The Green Party candidates are back on the November ballot — for now.
Last week, a district judge ruled that the Green Party should not be allowed access to the ballot because their petition drive was funded with corporate money. Today, the Texas Supreme Court issued a stay, allowing the Greens to go ahead and certify their candidates. Those candidates could still be ruled ineligible down the road. Both sides — the Greens and the Texas Democratic Party — have been asked to file additional briefs in the coming weeks.
Some suspect the Green Party’s rise to be a GOP-fueled effort to drain Democratic votes. However, their slate of candidates largely skips close races. For example, one of the only state legislative races they’ve entered is in the district of Arlington Republican state Rep. Diane Patrick, who doesn’t even have a Democratic challenger. However, they are challenging the potentially vulnerable U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, and of course are entering the closely watched gubernatorial race.
If the Democrats have any shot at a statewide office, many suspect that the railroad commissioner race between Democrat Jeff Weems and Republican David Porter is their best. That’s the only race without an incumbent Republican.
Weems says he isn’t worried about the possibility of facing Art Browning, the Green Party candidate. He says he’s been expecting to face a Green Party candidate all along. Also, while he’s working on the Democratic vote, Weems says he’s more focused on picking up independent and Republican votes, which aren’t likely to break to the Green Party anyway.
“I heard that Art was throwing his hat in early, early on — heck, I think even before David Porter did,” Weems says. “I’m truly not concerned with it because, on the railroad commission race, if you look at past races with Green Party candidates you don’t see a draw down on the Democratic vote total.”
The Green Party argues that this is true for other races as well. They are holding a press conference in Austin late Friday afternoon to discuss the matter further. In a release for the event, they admonished members of the press for perpetuating the “myth started by the Democratic Party that Greens 'take' votes away from Dems.”