July 17, 2006
The petitions of Harris County

From yesterday, a look at the petition signing efforts for independent gubernatorial candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman in Harris County.

Overall in Harris County, Strayhorn outdid Friedman by collecting 37,739 signatures to Friedman's 19,117, according to data provided by the Texas secretary of state's office.

The story doesn't mention it, so I'll tell you that 33,304 votes were cast in the Democratic primary for Governor (Chris Bell got 27,292 of those votes), while 76,544 were cast in the GOP contest. That latter total was no doubt helped by the SD07 primary, where Dan Patrick collected 28,870 of 41,952 total ballots (for comparison purposes, Sen. Kyle Janek got 6,978 votes in the the uncontested CD17 race).

If the disqualification rate for signatures in Harris County was roughly the same for each candidate as it was statewide, then Strayhorn had about 19,000 valid sigs, while Friedman had about 16,000.

Dean Barkley, campaign manager for Friedman, said Friedman did well in neighborhoods where he had motivated volunteers.

One of those volunteers was Katy Whelan, a 47-year-old resident of the Timbergrove neighborhood who works in the oil and gas industry and collected 400 signatures for Friedman. She said most of the signatures were gathered at a popular weekend farmers market in the Heights.

She also tapped her friends and neighbors at wine parties and other gatherings.

"We're all like-minded, pretty much basically Democrats," she said. "Everybody is such a fan of Kinky's."

sigh I wish the reporters had asked Ms. Whelan why they liked Friedman, because the mystery endures for me. I suspect that as Fighting Jay Lee once wrote, the answers would be all over the map.

Best reason to read this article:

Joyce Aquil, a 60-year-old educator, remembers signing a petition for Strayhorn at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in the Third Ward. But she acknowledged last week that she didn't know much about the candidate.

"What's her claim to fame?" she asked. "Is she the grandmother person?"

Memo to Roy Minton: When your lawsuit finally gets before a judge, be sure to call this lady as a witness.

The fact that heavy petition support for Friedman and Strayhorn came from the Democratic strongholds of Houston as well as counties such as Travis and Bexar could be bad news for Bell.

Jason Stanford, a spokesman for Bell, said Bell's challenge is to get "Democrats to vote for the Democrat."

"What the petition signers really want to do is beat Rick Perry," he said. "There's only one candidate who can possibly break out of this pack to challenge Rick Perry, and that's Chris Bell."

All I can say is tell it to Katy Whelan.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 17, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Kinky's books are highly entertaining. But I wouldn't vote for him--I have no idea what he stands for and whether he can govern. I would go further and say that I seriously doubt a governor not aligned with a party can effectively govern--who in government (especially the Lege) will want to ally with him? Aside from occasionally having aligned interests and common causes, I think a Governor Kinky would find himself with a Lege predisposed not to cooperate with him.

Posted by: RWB on July 17, 2006 2:42 PM