Skip to comments.Texas Democratic Party Chairman To Step Down
Posted on 03/17/2006 6:40:27 AM PST by flattorney
-- The head of the struggling Texas Democratic Party will quit his post two months before his term was to expire, which could set the stage for a showdown over the leadership of the party that once dominated state politics.
Charles Soechting, a lawyer who became state Democratic chairman in 2003 and had planned to step aside when his term ends in June, will tell the party's executive committee Saturday that his last day in the unpaid job will be April 22. The committee, made up of two people from each of the 31 state Senate districts and other party organizations, is expected to select an interim chairman the same day.
Soechting, who was treated for prostate cancer and underwent back surgery last year, said that his law practice is demanding more of his attention and that he also wants to spend more time with his family.
"I have been presented with some wonderful business opportunities at my law firm, opportunities that unfortunately command a greater portion of my time and energy," he said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as party chairman, and I am proud of the great strides we've made."
At least three candidates have let it be known that they want the post. Lawyers Boyd Richie of Graham and Charlie Urbina Jones of San Antonio are expected to vie for interim chairman when the party's executive committee meets in April. The third hopeful, former state Rep. Glen Maxey of Austin, said he'll bypass the special election and instead concentrate on winning the full two-year chairmanship at the party's state convention in Fort Worth in June.
Richie's candidacy received a boost Thursday when Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell endorsed him. (Dem Chris Bell has ZERO chance of beating Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry. It's a total joke. - fla)
"He understands the challenges faced by working men and women in this day and age and will make sure that the labor movement continues to play a vital role in the Democratic Party," Bell said. "And he understands something incredibly important for our future: that we must attract more young people, give them opportunities to grow and make them active participants in the Texas Democratic Party."
Richie, 60, is a longtime Democratic activist and is a member of the party's executive committee. He said he hopes to replenish the party's meager finances and end its decade-long drought in winning statewide offices.
"There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the Republican leadership in this state," Richie said. "And we need to present an alternative that ordinary Texans can relate to. We have to show them that we can provide competent governance."
Maxey, a political organizer, said Richie is the handpicked choice of the party's establishment, which has presided over a string of losses dating to the 1990s that saw Democrats lose control of the Governor's Mansion, both houses of the Legislature and the state's congressional delegation.
"The Democratic Party is not going to win elections until we start providing the people with tools for the 21st century," said Maxey, 54. "In virtually every county in this state, there are people who would benefit from Democratic policies and ideals, but we have yet to give them a reason to register and vote for us. We need to have a discussion on how to rebuild this party."
Urbina Jones, a former candidate for Congress, could not be reached for comment.
Heading into the fall elections, Bell and other candidates for statewide office lag far behind their Republican counterparts in fundraising and few have ever run statewide campaigns.
Some party strategists have advocated concentrating resources on adding seats in the state House and >>>trying to defeat U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay,<<< the powerful Republican from Sugar Land who has been indicted on charges of illegal fundraising. (The TDP has been trying to get DA Ronnie Earle to drag down Tom DeLay for seven years - fla)
Recent polls have suggested that DeLay, who has denied wrongdoing, could be vulnerable in his Houston-area district. (Only in Dims and the parasite MSM's mind. DeLay will destroy carpetbagger Nick Lampson. - fla)
Soechting lawfirm, O'Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle has got to be one of the most unethical major law firms in Texas.
As opposed to playing a vital role in Texas government
The Democratic Party is not going to win elections until we start providing the people with tools for the 21st century
They're out of power in Texas because their idea of a 21st century tool goes something like this:
Headline should have probably read..."FAILED Texas DemonRAT Party Chairman To Step Down"
Point of Order - When you say Texas Democratic Party - FAILED is well implied, lol.
You see this article?
Looks like Chris Bell has a problem with his Dems~Soros Shadow Party primary backers being admitted and advertised Communists, Socialists, Marxists, Atheists, Anti-Capitalists, Homosexuals, Ultra Liberals, and others, that openly want to destroy the very fabric of our American values, beliefs, and culture. Oh, and don't forget the Mexican crime wave and illegal immigrants taking over South Texas that Texas Democrats pander to. Sam Houston is rolling in his grave.
