Is finally underway at two minutes to three p.m.
Boyd Richie is advanced from the Nominations committee; Roy Laverne Brooks and David Van Os are nominated from the floor. DVO's nominator does a one-minute bio, to a smattering of boos and some encouragement from the chair to "state your nomination". The three candidates are going to huddle together and determine a speaking order for their three-minute speeches. The Vice Chair race is skipped due to the nature of its demographic dependence on the chair's race, and the incumbent Secretary of the Texas Democratic Party, Ruby Jensen, is quickly nominated and elected by voice acclamation.
Treasurer candidate Amber Goodwin is elected in rapid and similar fashion. So is incumbent Vice Chair of Finance, Dennis Speight. Watson then proceeds quickly through the elections of DNC representatives John Patrick (labor), Betty Richie (non-urban), Rick Cofer (at-large youth), Bob Slagle (at-large male), and Yvonne Davis (at-large female). Sue Lovell's DNC slot draws a challenge from Roslyn Shorter from SD-13, nominated by Stan Merriman, which seems to slow only slightly the Watson Express. The election proceeds and the chair declares Lovell the winner on a voice vote. But the chair gets a parliamentary call for a division of the house, and Watson decides on a roll call vote.
Update (3:15 p.m. going forward): Watson has Shorter and Lovell move to the dais for speeches, checks on the chair candidates, does some housekeeping with the ratification of the SD-13 SDEC members overlooked earlier, and takes a pause.
When he resumes the time is 3:24, and Watson announces that the agreement among the chair candidates is to have Van Os speak first, Brooks second, and Richie third, each for ten minutes.
Van Os' nominator from the floor, Jo Embry, gives her nominating speech at the dais this time. She is followed by Christopher Jones, San Marcos city councilman, seconding DVO's nom ("he puts the 'Van Os' in 'awesome' "). A third seconder from Williamson County, sprinkling in a little Spanish, gives way to Van Os at 3:35 p.m. "We have to beat John McBush", "Texas is where the criminal roots must be dug up", "two million voters in the primary came out because Texas mattered", and a bit about his history as a Democrat. "I'm tired of hearing 'this is a rebuilding year', I'm tired of hearing 'we just want to win a few targeted races'. I want to win those five House races too, but I also want to sweep Texas!".
"The vision has to come from leadership, and the winning attitude". His message emphasizes carrying Texas for Barack Obama, and fighting to win every race across the state. Van Os closes with a disregard for the incrementalist strategy and a call to unity and action.
Roy Laverne Brooks has Bill Conover, Hillary delegate, nominate her. He references the "stagnant power stucture" and declares a "need for change". He closes with a "seize the day" exhortation. Charlie Urbina-Jones follows with a seconding speech: "no more top-down deals, only deals made from the bottom up". He mentions RLB's "being thrown under the bus" and openly asks for the Hillary female delegates' support. But Jones commits a Freudian slip, saying "Roy Laverne Jones" at the end. Following CU-J, another seconder who doesn't identify himself begins a speech ringing in the best cadences of the Sunday morning sermon. "Change" is mentioned frequently, as is "the great state of Denver". The PA has some DJ remix as Brooks takes the mic.
Jones "stands on the shoulders of so many": Barbara Jordan and others. But she runs out of time without giving her entire speech and cedes the lectern.
Boyd Richie's nominators are Leticia Van de Putte, who compliments Van Os and Brooks as "great Democrats". She emphasizes Richie's fighting Tom DeLay and the rest and closes somewhat abruptly. Ron Kirk follows and provides a seconding speech, saying "the future is too important not re-elect" Richie. Kirk, of course, is the head of Texans for Obama, so Boyd has summoned all of the heavyweights. Kirk makes a thoroughbred reference, mangling Preakness for Belmont, and uses the tired show horse/work horse analogy and not changing jockeys in the middle and so on. He closes with an exhortation to delegates to rise to their feet, and Boyd takes the mic.
Boyd says "thank you for believing, and thank you for participating in this process". He thanks his wife Betty, and the staff of the TDP. He describes the unique responsibility of chairman and notes that it requires the help of everyone. He says that the increases in fundraising and the e-mail lists are "because of you". Because of You becomes the theme, and a little Hillary shout-out: "We have found our voice." Richie references all the races, all the way to Noriega and Obama. He uses his "lean, mean, election-winning machine" again. And closes on "It's not about me, it's about 'we'.
Watson reclaims the dais and announces that Shorter and Lovell will speak and then the caucuses will tally the two contested elections.
Stan Merriman nominates Shorter "for progressive change". Quincy O'Neal seconds and introduces Ros Shorter, who asks "Do I look like the typical politician?" She ends fast and Sue Lovell takes the mic without nominating or seconding speeches. Lovell declares that she has delivered on a campaign promise, to stop taking Texas money out of Texas (with the reference being the DNC staffers who have been in state permanently for almost two years). She references her experience on the Houston city council, and says 'change' a few more times. She runs down her diversity endorsements and asks for the vote.
Watson directs each SD to caucus on the floor to vote for both offices, and to take ten minutes to do so. The strength of the caucus will be the measurement.
It's just after 4 p.m.