The following are questions that have been posed to candidates for county chair or directly to myself. Please see the contact page to send your own question.
Marva Allums asks
What I am looking for is the person who will address why we are constantly in this shape.
Marva, excellent question in need of a direct response.
It is incumbent on the party chair to use all of the funds at their disposal on each cycle. And so we find ourselves poor every odd year.
Meanwhile, some other Texas county parties can depend on a well developed sustaining membership revenue stream to pay our operating costs in the off-cycle periods. We are way behind where we should be on our sustaining membership rolls. Once the basics to keep the office open full-time are known to be paid for, the focus can be moving forward.
I would count amongst our mistakes not directing enough focus of the chair ( not just during Steve’s tenure) on developing this core foundation. While Steve has strongly encouraged our grassroots & geographical clubs to renew during his personal visits, we must expand our asks further.
We possess a trove of data on potential sustaining members. I personally worked on one campaign with Keith to solicit sustaining members. It was successful in that it resulted in more revenue than it cost, but we can’t be satisfied to conduct such a program only once every year or two. Not when we are behind. I would use paid and volunteer phone canvassers to follow up on a multi-piece mail campaign with these potential members. I would also selectively use personal visits, much like the 1 on 1s that many of us may have experienced with OFA organizers.
Thanks Marva-we should all ask this question to remind the eventual chair of their off-year priorities.
A later response on social media suggested that the Comptroller funded the county party operations. That is factually wrong. The state only provides funding to the county party to conduct a primary election every two years. The state doesn’t fund party operations beyond that small period of time. Just like a campaign, the county party is wholly dependent on donations for our operations.
I asked this question to a facebook group formed to discuss the chair race:
Should Texas County Parties cede field organization & GOTV to Democratic PACs & C4 organizations thus limiting TCDP function to the state law primary elections & conventions? How about year around communications & response?
I’m not suggesting or recommending it; I think it should be talked about by the candidates to see what they think and the priorities they rate for spending county party funds.
One potential problem with ceding building (and thus controlling) a vote machine to an outside group – they don’t have to stay out primaries – even if they do it under the radar – you lose a lot of our Party’s ability for open nominations; and the way the Texas Legislature draws districts, our Congressional & state house elections are often over long before November.
Celia Morgan asks:
I want to know what the candidates think the responsibilities of clubs are and if they intend to allow clubs to handle Party initiatives regarding the groups they serve. For example would the chairperson allow groups like the Young Democrats to take on activities regarding the new voters and activism. Previously we established committees that didn’t communicate across all groups or clubs, and I hope that the next chairperson would utilize the skills of the wonderful clubs here in Tarrant County.
I’ve always looked to the clubs to conduct outreach and assist in candidate recruitment. Our candidates receive great volunteers from the active club membership. Some clubs have been able to raise money as a PAC and endorse candidates.
I think forming the various project committees is the best way for those interested in get involved; and therefore bring members of the different clubs together on those projects that meet their interest and talents. It’s an interesting (and new to me) idea for a club to take on responsibility from the Party for a initiative.
Longtime Democrat Activist Blinky Williams asked this question via Facebook.
To the best of my knowledge, these candidates have declared, or have been mentioned by the Star-Telegram:
Bishop Kenneth Spears
Shane Hardin asks:
When push comes to shove, we all have our issues with this or that, but the purpose of this page is to discuss candidates for the chair position. What are their goals? Where would they like to focus? Priorities other saying a generic, “Turn Tarrant Blue”. What is their plan to do it? How do they intend on increasing revenue? What are their intentions on the clubs? Should the clubs pay dues into the County Party?
Shane, I really appreciate these questions.
The new chair will have 1 year in term, and the party is out of money. I fear he or she will be treading water to keep the office rent & utilities paid for. They would need to focus on recruiting more sustaining members to pay for those basics + staff pay. Finding angel donors to – that’s HARD – and relationships matter. We need a communications professional, even if part-time, a fundraising professional, even if part-time, and the executive director. If priorities are followed, those functions are somewhat possible with a full-time executive director, but those 3 jobs together are hard to do well with split focus. I appreciate the job Kathleen Thompson did in communications with our earned media, and growing our social media following – to at least compare with our rivals. Kat Allen performed a well organized & effective job in fundraising this past cycle.
Developing our fundraising, is job #1 this next year. I attack that at sustaining membership. We share a plan, and ask our Democrats to invest. We can ask higher net worth individuals across the country to consider investing here. (INVEST IN BEATING RICK PERRY & STOP HIM IN HIS TRACKS), an example message. That’s done with proven techniques. Ask any Obama alumni how.
On the “clubs” & dues, NO. They have been fantastic at buying tables at our events, and recruiting their members to attend. That’s really good stuff! Way better than “dues”. Our groups have a done great job at developing politically interested people into becoming activated.
I’m not sure what else you mean to ask by intentions – please feel free to clarify. I sense somebody has said something I haven’t picked up on to demean the various groups.
I’m not going to say “Turn Tarrant Blue” Domingo Garcia went around promising that during the primary, should he win the nomination. What Domingo said is pure bullshit.
This office is about the Tarrant County Party, and this County Party should absolutely protect its congressional seat from Dallas, to the fullest extent that the law allows. To that end, electing an authority with this stated and trusted commitment opens new doors to funding from moderates & the chamber of commerce crowd in the cities of Tarrant County.
Winning a countywide race isn’t going to happen in a single election cycle. We can work hard, and work a 3 cycle, 6-year, plan to make that happen. It will be expensive, a minimum of $6 million dollars over that time period. That money is used to pay full-time field organizers (we need 11), a field director, data, analytics & voter scoring, provide professional training and resources, pay for phone technology (such as predictive dialing). It’s a long list.
I haven’t fully addressed all of my goals in this response, but I hope it’s fully responsive to those that read it.
Marva Allums asked if I am a candidate for Tarrant County Democratic Chair. Yes.
And whatever decision our precinct chairs make in replacing Steve Maxwell, I will continue to contribute my time, talents and resources to support our Democratic cause.
I note that from time to time I have left Tarrant County to work election cycles. I’ve cannot say enough how valuable this experience has been. Of course, as chair I must commit to remain local & focused on our Democratic Base outreach.