SocraticGadfly: A win for Texas Greens, it seems (now official)

June 10, 2019

A win for Texas Greens, it seems (now official)

Update June 10: Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law HB 2504!

I don't totally like the idea of candidates nominated by convention rather than primary paying filing fees, because, as Ballot Access News notes in describing Texas HB 2504, such fees were intended to pay the state and counties the costs for holding primaries.

That said, there is a silver lining.

The bill drops the ballot access hurdle from 5 percent to 2 percent, and says that a statewide race anytime in the last five elections counts. That was an amendment to the original bill, with bill author Drew Springer making it his own amendment.

It's the right thing, even if Springer is doing it for anti-Democrat political machination reasons to get Greens on the state ballot again.

The bill was referred to the Senate's State Affairs Committee for a public hearing on Thursday, May 16. Update, May 18: It passed there with little problem. As of the end of day on May 19, it appeared to have passed two readings for sure from the whole Senate. David Bruce Collins has details, including the party-line vote, not all Republicans understanding it, and the amendments that were swatted down. Surprisingly, two of the four were to cut the filing fees or else redirect them and only one was to make the ballot requirements more stringent. The fourth, interestingly, was to eliminate all barriers entirely, but as Dem. Sen. Rodriguez voted with the party line against the bill, this may not have been a serious amendment.

Then on May 20, it passed its third reading.

David Bruce Collins has more, including the filing fees involved (which aren't cheap for third-party candidates, as the state details). It's almost a poison pill, and since that's the core of the legislation, and has been introduced by Springer in past sessions, it seems very anti-Libertarian deliberate.

That said, Wes Benedict, former executive director of Texas Libertarians, has already said his party will likely challenge the fees portion of the law in court should it pass.

And, THAT would be the best result — lowered ballot access without the fees. That said, DBC notes that candidates can go the petition signature route upon nomination rather than paying fees. Those signature requirements are less than party ballot access signature requirements.

Update, July 11: That lawsuit — a federal lawsuit — has now been filed by a combo of Libertarians, Greens, other third parties, and individual plaintiffs.

(With the bill's being signed into law, DBC now also has an update, and promises he'll try to figure out when potential Green candidates can start the process of petition signatures in lieu of fees.)

Sidebar: In his original piece, DBC discusses running a state-level modified version of the safe states strategy, where Greens won't run in things like lege races (but yes, I presume, still on statewide offices, or prez???) where Dems have a good chance of winning — IF Dems call off the cock-block maneuvers etc., like the CCA Place 5 filing in 2014. He carefully says only that he envisions it, not that he supports it.


This is not, of course, or should not be, a "Green Party" bill nor a "kneecap the Dems" bill.

It should — and maybe actually could — help other third parties. Establishmentarian Kuff, who agrees with Brains and I on the motives behind the bill, admits to having little like for third parties, which is probably one of the biggest reasons Brains and I don't have more interest in him. And don't mind saying so. Like Progress Texas, Kuff just isn't actually progressive when you get down to it. (P-TX left this off a list of good bills to watch, which is why I refused to run them in my version of the May 20-24 Texas Progressives roundup.)

If Libertarians aren't religious conservatives, and Tea Party GOPers aren't enough of that, maybe the Constitution Party — if it will stop imploding even worse than the Greens — seeks state ballot access. And implode they continue to do: DBC documents the latest woes with Harris County Greens, traditional the biggest driver for the state party, losing their website domain. He then updates this June 12 with new but mysterious news. The website is back up, but the registrant is in Florida but unnamed, the host company won't disclose the name of the primary contact and this is otherwise silencio.

Maybe it's the family of old frenemy ACTUAL FLATTICUS!

And, on the left, if the Greens do implode more, maybe the SPUSA can get on the ballot. I'll probably write more about this if/when Abbott signs.


paulie said...

Neither the Constitution Party nor the Socialists have close to enough resources to get on the Texas ballot to begin with, much less follow that up with filing fees, so making it easier for them to stay on the ballot is besides the point. Greens only managed to get on in Texas in the first place because GOP-connected sources funded it. While that allegation is often made and usually is not true, in this case it is, and I happen to know that because I bid on the job. It ended up going to another company and government filings show they were paid somewhere between 500k and 600k (I don't remember the exact number but could find it if I needed to).

It's not entirely impossible that D and R funders would enable CP or SP to get on the Texas ballot, but unlikely.

Gadfly said...

Oh, I know the backstory, Paulie.

And, if all is fair in love and war, and per Clauswitz, politics is war extended, then, it's fair.

And maybe, maybe not, on additional third parties in Texas.

And, if not in Texas, elsewhere.

Michigan, a slightly blue state? Dems could fund libertarians there. Or in, purplish North Carolina, fund the Constitution Party there.

paulie said...

Sure, they could, I just have not seen any evidence they would, or have, apart from this case and a few of the Nader states in 2004 and maybe 2008. I've never seen one state where Democrats helped the LP get on the ballot, and I would be in a position to know. I've not even seen any states where they helped the Constitution Party either, even though it's a much more clearcut case the Constitution Party would help them as opposed to the LP. Clearly they have the resources to do it, as do the Republicans. But have Republicans ever funded any actual Socialist Party? Not as far as I know. Very, very few cases of them funding Greens either.

I don't blame any alt party for taking their money for ballot access. I don't even think it's wrong of establishment party funders if they think it serves their interests to do that. I just don't see much evidence that it happens very often.

Gadfly said...

Assuming you're the same Paulie commenting on Independent Political Report, you're definitely in a position to know.

The GOP has not funded the Socialists, you're right. But .. if it helped in the future, would it consider that? And, I know you're right that it hasn't often funded Greens. (IIRC in a couple of cases, rich conservative individuals have done some of this heavy lifting.)

As for the Dems and the Constitution Party even more than the Libertarians ... hey, the mix of stupidity and self-righteousness, or whatever is involved, is why I'm not a Democrat. I'm with you in general on third parties taking ballot access money from wherever.