January 04, 2008
What now, Chuck?

You know, the whole Rosenthal saga (or "Romancethal", as Muse is calling it) is fast approaching the point where it is beyond any form of satire or parody. Fortunately, it's still accessible to snark, so we bloggers remain in business.

The scandal over Rosenthal promoting his former extramarital partner to executive secretary and sending her lovelorn e-mails on county computer equipment last year has generated more reversals than a month of appeals court work.

But before today's 6 p.m. deadline sealing the ballot for district attorney, there may be more.

Siegler, known for her theatrical courtroom techniques, signed up at Harris County Republican Party headquarters with about 25 fellow prosecutors on hand showing support.

Her move came 21 hours after Rosenthal, giving in to his party's fears that the e-mail scandal could lead to the defeat of several GOP candidates in the November general election, took his name off the ballot. Citing state law, party officials said the withdrawal of the incumbent extended the sign-up deadline until this evening.

But that law also allows the incumbent to take advantage of the extension and return to the race, lawyer and county GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill said.

Rosenthal said in an interview Thursday that he was considering re-activating his re-election campaign. He refused to say why. Party leaders had said Rosenthal was indecisive through much of Wednesday before withdrawing.

Woodfill said Rosenthal coming back into the race after being spurned by his party would be a terrible mistake.

"Chuck has already done serious damage to this party and it's time for the healing to begin," he said.

Siegler, an assistant district attorney for 21 years, said she wouldn't have considered running if her boss had not dropped out.

So will she withdraw if he re-enters the race? No.

"I'm in," she said. "The reputation of the office is the most important consideration."

Rosenthal had little to say when she told him she would run, Siegler said.

What could he have said? "There may be snow on the roof, but there's still fire in the belly"? "Hey, at least I was caught in cahoots with a woman, unlike some other so-called family-values Republicans I could name"? "Have I ever told you that you have a really cute right ear"? The mind reels.

I have this sad feeling that he's going to flip one last time between now and 6 PM and put an end to all our fun by finally and irrevocably calling it quits. Which would be a shame, but all good things and all that. And though Cory speculates there might be one last twist to this saga, I'm sorry to say that election law says otherwise:


(a) To be entitled to a place on the general election ballot, a candidate must make a declaration of intent to run as an independent candidate.

(b) A declaration of intent to run as an independent candidate must:
(1) be in writing and be signed and acknowledged by the candidate;
(2) be filed with the authority with whom the candidate's application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed within the regular filing period for an application for a
place on a general primary election ballot

In other words, if Rosenthal wanted to run as an independent, the deadline for his declaration of intent was the same as the primary filing deadline. Though I suppose it's possible that the same loophole that allowed for an extra 48 hours for other Republican candidates might allow this back door for him as well. Any election law experts out there want to comment on that? More here from Winding Road, Isiah Carey, Los Dos Professors, and Rick Casey, who nailed the main issue in all this.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 04, 2008 to Election 2008

Based on your previous installment, I was under the impression that, whether or not Rosenthal is finally capable of officially calling it quits, Seigler still missed the deadline. Am I missing something?

Posted by: Charles Hixon on January 4, 2008 2:15 PM