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New Group Takes Aim at "Career Politicians"

The Tea Party has made lots of noise over the past couple of years. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, in 2012 there’s another group in Texas trying to shake up the establishment — by replacing what it calls “career politicians” with “citizen representatives.”

The symbol for Get Out Of Our House, the grassroots group trying to unseat a handful of incumbents in Texas.

The group is called GOOOH. It stands for “Get Out of Our House.” The "house" is the U.S. House of Representatives. And who needs to get out? GOOOH founder Tim Cox says it's career politicians.

Audio: Ben Philpott's story for KUT News

"We're not saying that all career politicians are bad,” Cox said. “But we're saying the results collectively that they've delivered are disastrous for this country."

So Cox wrote a book explaining how he thinks people should select candidates to run for Congress. The method includes selecting candidates from small groups and using several rounds of voting to end up with a locally picked candidate.

Using that framework, the group has selected a handful of candidates. Seven of them are in Texas, including candidates in four Central Texas congressional districts. Three are in Florida and one in North Carolina.

Almost all are running as Republicans, but Cox says that's not because the group is conservative.

"We're not trying to say, let's go elect 435 Republicans or 435 Democrats," he said. "Let's elect 435 citizen representatives, or at least select them, and let them compete in the primaries and have a fair and honest chance at actually wining."

Cox believes redistricting and ballot access restrictions have allowed Republicans and Democrats to rig elections. He says there's almost no chance for a third party to win a race.

"So GOOOH was designed to say, let's don't go create a third party; nobody wants a third party,” he said. “That will never work in the way that we're set up. If you want to win, you have to win within the two-party framework. And more importantly, you have to win within the party that's been gerrymandered to win your district."

Williamson County's Eric Klingemann believed in the GOOOH system and decided to attend a nominating meeting to help select someone run for Congress against District 31 incumbent John Carter.

"Little did I know that at the end of it, they were going to say, 'We think you're going to be a good candidate and a good representative of our district. Please go forward,'” Klingemann said.

Klingemann, like the district, is conservative. And in his race he's pushing the traditional conservative messages of cutting spending, cutting taxes and securing the border.

Cox knows a primary win there or for any GOOOH candidate may not happen this time around. But he thinks GOOOH is the right answer to the present system.

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2012 elections