Early voting started Monday and I have yet to decide if I am going to vote in the primaries (Democrat!) or not vote so I can sign a petition for one of the indendents. Huh? I know, it's confusing. I'm confused and I have a masters in public affairs. Here is the deal:
Under Texas law, if you vote in the primaries, for any race, you signature is invalid on a petition to get an independent, on the ballot. There are two very worthy independents looking to get on the ballot this spring; Kinky Friedman (the Jewish Cowboy-for the politically estranged) and Carole Keeton Strayhorn (current Texas Comptroller, or Ann Richards v.2-for the estranged Republican and minority of Democrats). Of course, Carole has a much better chance of actually challenging Rick Perry, since she was a Republican, and has only moved to be independent in the hopes of getting past the primaries into the final election. However, there is a lot of hope for Kinky, as a populist-let's-knock-some-sense-into-Texas-government-Ventura-style (he even hired Ventura's campaign manager, I believe).
However, there is a local primary race that has a very close race brewing. Sarah Eckhardt, daughter of the late U.S. Senator Bob Eckhardt (D) and a former classmate of mine, is challenging the incumbent County Commissioner Karen Sonleiter (D) for County Commissioner of Precint 2. Of course, first I had to check whether I live in Precint 2 on the Travis County Voter Verification website, which encompasses most of West Austin. Then I had to research why Sarah had jumped into this race. My take is that Sarah (and her supporters) are pissed off that Karen voted against Travis County joining in legal action against those organizations and persons that conspired to redistrict Texas for political purposes and that Karen voted for the current toll-road package. I support Sarah, she's smart, hardworking and earnest. I liked her way back then (I haven't seen her since), and I think she would work hard to do a good job. My only concern is whether I should wait and help with the signatures for the indepedents so we can have a real governor's race.
There are, of course, other primary races possibly worth voting in, although as a D, none of them outside of Travis County have ANY chance of getting elected. For those of you not in Texas, Travis County(which is mainly Austin) feels like Brigadoon!