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Sean Hemmerle

Who not to vote for 2012

There are a number of interesting and exciting Democratic primary races on this year’s ballot. You can see a bunch of them here and here. There are many good candidates, and many races in which you may have a difficult choice but can’t really make a bad choice.

Unfortunately, that is not true for all races. There are a few right here in Harris County that include candidates that no rational, self-respecting Democrat should ever support. The main danger is that in a low-information race, these candidates all will attract some support. The best antidote for that is to ensure that you know who you are dealing with. With that in mind, this is my slate of people you should not even consider voting for. Not because I don’t like them or because I disagree with them, but because they do not represent Democratic values in any meaningful sense and will do real harm to the rest of the ticket if they are accidentally nominated.

First up is someone who did get accidentally nominated in 2010, and who did cause harm by doing so. I refer to CD22 candidate Kesha Rogers, who is a LaRouchie and impeachment advocate but who won the 2010 primary anyway because no one was paying attention. There’s no excuse this time. Rogers is running against KP George, a perfectly nice, respectable, sane Democrat whose interview I’ll be publishing in the next week or two. The Fort Bend County Democratic Party has officially endorsed KP George (and I hope the HCDP will make an exception in this case as well) and has been working to stop Kesha Rogers for some time. We will have no one to blame but ourselves if she gets nominated again.

Another candidate to watch out for would have been on the ballot in 2010 if he hadn’t been disqualified from the ballot is the notorious hatemonger and perennial candidate Dave Wilson, who is once again seeking to pollute the waters in Commissioners Court Precinct 4. I trust you’re aware of Mr. Wilson’s shameful resume by now, so I will simply note that he is opposed by Sean Hammerle, whose interview is here, and that if we have any clue at all it will be Hammerle on the ballot in November.

Harris County DA candidate Lloyd Oliver, another perennial who usually runs for a judicial seat, doesn’t have quite the long history that some of these other folks do, but he’s basically a nobody who escaped a barratry charge in 2010 and certainly won’t be an asset to the ticket the way that Zack Fertitta unquestionably will. And then there was this reply he sent to Carl Whitmarsh after Whitmarsh sent out news about the Justice Department spiking the hideous voter ID law:

Seems a GIANT STEP backwards….if you will not get an official state ID, you are probably an illegal alien or a convict…Don’t now who you are….but stop sending me your email crap…

Well, I “don’t now” about you, but I sure don’t want this clown on my ballot. Please help make that not happen by voting for Zack Fertitta, whose interview is here.

Finally, there is one candidate who will sadly be on the ballot no matter what you do because he has no primary opponent. I am not going to name this individual because he has a history of harassment, but he is the “Democrat” running in SD07, against Sen. Dan Patrick. He’s a crazy perennial candidate who used to run as a Republican before deciding to inflict himself on us a few years ago, and if you never believe another word I say believe me when I say he is not worth your vote. I’d suggest that you vote for the Green Party candidate in this race in November, but they failed to put someone up in that race, which is a pity since it’s one where they would have provided a clearly better alternative. I don’t know if there will be a Libertarian there or not, but it doesn’t really matter. My advice, for those of you who are stuck in SD07, is to leave this one blank. If you vote a straight ticket, go back to the SD07 race and uncheck the candidate there – either party, I’m not picky – and then cast your vote. You’ll feel better afterward.

So that’s my list of people who are unworthy of your vote in May. This is not to say that there aren’t clear choices in some other races – I would certainly recommend voting for Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and for State Reps. Garnet Coleman and Borris Miles, for example – but at least the other candidates in those races can be safely called Democrats. These are the races in which to avoid unforced errors. If you know of others, where it’s not a matter of dislike or disapproval but of outright disgrace and disgust, leave a comment and let me know. Warning: Anything that falls outside that clear boundary will be deleted.

