As many of you know by now, former Ambassador Tom Schieffer launched his gubernatorial campaign for the Democratic nomination last week in Fort Worth. The process of hiring full-time staff is still ongoing and many are watching as to whom he surrounds himself with. Many in Dallas County are particularly dumbfounded as to this announcement:
Susan Hays, a partner in Geisler Hays in Dallas and a former chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, has signed on to serve as general counsel to Schieffer's campaign.
As Dallas County Chair, Susan Hays went down highly unpopular and utterly disgraced. Byron LaMasters, founder of Burnt Orange, made this post regarding one of Hays final executive meetings in 2005:
…it was clear to me tonight that the Chair, Susan Hays does not have the confidence of the vast majority of the grassroots and precinct chairs in Dallas County. Hays refused – just as she has refused for the past ten months – to accept a forum for grievances against her. Furthermore, she used continuous stalling tactics to prevent business from being accomplished. I offer this summary as evidence that Dallas County needs new leadership, and if Chair Hays will not step down, it is critical that Dallas Democrats work to elect a chair next March that will lead a united Dallas Democratic Party to victory in November 2006.
Among other things Hays upset a great number of Dallas Democrats when she endorsed a Republican judicial candidate on Dallas Democratic Party letterhead. Hays eventually resigned as Party Chair on April 1, 2005.
I've heard from a number of my Democratic friends in Dallas who say this hiring by Schieffer doesn't sit well with them. For a group of people already disturbed about his ties to George W. Bush, and insistence by Schieffer that he can “go make money” if things don't work out—making one wonder if there is 100% motivation to make a run for governor at all, there just is no room for error in upsetting the core Democratic primary base of voters which you need to secure the nomination and battle in the general election.