The problem with politics is plain and simple: too few people have all the power.
In the case I’m talking now, in the Texas Democratic Primary on May 29th, Lloyd Wayne Oliver defeated party favorite Zack Ferrttita for the right to be the Democratic nominee for Harris County District Attorney. And not by a squeaker, it was a couple percentage points of a win.
Fast forward nearly three months later. Former Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP) chair Gerald Birnberg alleges Mr. Oliver “endorsed and supported” current District Attorney Patricia Lykos (R) in her bid to be renominated (which she lost, by a significant margin), based on statements he made following the primary.
In his statement responding to the complaint, Mr. Oliver stated that he would not have endorsed Ms. Lykos because she had lost and was no longer a candidate. The statements were made beginning the day after the primary was over in an attempt to woo some of her supporters. Also in the statement, Mr. Oliver believed that the Texas Democratic Party Rules (TDPR) do not explicitly apply to elected candidates and the attempt to remove him from the ballot would not stand. In conjunction, a representative from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office informed Mr. Oliver that such a thing would not be possible. Believing he had covered the ground, Mr. Oliver sent the statement to Chairman of the HCDP Lane Lewis.
Today, on August 22nd, Mr. Oliver received Mr. Lewis’ answer: his statement did not adequately defend the charges and he would not be removed from the ballot and the decision would be appealed to the TDP Chairman. In addition, for the first time, Mr. Lewis explained that the HCDP had decided to leave vacant the ballot line for Harris County District Attorney. Regardless of the TDP Chairman’s decision, HCDP was not going to run a candidate in November.
This is a clear violation of election laws and a violation of the people of Harris County’s civil rights. The HCDP is attempting to remove a candidate from the nomination of office because their candidate didn’t win. If this was possible, it would happen all the time. There is no vehicle for removing a candidate from elected nomination, barring not meeting age or residency requirements or dying. Election attorneys and judges are salivating at the chance to win this slam-dunk of a case.
Local news and national media have gotten a whiff of this story. The shit is about to hit the fan. The HCDP and the TDP have effectively given this election to Mr. Oliver. Voters love an underdog, especially now that local and national media are portraying him as a victim.
A victim of party bosses, personal vendettas, and he is the defender of 30,000 citizen’s civil rights. And more. By not putting up a candidate for the highest partisan office in the county on the ballot in 2012, the citizens are being deprived of being able to cast a choice and make their voice heard.