January 16, 2008
Candidate interview: State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Note: This entry is part of a series of recorded interviews with non-judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. I am also doing written Q&As with judicial candidates.

There's a lot I could say about State Rep. Garnet Coleman, who is the incumbent in HD147. He's a member of the House Democratic leadership; he chairs the bipartisan Legislative Study Group, which provides accurate and detailed bill evaluations for all of its members (as a recipient of their bill analyses, I can personally vouch for that); he's an outspoken leader on numerous progressive issues, from CHIP to reproductive rights to gay issues and more; and he's just an endlessly fascinating guy to talk to. I could have easily spent an hour or more interviewing him, but managed to restrain myself; the total time on this conversation is 20 minutes.

Rep. Coleman is one of the best we've got, which is why the Texas Progressive Alliance enthusiastically endorses him in his primary election. Needless to say, his opponent is being supported by Tom Craddick and his cronies.

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, drew a last-minute challenger, LaRhonda Torry, in the Democratic primary, but a few days later Harris County Democratic Chairman Gerry Birnberg rejected Torry's application. Birnberg said he couldn't accept her filing fee because she had not yet designated a campaign treasurer.

The Texas Secretary of State's Office disagreed with Birnberg but couldn't order the party to put Torry on the ballot.

Torry then retained lawyer and former state Rep. Ron Wilson, who late last week filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court seeking an order to have Torry placed on the ballot.

Coleman contended that Wilson had recruited Torry, a legal secretary, to run against him because of Coleman's outspoken opposition to Speaker Tom Craddick. Wilson, you may recall, signed on as an assistant House parliamentarian to help Craddick beat back an assault on his speakership last spring.

Wilson denied recruiting Torry.

Doesn't matter what Ron Wilson says - the fact that he's representing Torry in this matter speaks for itself. According to the Quorum Report, the Supreme Court dismissed Torry's mandamus yesterday, but without prejudice. They ruled that there was still time before the ballots have to be printed for the First Court of Appeals to handle the question before they got involved. Far as I know, Torry and Wilson are still pursuing this with the lower court.

My interview with Rep. Coleman is here. More to come soon.


Jim Wrotenbery, candidate for 125th District Court (Civil)

Diane Trautman, candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor

Judge Susan Criss, candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, Position 8.

Joe Jaworski, candidate for State Senate, District 11

Baltasar D. Cruz, candidate for Texas Supreme Court, Position 7.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2008 to Election 2008
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