The top 4: Bill White, Molly Beth Malcolm, Charles Soechting, Boyd Richie.
The bottom 4: Susan Weddington, Tina Benkiser, Cathie Adams, Steve Munisteri
Those are (to the best of my recollection) the immediate 4 past chairs of the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Republican Party.
Briefly touched on in a previous post, this idea bears much repeating: county chairs of political parties should not be elected by the general public.
First the law, from the Texas Election Code:
Sec. 171.022. COMMITTEE COMPOSITION. (a) A county executive committee consists of:Now of course there are other sections of the Election Code that talk about candidate eligibility, but this part specifically says: a county chair, who is the presiding officer, elected at the general primary election by majority vote of the qualified voters of the county who vote in the primary on that office...
(1) a county chair, who is the presiding officer, elected at the general primary election by majority vote of the qualified voters of the county who vote in the primary on that office or appointed by the county executive committee as provided by this subchapter; and
(2) a precinct chair from each county election precinct, elected at the general primary by majority vote of the qualified voters of the precinct who vote in the primary on that office, subject to Section 171.0221, or appointed by the county executive committee as provided by this subchapter.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (d), if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a runoff to determine the office is conducted in the same manner as a runoff primary election to determine a nomination for public office. The candidates to be in a runoff are determined in the same manner as candidates in a runoff for a nomination.
(c) Each committee member serves for a term of two years beginning the 20th day after runoff primary election day.
(d) The state executive committee by rule may provide for the election of the county chair or precinct chairs of a particular county by plurality vote.
Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 728, Sec. 63, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 499, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 114, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1349, Sec. 59, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.
This needs to be changed.
1) Ask any non-activist everyday voter who their county chair is (Democrat or Republican) and you're likely to get a lot of "I don't knows" or "We vote for that?" or even the name of a past chair. The point being, most average voters not heavily engaged in party politics isn't likely to know who is the county chair of their respective party.
2) Piggy-backing off the previous point, do party activists really want this position subject to the whim of voters. As we've seen in previous election cycles, voters can be very fickle. 2008, Yay Obama and the Democrats, Boo to the Republicans. 2010, Yay Tea Party and Republicans, Boo to the Democrats.
3) Boyd Richie, Charles Soechting, Molly Beth Malcolm, Bill White. Steve Munisteri, Cathie Adams, Tina Benkiser, Susan Weddington. Aside from Bill White, how many average voters would know those are the past 4 chairs of the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Republican Party. (Hope I haven't missed anybody, couldn't find a comprehensive list of past chairs. Had to mainly go off memory)
None of those people were elected by a statewide vote of primary voters. They were all elected either by a convention of delegates or by state executive committee members. We don't elect state party chairs through a vote of primary voters, why then do we allow county chairs to be elected by primary voters?
4) The people who have to work with the chair are saddled by the choice of the voters. Precinct chairs, activists, elected officials, etc., i.e, people who have to work with the chair on a regular basis are saddled with whoever the voters choose. This is not a problem only in Bexar County or only with Democrats. Other counties and Republicans have seen problems with their chairs.
5) Party chair is a party position, not an elected official paid through tax dollars. If the public isn't paying the party chair's salary, why then do they need to vote on the position? Tax dollars go through the party to pay for the primary election, however, this issue could easily be removed by changing the law so that money from the Secretary of State goes directly from their office to the local elections office. Cut out the middle man and send the money directly. It's ridiculous that the Secretary of State writes a check to the party and the party then turns around and writes a check for that amount to the elections office. If the party has an interest in being informed about the money to pay for the primary, send a letter informing the party that X amount of money has been sent from the Secretary of State to the elections office to pay for the primary.
To conclude, party chair should not be elected by a vote of the primary voters. The two biggest arguments being it's not a position with a public salary and state party chair isn't elected by primary voters.