Let the games begin.....Iím not sure
how interested the general public is in the news this time
of the year, but I can assure you that newspaper columnists
live for these times. Iím not talking about the general
wrap-up of the news of the year before in which most
newspapers indulge simply because they have nothing else to
Iím talking about the Byzantine schemes
that are afoot as the political candidates jockey for
position in the upcoming March primary. Deadline for filing
was Monday, 5 p.m. and naturally there were several
We used to call him ďBud LiteĒ.......One
of the most surprising was County Attorney Bud Childers
last-minute resignation to run for County Court at Law #1
Judge, currently held by David Hunter. Hunter was appointed
by commissioners court several months ago after Judge Larry
Wagenbach retired with the proviso that he (Hunter) not seek
What is so surprising is that rumor has
it that Childers had told Nina Schaefer, the current
front-runner for the job, that he would not run.
And finally, political watchers are
surprised because Childers had to give up his safe elected
position as County Attorney to which he was appointed about
15 years ago with three years left on his term.
Due to the last minute resignation of
Childers, filing will be held open until Friday, 5 p.m. for
that position only.
Childersís former partner and high school
buddy Roy Cordes Jr. who is also the former Democratic
county judge (the last one) went to work in the county
attorneyís office as an assistant several months ago. He has
now been appointed as the interim County Attorney, meaning
if he runs for the office (and he is expected to), he can
run as an incumbent. Some people say that is the reason
Childers waited until the last minute to resign.
And then.....The other shocker was
District Clerk Glory Hopkins failure to file her ballot
application paper in time. Hopkins mailed her application to
County Chairman Eric Thodeís office address on Dec. 27.
However, family members discovered late Monday afternoon
after the filing deadline, that the certified mail had been
returned undeliverable due to an incorrect zip code. Hopkins
was out of town and didnít check her mail until too late.
Thode said the rules are pretty explicit
about filing deadlines and although he would check with the
Secretary of State, but didnít believe that Hopkins could be
certified to be on the ballot.
Hopkins claimed she faxed a copy of her
application to Thodeís office. Thode said he even had lunch
with Hopkins to collect her filing, but she didnít bring it.
Earlier, Thode also announced far and wide that Party
Secretary Susan Johnson would also be collecting filings at
her Sugar Lakes home until 5 p.m. Monday.
Complicating the whole affair is the fact
that Thode has established residency at his parentís
Missouri City home in order to remain party chair until the
primary, but he has also filed a homestead exemption on a
house in Harris County.
The law is less clear about this
situation, indicating that as long as candidates have a
reasonable expectation of returning to their home district,
they are eligible.
Hopkins has been criticized over the past
year by Fort Bend judges and other elected officials who
have complained that the software system she insisted on is
unwieldy. She has responded with long, long letters
explaining her decisions. So these actions have the
courthouse crowd tittering that Hopkins canít even keep up
with her own papers, much less those of the county.
There probably will be legal actions over
this situation as even the Democrats say they will sue if
she is allowed on the ballot.
Foolís errand...Then there is County
Clerk Dianne Wilson who has been the subject of a series of
articles in the Herald Coaster whose main source is a
disgruntled Midland/Odessa, Texas private investigator. The
four-part articles, which have also generated a couple of
editorials, were mainly concerned with the possibility of
identity theft from Wilsonís county clerk information on the
Wilson has drawn an opponent who is a
home bound self-employed young lady who has lived in Fort
Bend 15 months. Since Wilson is considered by most to be one
of the hardest working, conscientious elected officials,
little credence is being given to Wilsonís opponent.
However, the race will allow the other newspaper to again
drag up everything on Wilson they can.
Cat fight...An unfortunate antagonism
has developed between Wilson and Hopkins as many people have
compared their offices unfavorably with Hopkins office being
given short shift due to her refusal to modernize over the
years. Hopkins son-in-law is the publisher of the Herald
Other suprises.....Mike Baldwin, who
ran for commissioner last time out, has signed on to run for
State Representative Glenn Hegarís seat. Hegar has decided
to run for state senator. However, there are six other
Republican candidates in that race: Michael Franks, a
businessman, political printer; David Melanson, who lists
his occupation as banking; Stan Kitzman, a teacher; David
Showalter, an attorney/developer; Randy Smith, a business
owner; and John Zerwas, a physician. Baldwin is a rancher
and civil engineer.
I keep hearing that FBISD school board
member Ken Bryant has filed to run as a Republican for state
representative against Democrat incumbent Dora Olivo, but I
havenít been able to verify that. That would be an
interesting race--bringing up all sorts of political and
The district is heavily Democratic,
although it has become more Republican in the last few
years. However, Bryant is African-American, while Olivo is
Latino. The question is whether African-Americans will cross
over and vote Republican when a member of their own race is
Not long ago, Republicans didnít run
against each other in the primary. They had recently
dislodged the old Democratic majority and usually one lone
Republican signed up as a candidate. The free-for-all was in
the Democratic primary. That has all changed now and the
action is in the Republican primary. If one does not vote in
the Republican primary, in many cases that is the only place
where the vote counts.