If you visit the Harris Dems’ primary candidate listing, one will see that incumbent County Chair Lane Lewis is now unopposed. Recent At-Large 5 candidate Philippe Nassif’s nascent candidacy for County Chair has been declared ineligible for the Democratic Primary.
According to state law, a candidate for county chair must collect the signatures on a petition of 10% of the party’s incumbent precinct chairs. According to the Party, that number would then be 48. According to folks inside the Party, Nassif did not meet the required number.
Although the decision of eligibility on all candidate applications was left to Chairman Lewis, Lewis went further and sought the opinion of an election law counsel and of the Democratic Party Primary Committee, who also agreed with the result.
Nassif has informed his supporters in an e-mail about the situation:
Even as I accept the decision, I was very disappointed to receive this news. The signature process is a precise one and requires 48 legible signatures from current precinct chairs. It also requires that none of these chairs sign more than one petition for a single race, yet some had forgotten they had signed Lane Lewis’ petition during the summer.
Here in Harris County, our democracy has been dealt a setback. The process to challenge a sitting party chair is convoluted and flawed, and the number of signatures I received displayed a level of anxiety with our party leadership that needs to be addressed immediately. My challenge of Lane Lewis’s chairmanship was never personal, but it was meant to send a strong message that change is needed in order for our party to start growing again and winning big.
That message has been sent.
Convoluted and flawed? Sure, but it’s also allowed by state law. How to change that? Talk about convoluted and flawed!
Anyway, Nassif isn’t done serving the party and Democrats and will be of service. As I told a friend of mine who I had been advising on a possible run, you don’t have to be a candidate or an elected official to be of service. There’s always fundraising for candidates and causes, or, I don’t know, doing every we can to increase voter turnout.