Andy Brown, running for County Judge, is no longer the Travis County Democratic Party Chair. Yesterday, the Party's County Executive Committee, made up of the county's Democratic precinct chairs, met to appoint a replacement.
This meeting saw high turnout, as over 70 precinct chairs were present to choose their new leader. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Senator Kirk Watson were present, too.
Both Doggett and Watson expressed their gratitude for outgoing chair Andy Brown's hard and diligent work. For that work, that CEC would pass a unanimous resolution praising Andy Brown for his service to the party.
Doggett and Watson also expressed their support for Jan Soifer. Soifer was the only candidate nominated to fill the role in an interim basis — there will be a full election in the March primary — and she was elected by acclimation.
Soifer is currently a Democratic precinct chair. She's a practicing attorney who has been long involved in Democratic politics in Austin. Like Andy Brown, who lost an election to a different political office before running for Chair, Soifer's involvement includes a run for District Judge in 2004. Her experience will undoubtedly help her in the chair's most frequent and important function – raising money for the Travis County Democratic Party. The transition is already off to a good start in that manner, as Kirk Watson handed over a $15,000 party right before Soifer was elected.
Soifer started immediately, as she chaired the rest of this May's CEC meeting. In remarks to the precinct chairs, she enumerated several immediate goals: continue the party's solid fundraising immediately, recruit more precinct chairs (
over half many of the county's precincts are without Democratic chairs), and finally hire a full-time Executive Director to replace former ED Laura Hernandez.
Soifer is the first female chair of the Travis County Democratic Party in over three decades, and she plans to run in the 2014 primary to finish the term.
9:37 pm 5/20 Correction: The original posting said that over half of the county's precincts were without Democratic precinct hairs. That is not correct. Depending on semantics, one might be able to say that almost half were without chairs — but the CEC approved about 15 new chairs on Sunday.
Clarification: While Andy Brown ran for HD48 in 2006, he dropped out and endorsed Donna Howard, but too late to take his name off of the primary ballot.