Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thoughts on Saddle Up Texas Results

We're still finding event coverage, but given that Ron Paul won the text poll by a huge margin, and given that he won the in-person vote by 4 percentage points, I doubt the media will be reporting the story of the poll results, except, perhaps, as a means to pound on Perry for his poor showing.  

First, for the record, the results:

There were in-person votes of 707, and text votes of 3321.

I want to say a few words about the results.  First, Ron Paul did so well because his supporters invested time and money to participate and spread the word about the event.  They turned the event into a rally, a fun gathering, but one in which they were determined to have an impact on the results.  Anyone who supports a candidate and complains about how Ron Paul supporters push for their candidate needs to check himself and get over it.  These supporters recognized a chance to send a message about support for Ron Paul, and they took full advantage of it.  Only Newt Gingrich supporters had the vision to do the same, and guess what place Newt took in the poll?  SECOND.  RIGHT BEHIND RON PAUL.  After three years plus of opposing big government, wasteful spending and class warfare, one would think conservatives supporting an idea or a candidate would learn that they need to do more than just feel a certain way.  They MUST learn to act. They must do more than listen to speeches and watch debates and cheer from their armchairs.  They must also WORK for their cadidate of choice.  I already hear the grumbling of "Of COURSE Ron Paul won the poll."  There's no "OF COURSE" about it.  Get off your butt.  Support YOUR candidate like that, and there's no telling how far he will go.  Envision what would have happened if YOU cared enough to invest an entry fee, bring ten like-minded friends, sent e-mails to encourage others to do the same.  Quit bitching about Ron Paul and start taking notes.

So kudos to the Ron Paul team.  Well done.  I don't care what anyone says, you are learning a lot about campaigning, building momentum, and fighting for what you believe in.  For the record, I did not vote for Ron Paul in either poll, and can't be counted among the Supporter Class he has built, so don't even start with the accusations that I'm shilling for Ron Paul.

A few more things; Ron Paul supporters, numerous as they were at the event, couldn't dominate the in-person poll the way they did the text vote.  This reflects the fact that Paul has a long way to go to convince primary voters (whose votes can't be gamed like a text poll) that he should have their support.  The differences in the poll results between in-person and text polling should signal that the game isn't merely won by a battle of perception.  It must also be won on the streets, block by block, house by house, and person by person.  People discount Paul poll wins precisely because they are so easily gamed.  Serious candidates have ground game in the primary.  It will be interesting to see whether Paul has that level of support as the candidates, the Bedouin of politics, drag their caravans from state to state.

Also, Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry appear clustered in the middle.  People who discount Ron Paul automatically will say that this is now a three-way tie in Texas for the Not Romney slot.  Most interestingly, Mitt Romney finished fifth in both polls, indicating almost zero support for Romney in Texas.  I suspect that's because his team had no presence in Texas, because the voters at the poll trended towards tea party, and because perhaps Texans and conservatives wanted to tweak Iowa and New Hampshire a little.  

The event was a wonderful celebration, but the biggest loser wasn't Romney or Huntsman.  The biggest loser was the Texas GOP and the local Republican parties who did not support the event.  Harris County GOP and Fort Bend GOP both supported the event through their executive committees, and Fort Bend had a significant presence during the event, led by Chair Sharon Roberts (not so much HCRP Chair Jared Woodfill.)  But it would be difficult to find any other county Republican party who did anything to support the idea of a Texas GOP straw poll.  If anyone can find any other local party that supported the endeavor, I will publish a correction.  And eat my shorts.

Most disappointing was the lack of involvement from the state party.  The Republican Party of Texas had floated the idea of a poll well after Saddle Up planning was underway, and reported that there was not enough interest to put on the event.  That's fair.  Endeavors like this cost huge sums, involve many people, and involve a huge element of risk.

But given that the RPT didn't have to invest ANYTHING into such an event, one wonders why they were so loathe to help publicize it.  I have met Chairman Steve Munisteri, supported his election, and spoken with him at length before the planning for this event, and I am dumbfounded at the reason the party refused to send even one e-mail on behalf of the event.  I won't make wild accusations or surmises, but I personally believe he owes me an explanation.  Chairman Munisteri, if you're paying attention, you have my number.  I'm always available to take your call.  Just be aware, there are rumblings deep in the grassroots about the leadership in the RPT, and this deliberate snub has only increased it.  You will have a long way to climb before you're above ground.  Reelection is right around the corner, unless the primary dates keep getting pushed back, and Saddle Up now has a pretty extensive contact list.  I'm just saying.

It was a three-day political conference unlike anything else we've ever put on.  People had a great time; the speakers were phenomenal, the Veterans so inspiring, the musicians so fantastic, the emcees - all our favorite radio hosts in one weekend! - were so generous and gracious, the presenters were so informative, the attendees so responsive and supportive, the Minute Maid staff and contractors so professional and helpful.  We could not have asked for a better first-effort result.  As VP of the organization behind Saddle Up, I have to say I've got immense respect and inexpressible admiration for all the people who worked so hard for no personal gain, just the chance to give Texas a voice and help some Veterans' organizations with their good work.  You can still make donations to the cause at the Saddle Up website.

