It may be the last race on your Democratic ballot, but it can be one of the most important: the race for your local Democratic Party County Chair.
Exemplary county chairs build the Democratic party in their area, recruit candidates, expand turnout programs, and play a big role in winning crucial elections. The role can be a tough needle to thread, as chairs must work well with activists, candidates, officeholders, and donors, and make sure the party stays focused on activities that actually win elections for Democrats. It's a thankless, tiresome, and unpaid job, and we commend those who do it year after year. The people who run and win these positions are key to turning our entire state blue, inch by inch and county by county, and we urge voters to look into the candidates for this race and support the person best capable of organizing strong GOTV programs and recruiting the best candidates to run and win.
With that in mind, Burnt Orange Report is endorsing several uncontested county chairs in recognition of their tremendous party building efforts, and also endorsing in select contested races where we believe there is a compelling reason to support one candidate.
Endorsements below the jump.2012 Burnt Orange Report Endorsements In Uncontested Democratic County Chair Elections
While these candidates and incumbent chairs may not have primary opponents, they are exemplary party builders whose good works have not gone unnoticed. These party leaders show what can be done with strong, organized, coordinated efforts to turn out Democratic voters, and we urge all counties to follow in their lead.
Bastrop: Robert Ryland. Ryland, a BOR community member and seasoned activist, worked hard in 2010 as the county chair, expanding the BCDP coordinated campaign program and supporting great Democratic candidates. We expect Ryland to keep working hard to build the Democratic brand in this growing county.
Burnet: Guy Stuart. For someone so young, Stuart already has an impressive record of activism. He's working hard to turn out every single Democratic vote in this Hill Country county, which is crucial in our Third Court of Appeals races.
Dallas: Darlene Ewing. Ewing's county party held on to every Dallas County judicial position in 2010 despite the Republican wave, and for that tremendous effort alone she deserves support for another term. Ewing has steered the DCDP ship in a great direction, and given the party an excellent foundation on which to build great things.
Fort Bend: Stephen Brown. Brown is working hard to flip this county, and this cycle he just might do it. Brown is growing the party, working hand-in-hand with local clubs. He did a great job with his county's 2010 coordinated campaign, and even ran a countywide vote-by-mail program. Keep it up!
Tarrant: Steve Maxwell. Maxwell is working hard to grow the party in Fort Worth, and has another county moving in the right direction to turn blue. His newsletter, “The Donkey Speaks,” is a must-read no matter where you live.
Travis: Andy Brown. Brown works hard to raise huge funds to support field programs in Travis County. The TCDP has a year-round office and staff, which helps support Democratic programming outside of regular campaign seasons. Brown has focused on supporting expansive field efforts that turn out Democrats and win elections, and has made great strides to bring more precinct chairs, clubs, and activists together to work towards our common goals.
2012 Burnt Orange Report Endorsements In Contested Democratic County Chair Elections:
There are several contested County Chair elections across the state. In some of these races, we think there is a clear and compelling reason to support one of the candidates. We have endorsed these candidates below.
Bell: Marianne Miller. Miller's experience as interim chair and with the Texas Democratic Women demonstrate her organizing strength. She's the best candidate to expand Bell County's efforts and run a GOTV program to help increase Democratic margins and win some races.
Bexar: Choco Meza. Meza has done a miraculous job, rescuing the Bexar County Democratic Party from the brink of disaster. She got the party out of debt and restored its reputation after the former chair did much to generate Democratic consternation across the state. Meza deserves a second term to keep the party going in the right direction.
Denton: John McClelland. McClellan is an exciting young leader with a passion for the grassroots who can help boost the numbers in this rapidly growing suburban county. He will inject new energy to the party, and is committed to expanding training, using new technologies, and recruiting more candidates to run. McClellan's got great ideas and a strong organizing background, and deserves a chance to show what he can do.
Harris: Lane Lewis. This is the most important chair's race in Texas this year. Harris County is our most populous county, and HCDP needs the strongest chair possible to keep improving turnout figures year over year. Lewis has served as interim chair and done an excellent job on the whole. He has the organizing and managerial skills to helm the gigantic HCDP operation and keep boosting the Democratic numbers, which will be key to turning our entire state blue. He enjoys a great reputation amongst campaign workers and activists, and is best suited to this tremendous and difficult job.
Tom Green: Linda Shoemaker. Shoemaker is a solid presence in San Angelo, and has done an excellent job supporting her local and regional candidates. We support her for another term so she can keep her county party's eye on the ball.
There are at least 12 contested County Chair races on the ballot this year, including crowded races in Webb, Nueces, Hidalgo, and Cameron County. These races are vastly more important than their ballot position would indicate. We encourage voters to support candidates who are best prepared to engage in the necessary party building and GOTV activities in November to win as many races as possible for Democrats across Texas, and play a crucial role in turning this state Blue.
As always, feel free to advocate for your preferred candidate in the comments, or talk up the great job your local county chair is already doing in your area!