Interview with Sean Hammerle

Sean Hammerle

Sean Hammerle is running to be the Democratic nominee for Harris County Commissioner in Precinct 4, the seat formerly held by the now-convicted Jerry Eversole and now by Jack Cagle. Hammerle is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and has worked as a development director and board member of various local charities. He now owns his own consulting business for non-profits. He is also a Democratic precinct chair and a lifetime member of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, having served as its President in 2000-01. These things are important to note because his opponent in this race is the loathesome hatemeister Dave Wilson, who is again running as a Democrat for this nomination as a middle-finger gesture to the HCDP. It’s vitally important that Hammerle and not Wilson be the nominee, and it’s the job of all good Democrats to help spread the word about this race. Heres’s the interview:

Download the MP3 file

You can find a list of all interviews for this cycle, plus other related information, on my 2012 Harris County Primary Elections page. You can also follow this blog by liking its Facebook page.

When is a filing deadline not a filing deadline?

Answer: When there will be another filing period after the filing deadline, as will be the case in Texas, according to the Secretary of State.

“Based on the federal court’s order handed down December 16, candidates will be permitted to file when the filing period reopens on a date yet to be determined and set to close, again by the federal court’s order, on February 1, 2012,” said Secretary of State spokesman Rich Parsons.

I presume this only applies to the offices without districts, i.e., Congress, State Senate, and State House. Those of you looking to file for County Commissioner or some such, it’s now too late.

I have been informed that the second filing period, to begin on a date to be determined but to end no later than February 1, will be for all offices, not just those affected by the redistricting litigation. My apologies for the error.

The big news of the day is that Nick Lampson will saddle up again.

Nick’s back.

“I am. I have sent in the filing papers, so that means I am in the race (for the 14th Congressional District),” said Former Rep. Nick Lampson, 66, who held the Ninth Congressional District for eight years before redistricting split it up, putting Jefferson County and part of Orange County into the Second District along with a substantial chunk of Houston’s northern suburbs. Republican Ted Poe won the reconfigured Second District in 2004.

Also in the race are Beaumont attorneys Michael Truncale, 53, and Jay Old, 48, who both are running as Republicans, as well as a handful of other GOP contenders.

The latest round of redistricting hasn’t quite played out yet, but Lampson, a Democrat, was confident enough that the newly drawn 14th District will remain relatively stable, containing somewhere between 80-85 percent of the former Ninth District, that he was willing to throw his hat in the ring.

Expect there to be a lot of money in that race. It’s winnable for a Democrat, and Lampson is the best person for that job. Welcome back, Rep. Lampson.

Meanwhile, Democrats also now have a candidate for Senate who can claim to be someone some people might have heard of, former State Rep. Paul Sadler.

Sadler served as chairman of the House Public Education Committee and played a major role in passage of several key education laws from 1995 through 2001.

“I decided to run because Texas needs an advocate who can put the good of the state ahead of all else,” said Sadler, an attorney and current executive director of The Wind Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes use of wind as an energy source. “Like all Texans I am disgusted by the gridlock in Washington. I have a solid record of working with members of both parties to accomplish legislation that improves the lives and education of our children and all Texans.” Sadler represented an East Texas House district.

Best I recall he was a pretty decent fellow. He ran for SD01 in a special election to replace the retiring Bill Ratliff in 2003 and lost 52-48 in the runoff to Sen. Kevin Eltife. I doubt he has any more potential to win than Gen. Sanchez did, but he’s someone who has successfully run for public office before. He’s the frontrunner for my vote in the primary.

There were three new filings for the Lege in Harris County yesterday: Cody Pogue in HD127, Paul Morgan in HD135, and Sarah Winkler in HC137. Someone had left a comment recently asking where all the longshot candidacies were, well, those first two would qualify for that. As for Winkler, she’s a trustee in Alief ISD – I interviewed her in 2009 when she last ran for re-election. Her entrance makes HD137 a four-candidate race, with all four being good quality.

Unfortunately, there are also a couple of lemons on the ballot as well. A perennial candidate who has mostly filed as a Republican in races past is in for SD07; I’m not naming him because he has a history of harassing behavior. Popping up like a pimple in Precinct 4 is hatemeister Dave Wilson, filing for the second election in a row for County Commissioner. He was booted from the ballot last time for having an invalid residential address; I’m not sure where the ensuing litigation now stands, but with any luck he’ll be thrown off again. Even if he isn’t, the good news is that this time he’s not alone – in a deliciously ironic twist, former HGLBT Political Caucus Chair Sean Carter Hemmerle filed to run as well. Don’t let me down here, Precinct 4 voters.