And to the Senate candidate who bailed without word, notice or even a "screw you" - I can not express how pissed I am.  David Dewhurst and his team owes all the attendees a huge apology, not to mention the organizers.  Again, you have my number.  Don't send a minion to talk to me, either.  I'm done with that.  I took this blow-off very personally.

Texas and the nation have not heard the last of Saddle Up Texas.  This is only the beginning.

Saddle Up!


  1. Felicia - I was there as Sedona TEA Party rep. You held a great event! Agree w/you completely about Paul supporters. They're impressive! Must admit I've been an armchair QB lately w/politics. Hoping to get back in game soon. Paul supporters' impressive battleground tactics is how the next President will win (GOP or otherwise). That's how Obama won!! That's how he could win again. And Anyone but Obama. If it's Ron Paul, he'll deserve it mightily. Great post-blog by you. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Agree with Robin, I am one of the few at my age that truly support Ron Paul, with pocketbook and other. He, in my opinion, is the only who really has a debt reduction plan and support the US Constitution. Lot's of work to go, but others are seeing Paul's devotion.
    From the time I walked around the Chronicle building with you to today, Felicia you've been out doing fabulous job.

  3. I am not going to comment on who I supported. I completely agree that Ron Paul supporters know how to pull out there voters. Since voters are the people that put you in office, it is a good skill to have. It is very frustrating to me that the state wide support was so low. This is the only way that Texas will be relevant in the election - with our primary so late and being pushed back even further because of judicial gerrymandering, it is hard to see how anything we actually vote on will make a difference on the national scene. So why did our State officials not take this chance and jump behind this Straw Poll? I don't understand it. As for Dewhurst - if you are not reliable and willing to be a candidate of the people, you will not get the votes of the people. Your showing in the debate this week was weak, tired and poor - I would think you would take every possible opportunity to put your best foot forward. The Senate seat is not yours to lose - it is anyones to WIN. Earn it!

  4. There were over 15 tea party groups involved in the planning - that's a lot of firepower too, I'm just saying.

  5. Felicia, you had the Brazoria County Republican Chair, Yvonne Dewey, in attendance the first day and several Brazoria County Republican Precinct Chairmen and women's club officers throughout the weekend. I was there all three days (I am a precinct chairman and officer in a women's club). We are poor, so we did not sponsor as a party or clubs but as warm bodies and made announcements and made pamphlets available. I gave a report today in our Angleton Women's Club meeting and everyone appreciated the report and said it sounded like a lot of fun (which it was). I must say that the Paul people were well behaved, well I will leave it at that.

  6. Anita, thanks for reminding me - Brazoria did show up, and I totally forgot that. Where did I put those shorts?

  7. Well done and reflective of what many SUTSP volunteers thought...

  8. I want to start by saying thank you - we enjoyed the event and were pleased to see so many like minded TEXANS! We also enjoyed your class: Convention 101.

    I would like to comment on a subject you touched on (above) the RPT. IMHO this was an opportunity for them to step up to the plate (no pun intended!) and show the REPUBLICANS OF TEXAS they do hear us and they are in touch with us. There is great concern about the party and the deaf ear they turn to us. The only way we will win this fight for our freedom, for our liberty, for our NATION is to stand united. The Republican Party as a whole needs to come together. We had the opportunity here in Texas to start making that happen, unfortunately it was an opportunity they chose to pass on. I am thankful for the PEOPLE that came together to say OUR VOICE STILL MATTERS! They need to be in this fight, but WE THE PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE ON WITHOUT THEM if necessary.

    God Bless TEXAS and God Bless the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

  9. When I put together events to gather people from all around the state it was poorly attended as well and that was at the height of the dissatisfaction with government, right after two consecutive bailouts and after electing Obama and having GM taken over by the government. I organized protests for 5 straight days in the 100+ heat in front of ABC, at least I got media coverage, but that was low attendance all but one day and for the main day with other protestors, considering how much we do not want Obamacare it was poorly attended.

    I think the text poll, which I participated in b/c my three kids were not going to want to go to another political event and their father would make an issue about it as he did during our custody proceedings (free speech?) I just don't need the drama. However, I did vote in the text poll.

    I think this illustrates that we could have a much more powerful influence if we focused on multi-media and filling the blogo-sphere with information to help people make an informed decision.

    I got texts from one of the campaigns to text in a vote for a candidate, she was not in my district, so I didn't vote for her in the poll. But texting is a great way to get information to a campaign. I was subscribed to the text campaign for Debra Medina and knew all of the times of debates, etc.

    I set up text messaging service where I work for customers loyalty rewards programs, and I have often thought what a great way for a pac or a candidate to be in touch. This text poll just proved that, we are busy and despite wanting to make a difference, lord knows i already tried and now I have to work 8-5 being a tax slave, I don't have time now to show up and do things politically very often. But hopefully, I will again be making my little voice heard.

    I was hoping the turnout would be really good for this straw poll. I did see it on the news though and the report seemed favorable.

  10. I'm a Ron Paul supporter and I can tell you that this event was not determined by organizational efforts of Ron Paul supporters to a great extent. Perhaps there are simply more of us and yes enough of us showed up to win. I couldn't be there. One Ron Paul supporter did contact me to motivate me to help organize but we all have priorities and this straw poll was not at the top. Kudos to everyone who participated but Kudos most of all to those who are open the the message of liberty which brings all people together.