When to nominate.
This intra-Republican struggle on whether to nominate before a special could get interesting.
Outgoing Fort Bend County GOP Chair Eric Thode (he's done May 1st, if I recall correctly) is
arguing that the Republican party should decide who to nominate, and not worry about the special election.
The most important part of this process is the WITHDRAWAL from the November ballot. As a Party, each of the Executive Committees in each of the four counties (Fort Bend, Harris, Brazoria and Galveston) in Congressional District 22 will choose a single Precinct Chair to represent them at a 4-person selection committee meeting. These 4 people will choose the individual to appear on the November ballot. Needless to say, many people will pursue this appointment and this individual will carry the Republican flag to victory against Nick Lampson in November.I recommend that you go read Thode's whole email (and comment) over at Texas Safety Forum. Remember, if you're curious as to how the Republican Party will pick DeLay's replacement, I covered that here. Barg: I was the first to get the law right on this one, while local and national media were getting the law wrong.
We must not allow ourselves to get sidetracked by a Special Election that will slow our November candidate down unnecessarily. Every Republican should push the appointment along quickly and not wait for a Special Election, which is NOT the way we should choose the Republican nominee for November.
Meanwhile DeLay primary challenger Tom Campbell disagrees, and sent out a press release saying:
"The special election should be held first and Republican leaders should then select a nominee for the November election informed by the results of the special election. The selection process should be open, transparent and democratic. We need to avoid any appearance of selection by backroom bargain."
This is a pretty interesting situation. Couple of different scenarios could happen:
Scenario A: Party nominates November replacement before special election. Only the replacement runs in the special election, since there is no point for anyone else to run.
Scenario B: Party nominates November replacement before special election, but other Republicans decide to run in the special anyway (out of spite OR because the filing deadline for the special has passed.)
Scenario C: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates someone else, because they don't like the victorious "special" Republican.
Scenario D: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican loses to Lampson in the special election runoff (possible, because Lampson has a better chance in a runoff). The party nominates someone else, because they don't like that Republican lost.
Scenario E: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican loses to Lampson in the special election runoff (possible, because Lampson has a better chance in a runoff). The party nominates the same person.
Scenario F: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates the same person.
Scenario G: Party waits to see results of the special before nominating a replacement. A Republican beats Lampson in the special election runoff. The party nominates someone else.
Scenario H: Party nominates replacement after filing deadline for the special but before the special. Then, we could end up with someone who faces Lampson in a special runoff, but has no incentive to campaign, since they won't be on the November ballot.
Different folks' perspectives:
Campbell wants a special election, because there is no way that the party will nominate him, given the way the nomination will take place.
Fort Bend County politicos would probably prefer a nomination before the special, because there are likely to be several candidates from Fort Bend in a special election. This means that someone from Harris County like Judge Eckels (who doesn't really have any ties to the district) could end up winning a special election.
Converse to Fort Bend folks, Harris folks would probably prefer a special election first, since there are likely to be less candidates from Harris in a special.
Democrats would just prefer that things be as messy as possible, as divisive as possible, and that there be a weak nominee who gets less than strong support.
Side points about the nomination:
1. Geography will be very important here. Fort Bend would definitely like to keep a hometown Congressman. However, there are just as many CD22 voters in Harris County as their are in Fort Bend.
2. The Congressman is very likely to be from Fort Bend or Harris, and much less likely to be from Brazoria or Galveston.
3. The committee will be equally represented by each county: one person each.
4. Therefore, Brazoria and Galveston will have disproportionate power (relative to their percentages of the district) in determining who the next Congressman is and where he/she comes from.
Is a special election or a nomination better for the Republicans? I don't think it matters too much, as long as the nominee is credible and the party is united. However, I do think it will look bad if we have different Republicans on the special runoff and the November ballot.