Friday, June 6, 2008

Democrats adopt credentials report, permanent chair without controversy

Many Austin observers questions whether there would be a knock-down, drag out fight over credentials at today's Democratic State Convention. The reason for this suspicion is that, unlike the Republicans who allocate national convention delegates to presidential candidates solely on the basis of the primary results, Democrats allocate about one-third of the national convention delegates to the presidential candidate preferences of state convention delegates. (This is why both presidential candidates emphasized to their supporters the importance of attending both the caucuses and voting in the primary.) That's why the credentials process mattered, because the presidential preferences of the delegates determine how some of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention have to vote.

But the fight never materialized. Permanent (and temporary) credentials chairman David Escamilla said that only a couple of issues before the committee were not decided by unanimous agreement, including support from both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. The convention unanimously adopted the credentials report and elected Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) as the permanent chair of the convention.

After winning election, Watson announced the chairmen of the other committees. The party committess matter because they usually draft important documents like the platform and rules that are often either completely or largely adopted by the convention. The committees mostly meet tomorrow at 8 a.m. and then present their report to the convention during the afternoon.

Committee chairs:

Rules: Molly Beth Malcolm (former Chair Texas Democratic Pary)

Resolutions: Dennis Teel

Nominations of party officers: Rose Salas

Platform: Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)

Delegates at-large: Jan Soifer

Special Committee on Delegate Selection: Eddie Lucio III (convenes at 1 p.m. for testimony on the delegate selection process) The special committee will take public testimony at the Austin Hilton on whether the Democrats should continue to allocate delegates on the basis of both the caucus (convention delegate preference and the primary).

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