Saturday, July 17, 2010


It appears some Republican operatives have a history and tradition of sleazy conduct. The sleaziest that comes to mind was the burglary of Democratic headquarters in Washington which resulted in the resignation and impeachment of President Nixon. Apparently, the tradition of underhanded conduct by political operatives favoring Republicans is still alive and well.

Recent news reports bring to light the South Carolina U.S. Senate race where the Democratic nominee, Mr. Green, was arrested and unable to post bond and filed a pauper’s oath in order to be released on his own recognizance awaiting trial. Just a few short months later, Mr. Green managed to scrape up slightly more than $10,000 to get himself on the ballot as a candidate for the Democratic nomination as the Senator for South Carolina.

Mr. Green has been unable to explain to anyone where the $10,000 plus filing fee came from or how he managed a campaign after having himself declared poverty stricken. Suspicions abound his financial angel was not necessarily a Democrat, but someone bent on trying to divide the Democratic votes in November, or at least dilute them, to the benefit of the Republican nominee. We had a slightly similar experience in our own area in 2008 with our state senator experience.

If you will recall, Chris Bell, a former candidate for governor in Texas, ran along with several others to be the state senator for district 17. The creation of thisdistrict alone was enough to raise some eyebrows about fair-minded politics. The district was gerrymandered so that it runs from the North side of IH-10 on the West side of Houston, down through coastal counties, including half of Galveston Island, through Chambers County, through a narrow strip of land where there are
no humans, Sabine Pass and reaches up and takes in Port Arthur, cutting it off from the rest of Jefferson County.

Chris Bell emerged as the favorite receiving 85,725 votes in the first special election. There was speculation Chris Bell could possibly win the seat without a run-off, and in all probability would have, except for the fact that near the filing deadline a second Democratic candidate showed up in the form of Stephanie E. Simmons. Ms. Simmons is an African-American whose residence was extremely questionable. She claimed a residence where her grandmother had lived in one of the counties just South of Harris County, but numerous investigations and visits to the house seemed to indicate Ms. Simmons had never lived there.

Further investigation revealed Ms. Simmons had been encouraged to join the race by former Representative Ron Wilson, an African- American member of the House from Houston for several years. Mr. Wilson had been rejected for re-election by his constituency in Harris County largely due to the fact he continued to vote more with Republicans than Democrats. The final straw was the last session of Mr. Wilson’s service when he was a strong ally and advocate for Speaker Tom Craddick, as well as Tom DeLay. Being bitter about being rejected by the people in his own district, Wilson became fairly active on behalf of many other Republican candidates.

Coincidentally, his lobby business picked up and was hired as assistant parliamentarian by then Speaker Tom Craddick. Although Ms. Simmons did very little in the way of campaigning, spent almost no money, she managed to garner 30,839 votes or approximately 13% or 14% of the total; just enough to make sure Chris Bell was not able to win it all in the first general special election. Unfortunately, in the runoff between Chris Bell and the Republican Joan Huffman, 179,622 voters which had shown up at the polls in the first election failed to return and exercise their right to vote. Bell, who had received almost 86,000 votes in the first election, received 19,176.  Huffman, who had received 58,000 in the first election, received 24,497, and is now State Senator for District 17.

It appears Republicans in Texas are getting a little nervous about their favorite son, Rick Perry. Recent articles and polls show Rick Perry and Mayor Bill White are virtually neck-and-neck. White appears to have moved ahead with a few revelations concerning Perry’s record in office. So, here we go again with the sleaze.

Out of the blue a petition has arrived in Texas containing several thousand signatures asking that the Green Party be included on the November ballot. Green Party candidates have not scored enough votes in gubernatorial races to entitle
them to automatically be on the November ballot. To obtain such entitlement requires about 5% of the total vote, and the best the Green Party has ever done has been about 2%.  It is widely believed among political observers that Green Party candidates generally siphon votes away from Democratic candidates.

Well, it appears most of the mystery has been solved. Mike Toomey, a former State Representative and well-known Republican activist has admitted paying approximately $12,000 to an official of the Green Party to attempt to gather enough signatures to get the Green Party on the ballot.

Apparently, the Green Party official got cold feet about the source of the money he was receiving and backed out. The slack was apparently taken up by approximately ½ million dollar contribution made by some anonymous corporate source from out of the state to hire people to produce enough signatures to qualify the Green Party for the November ballot. Involvement of two of Perry’s staff has recently come to light. It looks just like an underhanded scheme Mike Toomey is capable of.

Toomey’s history is that after leaving the Texas House he became a very well-paid lobbyist and then a staff member for Governor Clements. Upon leaving Clements office, he went back to lobbying and showed up next as an aide to Rick Perry. His most notable accomplishment was to persuade Perry to issue a gubernatorial order that young girls be vaccinated with a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Aside from such an order being invasive to the privacy of young women, it also revealed Toomey, his number one aide, had been the lobbyist for the manufacturer of the vaccine. In such a case it was not too hard to connect the dots. In Republican politics, the rule is always to follow the money.

A district judge in Austin ruled the Green Party off the ballot. The Party took its appeal to the all-Republican Supreme Court which promptly lifted the stay pending further review. Even though more and more evidence emerges the scheme to dilute liberal votes was hatched in Governor Perry’s “shop,” odds are the Green Party will remain on the ballot. Our Supreme Court once again will demonstrate it has the ability to rise above principle for the sake of politics.

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