Local Democratic Party Not Worried

The majority of Democratic candidates in Harris County lost in Tuesday’s election, and in many cases it wasn’t even close. What does that mean for the local Democratic Party? Bill Stamps spoke with party chairman Gerry Birnberg to get his thoughts on where they go from here.

Tuesday wasn’t a good day for the Democrats either nationally or locally here in Harris County. Two years ago virtually every judge elected was a democrat but this time around it was the exact opposite.
“I suggested I urged that we should not be electing judges in counties as big as Harris, because it is too difficult for people to know the specific qualifications of any given judge.”

Gerry Birnberg is chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party. He believes the county needs to change the way it votes for judges and he’s not saying that because his side lost. Birnberg says he talked about making a change even after the Democrats swept the ’08 election.

“In large counties such as Harris County there are  too many judges on the ballot for the average voter, even sophisticated voters, to be able to get sufficient information about the qualifications and competence of any individual judge to be able to decide if judge A is better than judge B.”
Two years ago political pundits said it was the Republicans who had big problems. Now some are saying that about the Democrats, but here in Harris County, Birnberg says the numbers should pick up in 2012 simply because it will be a presidential election. Look historically and forever it’s been the case that democrats do far far better in presidential years than we do in gubernatorial years.

And that’s one of the reasons he looks back on the past election and doesn’t believe there’s a whole lot his party or the candidates could have done differently.

“I must tell you that the scope of the gross numbers of people, the gross difference, clearly means and I think any reasonable observer would conclude that there is nothing that anyone could have done that would have changed the outcome. Maybe in a few close races. “

Birnberg isn’t worried about the future at all. 2012 is a presidential election and locally Sheriff Adrian Garcia will be up for reelection. Birnberg says Garcia was able to turn out large numbers of voters in ’08 and he expects him to do the same in 2012.