’Tis the season to be jolly . . . and a political Scrooge

12/20/2013 7:14 PM

12/20/2013 7:15 PM

This year’s traditional holiday season coincides with the beginning of next year’s highly contested political season.

Guess which of the seasons is likely to be more joyful.

If you chose politics, think again. In addition to the expected confrontations between Democrat and Republican candidates, a couple of maneuvers this week indicate that intra-party wrangling could be anything other than “merry and bright.”

The Democratic race for Senate District 10, a seat left vacant when state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her candidacy for governor, became contentious early on, when five former county party leaders asked one candidate to withdraw from the race because he wasn’t Democratic enough.

The former Democratic chairs say that attorney George Boll, who is running against two other candidates, has voted more in the Republican primary than in the Democratic one, a charge Boll doesn’t deny. But he doesn’t think that disqualifies him from running, since he voted for the Republican ticket in the primary to have influence in judgeship races that the GOP candidates traditionally win.

On the Republican side, the county chairwoman is being sued by a justice of the peace who was declared ineligible for the March primary ballot because she reportedly did not have enough signatures on a petition.

Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jacquelyn Wright, in her lawsuit against County Republican Chairwoman Jennifer Hall, says she submitted a petition with 351 signatures even though only 250 are required to qualify for a place on the ballot. Hall didn’t explain specifically why Wright’s petition was ruled invalid.

Intra-party squabbles are not uncommon and eventually get resolved even if they have to be decided by a judge.

On its face, the Democratic spat seems overblown. There are plenty of instances when people vote for one party in the primary and another in the general election. And there are examples of candidates (including incumbents) changing parties if they think it is more advantageous.

As for the Republicans, there must be a simple way to verify petition signatures.

Either way, shouldn’t it be left up to the candidates’ opponents, rather than party officials, to point out their challengers’ weaknesses? Then, of course, it should be left to the voters to decide which candidate they feel is most qualified to represent them.

Merry politics to all …

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