Thursday, September 6, 2012

What a twist, Oliver

Oh, Lane Lewis just thought he had the last laugh when he told the folks who voted in the Democratic primary in Harris County to fuck off by taking Lloyd Oliver off the November ballot.

District Judge Bill Burke thought otherwise.

After Mr. Oliver filed suit to prevent the Harris County Democratic Party from removing his name from the ballot for the general election, the local Dems had the case removed to federal court. Not so fast said US District Judge Lee Rosenthal. She sent the case back down to Harris County.

And over at the Civil Courthouse yesterday, Judge Burke heard both sides argue their case and then decided that Mr. Lewis did not have the authority to overrule the voters. Judge Burke was fine with Mr. Lewis' argument that the party gets to control access to the primary ballot, but he was buying the argument that the party's authority extended to removing the candidate who won the primary.

While the result may come as an embarrassment to the party establishment, it is also a message that the voice of the people cannot be ignored. Or at least the voice of the few folks who made their way to the polls.

Along the way Mr. Oliver referred to the local party bosses, Lane Lewis and Gerald Birnberg, as goobers, twits and fools. And he's right. If the bosses had been paying attention to what was happening, they never would have allowed Mr. Oliver to enter the Democratic primary.

They probably figured that there was no way Mr. Oliver could win. But they were wrong. They knew Mr. Oliver had run on both parties' tickets over the years. But still they took his check for the filing fee and let him in the door.

While Lloyd Oliver isn't the person I'd like to cast a vote for in November, he's a damn sight better than the alternative. Four years ago the voters in Harris County said no to the good ol' boy network. Will they send the same message this time around?

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