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Thursday, February 02, 2006

TX-28: Could Cuellar Switch Parties?

Posted by DavidNYC

In my opinion, no.

Background: Rep. Henry Cuellar is a Bush-worshipping "Democrat" who is facing former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez - a bonafide Dem - in a primary on March 7th. There's some speculation these days that Cuellar might try to switch parties, especially if he loses the primary - and indeed, I bet he wants to.

However, he's out of luck this year. I spent some time tonight reviewing Texas election law, and here's what I can tell you:

• The filing deadline to run as a Republican or a Democrat was Jan. 2nd. When you file, you specifically have to pick a particular party - you can't file for one party and then switch to another after the filing date. (See Rep. Ralph Hall, who switched his affiliation in 2004 on literally the last day possible before the filing date.)

• The filing date for independent candidates is in May - but (and this is a big "but") you need to have already filed a "Declaration of Intent to Run as an Independent Candidate" by Jan. 2nd. Don't worry, Cuellar doesn't have a secret indy declaration in his back pocket - you can't file for the same office twice.

Cuellar could run as a write-in candidate, but of course, his name wouldn't appear on the ballot. (The only time I can think of a write-in candidacy ever working was the bizarre situation in DC a few years ago involving Mayor Anthony Williams and a botched petition.) There are also provisions for replacing candidates, but the Texas GOP hasn't fielded anyone in the 28th CD, so there's no one Cuellar could even replace.

So, assuming my reading of the law is correct, if Cuellar loses the primary, he's screwed in 2006. However, I'm sure he'll land on his feet, netting a nice appointed Republican gig somewhere, until he can run for office again. If he wins the primary (which means he basically automatically wins the general), then I'd expect Cuellar to switch parties, probably after the elections in November.

Posted at 07:57 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

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Strom Thurmond won election to the United States Senate in 1954 as a write in candidate. In fact, according to wikipedia, 4 candidates won election to Congress as write ins. (Not that I'm saying it's likely here, mind you. Jus' sayin'.)


Posted by: PeteyP [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 08:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for the link, Petey. Looks like no one's pulled off that stunt in over 20 years. Like you, I'm pretty confident that we don't have to worry about a successful moonshot here.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 10:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Ron Packard, a former Republican Representative from Southern California, was first elected as a write-in candidate sometime during the Reagan Administration.

Posted by: Vadranor [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 11:23 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, the examples mentioned on that link are of situations where there was a sharp turn against the established candidates (especially in the case of Skeen and Packard).

Basically, unless Ciro ends up getting busted for a crime, he's save from a write-in opponent.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 11:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

According to the Almanac of American Politics, Packard's opponent Crean ran ads which falsely claimed he had Reagan's endorsement. Whoops! Plus, there was also a Dem in the race, which allowed Packard to win with just 37% of the vote.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 11:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Don't forget to give generously to Ciro Rodriguez--a Democrat of conviction for Congress, running to unseat Republican mole Cueller.


Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 3, 2006 01:39 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment