Bob Smither

By Erick Posted in Comments (42) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Who is Bob Smither? He's my choice to replace Tom DeLay in Texas-22. He is the Libertarian candidate. Libertarian? Yeah, but think Ron Paul or Neal Boortz, not Ryan Sager.

What does he stand for? Read about him and his positions here.

Will he caucus with the GOP? Of course he'll caucus with the GOP. And we can bet he won't vote to raise taxes or spending like some of the RINOs.

Smither also has a better shot of getting elected than the GOP write-in candidate with the difficult to write-in name.


« When Negative Ads BackfireComments (4) | No Apologies YetComments (1) »
Bob Smither 42 Comments (0 topical, 42 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Is the Republican. You can't change your mind three weeks before the election. Unless Sekula-Gibbs were to drop out, and throw support behind the Libertarian, this just makes it even more likely than the Dem will win.

Current polling has Sekula-Gibbs behind the Libertarian. Couple that with the fact that you'd have to write her name in and you have an ideal case to support a candidate who will caucus with the GOP and has an excellent chance of getting elected.

I have seen polling showing here with a ten point lead. Where is the poll?

The poll you cite(Showing her up) is worthless see: this
The poll Erick cites was a straw poll of 100 people that included all three of them(despite Shelley not being on ballot).
Not exactly a small margin of error, but at least it represents the reality of the polls better than the nonsense Baselice & Associates(polling company) did.

There is precedent for this. In 2002, in South Dakota, the Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate dropped out of the race 3 days before the election and publicly backed Republican John Thune. He even held press conferences around the State announcing his support for Thune.

Back in 1994, Jim Carroll (I believe his name was) publicly backed then Republican Senator Paul Coverdale in the run-off. Coverdale had received only 3% more than the Dem. Carroll put Coverdale over the top two weeks later.

Why shouldn't the GOP return the favor?

Sekula-Gibbs is polling 11%! Smither is at 25%. Lampson is at 34%. You do the math.

Eric Dondero

This is the kind of bottom-line, clear thinking that can help Republicans maintain control. Hopefully, Sekula-Gibbs will do what's right for her party.

Over at (I'm a subscriber there), they list a (Republican) poll back in August showing Sekula-Gibbs LEADING Lampson 46%-35% (with the Libertarian not listed). The Blogging Caesar discounted her totals by 1/3 due to the difficulty of a write-in campaign (possibility of voter error, etc.) but has her down by only 4% right now.

With enough campaigning, voter education, GOTV efforts, Sekula-Gibbs could very well save this seat for the GOP. Now is no time to introduce a Libertarian into the race who could rob Sekula-Gibbs of a few precious percent, and tip the election to Lampson.

If we're really worried about voter error in writing a "six-syllable name", the real solution is to convince Sekula-Gibbs to officially drop her maiden name--how difficult is it for Texas voters to write "Shelley Gibbs"?

Libertarians might have some interesting ideas, but so far the only electoral results they have achieved is helping Democrats get elected. If Libertarians had never existed, we would now be campaigning for Slade Gorton's re-election for a third term in the U.S. Senate.

The bad news: Conservatism is hard to sell. The good news is that it works.

The poll you are citing was horrible, not only did it not list Bob Smither(who is on the ballot), it also listed Seckkula-Gibbs(who is not on the ballot). That poll is completely worthless.
See below for a nice analysis.

They're called push polls. All these polls cited by RINOs that Sekula-Gibbs "has a chance" are completely worthless. They've been doing push polling in the District for weeks, making voters think that Smither doesn't exist and the race is only Hyphen lady and the Tax Collector from Beaumont.

Eric Dondero

They are useless because they don't conform to the actual ballot. They are NOT push polls. Push polls are not actual polls. They are negative ads disguised as polls.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

You are obviously completely ignorant of the Libertarian Party and of the entire libertarian movement. Currently there are over 500 locally elected Libertarian Party members nationwide in offices as high as Mayor and County Supervisor. Just 2 weeks ago, Sara Chambers, Libertarian won election to the Juneau City Council by 231 votes. Juneau as you may know is Alaska's 3rd largest city and state capitol.

In addition, hundreds of libertarians serve in office including Congress and many State Legislatures as Republicans. Ron Paul is just one. But there's Cong. Jeff Flake, Rohrabacher, Otter, Feeney, and tons of state reps. For a completely list

Eric Dondero

Ron Paul is a nutbar. One of him is enough in any institution.

Ron Paul is a nutbar. One of him is enough in any institution.

Come, Streiff. This kind of nonargument is what one expects from
a liberal, not from you. You can do better.

Experience seems to indicate that libertarians will support Republican candidates when they feel that the Republican candidates at least partially represent their views. However, libertarians are not conservatives. The fact that libertarians find little shelter in the Democratic party does not mean that we Republicans own their votes. If we want them on our team, then we must make room for them on our platform, act to repeal at least some of the legislation to which they object, and so on. If the price of accommodating the mainstream libertarian were too high, we should not pay it; but I would suggest that in the present political climate the price is mild. Libertarians are no conservatives but they are valued members of our majoritarian red-state coalition, teammates who deserve to be treated as such.

