Bud Kennedy

No, a Tea Party Republican didn’t win a Democratic primary

Voters line up vote Tuesday in Flint, Texas.
Voters line up vote Tuesday in Flint, Texas. AP

Just because 4 million Texans voted doesn’t mean we really know what we’re doing.

Take both statewide party primaries, for example.

Republicans rejected two judges running for the state’s highest criminal court in favor of Dallas lawyer Scott Walker, who happens to have the same name as Wisconsin’s governor.

Democrats, upholding a long-standing tradition, once again voted for a candidate named Yarbrough, once again not related to iconic 1960s Texas Democrat Ralph Yarborough.

Railroad Commission frontrunner Grady Yarbrough has been running in both parties and even under both spellings for 30 years. With that kind of name ID, he led by 50,000 votes going to the May 24 runoff.

So the rest of Texas can’t look down our collective nose at Travis County, where Republicans voting for a county party chairman somehow chose a libertarian conspiracy hobbyist who circulates “send-all” emails with subject lines such as “Adulterer Rick Perry” or “Lyndon Johnson and the CIA.”

I am the elected face of the Travis County Republican Party. The people have spoken.

Chairman-elect Robert Morrow, @RobMorroLiberty on Twitter (NSFW)

Chairman-elect Robert Morrow’s Twitter feed Thursday called prominent Republicans part of a “homosexual pedophile ring” and replied to critics: “The people have spoken.”

Meanwhile, in East Texas, the leader among Republicans in the runoff for a State Board of Education seat is Mary Lou Bruner of Mineola, who posted on Facebook (1) that President Obama was once a prostitute, (2) that neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio can legally be president, and (3) that she trusts the John Birch Society website.

Look, stuff like this happens when you let inexperienced Texans handle a loaded ballot.

A computer glitch listed Republican Fred McCarty as winning the Democratic primary for precinct chair. Hilarity ensued.

However, Tarrant County election officials have restored the good name of Grapevine Democrats.

Fred McCarty, the political paymaster for the power-broker NE Tarrant Tea Party, posted a funny Facebook story Wednesday about how he signed up to run as a Republican write-in candidate for precinct chairman, but instead accidentally got elected by the Democrats.

McCarty asked every voter to write in his name, he wrote: “It never occurred to me that Democrats would actually write in a stranger’s name.”

By night’s end, the Tarrant County election website showed McCarty losing, 330-173, to Bill Baugh. But it showed McCarty winning as a Democrat, 173-0.

McCarty joked about trading his truck for a Prius, and both Republicans and Democrats gave him good-natured ribbing. But election officials explained Thursday that he did not actually get any Democratic votes.

County machines recorded the votes correctly, but when the data was transferred to the web, the write-in candidates weren’t sorted by party, said Stephen Vickers of the county elections office.

McCarty wouldn’t have been eligible to hold office as a Democrat, of course, since he didn’t meet the write-in filing deadline and had just voted in the opposite primary.

“Call it operator error,” Vickers said.

“But overall, it was a very smooth election — considering.”

Considering it’s Texas.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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