Monday, February 15, 2010

Local Republican Operatives Decry Back Room Politics

"All politics is local." - Tip O'Neill, Boston Democrat, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Did you know that of 31 State Senatorial Districts - the lines along which the Texas Republican Party Executive Committee is organized - only 6 have a website to inform
voters of what's going on?

A local live wire operative in the grass roots voter revolt forming battle lines from Burleson to College Station-Bryan is highly aware of it.

She has deeply rooted ties to the Hispanic Republican elements, the TEA Parties, and invidivual County Republican Clubs. You can hear her speak to the Bosque County Republican Club Tuesday, February 16 at the Church of Christ at 7 p.m.

A ranch real estate broker, Janet Jackson sits behind a utilitarian zinc-topped desk reminiscent of a Paris bistro.

From her perch in a well-appointed corner office in the Bank of America building in downtown Clifton, she looks far away and into the future.

Her job is to make Republicans and those who would like to
become Republicans think about the ways to use the system to
their advantage.

"That's a good saying," she interjects, jotting it down on
her desktop blotter.

"It's a good system. Let's use the system; it's the only
one we've got."

She is a training and development coordinator for GOP is For, a grass roots media operation willing to take on a
confusing set of conditions in the status quo of the local
State Republican Executive Committee, State Senatorial
District 22.

On this crisp and clear day in the brilliant sunshine of a
winter afternoon, she is reacting to the news that the
Republican Party's top honcho, Texas Republican Party
Chairman Cathy Adams of Dallas, refuses to endorse Burleson
venture capital and insurance broker Darren Yancy, the only
Republican candidate for State Senate who has stated he is
willing to serve if elected.

She decries the fact that Ms. Adams has changed her tune
from one of support voiced in the media on January 19 for
the Yancy candidacy in the face of a growing draft Averitt
movement spearheaded by Executive Committee member Chris
DeCluitt, a Waco attorney who is also a board member of the
Brazos River Authority.

Speaking directly to Ms. Adams through a blog announcement
on Gop Is For, she said, "Madame Chairman, do you
care to explain your stance on this situation? Surely you
realize we have a train wreck up here in the Waco area. It
would be very helpful to have some RPT support to sort
things out. Oh, I'm sorry, did I just say 'The Emperor has
no clothes - again!"

Senator Averitt made an announcement near the first of the
year that he will not seek the nomination of the Republican
Party for re-election, though his name is still on the
primary ballot and cannot be removed.

On that day in January, Ms. Adams told Waco reporters, "If
someone has filed as a Republican and is duly accepted and
registered with the state party as a Republican, then we're
going to do all we can to help those candidates..."

In a critical aside, she differed with the opinion advanced
by Mr. DeCluitt. "As far as an executive committee member
commenting, he has every freedom to speak his mind, but
that's not the position of the Republican Party of Texas."

Republican Party rules preclude a State or County Chairman
from commenting on a primary race. The fact that Mr. Yancy
is apparently unopposed is only apparent - and nothing more
- because if Senator Averitt should change his mind and let
others run his campaign while he recovers from the
unspecified health concerns that prompted his last minute
decision, then it would change the situation dramatically.

It's a solution advocated by former State Senator Joe Sibley
of Waco.

If he wins the nomination hands down, yet refuses to run in
the general election, then the County Republican Chairmen
would have a hand in picking a candidate to fill his shoes.
What's more, that would leave the door open for Democratic
County Chairmen to do the same.

It's a matter of party discipline, commented Ms. Jackson.
Though the Republican Party's rules are laid out in black
and white in the policy manual, there is still much
confusion on the issue.

She recounted the actions of former Johnson County
Republican Chairman Jon Fidler, a relative youngster of less
than 30, who early on in the campaign criticized other
chairmen for allowing other candidates in the primary race
to oppose Waco candidate Rob Curnock in his quest to unseat
incumbent District 17 U.S. Representative Chet Edwards in
the general election. Mr. Fidler told the media that such
candidacies are "detrimental to the Republican Party."

Mr. Fidler quickly dropped out of the race for Johnson
County Republican Chairman following that faux pas.

Planning the campaign and campaigning according to the plan
is something she has learned can be easily taught,
inculcated and turned to tremendous advantage.

"I've been through all these manuals from the top - from the
State Chairman to the Precinct Chairman - and it is

The route to success is a clearly marked trail.

Her goal is to train precinct chairmen how to use the
advantages of their state party apparatus to recruit
campaign workers, attract voters and win elections.

But she finds herself increasingly frustrated with the
attitudes of the District 22 State Republican Executive
Committee Member, Mr. De Cluitt.

She declared that she sent him an e-mail about plans to
train precinct chairmen.

"He e-mailed me back and said that the only thing a Precinct
chairman does is run the election...I'm sorry, but that is
what an election judge does. See, he doesn't really
understand, does he?"

Similarly, McLennan County Republican Chairman candidate
Will Jones has vowed to establish tight party discipline if
he is able to unseat the incumbent, Joe B. Hinton.

Said Jones, "Even Precinct Chairmen tell me they support
Chet Edwards."

He's talking about Republican Party Precinct Chairmen.

"This election is about getting rid of Chet Edwards."

If elected, he told Hispanic Republican Club of McLennan
County President Duke Machado in a GOP is For
interview, "I'm going to run a school for precinct chairmen
using the Texas Republican Party manual. If they won't study
with us, they aren't going to be precinct chairmen."

In a separate statement, Mr. Machado characterized the
behavior of Mr. Hinton and his allies as that of "...a
spoiled rotten child throwing a tantrum because he didn't
get the toy he wanted...

"I think everyone knows that Joe Hinton has a strong
potential to lose. I think a lot of people realize that."

As to the confict over the State Senate Primary, Mr. Machado
added, "...They don't want someone from outside of Waco
controlling McLennan County...That's just unacceptable in
their eyes..."

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