Independents Want Nicknames On Ballot

Both independent candidates for governor of Texas this year have unusual nicknames. For Carole Keeton Strayhorn, that nickname is Grandma… coming from a campaign slogan (“One Tough Grandma”) she began using in 1998. And of course the other candidate is musician and author Richard “Kinky” Friedman.

Both candidates want their nicknames listed on the Fall ballots, but the Secretary of State won’t rule on the matter until after he’s done counting the signatures that have been submitted to formally place the candidates on the ballot in the first place. Fox News has the story…

Independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn is asking the state to list her on the official November ballot as Carole Keeton “Grandma” Strayhorn, saying that’s how voters know her. She’s had a name change since her famous “One Tough Grandma” advertising campaign in 1998.

“More people know her as ‘One Tough Grandma’ than know her as Strayhorn,” said campaign spokesman Mark Sanders. “Everywhere we go — speeches in Dallas or Houston, small gatherings in Tyler or Amarillo — people will come up and refer to her as Grandma.”

Strayhorn and Richard “Kinky” Friedman, another nicknamed independent trying to oust Republican Gov. Rick Perry, are awaiting clearance from the Texas Secretary of State for a place on the ballot following their petition drives.

State law allows for the use of nicknames on the ballot as long as the candidate has been commonly known by the name for at least three years — a legal standard that “Grandma” doesn’t meet, Friedman said.

“She can call herself Carole Cougar Mellencamp if she wants, but when it comes to the ballot she should have to follow the law,” Friedman said. “Hell, I’ve been Kinky for 40 years.”

Friedman applied to appear on the ballot simply as Kinky Friedman.

A campaign spokesman for Perry, whose real name is James Richard Perry, said Grandma is merely a campaign slogan.

“Strayhorn’s demand that her political slogan be put on the ballot is completely absurd and reveals a politician fast becoming irrelevant,” said Robert Black, Perry’s campaign spokesman. “Kinky Friedman may tell jokes, but the Strayhorn campaign is teetering on the edge of becoming one.”

A spokesman for the Democratic candidate for governor, Chris Bell, called the move a “high water mark for absurdity in Texas politics.”

“I don’t think you can really call Grandma a nickname,” Bell spokesman Jason Stanford said. “I don’t consider dad a nickname when I go home. It’s not something my kids just thought up.”

Strayhorn’s request was first reported by the Houston Chronicle on Thursday.

She was elected to her current position of state comptroller as Carole Keeton Rylander. She changed her name to Strayhorn when she married Ed Strayhorn in 2003.

While Keeton is her maiden name, she’s also held public office as Carole Keeton McClellan, the surname passed on to her four sons, including former Bush administration press secretary Scott McClellan and Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. Another son, Brad McClellan, is her campaign manager.

As independent candidates, Strayhorn and Friedman, had to submit petitions with signatures from 45,540 registered voters who did not vote the Republican or Democratic primaries. The Texas Secretary of State’s office is validating signatures from both candidates and has promised a ruling within the next couple of weeks.

State law stipulates that nicknames can only be used if they are less than 10 letters, have been commonly known for at least three years and do not make a political statement, said Scott Haywood, spokesman for Secretary of State Roger Williams.

Williams will rule on the nicknames after the signature counting process is complete, Haywood said.

6 Responses to “Independents Want Nicknames On Ballot”

  1. Daniel Ong Says:

    A related post here:
    ‘Pro-Life’ Not Allowed on Idaho Ballot
    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/04/06/645/
    which turns up on a search for “middle” name but not nickname.

    The Texas nickname rules 52.031© are somewhat restrictive. I’m not aware of any such articulated restrictions in Colorado.

  2. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home Says:

    A spokesman for the Democratic candidate for governor, Chris Bell, called the move a “high water mark for absurdity in Texas politics.”

    No, no, no! Such embarassing water mark would be your guy (and none of the leader ship in Citizens For A Better Veterans Home is GOP) coming in fourth in a four person race. Kick butt Grandma! Kick every thing else Kinky!

