Saturday, August 20, 2016

In which I come up short in my race for precinct committeeman

Tuesday's primary election yielded some surprises.

First, and most disappointing, is that I was upset in my pursuit of precinct 2-7 committeeman. As is true with most Laramie County precincts, 2-7 gets to elect a committeeman and woman. Big deal, you might say. Many precincts had no Democrats running. The power and glory attached to these positions consist of voting for county officers in the spring. Every precinct person gets a vote. County officers are charged with running the party, conducting meetings, staging the county convention and basically setting the agenda. During non-presidential election cycles, a county chair may not have much to do. But presidential election years up the ante, especially this time out with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vying for the nomination. It was a bit contentious at times, especially during the county caucus when the Bernie supporters were being a bit frisky. Laramie County also held the state convention, which is a big responsibility.

Where was I? Oh yeah, committeeman. I lost in a tight race to Ed Waddell, my neighbor who also ran  the local Sanders campaign. He also is running for city council, a good job for an urban planner. Ed beat me fair and square, earning eight more votes than I did. On the distaff side, my wife Christine earned 127 votes, swamping the two write-in candidates. So Christine and Ed will serve our precinct during the coming year.

I must mention that there was only one other contested precinct race. In that one, Heather Muth lost to Mary Throne. Credit name recognition, as Mary is the House Minority Leader and gets mentioned in the newspapers and TV quite a lot. Heather is my colleague on the Laramie County Democrats Grassroots Coalition events committee which plans all of the fund-raisers, most of which involve food and, occasionally, alcoholic beverages. We raised $15,000 for legislative candidates during this cycle.

In big cities, precinct spots are always fought over. You are in charge of getting out the vote for your area. That includes knocking on doors, holding potlucks, distributing flyers and signs, and generally making a nuisance of yourself. Grassroots stuff. We are just not used to that around here, Democrats especially. We are outgunned and outnumbered. Disappointed and disgruntled.

But an infusion of new blood to the most populous county in the state had energized us. I also have to give credit to the Bernie surge. Some of those folks have decided to get involved with the party. Not easy to do for some, who viewed Hillary and the party as inseparable, Clinton was seen as the establishment candidate, while Bernie was the outrider -- and an Independent. Independents don't exist on Wyoming ballots. You are either a D or R or U -- Unaffiliated.

It didn't help that caucus-goers voted 56% for Bernie but received the same number of delegates (not counting Superdelegates) to the state convention. Ill will still exists over this. I'm no genius, but 56% is more than 44%.

So some Berniecrats, such as Ed Waddell, have chosen to be more involved or to stay involved. I wish them the best as they work to GOTV. The numbers are on the side of the Republicans. But we have some fine candidates running. In our HD8, Linda Burt is running against Bob Nicholas, the Repub. She is an active Dem and once headed up the Wyoming ACLU. We all will be working hard to get her elected. The Republican majority in the Legislature is bad for the state. Short-sighted and selfish. The Know Nothing Right-Wing Fringe gained two more candidates in primary upsets. We must get rid of those people. When I saw get rid of, I mean to vote against them, not the other thing, the one that Trump means when he sends out coded messages about the second amendment.

Meanwhile, I wish my precinct leaders the best. When looking for volunteers, you know where to find me.


RobertP said...

What would Mike Royko say?

Michael Shay said...

Mike Royko would say Boss Daley stole my election. P.S.: Our daughter Annie is now living in Chicago.