary of State’s office didn’t tell Dominguez to contact the state party or didn’t notify the party of her intent to withdrawal.
Mora said according to his interpretation of the election code, Dominguez missed the deadline to have her name removed from the ballot, but not withdrawal.
He feels the secretary of state should have let the party know so they could honor her withdrawal and appoint a different candidate.
“I have talked to various party leaders and we are concerned that the Republican Party will use this certificate of withdrawal to eliminate the Democratic candidate,” Mora said. “I think her request to withdrawal from the primary and general election should be honored and the Democratic Party should appoint someone to run in the general election.”
Mora said he will take legal action if necessary.
That ought to be interesting. No question in my mind that if Dominguez were to withdraw now, there would not be a replacement for her on the Democratic ticket. The Trib story references the Tom DeLay case of 2006, and I agree that’s on point. DeLay’s failed argument was that he was no longer eligible for the office he sought; Dominguez would have to have a valid claim of health reasons for withdrawal to be replaced. Mora’s argument is that she did withdraw before the primary, and that means she should not have been on that ballot. Under those circumstances, I can see the case for allowing a replacement, but I don’t know if a judge would buy it. We’ll see if Mora follows through.
And since I’m sure you’re wondering about Dominguez’s partner in enigmatic primary winners, Marisa Perez, the Texas Observer actually managed to speak to her, though it wasn’t easy.
After leaving messages with every listed number I could find for Perez and her campaign treasurer, and unable to take a hint, this reporter drove from Austin to San Antonio in search of the elusive candidate. This is what I had to go on: Perez, 27, is a graduate of San Antonio’s Edison High School and the University of Texas at Austin. She’s a social worker with Texas Child Protective Services, which could offer a little insight into what she’d bring to the board.
There was another brief clue from a videotaped campaign forum in May (like so many elusive characters, you’ll find proof that she exists on YouTube), Perez described her intentions thusly: “I am new to politics. I am not new to humanities. I’m not new to social service,” she said. She said she’d like to provide mental health training to teachers and counselors—a fine idea, though not something that falls under the scope of the SBOE.
I pulled up in the parking lot of the hulking brown three-story complex on San Antonio’s southeast side where Perez works, and casually glanced around. Naturally, there are security precautions in place at the Department of Family and Protective Services. After finding all the back entrances locked, I found the guards at the front door pleasantly disinterested when I walked right past them. But I was joined on the elevator by a helpful but skeptical employee who promptly marched me back to the metal detector. (She hadn’t heard of Perez either.)
At the front desk, I requested an audience with the presumptive board of education member, and the receptionist managed to get her on the line right away. After a thrilling moment—I was watching someone talk to her—I was told Perez was just stepping into a meeting. “She can call you right back,” the receptionist told me. I held my breath.
She never called back. Dejected, I drove back to Austin.
Then late last week, Perez announced she’d be holding her first campaign fundraiser outside an auto parts store next to her old high school. I decided to make a second foray into San Antonio to find Perez. When I arrived around noon, the candidate was introducing herself to a pair of teachers, shaking hands enthusiastically and planning to keep in touch. Under a pair of tents behind her, friends and family members sat talking, and selling hot dogs and drinks for a $5 donation. (Later that afternoon, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte would also drop by to speak with the candidate.)
Perez apologized for not returning my calls, saying the campaign has kept her too busy to answer all the calls she’s been getting. Even on election night, she said, she was out of town working, ferrying kids across the state. “I was on the phone every 20 minutes keeping up with the stats,” she said.
Perez said her main focus now is making herself accessible, to be “a recognizable face in the community.” It would seem she has a long way to go. But Perez did say she made a campaign stop in the Rio Grande Valley before the primary, and guesses she must have left an impression with those teachers and parents. Otherwise, she’s not too interested in talking about specifics—either about her out-of-nowhere primary win, or about the work she’ll face on the SBOE. Judging by how hard she was to track down, though, I felt lucky to come away with this much.
Patrick Michels, you’re my hero. Via SA Charter Moms, who have more on Perez. I say again, we need to think about better ways to protect good incumbents from getting swamped by no-name candidates in low-profile races like this. As for Perez, her Facebook page still has nothing more than the announcement of her June 13 fundraiser. But at least now we know that she actually exists.