So what happened while I was out of town?
There are now three contested House races.
They have been filed by state Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, state Rep. Jack Stick, R-Austin, and attorney Eric Opiela, R-Karnes City, who ran for an open seat in South Texas.
Circumstances are different in each case, but all the Republicans say illegal votes were cast, and they are asking the GOP-controlled House to investigate and possibly overturn the Election Day results.
All three are being supported in their challenges by state Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser.
"Voter fraud undermines the faith of the people and, as a result, we support Opiela, Heflin and Stick in combating the effects of possible voter fraud in their districts," she said.
Note also that Talmadge Heflin has the full support of the State GOP. He's not just some disgruntled loser making trouble for poor ol' Tom Craddick, despite Craddick's gosh-darned best efforts to warn him off. At what point do you think "By any means necessary" will be written into the official party platform?
The BOR guys speculate (here and here) that the most recent challenge, by outgoing Rep. Jack Stick, is nothing more than cover for the real target, which is Heflin's seat. Hotshot Casey is thinking along the same lines. Meanwhile, Greg does the math and sees blaming the voters as Heflin's only viable strategy.
More on the Stick challenge in this Statesman article.
Stick's allegations of problems "reconciling" voter information from Election Day has Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir stumped.
"It's a false accusation," she said. "I just did a recount (for White)."
Stick could not be reached for comment late Monday. But he wrote in his five-page filing with the secretary of state that he was protesting the result pending the release of election data that would show whether any voters cast more than one ballot, lived outside the district or were ineligible to vote. Stick wrote that it would be another two weeks before the election data would be available.
DeBeauvoir said she also saw a follow-up letter from Stick to the secretary of state claiming she had not released voter registration information to Stick.
The county clerk said she's not the voter registrar but that Travis County is probably current on all information related to the election.
"I have never received any kind of written or oral request from Jack Stick for information," she said. "We're done and up-to-date. I don't know why Jack Stick would accuse me."
Republican Eric Opiela gained four votes Monday in a recount for State Representative District 35, but still lost to Democrat Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles by more than 800 votes.
In the recount Monday, Opiela gained 31 votes in Bee County and one in Karnes County. But he lost 28 in Jim Wells County.
Gonzalez Toureilles gained 17 votes in Jim Wells County, had no change in her total in Karnes County, but lost 9 votes in Bee County.
The final tally in the district, which also includes Goliad, McMullen, Atascosa and Live Oak counties, was 23,146 for Gonzalez Toureilles and 22,288 for Opiela. Only the votes in Karnes, Bee and Jim Wells counties were contested.
Opiela said the challenge brought out what he called irregularities in Bee, Karnes and Jim Wells counties.
"In Bee and Jim Wells, the high number of irregularities during Election Day contributed to the decision," Opiela said. "We want to make sure every vote was counted and that illegal votes are not counted and that's why we filed an election challenge."
Gonzalez Toureilles was in Austin for a legislative orientation and could not be reached for comment.
Opiela said he received several calls from voters in Jim Wells and Bee counties who were concerned about the race's outcome.
"We noticed in this county (Jim Wells) one of the boxes had a different serial number and that concerned us with the security of the boxes," he said.
Jim Wells County Clerk Ruben Sandoval said one election judge didn't completely fill out the combination form or sign-in sheet for voters in Precinct 14.
Finally, on an unrelated matter, the Corpus Christi Caller Times ponders the sad fate of unloved Craddick disciple Vilma Luna.
House Speaker Tom Craddick missed a wonderful opportunity to reward a Democrat who has, at great political risk, stuck with him during tough times. His failure to tap State Rep. Vilma Luna as chairwoman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee had to have stung.
Instead, Craddick named Jim Pitts, a Republican from Waxahachie, as chairmanof what is perhaps the most important committee in Austin, particularly in a session when public school finance will be job one.
Craddick, the top Republican in a GOP-dominated chamber, could have shown true bipartisanship by naming Luna, the Corpus Christi Democrat who was among the few in her party not to participate in the two walkouts during last summer's special sessions on redistricting. The walkouts denied the GOP leadership the quorum necessary to push through the redrawing of congressional lines that eventually resulted in ousting four of five targeted Texas Democratic congressmen.
But Luna stayed in Austin, one of a few Democrats to do so. Several of those Democrats later paid the price, such as high-profile State Rep. Ron Wilson of Houston whose loss was attributed to his support for Craddick's legislation.
Like Luna, Wilson gave Republicans bipartisan weight by voting for an appropriations measure that met the GOP leadership's requirements of producing a state budget that had no new taxes, even at the cost of cutting the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Thanks to KF for several links.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 01, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack