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April 01, 2014

Denise Pratt Pulls A Ross Perot

One of the more bizarre events in the political history of the last quarter century was Ross Perot's withdrawal from and reentry of the 1992 presidential race.

At a time when Ross Perot's candidacy once again appeared to be transforming the Presidential contest, the Texas billionaire offered a new explanation today for his decision in July to abandon the campaign. He said he had withdrawn after hearing that President Bush's campaign was scheming to smear his daughter with a computer-altered photograph and to disrupt her wedding.

Mr. Perot offered no evidence, only quoting friends and an unidentified "top Republican."

"I can't prove any of it today," he said on tonight's CBS News program "60 Minutes." "But it was a risk I did not have to take," he added, "and a risk I would not take where my daughter is concerned."

Well, Former judge Denise Pratt -- who resigned her bench and suspended her campaign on Friday -- appears to be following in Perot's footsteps.

Two days after announcing her immediate resignation as presiding judge of the 311th family District Court - and the suspension of her re-election campaign - Pratt sent a text message to supporters on Sunday asking them to "call or txt" an influential endorser, Dr. Steven Hotze, and encourage him to wait a few weeks before announcing his support for her challenger in a May 27 runoff, Alicia Franklin.

"I am stil heavily favored by the party and attys as seen by wed fundraiser," Pratt wrote. "And let him know he will b supported also."

"It's bizarre," Franklin said on Tuesday, noting that Pratt had called her on Friday to concede, making her promise to "win in November."

I chatted with Franklin on Monday and had been aware of the Friday phone call. I, like Franklin, assumed that meant that Pratt was really bowing out of the race. Indeed, in my mind it confirmed the "resign in lieu of prosecution" speculation that I made in my post from Saturday.

But now we have this surprising new development that leaves me speculating some more. County Clerk Stan Stanart outlines the possibilities that exist since Pratt's name cannot be removed from the ballot.

Despite Pratt's resignation late Friday, Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said her name still will appear on the ballot next month because she missed a March 12 withdrawal deadline. If she wins, Stanart said, her name would appear on the November general election ballot unless she becomes ineligible by moving out of the county, being deemed mentally incompetent by a court, being charged with a felony or dying.

"If your name is on the ballot, you can win, on a technical basis, yes, that is technically possible," said Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill. "The question would be: Is she going to run a campaign?"

Neither Pratt nor her political consultant, Allen Blakemore, immediately responded to requests for comment.

Yeah, that's right -- Denise Pratt could still beat Alicia Franklin on May 27. That would mean that Pratt would be the nominee for her old bench. She could always run a campaign and win in November, and claim vindication.

But that isn't the only option out there. Let me offer up all the scenarios out there if Denise Pratt wins the nomination on May 27. You see, a fellow Republican and I actually spent some time on Sunday afternoon considering the possibilities.

  1. Pratt wins the runoff, wins the November election, and serves as judge.
  2. Pratt wins the runoff, wins the November election, and immediately announces her intent to not serve -- meaning that the governor would appoint a new judge who would serve until a special election in 2014.
  3. Pratt wins the runoff and becomes ineligible -- whether through indictment or a move outside the county (or, less likely, disbarment, surrender of her law license, a declaration of incompetence, renunciation of her citizenship, or death) -- allowing the party to replace her as a candidate on the November ballot. This new nominee need not be Alicia Franklin -- or even one of the other candidates from the March primary.

So you see, Pratt's April Fool's Day gift is something that is really roiling the waters here in Harris County. But as was pointed out a number of times tonight at the meeting of the Republican Hispanic Coalition in Action, the solution to the problems she has created is for everyone to campaign hard for Alicia Franklin so that she is the GOP nominee after the runoff on May 27.

UPDATE: Just a quick FYI about that text message.

Pratttextmessage.jpg





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If you're going to pull an April Fool's joke, you really need to do it earlier in the day so we can pass it on to other folks before they take it seriously.

|| Posted by tom zakes, April 2, 2014 05:50 AM ||
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