TX: Reflections on Bob Smither’s CD-22 Race

I work for the state’s largest yard sign printer, Michael Franks. He’s a Ron Paul Republican (he’s actually printing more 4×8s, 2×4s, etc. than any other print shop) and he personally put up the “Republicans For Smither” 4×8 yard signs last year in the chaotic CD-22* race south of Houston. Democrat Nick Lampson later won that race against a hard-to-pronounce Republican write-in.

However, in the special election, Smither benefited most from Lampson not running – there were two elections for CD-22—a special election to fill the last six weeks of DeLay’s term, and the general election. Smither scored 25% in the special election, losing to Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the Republican write-in. In the general, Smither scored 6% – was the Libertarian Party of Texas to blame? Some think so. A lot of Republicans who voted for Smither – precinct chairs, GOP club organizers – said Smither could have scored at least 10% in the general election.

According to Franks and other GOP strategists, the LPTX operatives “sat at home on their computers” on Election Day. Sekula-Gibbs had every precinct chairman equipped with signs, brochures and voting maps targeting CD-22’s largest voter-turnout areas. The LPTX? They “sat at home on their computers.” Absolutely no effort was made from certain LP officials to help secure more votes for Smither, who was endorsed by Republican Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

This is the problem with some Libertarians. They refuse to listen to people who know how to campaign, know how to strategize, and know how to win. They know it all it seems. They don’t want to actually work, even when there’s a rare and historic effort among Republicans to help elect a Libertarian.

This should serve notice to all of those Libertarians who bitch at Ron Paul’s campaign spending. Those who bitch have probably never run a campaign anyway, so their arguments are null. But those who raise $400,000 and only get 4% of the vote also have nothing of substance.

Take it from grassroots Republicans: we know how to campaign, we know how to strategize, and we know how to win.

It’s unfortunate that Smither couldn’t do better than 6% on the general election. But we tried. The LPTX operatives wouldn’t listen.

*Ron Paul built the CD-22 race in 1976, becoming the first Republican to win it. It wasn’t Tom DeLay’s district. It was Ron Paul’s originally

14 Responses to “TX: Reflections on Bob Smither’s CD-22 Race”

  1. Trent Hill Says:

    “Take it from grassroots Republicans: we know how to campaign, we know how to strategize, and we know how to win.”

    Joey—-do you hold elected office? If not, this statement is hypocritical.

  2. DiBianca Says:

    Joey Dauben once held an appointed office, a spot on the Midlothian Districtwide Education Improvement Council. However, we never found out when his term ended. Maybe he’s still on it. Also, we never found out what the council did.

    I probably should take offense at the suggestion that “LPTX operatives” are lazy. But insults from Li’l Joey give me warm fuzzies.

    I rarely sit on my computer, it’s very uncomfortable.

    Anyone figured out who the non-lazy Texas Libertarian election winner is yet?

  3. Tom Bryant Says:

    Is Joey complaining about LP leaders really news?

    I don’t find this to be a worthwhile discussion point for TPW. It doesn’t provide anything of substance, just Joey’s attack on some unnamed LP leaders.

  4. Kris Overstreet Says:

    In part I agree with Joey; here in Texas there’s far too much emphasis on finding candidates and not nearly enough on getting people organized to support those candidates.

    But Ron Paul is not a Libertarian. He’s a Republican.

    He’s not a small-l libertarian, either. He’s a conservative.

    He’s said both quite clearly.

    What’s more, he’s sought over the past twenty years to destroy the Libertarian Party by merging it with the GOP.

    If Ron Paul supports a political party actively hostile to the concept of individual rights and equality for all, and supports the use of government power to outlaw immigration (among other faults), why SHOULD Libertarians support him?

    I have no problem with his campaign spending. From what I’ve seen, it’s good spending. Maybe the ads aren’t as good as they could be, but all candidates have good ads and bad ads. He’s focusing in the right areas, and he’s using his money intelligently.

    But he’s not my candidate, and I will not support him- even if the LP votes to reject its very purpose for being and nominates him.

  5. Tom Bryant Says:

    Kris,

    Ron Paul is a member of the Libertarian Party.

    When he speaks about being a conservative, he uses that term in a similiar way as Barry Goldwater used it. A “Barry Goldwater conservative” or a “Ron Paul conservative” is very much like libertarian. A “George W Bush conservative” would be very different from a libertarian. The political terms of “liberal” and “conservative” change constantly – it’s much better to base a candidate on his positions.

    Ron Paul has spoke to many Libertarian Party events. He has supported LP candidates privately and publicly (check out who wrote the Forward to Badnarik’s Presidential campaign book).

    Ron Paul does not want to “outlaw” immigration. Read his platform.

  6. Jake Porter Says:

    Kris,

    Like you, I do not support Ron Paul.

    I am very concerned with Libertarians registering as Republicans and potentially costing some state organizations ballot access. I also don’t think libertarians have any chance to take over the Republican Party. We would not like it if Republicans started registering as Libertarians trying to decide our candidates for us and then threatening to go back to the Republican Party if their candidates did not win.

    The state and local Libertarian groups need to develop good marketing and political strategies and try to destroy the Democratic and Republican parties not jump in bed with them.

  7. Gene Berkman Says:

    Ron Paul has not tried to destroy the Libertarian Party, and he has not actively supported the Republican Party.

    He has spoken at conventions of the Libertarian Party of California, as well as the Libertarian National Convention. He has also spoken at conventions of the Constitution Party and the Independent American Party in Nevada. He has stated more than once that he did not vote for George W Bush in 2004.

    Ron Paul is running in the Republican primaries because he can get publicity for the message of freedom and limited government. Kris & Jake, if you don’t want to support him, you don’t have to. But it is better to have the right information.

  8. timothy west Says:

    he will be pulling the Ross Perot card as soon as the no cons nominate their fascist empire builder puppet. He’ll make a Independant bid. he’s not raising this money to win the RP nomination. The bible humpers and warmongers wont allow it.

    But He’ll make 08 interesting.

  9. Wes Benedict Says:

    Two-cent Joey says:

    “A lot of Republicans who voted for Smither – precinct chairs, GOP club organizers – said Smither could have scored at least 10% in the general election. According to Franks and other GOP strategists, the LPTX operatives “sat at home on their computers” on Election Day.”

    Wes responds:

    A few years ago, this was the state of the LP Texas:
    http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/2006/07/texas-two-step-turnaround-2.html

    In 2004, the Libertarian candidate for US Congress District 22 received 1.79% of the vote.

    People who thought Smither could win were naive in my opinion and over-estimated the number of Libertarian activists in Texas. I guess we’ve done a great job of making ourselves look bigger to the opposition than we actually are. While I think Smither ran a fine campaign, even he did not boast or predict that he would win.

    Here’s comments from Eric Dondero showing how clueless Eric is:

    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/10/31/smither-not-a-major-factor-in-tx-22/

    “I’m sticking by my prediction, being someone who actually lives a stone’s throw away from the District 22 line, Smither beats Sekula-Gibbs with high 20s to her low teens. Outside shot that Bob can win outright.

    What’s being lost in all the discussion here is that there’s a prominent libertarian running for Governor of Texas. Perhaps you all heard of him.

    KINKY FRIEDMAN!

    Friedman voters in CD 22 will vote for Bob Smither.

    Keep in mind Jesse Ventura was 10 points behind in the polls the day before he won the Governorship of MN. Bet the same is true for Kinky. Kinky voters are Bob Smither voters.

    Both libertarian candidates, Kinky and Bob, will do much better than the experts predicted.”

    And here’s what Austin Cassidy said:

    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/10/31/smither-not-a-major-factor-in-tx-22/

    “As I said in the item above, Smither can get to 10% with his eyes closed at this point… but that’s not going to win it. Neither is 20%... which is where I think he might be able to get to with all this party support.”

  10. Wes Benedict Says:

    Kris Overstreet says:

    “In part I agree with Joey; here in Texas there’s far too much emphasis on finding candidates and not nearly enough on getting people organized to support those candidates.”

    Wes responds:

    This is a strategic decision on how to maximize the impact of a very small amount of resources. The four or five of us who do the bulk of the political organizing probably could spend most of our effort working successfully to marshal Libertarians to get 3 or 4 people elected to small town non-partisan positions. I happen to be of the opinion that it’s more beneficial for the Libertarian Party to run lots of candidates which results in getting millions of dollars worth of free advertisement for the Libertarian Party and it’s candidates and getting maximum exposure for the Libertarian Party statewide.

    I don’t try to stop anyone working to elect non-partisan small town candidates. In fact, I’ve helped with them as well.

    Unfortunately, the Libertarian Party is still in the experimental stage trying to figure out what works best or what works at all.

    I’m open to evidence and arguments of success from other places.

  11. Eric Dondero Says:

    Ron Paul is neither a Conservative Republican nor a Libertarian. There was a time when he criss-crossed both ideologies. But nowadays he is a Populist Leftwinger. There’s very little left of him as a Conservative, or a Libertarian.

    All he ever talks about is blaming America for 9/11, and conspiracy theories about Jewish Bankers and the Gold Standard.

    That’s Populism. It’s almost soft Neo-Authoritarianism of the Willis Carto variety sprinkled in with some Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Hollywood Left rhetoric.

  12. Eric Dondero Says:

    Is Joey Dauben now a Republican? This is the same guy who was a diehard Libertarian Party partisan, friend of ulta-partisan LPer Michelle Shingalle.

    But Joey says in his article: “As we grass-roots Republicans know…”

    And now he’s teamed up with the most diehard of all Republicans in the entire State of Texas: Michael Franks.

    If it’s the Ron Paul thing that’s switched Joey over, I ain’t going to complain. Just happy he’s seen the light.

  13. Trent Hill Says:

    “Ron Paul is neither a Conservative Republican nor a Libertarian. There was a time when he criss-crossed both ideologies. But nowadays he is a Populist Leftwinger. There’s very little left of him as a Conservative, or a Libertarian.

    All he ever talks about is blaming America for 9/11, and conspiracy theories about Jewish Bankers and the Gold Standard.

    That’s Populism. It’s almost soft Neo-Authoritarianism of the Willis Carto variety sprinkled in with some Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Hollywood Left rhetoric.”

    Ron Paul has more Conservative AND Libertarian views than any other Congressmen currently serving. Period. As for blaming America, and conpiracy theories about Jewish banker, he has NEVER said those things. But even if he had,how would that qualify as populism? Doesn’t something have to be POPULAR to qualify as populism?
    Dondero—you’re certifiably retarded.

  14. Trent Hill Says:

    Oh,and I love that you’ve yet to mention Ron Paul’s steadily rising numbers in NH, Iowa, and NV (8%, 5%, and 7% respectively) as well as Nationally (6%).

    In addition—what do you think about RP getting the most military contributions of ANY presidential candidate?

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