  3. anyone but c4n3p Says:

    I can’t keep up with which ones of Carole’s 4 names and 3 political party affiliations she’s currently using so I just call her Carole 4 names 3 parties (or c4n3p for short).

    C4n3p is NOT going to win and she’s NOT even going to finish second.

    Here’s the analysis of the Lone Star Project:

    “The unusual multi-candidate gubernatorial field in Texas has created an environment that may defy current conventional wisdom. Particularly, early observers may be overestimating the ability of Carole Strayhorn to garner a plurality of support in a potential four candidate field without the base of support that a party nomination provides. Conversely, although Chris Bell has raised relatively little money to date, he won the Democratic primary easily and has a voting record and political history virtually all Democrats, and some true independents, can embrace.

    An analysis of the four-candidate field, based on projected voter turnout in 2006, shows that in order to compete and win, Strayhorn would have to run a campaign that simultaneously cuts deeply into the expected Republican vote that would otherwise go to Rick Perry AND cut significantly into the expected Democratic vote that would otherwise go to Bell. Gaining a little from both won’t work, and cutting deeply into one, but not the other, falls short as well. ... Strayhorn has to win a difficult game of “playing both sides against the middle.” She has no natural base, so she has to carve one from a very large number of regular Republican voters. However, she must build this Republican base while establishing voter appeal to Democrats, with whom she has no natural affinity….

    Strayhorn, interestingly, appears to face the most difficult task of all - she must concentrate heavily on voters who typically vote Republican in a two party race for at least two reasons.
    1. Splitting or even winning a majority of Democratic voters does not get Strayhorn to a plurality. She must capture a major portion of votes that would otherwise go to Perry.
    2. Carole is a Republican. She identified herself as a Republican. She became and ran as a Republican before Rick Perry. (Source: The Associated Press, 11/2/1986 and Associated Press, 5/11/1989) Prior to 2006, she had voted in every single Republican primary since at least 1990. (Source: Travis County Elections Administration) She has close political and family ties to the Bush White House. In 2002, she endorsed, ran with, and campaigned for the entire Texas Republican ticket, including Rick Perry.”

    This excellent analysis is confirmed by Mike Baselice, a pollster who was interviewed in the Texas Monthly article:

    “In 2002 the most accurate pollster—by far—was Mike Baselice, who works for Perry and correctly predicted the outcomes of the state’s major races within fractions of a percentage point. Baselice believes that the race can be understood in terms of the built-in votes that Perry and Bell are likely to get as major-party nominees. “The lowest Republican vote this decade was David Dewhurst’s 51.8 percent in the 2002 lieutenant governor’s race against John Sharp,” he says. “So 52 percent is the base. The Democrats went as low as 32 percent, when Marty Akins got stomped for comptroller by Strayhorn. Let’s be generous and say the Republican base is only 50, the Democratic base is as much as 35, and the ticket splitters are the remaining 15.”

    But how much of those base percentages can realistically be expected to hold? “Perry got 92 percent of the Republican vote in 2002,” says Baselice. “If he only gets 80 percent of his base, that puts him at 40 percent right away. But then you have to remember that he also got 15 percent of the Democratic vote against Sanchez.” Of the roughly 50 percent Republican vote, Baselice sees 80 percent going to Perry, 10 percent to Strayhorn, 5 percent to Bell, and 5 percent to Friedman. Of the Democrats’ 35 percent, he sees 75 percent going to Bell, 10 percent to Perry, 10 percent to Strayhorn, and 5 percent to Friedman. He assumes that the 15 percent independent vote will be split 30-30-30 among Perry, Strayhorn, and Bell, followed by Friedman with 10. The net result: Perry wins with 48 percent, followed by Bell at 33.25 percent, Strayhorn at 13 percent, and Friedman at 5.75 percent.”

    Finally, this is the same conclusion of analyst Chuck McDonald (links: blog, audio).

    If you think for a moment that c4n3p is going to draw any substantial number of Democrat votes, you should remind yourself that she
    (1) was the deciding vote to approve DeLay’s illegal redistricting plan,
    (2) is anti-environment,
    (3) advocated cutting CHIPs money for Texas children’s access to health care,
    (4) showed religious bigotry against the progressive Universalist Unitarian church,
    (5) backed the homophobic Constitutional amendment to “re-ban” (it was ALREADY illegal) gay civil unions, and
    (6) is anti-choice.

