When it comes to political conventions, the needs and desires of the press are usually at odds with the party officials staging the convention.
Where reporters are on the lookout for conflict, party officials are looking for comity.
Reporters were blessed earlier this month at the GOP state convention in Fort Worth when the party’s struggles to come to a consensus position on immigration reform spilled into a heated floor debate that took up much of the gathering’s Saturday afternoon.
Reporters might be hard pressed to find a similar scene at the Democratic convention this weekend in Dallas, where party leaders are aiming for, in the words of consultant James Aldrete, “united faces and high levels of enthusiasm.”
Part of this is due to the presence of state Rep. Garnet Coleman, who will be leading the platform committee for the seventh straight convention. That kind of continuity tends to contribute to a quieter platform process.
Also, the absence of dark horse ag commissioner nominee Jim Hogan removes a potential headache for party leaders.
In fact, the biggest potential for an unscripted moment might be in the contests for party officers. Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa might be challenged for the second straight convention by Rachel Barrios-Van Os.
And The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers reported on Thursday afternoon that former state Rep. Terri Hodge will run for party vice chairwoman. Hodge’s presence is sure to draw interest because, as Jeffers notes, she resigned her seat after pleading guilty to a felony — income tax evasion.
Jeffers noted that Hodge sent a letter to delegates saying she was “flawed, but she said she had a vision for the party.”
But her campaign was already off to a rocky start. Per Jeffers:
Hodge describes herself in the letter as a state representative, instead of a former House member. She said it was a mistake by an aide and would be corrected. Also, the phone number on the email was to Johnson’s district office, where Hodge works. Johnson, to this point, has not publicly backed Hodge.
The Greg Abbott campaign is “welcoming” Democrats to Dallas for their state convention with five billboards around town. The message on those billboards is hardly welcoming, though, putting the face and profile of Wendy Davis on a sign done in the style of a “Wanted” poster.
One billboard makes a reference to media coverage of her decision not to release a full list of her law firm’s clients and not to release her current tax returns because she had filed for an extension.
The other billboard references an FBI inquiry of the North Texas Tollway Authority, for which Davis did some work.
Democrats hoisted similarly barbed billboards around Fort Worth for the GOP state convention earlier this month.