November 10, 2004
HD149 status still uncertain

The votes have been counted, but we still don't know for sure what will happen in the race for HD149 between Hubert Vo and Talmadge Heflin.

"It's not over yet," Vo said. "I am proud of the results. I feel at ease. But this is going to be a short feeling, because I know there are some process and procedures that my opponent will take advantage of."

Whatever happens, Vo said, he believes he will prevail.

Lawyers for Heflin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, have not yet decided to seek a recount.

"We are vigorously pursuing all of our options," said Andy Taylor, who is representing Heflin. "We are examining instances where illegal votes were wrongfully counted and instances where legal votes were incorrectly discarded."

The deadline for requesting a recount will be sometime during the week of Thanksgiving.

Heflin did not return a phone call seeking an interview. But his campaign spokesman, Craig Murphy, said Heflin remained even-tempered.

"He's exactly the same, he's very mild-mannered and as matter and fact, and business-oriented as he always has been," said Murphy, who called Heflin with the final results about midnight Monday when they were reported.

Taylor said Heflin's camp wants to learn all of the facts and circumstances surrounding both the tallying of the absentee and provisional votes before they make a decision to request a recount of electronic votes.

Vo was ahead by 38 votes before mail-in and provisional ballots, cast by voters who could not prove their eligibility when they went to the polls, were counted.

A recount, however, is not a necessary prerequisite to contest the election. Heflin has until Dec. 8 to do that. The election would then be thrown to the House of Representatives, which could either seat Vo or overturn the election and require a new vote.

There have been several contested elections in the Texas House in recent years, but none has reversed the outcome. Most were withdrawn.

Buck Wood, one of several lawyers observing the Harris County vote canvass on Vo's behalf, said Heflin's case posed a potential public relations "nightmare" for Republicans.

With an 87-62 Republican majority (excluding the contested seat) in the House, partisanship could become a factor.

"This House has shown itself to be as partisan as any I've ever seen," Wood said.

If Heflin were to contest the election, Vo would still be seated when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 11. He could vote in the speaker's election and on other House business but couldn't participate in any decisions involving the contested election.

Redistricting was supposed to be a public relations "nightmare" for the Republicans, too, but they don't seem to have suffered all that much for it. I don't think that potshots from Rick Casey and good-cop cajoling from the Chron editorial board are going to have any effect on Andy Taylor. I do find it interesting that Talmadge Heflin hasn't had anything to say about this since Election Day. Plenty of people have spoken on his behalf, including Tayloy, Craig Murphy, and State GOP Chair Tina Benkhiser, but not a peep from the man himself. It'd be nice to know what exactly he thinks, that's all I'm saying.

Byron has the official resolution from the contested Wohlgemuth-Erickson race of 1994. I continue to hope that it doesn't come to that. Looks like we will have at least one contested election this year, though:

Susan Delgado filed an election contest against state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Hous-ton, who easily won re-election last week with more than 90 percent of the vote against a Libertarian opponent and Delgado, a write-in candidate.

Delgado, Gallegos' former mistress, alleged that the senator doesn't live in District 6, which he represents. Gallegos has said he and his wife spend most of their time at his mother's house in District 6, although he takes a homestead exemption on a residence outside the district.

The homestead issue came up in January. I have not seen any news items which indicate whether the lawsuit that was filed over that has been resolved or not. I have a feeling that this contest won't be going anywhere, though.

Meanwhile, in other close races, both Kelly White and Ken Mercer appear to be preparing to ask for recounts. There are different types of recounts which cost different amounts of money, so the final details have not been determined. Stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 10, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

This is one of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans. A Republican in Vo's shoes would be out screaming from the highest mountain that the voters have spoken and elected him. This blog would be proclaiming him the obvious winner. Everyone on their side would be in unison.

However, we, as Democrats, are so freakin' wishy-washy about it. The title of this post is an example: "HD149 status still uncertain". Mr. Vo's comments are another example: "It's not over yet...".

Its hard for the media to jump on your bandwagon and proclaim you the winner if you don't even have a bandwagon.

We should be screaming that he's won. That a recount won't change that. etc...

It doesn't matter if its true or not. Apparently, it has all become about perception.

Posted by: javabuddha on November 10, 2004 9:27 AM

No, actually, it has all become about who makes the rules and runs the house; perception won't mean a thing. I'd be glad to be wrong, though.

Posted by: Thomas Nephew on November 10, 2004 9:46 AM