According to Brian Birdwell’s facebook page Senior Judge William Brigham ruled that he has been a Texas resident since 1973. This would seem to confirm that he is eligible to serve in the Texas Senate. This is important because he is one of four candidates running the in special election for the Texas SD-22 Senate seat that former Senator Kip Averitt’s retirement opened up.
This is important because rumors have been flying through SD-22 that Birdwell is not eligible for office and if he won the special election the Democrats would get him kicked off the ballot for the upcoming November election. Even with this development I doubt that this will be the end of this eligibility debate.
Eligibility issues have also been brought up against former Senator Sibley because he claimed his tax homestead exemption in Austin for a period of time and not on his primary residence in Waco. Senator Sibley held the SD-22 Senate seat before he retired and Kip Averitt replaced him.
The special election is on May 8th, 2010. If no one candidate gets over 50% of the vote then the top two will advance to a run off that the Governor will call most likely 4-6 weeks later. It is very possible that there will be a run off due to the fact that there are a total of 4 candidates, with three of them being Republican.
Will the Democrats vote for their candidate or will they vote for who they perceive as a “moderate” Republican? Will the strong TEA Party movement in the district (led by the Waco TEA Party and the Burelson TEA Party) rally behind Darren Yancy like they did when he ran and lost against Kip Averitt, or will the TEA Party shift its support to Birdwell who is attempting to position himself as the true conservative in the race. The real question is can either Birdwell, Yancy or Avant over come Sibley’s built in advantage of his high name recognition and support of part big wigs like former President George W. Bush.
Not all of the party establishment is backing Sibley though, some well know conservative grassroots activists have broken rank with their former Senator and have publicly endorsed Birdwell.
The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of the term through Jan. 2011. This is where it gets interesting. The GOP and Democratic County Chairs in SD-22 will then select one candidate each to be on the November ballot to compete for the next four year term to represent SD-22 in the Texas Senate.
Is it safe to assume the GOP County Chairs will choose the same person to be on the ballot in November that the voters choose in the special election?
Early voting has all ready started, go make your voice heard if live in SD-22!