HOUSTON – The Texas Democratic Party (search) chairman wants financial donors in the state to stop sending money to the national party because he says officials there are treating it as a Republican state where Democrats can't win.
Texas, after all, is where Republican George W. Bush got his start in politics and is where he was twice elected governor before narrowly defeating Democrat Al Gore (search) to win the 2000 presidential election.
But Charles Soechting, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, said he is unwilling to concede that Texas is not winnable because he is "just hearing too many good things around the state."
"Is a line drawn in the sand between myself and the DNC? Yes, it is," he said. "If you want good government in Texas, you start (by giving) at home."
Soechting said he made the plea after the Democratic National Committee offered $5,000 to the state party to send staff to battleground states that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry could win. He objected.
"I'm not sending a single person to another state when we have important races here," Soechting told the Houston Chronicle for its Tuesday editions. "They want my best and brightest,"
DNC spokesman Josh Earnest said the party is concentrating on states where Kerry is running close to President Bush.
"Thousands of generous Texans have contributed hard-earned money to the DNC for one reason: to put John Kerry and John Edwards into the White House," Earnest said. "We owe it to them to spend that money strategically, which means dedicating our resources to the states where the election is likely to be closest."
Soechting supports Kerry and running mate Edwards, but said he is disappointed they have done little in Texas other than raise money from wealthy donors. He said average Democrats also deserve to the see them before the Nov. 2 election.
Geronimo Rodriguez, the Kerry campaign's state director, noted that Edwards spoke at the state Democratic convention in June, and campaigned in Houston and San Antonio before last month's Democratic National Convention in Boston.