April 21, 2006
On the signature trail

On the one hand: Friedman, Strayhorn think past 45,540

The gubernatorial campaigns of independent candidates Kinky Friedman and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Monday they are on track to getting the 45,540 signatures they need to get onto the general election ballot.

But neither campaign was willing to say how many signatures have been gathered so far.

Strayhorn campaign manager Brad McClellan said the campaign is trying to gather far more signatures than needed to make sure there are enough valid signatures. He said he didn't want to release the number because that might make supporters believe they can slack off on the petition drive.

"We want to keep getting them. We don't want to take the wind out of the sails," McClellan said. "We're in very good shape. But we're going to keep getting them."


Friedman campaign manager Dean Barkley said the staff is not telling him how many signatures have been gathered for fear he will tell people.

"All I know is the people in charge of the petition drive all have smiles on their faces," Barkley said.

Well, maybe not so much in El Paso.

"It's proven to be more difficult than I thought it was going to be," said Staci Engman, a substitute teacher leading signature gathering in El Paso for independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman.

About halfway to the petition deadline, campaign novices heading ballot petition efforts in El Paso for Friedman and fellow independent gubernatorial candidate and Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn say the going has been slow with little support from campaign leaders in Austin. Both campaigns said they plan to make it out to El Paso, but probably not until the end of the signature-gathering period.

"We're as frustrated as (Engman) is because we can't get to every pocket of Texas that we'd like to reach," said Friedman spokeswoman Laura Stromberg.


"People forget West of the Pecos people live out here and vote here and even care," said Jay Ann Rucker, a retired teacher volunteering with the Strayhorn campaign. "They really don't pay attention to us."

Rucker said she's been able to gather about 60 signatures so far. The Strayhorn campaign's goal for signatures from El Paso: 10,000.

Finding places with large audiences from which to gather signatures has been one of the toughest hurdles, Engman and Rucker agreed.

Rucker said she's mostly concentrating on teacher group meetings, reaching out to educators who might be attracted to the public education agenda of Strayhorn, a former teacher and school board member.

That strategy has met with limited success, though, because many teachers voted in local contested primary races and can't sign a petition.

Sorry, but after reading all those stories about crappy primary turnout and What It All Means yada yada yada, I have to say this: Bwah hah hah!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Engman said she and the 30 or so volunteers helping her are getting close to the Friedman campaign's signature goal from El Paso. Already, Engman said, they have gathered about one-quarter of the 2,000 signatures they are shooting for.

"People are excited to have an outsider, but a very credible outsider, who wants to come in and help improve things and do it with integrity," she said.

A visit from the comedian, author and singer would make her job a lot easier, Engman said. Many El Pasoans she has approached for signatures know Friedman's name, but they don't know his platform, why he wants to be governor or what he has planned for the state, she said.

In that regard, madam, they are exactly like everybody else in Texas.

On the other hand, if Friedman does visit, may I suggest that his campaign screen this movie for the locals? Perhaps a singalong of the theme song to go with it, too.

There's more, but you get the idea. Thanks to Victoria Kos for the link.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Luther Jones, Melina Castro and Gilbert Sanchez are all Democrats.


At least 130 join Strayhorn's hunt

Independent wants to 'shake up Texas'

Ramon Bracamontes
El Paso Times
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vowing to shake up Texas, state Comptroller Carole
Keeton Strayhorn made a campaign stop Wednesday in El
Paso to talk about education and economics, while at
the same time gathering signatures for her election

Strayhorn is one of two independent candidates for
governor working to get on the November ballot. To be
placed on the ballot they must gather the signatures
of 45,450 registered voters who did not vote in the
March primary.

"We have tens of thousands of signatures already,"
Strayhorn said. "I am excited about running as a Texas
independent. This election is about shaking up Texas,
about our children and our future."

Throughout the day, Strayhorn was accompanied by city
Rep. Melina Castro, District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez and
El Paso lawyer Luther Jones.

Posted by: Julie Keller on April 21, 2006 7:05 AM

Sadly, Chuck, I must report I have an easy 15-18 minute commute. Living near Memorial City and working in Sugar Land I have the benefit of traveling in the opposite direction of most all the traffic. But I do see Christof's point. Frequently the jam ups coming from Sugar Land area 'burbs....as I speed past them in the empty lanes opposite expanded to entice out by a prison.

Posted by: Patrick on April 21, 2006 8:16 AM

Kinky's signature gathering strategy will guarantee that he might have to get close to 100,000 signatures if he hope to find 45,540 valid signatures.

Kinky is targeting bars and other places where alcohol is being served as a focus for gathering signatures, which is fine, but that strategy may very well net him a higher percentage of people who might not have signed if alcohol wasn't involved. As a result of this strategy, I suspect that Kinky will gather more invalid signatures that Carole.

Posted by: Stop Kinky on April 21, 2006 11:49 AM

Charles -

I know you're only human and all, but what about a post deconstructing the lastest poll results showing Perry doing better and Strayhorn, Bell, and Kinky falling further behind? The narrative refers to the "receeding threat" of Strayhorn, but so far that hasn't translated into new support for Bell. Your comments please....

Posted by: clayton auger on April 21, 2006 12:44 PM

Clayton - It's on my to-do list, I promise!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2006 2:15 PM