Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Late last night (and more musings about election results)

-- Glitches push final tally into early morning hours:

There were a few problems coming up with a final tally on Tuesday’s election because of a political party oversight and mostly technical difficulties, pushing the night’s last count to at least 2 a.m. Wednesday.

After a few early-evening hiccups that led to the first results posting 90 minutes after polls closed Tuesday, midnight-hour issues emerged.

First, the Republican primary in precinct 256 had its results stored on a corrupt card, which meant workers had to pull results from another database or, as a last resort, from each e-Ballot station.

An unidentified Democratic precinct had a faulty machine, creating the need to merge results from more machines than planned to arrive at a final total.

Then around 11 p.m., Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart revealed that 1,500 to 2,000 mail ballots that had arrived since Friday still had not been processed.

As well, there’s the possibility that some of the tightest races may turn when ballots from active-duty service members arrive since they have an additional five days past the election for their votes to show up and be counted. Provisional ballots also take a few days to process.

So, there’s a huge asterisk on the Harris County results at this point early Wednesday.

It’s been a rough night.

Yes, and Stan Stanart is an incompetent fool. As you will recall, I observed this process a handful of times during Beverly Kaufman's tenure. She always had EV results posted within one minute of 7 p.m., and she always had enough ballots counted for the local network affiliates to call all but the closest races by their 10 p.m. newscasts.

Unless Stanart fired all the people who used to work for Kaufman (doubtful), the real evidence here is that the brand-new Harris County Clerk doesn't know how to run an election that ran on autopilot in the years before he was elected.

We could have had Ann Harris Bennett in that slot, who in November will challenge the guy who knocked off incumbent Don Sumners last night. Ignore the ramblings of Gadfly Bettencourt in that link.

-- It was a good night for the slate mailers and Super PACs last night. And a bad one for some of Joe Straus' henchmen (aka the 'moderates' in the Texas House).

(E)lection night results brought bad news for some key Straus lieutenants in the Texas House, including Rep. Rob Eissler, R-the Woodlands, chairman of the House Education Committee. Eissler, who lost to challenger Steve Toth, may have suffered from complacency as his campaign latest finance reports showed an unspent balance of $650,000.

In North Texas, Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Irving, another Straus chairman, also fell to a tea party challenger, Giovanni Capriglione. And in East Texas, Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton, another Straus ally paired in a redrawn district with an incumbent, lost to Rep. James White.

All the defeated incumbents were targeted by Empower Texans, a conservative group which spent close to $120,000 trying to defeat Straus by portraying him as too moderate to lead the Texas House. Financed by Midland oilman Tim Dunn, the group was behind the 2011 effort to oust Straus from the Speaker’s office.

There will be more Mucus involved in the Speaker's race in the run-up to January 2013 and the opening day of the Texas Lege, but my early guess is that the Democrats provide Straus enough cover to get re-elected.

-- Ted Cruz wants five debates with David Dewhurst between now and the runoff on July 31. And Paul Sadler wants in on them, too.

First of all, nobody wants to be tortured with a debate every two weeks between these two conservatives. Not even the most hardcore TeaBagger could stand it.

Secondly, Sadler himself only got 35% of the vote in a 4-way race, so his runoff opponent Grady Yarbrough should be included if Sadler gets in. That by itself is a travesty, as the Austin Statesman notes...

Yarbrough is a perennial candidate who has run as a Democrat and a Republican in previous elections.

Yarbrough has barely any online presence, yet he ran second in the Democratic statewide primary for the US Senate. Apparently the Mensas who voted for him thought he was Ralph.

And unless this a one-party red state like Communist China, the debates should include the Green, David Collins, and the Libertarians -- all six of them. (Unless you want to hold off on the debates until they elect one of the six at their state convention, the second week of June.)

-- Lissa Squiers led wire-to-wire, finishing with 40% of the Democratic vote in CD-07. James Cargas trailed with 34, and Phillip Andrews had 24.

The absolute best results of the evening, IMHO.

-- Highs and lows locally: Lane Lewis prevailed but Steven Kirkland did not. Two bright spots in Texas House races: Lon Burnham won, Leo Berman lost.

-- I'm not going to give a damn so hard about the DA race in Harris County it will be profound.

-- These Twitter compilations must stop. If I want to read a Twitter feed, I'll go to Twitter.

More as always from the Godfather.

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