AUSTIN – The liberal Green Party's uphill battle to get on the Texas ballot this fall has been fueled by a surprising benefactor: an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates.
What's unknown is who paid for the previously undisclosed arrangement, pieced together by The Dallas Morning News. Green Party officials said they don't know who funded the effort. The Perry campaign denied any involvement. And Arizona Republican operative Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive, refused to say.
"It's good news for Rick Perry, in the sense that the Green Party label draws votes away from White rather than Perry," said Rice University political science professor Mark Jones. "It's likely to take a small amount from White. This is only going to have an effect if it's a very close election."
Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said the governor's campaign had nothing to do with the petition-gathering effort and knew of no supporter who might have bankrolled it.
"But it's a democracy, and they're free to run," he said. "If they have the signatures to quality for the ballot, they'll be part of the race."
Asked last week whether the Texas petition drive was aimed at helping Perry, Mooney said: "I don't know if it benefits any individual person or whatever. It's all up to what the individual voter wants.
Minor parties typically draw a very small percentage of the vote in statewide races. But if the battle between Perry and White is close, as some analysts expect, the campaigns will be counting on each ballot.
White campaign spokeswoman Katy Bacon said it was premature to comment on how the help for the Green Party was arranged. But of Perry, she said, "we do know he'll say and do anything."
Jones, the Rice political scientist, said the Green candidate will give voters "another option on the left."
"If they don't vote for Bill White, their options are a Libertarian or Rick Perry. This gives them another option," he said. "Given the disenchantment with incumbents in general and mainstream politics, it's likely to get 1 or 2 percent. So that's bad news for White."
Monday, June 7, 2010
Arizona Consultant helps Green Party onto Texas ballot, Rick to blame?
Wayne Slater seems to be developing a Rick Derangement Syndrome. He tries oh so hard to link an effort to get the Green Party on the ballot in Texas to Rick (link). Excerpt follows...
Why does everything have to be about Rick here?
Yes having a Green Party candidate pointing out Bill White's environmental hypocrisy... how he got rich from certain controversial environmental practices he advocated while mayor of Houston... will be damaging to his base... yes... Bill White will probably see 1% maybe more go to the Green Party.
I doubt it will matter much in that race.
If there is some kind of big picture reason for this, it is all geared toward the future of the Republicans versus the Democrats in Texas. If the Green Party can pull the Democrats further to the left in every state wide race and even some down ballot races, they will make the Democrats less palatable as a choice in Texas in the future. Redistricting may be impacted by this. Every post really... not just the top of the ticket.
Republicans have been tormented by the big L Libertarians for years in Texas... and now the Democrats get to play that same game up and down the ballot.
More likely having a Green Party candidate on the ballot may change ever so slightly the equation in races like Linda Harper-Brown... or Jim Murphy... the close call type of elections. If people go in and don't vote straight party Democrat but instead vote for some of the Green Party members and maybe even leave some blank down the ballot... that could swing those close elections where 10 votes or 500 votes makes the difference. It could make a bigger difference in places in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, where there are larger communities of "progressives" who may feel they need to send a message to the Democrats.
When redistricting or any school vouchers or any other issue hinges on a few legislators voting one way or the other, and those elections can be altered by a Green Party candidate for state wide elected office... even when there may be no Green Party candidate in the legislative race... that is the more likely motive here...
For Rick, it is a win/lose/win situation. He wins by having someone who will likely bash Bill White's record from the left and force Bill White to play that game with them... He loses though by having another candidate on the ballot who may prevent Rick from winning a clean 55-45 type of victory... but he wins because if a Libertarian is included in theoretical debates or forums with Bill White and Rick... so will the Green Party candidate. Therefore you may not have either. That's a win. Right now though it looks like no debates because Bill White won't release his taxes.
It's not as clean of a win/win/win for Rick as it is for the Republican party as a whole over the next few cycles...