Primary Colors – Part 4 – “All Politics Are Local”

The March 4 primary is right around the corner and early voting has started. This is the fourth of four in a series. (This first three are here, here & here). I cannot overstate the importance of your vote and the impact it has in the primary.

Last, for those of you in Harris County, there is a small but vocal group who wants "change" in the county leadership, currently Jared Woodfill, to a recycled challenger Paul Simpson, who has run several prior unsuccessful campaigns against Jared, largely supported by moneyed interests. The challenger’s clarion call is twofold--that the county party books are not open to all and that we lost Harris County to Obama in 2008 and 2012. The first charge is a non-starter--the books are open to any party official (including any of hundreds of precinct chairs) who want to look at them. There is an audit committee and regular (quarterly) auditing and reporting of the finances, and they are balanced and “in the black”. It is disingenuous to even suggest otherwise, especially without proof. The Harris County GOP does not operate in a closed or elitist fashion. Period.

I am living proof of that. I am NOT an “insider”, though I am a freshman member of the SREC. A long time excellent member was term-limited out (yes, in the Republican Party of Texas we actually preach what we say about term limits, at least in some party positions). I ran and won. Prior to running, I was entirely a background, out-of-the-spotlight, grassroots kind of guy—working hard for causes and elections I was interested in and thought could use my help, but largely without any limelight. I was not “groomed” or otherwise “brought into the company of the elite.” However, having proved my mettle in many grassroots efforts, I was welcomed as is anyone who works hard and achieves results. We do not have political cronyism, we have “political capitalism” if you will—the achievers and producers are more successful in the political arena. I literally still do not “know everyone”, but have not run into anyone who would fit the mold sometimes portrayed by the opponents. The so-called insiders are open and receptive to phone calls, emails, and meetings, without exceptions except for Sen. John Cornyn (see article 1 here).

Their second part is misleading at best. While Harris county was lost to Obama in 2012 (by a whisker of an election margin of less than 600 votes in a county of 4,200,000 people), Obama had no significant coat tails and most GOP down ballot races -- where the local party really matters in the outcome–came out fine. In fact, county-wide, in spite of the election disaster nationally, (face it, we had lousy NATIONAL candidates the past cycles essentially forced on us by the NATIONAL party, not the LOCAL one), Harris County Republicans now hold 117 seats to the Democrats 15. That is now 89% GOP vs. a paltry 11% Democratic in county elections, in a county that is larger population wise than many states. Compare that to Dallas and Bexar counties (San Antonio). First Dallas lost ALL of their races (now 0% GOP, 100% Democratic), and later Bexar County lost ALL of their races (now 0% GOP, 100% Democratic). Other large cities tell a similar story, with Houston/Harris County being the ONLY competitive large metro county left in the entire NATION! In fact, under Jared Woodfill’s leadership Harris County has remained competitive and the party is stronger than ever! 89% is not good enough, and Jared is fighting like crazy to take back those 15 seats (we usually do better in non-presidential years of course), but we should be grateful, not hateful, of Jared’s able and effective leadership that has produced results! We could be Dallas, or San Antonio, who have faced similar demographic challenges that Harris County does! (cf. New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, et. al. – none of them are even remotely competitive!)

Not insignificantly, Jared’s challenger LOST HIS OWN PRECINCT by a wider margin than the razor-thin county-wide margin in the National election. Had he pulled his own weight and achieved superior results as are in some precincts that turn in 70+% GOP votes, that alone might have swung Harris County to the win column in the national election. PLEASE LET THAT ROLL AROUND IN YOUR BRAIN. The challenger was spectacularly unsuccessful in his own precinct — WORSE results on the national election than COUNTY WIDE—but wants to “fix” and “change” Harris County. I think we’ve been snookered by the “hope and change” mantra before.

Jared is able, energetic, (some compare him favorably with the Energizer ‘bunny’ that keeps going and going), articulate of our values, encouraging, and is genuinely an inspiration. He is also courageous in the face of political battles—winning elections but not backing down for political expediency. He helps out at so many county events I cannot imagine anyone else even coming close to keeping his schedule.

He is a solid conservative that clearly sees the battle lines in the culture wars we've been fighting for years. His challenger does not seem up to that particular task, even being called out recently by a journalist on his side for being somewhat mean spirited and a hypocrite for blasting “slates” (that have tremendous educational value for voters who do not have time to independently research the candidates as the slates do) while that challenger was buying space in a slate and then being disappointed he didn’t get endorsed by that slate! (Article and video here).

Additionally, while Jared maintains clear principles in his actions, he unites various Tea Party and the more traditional groups in the Harris County GOP. He is not a divider. He even arranged for Senator Ted Cruz to keynote last year’s Lincoln-Reagan dinner and Senator Rand Paul to keynote this years—two of the best Constitutional defenders on the national political landscape today! (Both were sold out successes!) How do you get more Tea Party than that?

OK, I sound like a sycophant, which those of you who know me know that is about as far from my way of thinking as it gets, but Jared has done a tremendous job as Harris County chair. If only the rest of metropolitan areas in the nation had competitive landscapes as Jared has shepherded here in Harris County!

If you can’t tell, I STRONGLY support Jared Woodfill! It is the LAST position on the Harris County ballot before propositions (Vote YES on all six), but could be your most important vote cast. If we lose Harris County we lose Texas, and without Texas there is NO CHANCE of winning the electoral college vote in national elections.

Thank you.

Mark Ramsey

Mark is a State Republican Executive Committeeman, (SREC) representing Senate District 7, and has twice served on the GOP State Convention Platform Committee. One of the duties of the SREC is “to foster and encourage growth in the Party by promoting the principles as expressed in the platform and by electing Republican officeholders.”

My other choices are listed below. True to my engineering background, if more data becomes available that would change the result, I’ll advise that as well. My picks, along with some independent others’ whose opinion I value (though not always agreeing with me) are also located at

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Yes, it's true... Paul, like a lot of Republicans, lives in a precinct that the Democrats consistently win.  But what Mark doesn't mention is that, in Paul’s last four years as precinct chair from 2006 to 2010, his team increased Republican vote share in that Democrat precinct by 138%, substantially outperforming Harris County overall.

If Mark wants to compare precincts, maybe a better measuring stick would be to compare how both candidates’ home precincts voted in the 2012 primary.

How did voters who know the candidates best vote in the County Chair race in 2012?

Paul Simpson’s home precinct:
Paul Simpson – 73%
Jared Woodfill – 27%

Jared Woodfill’s home precinct:
Paul Simpson – 51%
Jared Woodfill – 49%

With that out of the way, we can return to the important issue of restoring and rebuilding the Republican Party in Harris County and beating the Democrats in November.

In a blog post on 2/18/2014, Charles Kuffner wrote, "I’m just going to say this: Most Democrats I know are rooting for Woodfill to win. Those of you that vote in the Republican primary, make of that what you will."

That should tell Republican primary voters everything they need to know about this race.

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