I mostly haven’t paid much attention to the GOP filings in Harris County, as I’m not that interested in them, but with the “deadline” having passed I thought I’d take a peek and see who’s doing what to whom. Here are the highlights:

Senate: With the addition of the gentleman from ESPN, there are now ten candidates for KBH’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, a few of whom you’re familiar with. One recent entrant is 2008 HD134 candidate Joe Agris, who has apparently decided to go the Grandma Strayhorn route and call himself “Doc Joe” Agris. My guess is the end result will be approximately the same.

Congress: Kevin Brady, Mike McCaul, and Pete Olsen have primary challengers. Two-time loser John Faulk has not filed for CD18, with Sean Siebert taking his place as the designated sacrificial lamb. State Sen. Mike Jackson has six opponents for CD36, while three people I’ve never heard of are running for CD34. My guess is that the A-listers are waiting to see what SCOTUS does before hopping in.

Judiciary: A couple of old familiar names pop up on the Supreme Court ballot: Steven Wayne Smith, who ousted Xavier Rodriguez in 2002, was ousted by Paul Green in 2004, and lost to Don Willett in 2006, is back to challenge Willett again. Rodriguez, of course, went on to a federal bench, and was one of the three judges in the San Antonio redistricting case, who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. (I’m assuming this is Steven Wayne Smith – the Harris GOP website simply says “Steve Smith”.) Also making like a zombie is John Devine, wingnut former occupant of a Harris County bench who went on to lose races for County Attorney and CD10. He’s one of two people running against Justice David Medina. Ken Law gets to be the 2012 test of “Can a guy with a nice, easy, Anglo name knock off an incumbent Latino Republican in a primary even if the entire GOP establishment is against him” as he goes against Perry-appointed Judge Elsa Alcala on the Court of Criminal Appeals. CCA Judge Larry Meyers is also taking another crack at Presiding Judge Sharon Keller. In Harris County, several judges who lost in 2008 are seeking rematches, including Jeff Hastings, John Coselli, Lamar McCorkle, Roger Bridgwater, Tad Halbach, and Brock Thomas.

SBOE: As noted before, Terri Leo is stepping down in District 6. Donna Bahorich is unopposed for the nomination to succeed her. Barbara Cargill has a challenger in District 8.

The Lege: State Rep. Larry Taylor has two opponents for SD11, which is being vacated by Sen. Jackson. Five Republican incumbent House members have primary opponents – Dan Huberty (HD127), John Davis (HD129), Bill Callegari (HD132), Jim Murphy (HD133), and Debbie Riddle (HD150). I can only shudder to think what a challenge from Riddle’s right might look like. There are still four people listed for HD136, including former Council Member Pam Holm, even though that district was eliminated by the San Antonio court. You never know what SCOTUS will do, of course. The most interesting name for a Democratic-held seat is another former Council member, MJ Khan, who is vying for the open HD137. Seems unlikely to me that the court will rule in a way to make both of these candidacies valid, but again, you never know.

County: We already knew that DA Pat Lykos and Tax Assessor Don Sumners had company. So do looney-tunes HCDE Trustee Michael Wolfe and newly-appointed County Commissioner Jack Cagle, who has two opponents in his primary. There are three candidates for the open HCDE Precinct 3 seat, with two others running to be the candidate who gets crushed in Precinct 1 in Roy Morales’ place. Finally, there are eight candidates for Sheriff, including 2004 Democratic nominee for Sheriff Guy Robert Clark, who also lost in the 2008 Dem primary to Sheriff Adrian Garcia. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess.

Finally, both the HCDP and the Harris County GOP will have contested elections for Party Chair, as Lane Lewis and current GOP Chair Jared Woodfill drew last-day opponents. Keryl Douglas, the subject of that “draft” movement I mentioned before, will oppose Lewis, while Woodfill will face someone named Paul Simpson. I know basically nothing about either person, but I do know I’ll be voting for Lewis to be interim Chair at tonight’s CEC meeting.

That’s all I’ve got. Let me know what I missed. PDiddie and Texas Politics have more, and be sure to see the Texas Tribune and TDP pages for any other blanks to be filled.