A staffer to a Democratic state rep sent me a gleeful e-mail today upon hearing of Talmadge Heflin’s appointment as executive director of the state Republican party:
It’s as if someone walked into the Texas Democratic Party HQ and said “Hey guys. Surprise! It’s your lucky day. You get to pick who is going to be the new director of the Republican Party of Texas. Have at it.”
Well, I hate to spoil the Democrats’ day, but I’m told that Heflin is just a temporary replacement for Jeff Fisher. Fisher was no prize as executive director, having been suspected by mainstream Republicans of running push polls against them before the 06 elections. There was also a bizarre arrangement at the party that made it impossible for a member of the media to contact anyone on short notice; the message was relayed to a spokeswoman in Houston who might or might not call you back. Anyway, Fisher “needed to be out” (as my source put it) and state chair Tina Benkiser “needed someone to keep the trains running on time while she looked for a permanent replacement.” Heflin and Benkiser have known each other for a long time, and there is a level of confidence that Heflin can keep things going until she can find a successor to Fisher. When that occurs, Heflin will reestablish his relationship with teh Texas Public Policy Foundation. I was specifically told, “Contrary to popular sentiment, he does not need the money.” Heflin will be acting executive director for a few months while the business of raising money and beating the bushes for candidates goes on.