come one.” The Democrats on Clements’ team have helped him deal with an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature and maintain good relations with the conservative Democrats whose support he needed to win the governorship. But the legislative session is over, and Clements is not on the ballot next year. He is freer now to play Republican leader. Whether he does could depend, in part, on his perception of the risk of alienating Democratic supporters. Appointing Democrats During his campaign Bill Clements promised to involve all Texans Democrats, Republicans, independentsin his administration. Tobin Armstrong, the governor’s special assistant for appointments, has diligently followed the governor’s guidelines. Many Democrats and independents have been appointed to state boards and commissions. It is not these appointments that have caused grassroots Republicans to grumble, however. A number of the Democratic appointees have even received the endorsement of hometown Republicans. The major source of Republican discontent has been Clements’ appointment of Democrats to vacancies in elective offices, particularly in areas of Republican strength. In Harris County, for example, Clements’ first two judicial appointees and his choice for the district attorney’s office were Democrats. Republicans were passed over. In Dallas County as well the first judicial appointee was a conservative Democrat. Even Clements’ staunchest friends were taken aback. “I didn’t agree with him on that appointment,” said Republican State Rep. Fred Agnich of Dallas. “It caused considerable furor. Had the first appointment been a Republican, he could have done something like this later with less difficulty. We all know he’ll have to appoint some Democrats somewhere down the line.” Republican interest in vacant elective offices is understandable. Republicans hold so few offices around the state that any opportunity to take over another is precious to grassroots workers who have campaigned long and hard for GOP candidates, leaving their fingerprints on thousands of doorbells and laying the groundwork for Clements’ election. The Clements team argues that the Harris and Dallas County Democrats were appointed because they were the best qualified and have a better chance of getting elected. Most of the appointees are expected to seek election as Republicans, and that, Clements’ staff contends, ought to be the main consideration. If a tried and true Republican gets 8 SEPTEMBER 7, 1979 appointed to a vacant post but can’t hold onto it in the 1980 general election, nothing has been accomplished. If a Democrat is chosen, runs as a Republican, and does get elected, that is party-building. Republican State Rep. Chase Untermeyer of Houston understands the strategy and sees its merits, but he finds the argument for it unconvincing. “I think every judicial appointment should be an identifiable Republican who will seek election as a Republican,” he said. This, Untermeyer believes, gives the politically ambitious a greater incentive to cast their lot with the Republican Party. “It’s a way of rewarding party service and shows that it’s worthwhile for able people to work hard for the party,” he said. Ed Emmett of Kingwood, another GOP state rep, shares Untermeyer’s concern. Emmett is a bright and able young man who joined the Republican Party, worked hard in the campaigns of other Republican candidates, and then took on and defeated Democratic Rep. Joe Allen of Baytown, a six-term incumbent, by campaigning hard in a district unfavorable to Republicans. It would have been much easier for Emmett to succeed in politics as a Democrat, so his contention that “appointing Democrats takes away incentive for people” to work in the Republican Party carries a considerable weight. Emmett and Untermeyer also question one of the basic premises of appointing Democrats to elective vacancies. “Many of us elected Republicans are worried because we fear those appointees won’t run as Republicans,” Untermeyer said. If that fear proves justified, the governor’s Democratic appointments will be lost opportunities for the Republican Party. But if the Democrats run as Republicans and win, Clements’ argument that this is effective party-building will be hard to counter. Fundraising The popular image of rich Republicans notwithstanding, Republican candidacies in Texas have been stymied over the years by lack of funds, and a Republican governor can do much to solve that problem. Clements has done little so far, but he has a pretty good reason. Jim Francis, Clements’ chief fundraiser, has been concentrating his efforts on reducing the governor’s debt of about $5 million from last year’s campaign. For now, therefore, it is party officials who are helping Clements raise money, not the other way around. For example, a Dallas fundraising event for the governor is scheduled for October and Dallas County Republican chairman Bill McKenzie has agreed to pitch in. Some people have complained that Clements’ fundraising has siphoned money away from potential Republican candidates. But on this issue, Rep. Emmett comes to Clements’ defense. Most of the contributions Clements has received wouldn’t have been forthcoming for any Republican but the governor, Emmett believes. And he says that Clements “has actually made it easier for Republicans to raise money by showing that we can win.” New GOP state chairman Chet Upham says Clements will give the party and Associated Republicans of Texas direct fundraising help as the 1980 elections near. \(ART raises money for state legislative and county races, with special emphasis on winning enough seats in the Legislature to give Republicans a strong and party officials like Bill McKenzie who have helped Clements retire his campaign debt will be anxiously awaiting this quid pro quo next year. But it is unclear whether the governor will fulfill his commitment with characteristic vigor. Recruiting candidates Republican chairman Upham is in the midst of an energetic program to line up able Republicans to oppose Democrats and to find incumbent Democrats willing to seek re-election as Republicans. Upham says the governor is “foursquare in this program,” doing everything he’s been asked to do. Upham’s candidate search focuses on 40 state legislative seatsoffices of particular importance to Republicans next year since the new Legislature will draw congressional and legislative district boundaries that will shape party competition throughout the 1980s. Upham reports that Clements has agreed to talk to a number of conservative Democrats about switching parties. At least one such conversation has worked. Clements appeared at a joint press conference with Sen. Bill Braecklein of Dallas when he recently announced his switch to the Republican Party. However, many Dallas County Republicans are less than enthusiastic about this particular success, believing that Braecklein has little personal following in the Democratic Party and could have been beaten by an attractive Republican, such as Dallas State Rep. Lee Jackson. Braecklein’s conversion may be just the start of a Clements-aided switch by conservative Democratic officeholders to the GOP. But if the governor intends to play a strong role in the current candidate recruitment drive, he’ll have to work fast. The filing deadline is only five months away. Building up the party base Linked to the state GOP’s candidate search is a push to strengthen the party at the local level. Many Texas counties
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