Local candidate news, and Democratic efforts in Williamson County

Let’s start with some local candidate news.  Along with two Democratic candidates that have already announced – Louie Minor in TX-31 and John Bucy inHD-136 – there will be more Democrats running in Williamson County.  Via the AAS, Democrats gear up.

On the Democratic side, Karen Carter said Belton resident Louie Minor has said he will challenge John Carter for the congressional seat Carter has held since first being elected in 2002.

Minor’s website states he is a veteran of the war in Iraq and captain in the U.S Army Reserves.

According to state Democratic Party headquarters in Austin, Minor had not filed as of early Thursday afternoon.

On the state level, Karen Carter said Joel Shapiro – who lives in the Williamson County portion of north Austin – will file to challenger Schwertner for a seat in the Texas Senate.

John Bucy – who lives in northwest Austin – will run against Dale for a seat in the Texas House.

She said Nick Lealos of Austin will run for Pct. 1 JP and Eddie Hurst of Cedar Park will run for county commissioner in Pct. 2.

As of Thursday, none of the potential Democratic candidates had filed their paperwork, she said.

No reason to worry at this time that they haven’t filed there’s still plenty of time, they have until December 9th. Joel Shapiro, who is running for Texas Senate in SD-5, has a campaign web site up, joelforsenate.com. Eddie Hurst who’s running for County Commissioner Precinct 1 has a Facebook page.

The Statesman this week had an article about prospects for Democratic wins in Williamson County in 2014, Why Democrats think Williamson County is in play for 2014 ($$). The article has some of the usual stuff, I didn’t know there were so many Democrats in Williamson County, and it’s more about Battleground Texas’ efforts in Williamson then the Democratic Party, though they’re working in tandem. It does show the important work of building a foundation for years to come is being done.

“We amazed ourselves at that first meeting, like, ‘Oh, my God, there are Democrats,’” [Pam Oldham of Round Rock] said, waving her arms and miming a look of shock. “Look at all the Democrats in Williamson County. We can do this.”

Battleground Texas staff, who are partnering with Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign for governor, say that Williamson County volunteers have formed one of the
most active teams in the state, recruiting more than 300 active volunteers in just a couple months. They’ve gotten more organized, more quickly, and have tailored a sales pitch to their audience: Democrats do exist in Williamson County, and they exist in large enough numbers to win races.

Those who work in Democratic politics in Williamson County are familiar with that refrain. The reason many aren’t aware of how many Democrats there are in the county is because of the lack of resources – money and activists in particular – over the years. That’s why having BGTX around to augment Democrats all over Texas is giving everyone hope for the future. But how soon the day arrives when everyone’s aware of Democrats in Williamson County will rely on a lot of hard work.

But in the last three election cycles, 41 percent of races for county seats, or nine races, have featured a Republican shoo-in with no contender. That’s partly because Democrats see no point in vying for offices they’re unlikely to win. And, straight-ticket Republican voters have about doubled straight-ticket Democratic voters in recent county history.

“They have to say something to fire up their troops, but facts are a stubborn thing,” said Bill Fairbrother, chair of the county Republican party. “When’s the last time Williamson County voted for a Democrat?”

That was five years ago, when Diana Maldonado narrowly snagged a seat in the Texas House.

It’s not hard to remember that there was quite a bit of excitement when Maldonado won and that Williamson might finally be heading in the right direction, but then 2010 happened and with it much of the Democratic momentum. The article goes on to talk about the demographic changes that are coming in Williamson County and that the BGTX Wilco is giving Travis County “a run for it’s money” when it comes to organizing.  Of course demographic change doesn’t matter unless it’s matched with organizing.  Which is why it’s important, no matter what happens in 2014, that the work continues.  This cannot be about one election cycle.

In Williamson County we also need Democratic candidates.  Which is why those who have already thrown their hat in the ring are so appreciated.  There’s nothing more disheartening then getting asked why Democrats don’t have candidates in all races.  Well, we need to encourage our friends, family, and neighbors that are qualified to run for office to run.  When they step up, others will step up to help them out.  And from there the momentum will build.

It’s key for everyone to understand that, like Texas, Williamson County will not be changed over night.  There will be triumphs and setbacks along the way.  But the key is to do the work.

I’ll leave with this from a Bill Moyers speech, Welcome to the Plutocracy!, from three years ago:

But let’s be clear: Even with most Americans on our side, the odds are long. We learned long ago that power and privilege never give up anything without a struggle. Money fights hard, and it fights dirty. Think Rove. The Chamber. The Kochs. We may lose. It all may be impossible. But it’s OK if it’s impossible. Hear the former farmworker and labor organizer Baldemar Velasquez on this. The members of his Farm Labor Organizing Committee are a long way from the world of K Street lobbyists. But they took on the Campbell Soup Company – and won. They took on North Carolina growers – and won, using transnational organizing tacts that helped win Velasquez a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation. And now they’re taking on no less than R. J. Reynolds Tobacco and one of its principle financial sponsors, JPMorgan-Chase. Some people question the wisdom of taking on such powerful interests, but here’s what Velasquez says: “It’s OK if it’s impossible; it’s OK! Now I’m going to speak to you as organizers. Listen carefully. The object is not to win. That’s not the objective. The object is to do the right and good thing. If you decide not to do anything, because it’s too hard or too impossible, then nothing will be done, and when you’re on your death bed, you’re gonna say, “I wish I had done something. But if you go and do the right thing NOW, and you do it long enough “good things will happen—something’s gonna happen.”

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3 Responses

  1. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. An update on what’s happening with Local candidate news, and Democratic efforts in Williamson County. […]

  2. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. An update on what’s happening with Local candidate news, and Democratic efforts in Williamson County. […]

  3. […] Eye On Williamson is still blogging at our temporary home. An update on what’s happening with Local candidate news, and Democratic efforts in Williamson County. […]

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