In yesterday’s post, “GOP group seeks to make local races partisan,” I published a draft of a letter, with the address of the offices of the Patriot Group consulting firm, which proposed forming an “Texas Republicans Elected Officials” organization. In a related article (“The Vacuum: Who will run the Republican races in 2010?”) I referred to the Patriot Group’s efforts in forming the TREO. I received a call today from a member of the Patriot Group. The address is indeed the firm’s, but the firm says it has nothing to do with the Texas Republican Elected Official’s Association, which is the brainchild of Keen Butcher. The person who called me cannot explain why the draft letter had the firm’s address and told me that the letter may have been “doctored” before it was e-mailed to me.
This is not a correction, exactly, since the facts I related were correct, but I do want to clarify that the Patriot Group spokesperson said the firm is not involved.
To the extent that Mr. Butcher, who has relocated to Houston from Santa Clara, California, wants to partisanize local elections, I stand by my assessment of yesterday that this is a terrible idea. That is, the organization would encourage Republican-leaning members to identify themselves as Republicans when running for nonpartisan local positions such as city council and school boards. The idea is for Republicans to develop a bench. But the effect on the functioning of local government would be awful. It would carry the polarization of politics into what amounts to civic volunteer positions. Party labels would make it much more difficult for people to work together. There are always going to be divisions in politics, but we shouldn’t go out of our way to create them.
My contact from the Patriot Group likened the TREO association to the Republican Attorney General’s Association. Well, what RAGA does is raise money from lobbyists. I mentioned that to my friend on the other end of the phone line, who said that TREO is not going to have a PAC. That, at least, is good news.