So this is it, the primary that some people (like, um, me) foolishly wanted to move up to February to ensure a meaningful voice in the Presidential selection process is here at last. Many of us have already voted, but I'm sure quite a few more will be doing it today. Let me remind you again that you need to go to your precinct polling location; some day, perhaps, we'll have early voting-style voting centers on Election Day, so that you can vote wherever you want, but that day is not anywhere close to being here. Not every precinct location is open, and not every precinct that is open is available for whichever party's primary you want to vote in. Don't guess, and don't just show up somewhere - check HarrisVotes.org, the Harris County Democratic Party, or the Harris County GOP and be sure you're at the right place.
And when you get there, I hope you'll feel you know enough about the candidates to make confident choices in each race. If it helps, you can refer to my own endorsements, or to my list of interviews to help you make any last-minutes decisions you may have. For the most part, what is making this primary so difficult is the reason why you can feel good about whatever decisions you do make, even if they're based on subtle things - "intangibles", in sports-speak - and that's the fact that up and down the ballot, we've got a very strong roster of candidates. I do think some judicial candidates are more qualified than others - Jim Wrotenbery over Kyle Carter, and Ruben Guerrero over Lloyd Oliver, to name two - but the slate overall isn't going to be weakened if an inferior choice is made here or there. And that's good to know.
Which is not to say that every race features a contest of equals. Far from it: The races for countywide leadership feature clearcut choices - David Mincberg for County Judge, Adrian Garcia for Sheriff, and Diane Trautman for Tax Assessor. There's a lot of belief that the excitement of the Presidential race plus the local GOP's travails and the changing demographics of Harris County will lead to a Dallas-like sweep for the Dems here. I'll be very pleased to see that happen of course, but the odds of it happening will be significantly better if we have the best people at the top of the local ticket. Candidates will always matter, and these three are the right ones at the right time. Please don't forget about these races once the warm glow of picking your preferred Presidential candidate has worn off.
If the countywide candidates matter, then the statewide candidates matter at least as much. We're blessed to have an abundance of good people running for State Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Railroad Commission. I'm not too worried about the outcome of any of those races. But the most important race in Texas, even in the event that the Dems decide to put up a real fight for our state's electoral votes, is the Senate race, and once again, the choice couldn't be clearer: Rick Noriega is as good a candidate as we've had for a statewide run in a long time. Noriega's got a proven record, he's right on issues ranging from immigration and border security to Iraq to FISA to the economy, he's demonstrated he'll fight back against the slime machine, and he's busting his butt to win the nomination so he can take that fight to the next level. There were two votes this cycle that I was especially proud to cast, and my vote for Rick Noriega for Senate was one of them. Again, I hope that once you've made your choice for President, you'll go on to make the best choice for the US Senate. Whoever your preference is for the Commander in Chief, that person can only benefit (as we all can) by having Rick Noriega on the ticket, and ultimately in the Senate.
The other vote that I cast with an extra helping of pride was for my State Rep, Jessica Farrar. I really can't say it any better than I already have, but let me reiterate that we progressives don't get as many chances as perhaps we'd like to support truly like-minded public officials. Jessica Farrar fights for the things I believe in, and she does the right thing even when weaseling would be expedient. As with Rick Noriega, I couldn't be happier to support her. As much as the idea of winning races makes this an exciting time to be a Democrat, knowing that we can win them with people like Jessica Farrar and Rick Noriega makes it that much more so. It's great to have ideals; it's better to have elected officials who share them. This year, we can truly make that happen, and that's an awesome thing.
OK, that's enough soapbox for now. Happy voting, and please tell me what the experience was like at your polling place. We'll see how it all goes.Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 04, 2008 to Election 2008