Talk about a silly season! In the race to be the Chair of the Harris County Republican Party, endorsees are running from Paul Simpson as fast as they can. Well, at least I think they are. Hard to keep track though with so many he said, she saids.
So Friday I’m minding my own business as usual and get an email from the Jared Woodfill campaign.
Prominent Paul Simpson Supporter Switches Endorsement to Woodfill
In a sudden twist, Keller switches
A prominent supporter of Paul Simpson, former Houston City Council Member Bert Keller has switched his endorsement to Chairman Jared Woodfill. According to Keller,
“Jared and I have been friends for years and I am honored to support him for re-election for Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.”
VOTE to Re-Elect Jared Woodfill on March 4th!
Pd. Pol Ad. Re-Elect Jared Woodfill for Republican Party Chairman
Would you or your organization like to endorse Jared?
For additional information about how you can help Jared’s re-election campaign, visit his website (http://www.jaredwoodfill.com).
I didn’t think a whole lot about it other than noting it on a Facebook group whose members asked “Who?” But after about 15 emails in 10 minutes saying that Keller didn’t switch and that Woodfill was lying, I thought I might ask Keller. After all, no one should know better if a person switched their endorsement from one candidate to another than the person making the endorsement. Right?
Now, I don’t know Mr. Keller. I used to have a friend that told me I’d like the guy but she decided not to be friends with me after I was too harsh on John Cornyn. Politics, ya know? The only interaction I’ve had with Mr. Keller was a couple of comments he made here on BJP. But I figured I could find his phone number, give him a call, and settle the matter. If only life were that easy!
So I called him up. According to the time stamp on my new iPhone 5S (awesome phone BTW) I called him at 4:37 pm on Friday, 2/21, and he returned my call on at 4:40 pm the same day. Three minutes for those of you in Pasadena. I wish everyone were so quick.
He tells me he’s boarding a plane and I tell him it won’t take but a sec – all I want to know is if he switched from Simpson to Woodfill. Easy. Keller then proceeds to tell me that yes, he is now supporting Jared Woodfill after reading the TARC post and listening to Lowry’s interview where Simpson runs away from the “pay for play” slate issue. Okay, sounds reasonable to me: after all I was shocked when I left the TARC meeting. But, Keller tells me he can’t publicly endorse Woodfill because of his past presidency of the C-Club, so all he can do is support him and vote for him. But no endorsement. Okay, got it.
But then I keep getting the emails, as late as Sunday evening, saying Woodfill is a liar and Keller doesn’t endorse Woodfill. I mean, the guy told me that he supported Woodfill, so why do I keep getting these emails saying that he didn’t and that Woodfill is a liar? C’mon, parsing and splitting endorse/support is going to take a surgical knife capable of splitting frog hairs. And that’s a fine line, my friends. Seriously?
First off, I’ve known Jared Woodfill for going on eight years now. Whatever else you or I may think of him, he doesn’t lie. Second, let me tell you something that you might not know – no credible candidate would ever send something out that says a prominent supporter (your definition of prominent notwithstanding) was switching sides unless he or she had a reason. Or, as in this case, a reason AND a recording. I mean, c’mon! For goodness sakes, it’s a recording of the endorsee saying that he was supporting the candidate! We may quibble about whether or not Keller’s switched support is prominent or not or even try to split frog’s hair on the definition of is but there can be no argument that Keller switched camps.
Unless of course, he switched back. Who knows at this point? The latest I’ve heard is that Keller is saying that he would never have told Gary Polland that he was supporting Jared if he knew Polland had a recorder. Except…dude, this was a VOICEMAIL that you left for Woodfill – by definition it is a recording and Polland is just the messenger in this case. I knew about the voicemail last Friday, the same day I talked to Keller and he told me that he was supporting Woodfill.
I suppose that if I were a member of the C-Club and the Club spent a tens of thousands of dollars trying to oust the HCRP chairman and then a former president says he wants no part of it, I’d be a little ticked off too. But do voters in the Harris County Republican Party Primary care? I mean, let’s face facts, the C-Club is not a conservative group and actually prides itself on being non-partisan according to its website. So, frankly, I don’t see why the C-Club decided to get into this most partisan of all partisan races in the first place. Well, unless they agree with those that want to ditch social conservatives because we’re so “divisive”. I’m guessing that is the hope behind their choice to be the new Chairman. Bad move in my opinion, gonna be hard to win a race without those of use that include social issues in our evaluation of candidates.
So after all that, we’re back to square one: who does Bert Keller support? And does anyone besides Paul Simpson and Jared Woodfill care?
UPDATE 30 minutes later
About 30 seconds after I hit publish, a kind reader informed me that the Simpson campaign is STILL claiming that Keller endorses and supports him in an email received by the reader at 5:17 pm.
I appreciate Bert Keller reaffirming his endorsement of my campaign over the weekend. One thing Gary Polland and I can agree on is that Bert is a principled leader, and his statement this weekend confirmed where he stands:
“I learned yesterday that Gary Polland’s Conservative Review and Jarod Woodfill’s campaign have reported that I have endorsed Jarod Woodfill over Paul Simpson. To be clear, I continue to endorse and support Paul Simpson for Harris County Republican Chair. For a list of the C Club of Houston endorsed candidates, please go to www.cclub.org.” Bert Keller, C Club President 2012
Good grief. Keller must be a prize endorsement for someone. Funny thing is, they can’t even spell Jared’s name right.
LISTEN TO BERT KELLER IN HIS ON WORDS LESS THAN THREE DAYS AGO (via Gary Polland’s Texas Conservative Review):
Here, I’ll even transcribe it for you:
Hey, Jared, Bert Keller. Ah, list me as a supporter of Jared Woodfill and I’m gonna try and get a couple of minutes that are, that I really need from that interview that Paul Simpson did on Terry Lowry’s show, um, that was very hypocritical regarding the slates.
If I were Paul Simpson, I’d cut my losses here. Begging a former city council person and C-Club president for his endorsement doesn’t make sense. But that’s just me.