Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The eyes of Texas are upon...

By Carol Gee

...the candidates for U.S. president.

From my little corner of Texas -- today is the first day of early voting in our state, in Houston, in Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio. The news there, is that there is a political parade headed for the Alamo city. The S.A. Express-News reports:

Barack Obama today. Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Mike Huckabee on Thursday. And Hillary Clinton — again — on Sunday.

In a six-day period, five current or former presidential candidates have plans to visit San Antonio.

Barack Obama will be holding a free rally -- "Stand for Change" -- at noon at the Reunion Arena in Dallas on Wednesday, according to The Dallas Morning News. He will visit Houston and San Antonio on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton has rented the wonderful old campaign headquarters of gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman in Austin. She has also lassoed an endorsement from former Speaker Jim Wright. Obama Dallas reports endorsements from:

  • The San Antonio Express-News
  • The Dallas Morning News
  • The Austin American-Statesman
  • The El Paso Times

Capitol Annex has an especially interesting list of Texas Presidential Primary Endorsements for all the candidates in Texas.

The Texas Primary System -- I'll close with a quote from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Voters Guide explaining the March 4 Primary election:

Democrats:Texas will send 228 delegtes to the Democratic National Convention . . .
Primary: 126 delegates, representing the state's 31 senatorial districts, will vote for candidates based on March 4 election results. . . Special delegates: 35 will be superdelegates . . .who are all unpledged.
Caucuses: The remaining 67 delegates will be chosen . . . from the Democrats who attend the caucuses and 25 will be party leaders and elected officials.

Republicans: Texas will send 140 delegated to the Republican National Convention. . .
Primary: 96 will vote for candidates based on the March 4 election results, three for each of the state's 32 congressional districts. . . more than half the vote gets all the delegates. If no one gets 50 percent. . . then the delegates are awarded proportionately to candidates with more than 20% of the vote.
Special delegates: 41 at-large delegates will be chosen by the overall state results. Three unbound delegates can choose any candidate.

For Texas folks, the main thing is just come to the caucus after voting is over. There will be a precinct leader there to preside. When I became a delegate it was because I had an opening on my calendar for the district convention. But with heavy turnout there may be a bit of competition for the slots.

Dallas, Austin and Houston could go Democrat, but the state is generally pretty "Red." All the Texas conservative Democrats (what they now call Blue Dogs) turned Republican during the Reagan Revolution.

Early voting begins today. We have to use a machine to vote early/absentee, so we will go vote on election day, when we can get a paper ballot. Precinct conventions, what they now call the caucus system, begin at the voting locations after the polls close. Voting is 7 AM to 7 PM. We have to be registered 30 days ahead of time to vote. They stamp your registration certificate with the name of the party for whom you voted. Those who've lost certificates can still vote if their names are on the rolls.

We are excited.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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