Ordinarily, I defend a person’s right to run for office, no matter what. The nutjobs are usually nutty enough that they run for high-profile offices—Mayor, Governor, Senator, President—where you would expect candidates to have at least a little bit of name recognition. It makes the nutters easier to spot. The vetting process is sort of obvious when the minor players aren’t invited to debates, aren’t included in interviews or forum invitations, and generally have a campaign that doesn’t focus on much more than “HEY, LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
I also maintain that no one is owed their elected office. Incumbents should expect to be challenged at any time if they aren’t doing their jobs, or do things that are Democratically Distasteful. I thought it was proper when Glen Maxey ran against Nelda Wells Spears for Tax Assessor/Collector. I thought it was proper for Brian Thompson to challenge Dawnna Dukes, and I’m supporting Amy Clark Meachum against Jan Patterson. I actually like that the Libertarians field candidates in every race, and I appreciate it when the Democratic candidates treat the Libertarians with respect. It speaks to our party’s general attitude of “everybody is welcome.”
That being said, Richard Glasheen is a douchebag.
Let me go into why I believe this. He’s running at the bottom of the ballot, which gets precious little attention as it is. It makes it harder to spot the nutty. He’s running against someone who is a stellar incumbent, and it’s just sort of rude.
Herb Evans has been the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 since 2000. He’s been an exemplary public servant, quietly going about his work and supporting Democratic causes all the while. He takes his job seriously, is effective, efficient, and a damned fine human being. I have watched him make impassioned speeches about the importance of voter registration (he is one of three people in Travis County outside of the TAC office who can deputize registrars). Even in the years when he had only Libertarian opposition, he campaigned for the office. He collects petition signatures in part to save himself some money in filing fees, but also because it lets him reach out to voters directly. This fall, he eschewed fundraising because the economy is down, and the other Democrats on the ballot needed the money more. I thought that was classy.
Then, on January 4th, Richard Glasheen filed to run against Herb in the March 2 primary. You are a douchebag when you walk in on the last day of filing, and your only questions are “What can I run for”, and “Which race has the lowest filing fee?” Way to do some research. Way to make it look like you care about the office you’re running for. Richard is not an attorney, and he does not need to be in order to qualify for Justice of the Peace. However, as the ONLY Justice Court that is entirely within the City of Austin, Precinct 5 has few cases that wouldn’t benefit from having a trained legal mind behind the bench. Complex cases from the city, county, and state come through JP5, and someone who is a real estate broker by trade is going to have a massive learning curve ahead of him.
But Richard doesn’t like lawyers. At all. He thinks that the Justice Courts have been taken over by lawyers, and that ordinary people need to take “The People’s Court” back. Back from whom, exactly? Trained legal professionals who are invested in seeing that justice is done? Maybe that’s not so bad, dude.
But what do I know, eh? I know I’m an ordinary person, and I’ll be voting for Herb.
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