Political Party Organization

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					   Political Party Organization
There are three levels associated with the
  permanent organization of parties:
1. About 8,500 election precincts are chaired
   by a person elected in the party primary,
   thus local stability is seen as permanent.
2. A state party executive committee is
   composed of 64 members, a state chair,
   and a vice chair.
A county executive party organization
includes each precinct chair and the county
Dallas County Democratic Party
Dallas County Republican Party
Phone: 214-369-9555
E-mail: chairman@dallasgop.org
Temporary party organizations focus on
  alternating year conventions at three levels:
1. Precinct conventions expressing local
2. County or senatorial district conventions
   elect delegates to state conventions
3. State conventions, held in June of even-
   numbered years – next one is 2006, concern
   state and national politics
      Parties and Government
Texas political parties are not cohesive, are
nonhierarchical but layered, policy-oriented
coalitions of the state’s government.
Political parties have been unable to hold
elected officials accountable to the party. This
means that elected officials can do pretty
much as they please…they do not answer to
anyone but the voters.
Again, this is shown when Rep. State Sen.
John Corona and a few other republican
office holders chose to back Dem. John
Sharp instead of the party’s pick of David
Dewhurst for Lieutenant Governor in
The proactive action by concerned
voters forced Corona and the others to
back down and throw their support to
Many voters are hostile toward political
parties, and the parties make only limited
efforts to include large numbers of people in
their organizational activities.
Coalitions formed by parties with different
interest groups develop positions quite
different from each other, even within the
same political party.
      Minorities and Political
Voter turnout in Texas is notoriously low,
with rarely more than one-third of the
eligible population going to the polls.
Historically, minorities were kept from
voting by various means. African-
Americans have traditionally voted with the
Democratic Party. But some Blacks have
joined with the Republicans.
Hispanics have also traditionally voted
Democrat, especially after JFK’s election.
But Bush has made inroads into the Hispanic
voting block. Locally, there is the RNHA
(Republican National Hispanic Assembly).
About 17% of Texas voters registered in
2002 had Hispanic surnames. Voter turnout
of Hispanics is lower, at about 12-15%.
In 2003, there were 1,965 Hispanic elected
officials in Texas, highest of any state. Many
of these come from the Valley.
About 11% of Texas’s population is African
Nine to ten percent of the 11% of African
Americans of voting age in Texas take part
in elections by voting. There were 475
African-American officials in 2000.
Historically, the world of Texas politics has
been dominated by men. (What state had the
first elected woman to a state congress?)
In 1981, one woman held a state senate seat,
and 11 held house seats, compared to 2003,
when the figures became 4 and 31,
The state’s three largest cities—Houston,
Dallas, and San Antonio—have had women
mayors in the last 20 years.
•1894-Mrs. Cort F. Meyer elected State
Supertintendent of Public Instruction, one of
the first women in the U.S. elected to a state
•1910-Mrs. Mary G. Bellamy of Laramie
first woman elected to Wyoming legislature.
•1925-Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977),
first woman governor in U.S.
         Elections in Texas
Texas uses direct primary elections to
nominate major party candidates for public
office (low voter turnout). Primaries are
administered by the political parties.
The primaries are held on the second
Tuesday of March in even-numbered years.
If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff
election is conducted.
General elections for state and federal office
are held on the first Tuesday after the first
Monday of November in even-numbered
Candidates nominated by parties in the
primaries are on the general election ballot.
In 1994, only 34% of the state’s eligible
population voted in the gubernatorial race.
In 2002, only 29% voted.
Voter turnout is higher in Presidential
election years – but not that much higher.
2004 56% of registered voters and 46% of
persons eligible to vote.
There were 16 million eligible, 13 million
registered but only 7.41 million came out to
City, school board, and single-purpose
district elections are held in April in odd-
numbered years, with, typical for Texas,
very low turnout.
Special elections concerning constitutional
amendments, local bond issues, or recall of
public officials, can be conducted at any
time, only requiring adequate public
notification (like the recent booze votes in
Rowlett, Mesquite & Garland).
Extended absentee balloting was introduced
in 1988, with anticipation of increased voter
This allows for home bound, nursing home
residents, & Texans working out of state or
out of the country (like troops in Iraq) to be
able to participate. But it also opens the
door for more fraud to take place.
Voter fraud has been rampant in the past.
LBJ was well known for these kinds of
tactics. The Daley's of Chicago are very
famous for it…this is one of the ironies of
the 2000 election when Democrats claim
Bush stole the election in Florida…one of
the Daley’s was helping the Gore team.
       Campaign Finances
Campaign costs in Texas are not really
known because there is no single place
where all the information is collected.
1. Costs for city council races in major
cities are about $50,000 to $100,000.
2. Mayor’s races in major cities range from
1 to nearly 7 million dollars.
3. Candidates for school boards in large
districts may spend $10,000 to $15,000.
4. Expenditures in gubernatorial races
have reached 100 million dollars.
Campaign finances are associated with
contributions, all of which have caused
many charges of corruption and political