July 02, 2005
Kinky vs. Obscene

One unexplored reality of the possibility that John Sharp may be soon entering the race for governor is that it changes the ballot-access calculus drastically for the Kinkynauts.

I fully intend to support the Democratic candidate next November. Until recently, however, it was beginning to look like Chris Bell was not going to draw a serious opponent in the Democratic primary. One should, of course, hedge their bets on these things. After all, the memory of 2002, when Dan Morales decided to run for governor at almost literally the last minute, is still pretty fresh in our minds.

A dreadfully boring primary - and it could still happen - would mean that I would be able to not have to go vote in the primary, which would make me eligible to sign the Kinky Friedman ballot access petition.

Generally, I believe that serious independent candidates ought to be able to get on to the ballot (although I wouldn't have signed Ralph Nader's ballot access petition last year for all the money in the world, because I am a nasty, petty person; incidentally, so is Ralph Nader). And frankly, Kinky Friedman being on the ballot probably increases the likelihood of the Democratic candidate winning next November.

So here we are: there's a good likelihood that I'm going to have to use my vote in the primary instead of maintaining my virginity for the Kinkstah. To be sure, I'm not angry at John Sharp for wanting to run for governor. He would surely do a much better job than Rick Perry.

I am, however, rather upset at the entire election system that forces such choices upon people. If, as a matter of principle, I would like to have a "third choice", why shouldn't I be able to have it?

It's not clear whether a contested Democratic primary will "suck the oxygen" out of the Kinky petition. They need, after all, about 46,000 signatures. There will certainly be more than 46,000 registered voters who will not vote in the primaries. However, it certainly will knock hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions, of voters out of eligibility. And that certainly will make things more difficult for the Kinkynauts.

Since I'm backing the reform candidate in this race, I think I'd like to use this post as an opportunity to suggest ballot-access reform as an item for y'all to chew on. So do chew.

And let me make one final note: how about, as a party, we attempt to prove the Kinkynauts wrong by not challenging their petition signatures (unless we start hearing really, really compelling allegations of fraud)?

Posted by Jim Dallas on July 02, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

We learned that lesson about primary voting and independent/third-party candidates the hard way two years ago.

As long as this ridiculous law is in place -- and as far as I know, Texas is the only state with such a stupid law -- I'll never vote in a Texas primary again.

Posted by: Tim on July 3, 2005 9:18 AM

Texas does indeed have the strictest ballot-access laws in the nation, making it all but impossible for third-party candidates to qualify. Democrats supported a bill this regular session that would have ended this unnecesarily restrictive law, but Republicans on Mary Denny's elections committee in the House killed it. They don;t want any alternative to their minority rule -- not voter registration drives, not third-party campaigns, not even acceptance of their own defeat in close elections.

Posted by: Zangwell Arrow on July 3, 2005 9:21 AM

Wasn't there a bill floating around in the last session that was supposed to do away with not being able to sign petitions if you'd voted in the primary? What happened to that?

Posted by: Sue on July 3, 2005 9:24 AM

hmmm... I always thought that Texas's ballot access laws were quite sensible. Places like California, where everyone and their dog could get on the recall ballot is where reform is needed. A ballot with Larry Flynt, Gary Coleman and Mary Carey may provide comic relief, but I would argue that democracy is not best served by forcing voters to sort through page after page of joke candidates in order to find their choice.

Ballot access should be determined by viability. Parties that receive a certain percentage of the vote in the previous election get automatic ballot status. For "third" parties, it makes sense to force them to prove via 46,000+ signatures that they are a viable candidate.

Furthermore, I don't buy the arguement that Kinky helps the Democrat. I think that the Guv election will be a referendum on Rick Perry. That's what the GOP primary will be about, and probably the general election will be likewise.

Posted by: Byron L on July 3, 2005 11:56 AM

"And frankly, Kinky Friedman being on the ballot probably increases the likelihood of the Democratic candidate winning next November."

What the heck? Having Kinky on the ballot increases *Democrats* chances of winning? So, all the Righties will vote for Kinky?

I think it'll be the other way around...

Posted by: Matthew on July 3, 2005 12:01 PM

I'm not a fan of the Kinky Friedman ticket at all. I have yet to hear him say anything that makes him sound like a serious candidate, as opposed to a guy who enjoys making flippant comments about important issues and producing shallow "a-pox-on-all-parties" rhetoric. Maybe that will change, but as of today his campaign looks to me like the vanity campaign of a guy whose fifteen minutes should have been up long ago.

Posted by: mark on July 3, 2005 2:39 PM

I think I am going to push for Sharp if there is a primary because he is more electable. Wait, what? That was the same argument we made for Kerry.

The primary is all about voting your heart, and the general is about voting your mind. I am a Bell supporter and I am hoping there is a primary so that we can keep Kinky out of this election.

Great post Jim!

Posted by: Matt on July 3, 2005 3:08 PM

Kinky is not the type of guy that will attract republicans, quite the opposite. Not that democrats have a chance anyway but at least with John Sharp it will be competitive. Bell will get squashed.

Posted by: Tek_XX on July 3, 2005 8:45 PM