# # #
Rift with Democratic Governor Hopeful Chris Bell Leaves Gays Undecided on Support
March 16, 2006, 10:44PM
By KRISTEN MACK, Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON'S leading gay political group backed the loser in the Democratic primary for governor, and now has to decide how or whether to mend fences with nominee Chris Bell. He got crosswise with the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Political Caucus last year when he refused to oppose a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.
Bell won the Democratic nomination with 64 percent of the vote statewide.
"They wanted to turn this year's (endorsement) discussion into a referendum on gay marriage, and that's just not where a majority of people are," Bell said, adding that it's been sad for him to watch the local GLBT group's clout decline. "They are going to have to get their internal politics together. If it continues on its course, I don't think it's going to have a great impact in future elections."
Further complicating matters, Glen Maxey, who headed the statewide campaign opposing the amendment, is running for state party chair. Bell is endorsing someone else for the position.
Another race widening rift? - In an already fractured and disorganized state Democratic Party, it seems the establishment is putting distance between itself and gay causes. The race to replace Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting is the latest test.
Soechting said last fall that he wasn't seeking re-election. His successor was going to be chosen at this summer's convention. That changed Tuesday when Soechting announced he would step down in April. He cited heading a new section of his law firm and the customary desire to spend more time with his family as the reasons for stepping down sooner.
It's timed to coincide with the State Democratic Executive Committee meeting, where a successor will be appointed. "It is a transparent political move," Maxey said. "Soechting is trying to make sure a hand-picked candidate can go into this convention as an incumbent." That candidate isn't Maxey, a former Democratic state representative from Austin who is gay.
The other contenders are San Antonio lawyer Charles Urbina Jones and Boyd Richie, a county attorney in North Texas who also serves on the SDEC. Soechting says Richie has a leg up. "He gives a sense of balance that people really want right now," Soechting said, adding that he is trying to stay out of it.
The undercurrent is that Maxey's candidacy may do more to hurt the Democratic Party, said some Democrats who don't think Texas Democrats are ready to accept a gay man as their leader. "It's a factor. It shouldn't be, but it is," Soechting said. >>>Maxey, who says he has been "gay-baited" in every race he's run, says he will not allow this one to be about his sexual orientation. "I'm not running to be the gay party chair," he said, citing his experience, ability to organize and institutional memory.<<<< (ROFLOL - fla)
Bell is supporting Richie but says "to pretend that everyone is opposing Maxey's candidacy on the basis of his sexual orientation is absurd."
Bell called 'problematic' - Although he was just chosen as the Democratic nominee last week, the Democratic Party infrastructure is lukewarm on Bell. No big-money players appear ready to spend money on his behalf.
That leaves him counting on endorsements from the usual constituencies, such as the gay community.
Maria Gonzalez, president of Houston's GLBT Political Caucus, said the group was split in the Democratic primary on whether to endorse Bell, "who is an old friend of the community," or Bob Gammage, who opposed the anti-gay-marriage amendment and "was closer to their values." They chose Gammage.
"Bob Gammage has an incredible charisma; in a way, Chris Bell is more wonkish," she said. "It's problematic because (Bell) really struggles to connect with an audience." Bell will be put through the caucus's endorsement process again, and the caucus will invite independent gubernatorial candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman to seek its support.
As far as having Maxey lead the party: "It would be great to have a GLBT person as a Texas state leader," Gonzalez said. "There's probably going to be a backlash, especially after last November's election (on same-sex marriage). I'm hoping people are exhausted by that kind of silliness."
If the party further fractures at the June convention, it will only be in worse shape come November.
Sounds like the pygmies are set to fight over their sandbox while the rest of Texas gets on with its business. Of course, its not even clear if the sandbox is actually in Texas or across the border in their home away from home, OK or NM.
Every Chicken Little and Demonut thinks the GOP is going to get crushed in November? I see stories like this in Texas; the Philadelphia, Pa., Demo organization split down the middle and fighting, Massachusetts forcing Catholic Charities out of the adoption business to curry favor with gays, and I just think the GOP is going to pick up seats this fall.
Nice tosee trouble in the enemy's tent.