    That’s not the profile of a candidate that will draw any substantial number of Democratic votes.

  4. Centrist Dem Chris Says:

    Go Strayhorn!

  5. Rock Howard Says:

    This is a reminder that this is a five person race (assuming that Strayhorn and Friedman both are confirmed as having turned in enough valid petition signatures—which seems highly likely.) The fifth candidate, just nominated last weekend, is James “No Nickname” Werner. His website is here.

    Actually James has no nickname (despite my preference for the “No Nickname” nickname.) What he does have going for him is that he is the tallest candidate and a;so the only financial conservative on the ballot. He is also a brilliant spokesperson for Texas Libertarians. I wish him well.

  6. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home Says:

    Nick names per Maine in the last half of the 1800s!

    Don Lake and other Californians of a reformist bent have long been annoyed of the
    concentrating of the “Reform Party” spot light on just a ‘short list’ of official personalities. Many
    think the entire ‘American Experiment’ can easily be seen as a laboratory of anti establishment
    reform effort(s). Maine’s James Gallespie Blaine was a Lincoln style reform republican whom
    was occasionally held in higher reqard than Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson (one vote
    shy of ousting during the first Presidential Impeachment of 1866), Grant or Haring. His
    championship of issues that still resonate with Reform Party groups covered a period of four
    decades in the last half of the 1800s.

    The ultimate insider, he was a GOP operative whom constantly fought his own party on the side
    of the common man and not so common sense. Lost to history (There are no jokes: “Whom is
    buried in Blaine’s tomb?”) he was, in his active years, constantly punished by the establishment.
    This was often done in a duopolistic manner. He came close to being the Republican
    Presidential standard bearer often, won it once, and yet was never offered the VP slot.

    He was known at one time as the ‘Plumed Knight’ and ‘Belshazzar Blaine’ and ‘Magnetic Man’ of
    American Politics. Representing a small state on the edge of the continent, he had a stable of
    fans from coast to coast and border to border. During his life time (RIP: 1893) he was famous
    for his 1854 speech “More laws is not nearly as important as building better public opinion”.

    Born In Pennsylvania, J. G. could trace his public service lineage back to Colonel Ephraim Blaine
    of War of Independence fame. Before being elected to Maine state offices at the opening of the
    Republican era in the run up to the Civil War, J. G. juggled teaching, publishing, and the
    independent study of law. (Think Nathan Hale, Ben Franklin and Abe Lincoln in one person….)

    During his career in Maine politics, Congress (including Speaker of the House), and federal
    Secretary of State (twice) he fought for “Fair Trade not Free Trade”, civil not military state
    governments in Reconstruction Dixie, distinct separation of ‘church’ and ‘state’ (and then
    gaining the reputation of being anti Catholic), fair voting rights (and is the original author of the
    fourteenth amendment), and ongoing suspicion of the federal monetary system.

    Henry Perot was known as ‘Ross’ or ‘Boss Ross’. James Blaine was widely known as ‘Jamie’. A
    notable nation wide figure during his life time, he had various counties, cities, and monuments
    named after him. “He was famous, but now no one knows him!” Day in ;and day out, he lived
    as a 1800s reform minded citizen, questioning the direction(s) of American culture leading to
    the Civil War and Reconstruction and the End of West Expansionism and the Gilded Age.

    Blaine fails as a 21st Century ‘reformer’ on at least two accounts. He retired from his job as
    Secretary of State within the last year of his life. Once involved in political office, he was a
    career politician. He also evolved from a anti Imperialist, America First type to an proponent of
    a global American Empire with his fingers stuck in all kinds of international treaties—-much in
    the Teddy Roosevelt mode.

    But once again, reform minded citizens, other than Perot, Stockdale, or Jesse Ventura have
    made a difference in American History. We need to remember and publish that, or others will
    write and rewrite our history for us.

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