The Strayhorn campaign has turned in their petitions, and I think it's safe to say that they can feel pretty confident about getting on the ballot.
Independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn announced Tuesday she gave Texas election officials 223,000 signatures to get her on the ballot for the governor's race - almost five times as many signatures as she needs to qualify.
Independent candidate Kinky Friedman plans to turn his petitions in during a noon rally Thursday outside the secretary of state's office, which administers elections and will verify the petitions.
Secretary of State Roger Williams has said his office plans to verify each signature on the Strayhorn and Friedman petitions, a process that could take two months. Both campaigns claim such a process is intended to delay the certification of Strayhorn and Friedman as legitimate candidates.
On Tuesday, Friedman campaign manager Dean Barkley, with a cigar clamped in his big smile, watched Strayhorn's aides load petitions into pickups for delivery. Strayhorn's staff loaded 101 legal boxes, each half-filled with petitions.
"They definitely have more boxes than we do," said Barkley, who still promised that Friedman will have substantially more signatures than he needs to get on the ballot.
Robert Black, a spokesman for Perry, dismissed Strayhorn's petition collection as a paltry 1.9 percent of the state's 12 million registered voters.
"Even with the help of three expensive signature-gathering organizations, paid petition-takers and more than four months to get her message out, 98 percent of eligible voters said, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' " Black said.
Perry won the Republican nomination in March with the backing of 4 percent of the state's registered voters.
So, kudos to Strayhorn for getting this done. I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario in which there's any doubt about her appearance on the ballot in November. SOS Roger Williams can take whatever time he wants, I don't think anyone will buy the idea that she can't represent herself as being an official candidate at this point.
Still no ruling on that lawsuit from last week, by the way. SOS Williams' office is now saying it may take only five weeks or so to verify the sigs, not the two months that had been previously stated. I still think he should have been told to get started ahead of time, but that seems hardly relevant now. At this point, I don't see any real harm to Strayhorn's campaign if he takes that much time and checks every name. I definitely disagree with this:
Strayhorn said her campaign's in-house research has verified more signatures than she'll need.
"All they'll have to do is look at the first 45,000 petitions," she said.
Now if Kinky turns in 150,000 or more sigs tomorrow, it probably doesn't matter much. But I think Strayhorn needs to think through her strategy a bit more carefully here. Friedman's nonchalance about that lawsuit makes even less sense now. If Strayhorn wises up and drops the issue, he may come to regret it.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 10, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack