Posted by: reddiva | June 23, 2010

Hey, Texans! Remember the June 22nd Special Election Primary Runoff?

A friend was helping me with the election returns from June 22 and sent this to me about our Texas Special Election runoff to fill the Texas Senate seat for District 22 left vacant when the then-current office holder, Kip Averitt, stepped down.

Congratulations to Lt. Brian Birdwell, the new Texas Senator from District 22!  We have finally seen a grassroots campaign with a superb candidate win against a well-funded lobbyist.  Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell is our next Texas Senator from Central Texas.

With 24,531 votes cast, Birdwell got 57.87% while David Sibley got 42.12% (all precincts reported).  This wasn’t just sort of a victory; it was a landslide, particularly considering the fact that Sibley had made over $13.6 Million in seven years from his lobbying activities (including the tobacco and alcohol industries), had collected huge campaign donations from his lobbyist friends, and was supported by wealthy Democrat Bernard Rapoport (the biggest contributor to Planned Parenthood Waco).

This article by Michael Shapiro in the Waco Tribune-Herald seems to put the matter to rest as to whether or not Mr. Averitt will allow his name to remain on the November ballot.

Averitt says he’s taking his name off the ballot

By Michael Shapiro / Tribune-Herald reporter

Wednesday June 23, 2010

Granbury Republican Brian Birdwell, the new state senator for District 22 as of yesterday, will serve out the remaining six months of Kip Averitt’s term, and as of this morning it looks increasingly likely that he’ll have a shot at running to serve in the upcoming legislative session.

Averitt told the Tribune-Herald this morning that he will be removing his name from the general election ballot, leaving separate sets of Democratic and Republican party chairs in the 10-county district free to name new nominees for the race. Presumably, given his special election victory, Birdwell will be the favorite among the GOP chairs.

“I want to let folks know that I said I was not going to run again and I’m not going to run again. I’m going to stick to my word,” Averitt said.

Averitt had told the Trib on Tuesday that he was concerned about a potential Birdwell victory. He said his health had recovered enough since pulling himself off the campaign trail in January and he was contemplating remaining a candidate out of a conviction that Birdwell fails to meet a residency requirement for the seat. The logical extension of that, which Averitt said troubled him, was that the Democratic Party could legally challenge Birdwell’s candidacy, knocking him off the ballot and taking the seat by default.

But this morning Averitt said he was swayed by the election results: “My goal in this whole process was for the people to be able to pick their senator, and we’ve had a process in which that’s happened. I have all the confidence in the world in the voters.”

As far as the Republican party chairs’ upcoming decision, he said: “I’m assured that the county chairs know of the eligibility issue.”

But wait….does it REALLY put the matter to rest?  Former Senator Averitt is STILL raising the issue of the eligibility of the new Senator, Lt. Brian Birdwell.  This comes even after a Texas court declared him a “legal Texas resident.”

4.26.10 — Excerpts from: Texas Court Declares Brian Birdwell — a 37-year Texas Resident

(Granbury, TX) – Today, Senior Judge William Brigham ruled that Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell has been a Texas resident since 1973, confirming that Birdwell meets all of the residency requirements to serve in the Texas State Senate.

The Judge granted Birdwell’s petition for Declaratory Judgment.

At a hearing this morning in Granbury, Judge Brigham signed an order (attached) which reads as follows:

“It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that this Original Petition for Declaratory Judgment is granted. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Douglas Birdwell is and has been a resident of Texas continuously since 1973.”

Judge William Brigham is a long-time trial and appellate judge who, after retiring as a Justice from the Ft. Worth Court of Appeals, has continued to sit by assignment as both a trial and appellate judge.  Judge Brigham was assigned to hear the case by Judge Jeff Walker, the presiding Judge of the 8th Administrative Judicial Region and Judge of the 96th District Court in Tarrant County.

In response to the ruling, Birdwell said “I’m grateful that my candidacy has now been certified by both the Texas Secretary of State and a well-respected member of the Texas judiciary. The process worked, and this matter is now behind us. I would urge all candidates to now focus on the important matters before us, such as who can best fight the liberal agenda of President Obama and stand up for Texas conservative values. I believe I’m that candidate, and that’s why more conservatives are joining my campaign every day.”

Former Republican Party of Texas Vice Chairman David Barton said, “Although Col. Birdwell was not required to seek this ruling affirming his candidacy, it was important to him that voters had absolute confidence in his legal status to serve as state senator. Once again, this speaks to Brian’s character and why we need him in the Texas Senate. He will always place the interests of citizens above his own.”

In the runoff, Lt. Birdwell received 14,198 votes to win over David Sibley’s 10,333.  It seems that 14,198 people in District 22 do not have a problem with the fact that Lt. Birdwell has served Texas and America wisely and well and was severely injured in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

I question neither Lt. Birdwell’s residency nor Mr. Averitt’s reasoning for attempting to resurrect a dead issue.  I do question the entire thought process of Mr. Averitt in doing it at this particular time.  If he is so willing to keep the residency issue in the public eye, why did he choose the winner from the June 22nd runoff?  Why not question the residency of the challenger and loser?

Why not question his ability to follow the Texas State Constitution as a State Senator when he does not even follow the laws of our state as a citizen.  10,333 citizens living in District 22 may not be aware of an issue raised and proven that Mr. Sibley states his LEGAL RESIDENCE is outside District 22?  Austin IS still in District 14, is it not?

How about that “extra” homestead exemption, Mr. Sibley?  In the article below I have added the bold print for emphasis.

Sibley faces criticism for receiving a homestead exemption on a second home he owns in Austin last year though he contends he never stopped living in Waco. Property owners are supposed to file a homestead exemption only on their primary residence.

If Sibley was living outside of the senate district last year, he wouldn’t be eligible to run for the state senate.

Sibley said he took the exemption in Austin because it gave him a bigger break on his property taxes.

When asked by the Star-Telegram editorial board Thursday, Sibley agreed that he had shorted Travis County out of tax money but did not think he did anything wrong.

Filing for an exemption on a home that’s not a primary residence is a misdemeanor, according to the Travis County Central Appraisal District.

“I can find no record anywhere of that being prosecuted,” Sibley said.

Both Yancy and Avant have raised questions about Sibley’s eligibility. Yancy has said he wouldn’t pursue a legal challenge. Avant declined to comment Thursday on whether he would challenge Sibley’s place on the ballot.

Perhaps it is time that it is prosecuted.  Somebody has to be the first.  Why not the admitted tax cheat, David Sibley?


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