Every election cycle, someone will step forward to insist that voters who feel betrayed by the Republican party must nevertheless vote Republican to keep the Democrats out. This kind of thinking is all right as far as it goes, but it only goes so far. Betrayed voters are not stupid voters. They know the third-party odds, but what else are they supposed to do, exactly? Vote Republican no matter what?

The two-party system has a centralizing dynamic which -- as a strong conservative I do not like to admit it, but -- in the long run lends stability to the country. No major national party can afford such excess that it ignore the swing vote in the middle. However, the swing vote, important as it is, is hardly all there is to politics. Voters outside the central swing group can apply effective pressure, too, even if this upsets the Party establishments. Sometimes this means voting third-party.

The Republican party is going to have to face the fact that it has done a lot, over a long period of years, to alienate loyal supporters. Such damage cannot be repaired in the three weeks between now and election day. What can be done is to seek allies where allies can be found. This Libertarian in Texas, the standard-bearer of a small, longsuffering, quixotic American political party, is a potential ally who under the circumstance probably deserves Republican support, don't you think?

It's not about the party, anyway; it's about the country. If the man votes in Congress to reduce taxes and cut spending, then he's not all bad; and if he and Ron Paul push for some other things you and I don't approve of, then the two of them lose the vote 2 to 433. It will be all right. The two libertarians together lack the votes to plunge the U.S.A. into Libertarian anarchy. Let us be practical about this. What the two have the effective votes to do is to restrain federal spending and to limit the federal bureaucracy -- and on this issue of restraint, whom do you trust, anyway? The Republicans? I think not.

Wow! I couldn't have said it better myself. You are precisely right.

Red State and the GOP is a coalition of essentially 3 different groups; the largest by far Conservatives, the 2nd largest Moderates, and the small but growing libertarian wing. We can't beat the statist Democrats if we lose one of those 3 wings. We must all battle it out in the primary and in the general come together to support the team.

Eric Dondero

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, even as a write-in candidate, is still going to crush Bob Smither at the polls.

1. Voter intent is all that matters. So, someone could just write-in "Shelley" and she'd still get the vote

2. There will be something in the voting booth making people aware that there is a write-in candidate and it will have her entire name spelled out.

3. This is an affluent suburban district. Most of the people in the district aren't that stupid.

4. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs will be on the ballot in the Special Election for the seat

5. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is a well-known, well liked Houston City Councilwoman - elected to one of the citywide at-large districts - who has been a bit of a thorne in the side of Mayor Bill White on fiscal issues and was married to a very popular local Hispanic newsanchor before he died of a brain tumor.

6. The DeLay story hasn't exactly been under the radar. Almost everyone KNOWS a) that there's not a Republican on the ballot, b) more or less why, c) that there is a Republican write-in candidate and d) her name is Shelley (fumble over her hyphenated last name - which is where the things spelling her name out help.)

7. I'm going to be a poll worker making sure that everyone of the districts majority Republican voters remember to vote for Shelley twice - in the special and write her name in the general.

8. If we're talking about partisan polls, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs has one showing her beating the entire field by 11 points.

9. Ron Paul might be better than a Democrat, but he's no Mike Pence, John Shadegg, Jeff Flake, or Jeb Hensarling. He has a lot of very wacky policy positions like 1) bring back the gold standard, 2) free trade agreements are unconstitutional (!!!) because they delegate congressional trade authority, and 3) he sees no reason to ever kill anyone, whether it is a just war or the death penalty for a criminal who has slaughtered an entire Wal-Mart. Give me a libertarian over a Democrat, but give me a Republican over a libertarian, please.

She's a statist, a RINO of the worst sort. She voted for and staunchly supported the smoking ban in Houston restaurants and bars. She is anti-capitalist, and anti-free market and absolutely anti-small business. What a horrible vote. For that, and that reason alone she should be defeated.

Eric Dondero

Smoking is bad for your health, and as a doctor, she voted for a smoking ban. Not exactly a great shock. Of course she shouldn't have, but I understand it.

The city should sell tobacco licenses at a high enough rate that some restaurants and establishments don't think it is worth it.

Does she support regulations on what kids take in their school lunches, or for that matter what parents buy for their kids, in the name of combating 'obesity'?

How far would you accept that kind of reasoning, that if something is declared bad for you by the health mullahs, it becomes OK for the government to force you to obey that fatwa?
If you're seeing shades of gray, it's because you're not looking close enough to see the black and white dots.

restaurants can decide themselves if they want to allow smoking on their property.

those who dont like it can open non-smoking restaurants and compete since there is clearly a huge demand for them.

Just to be consistant.

I don't agree with smoking bans. I think that she voted as a doctor though. That's all I can say in defense of her.

There would only be a consistency if the restaurant in question sold and served the cigarettes to patrons. Since it is BYOC right now I dont see it any different than restaurants that go without alcohol licenses where you can still bring your own booze with you.

don't trust her, she panders too much, seems too ambitious, and her ads are horrible.
When you get to a certain age you begin to trust your gut feelings.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

1. The "voter intent" line is a MYTH. It was promoted by the Tina Benkiser crowd in attempt to rally money behind Gibbs. For a while they were telling people (falsely) that simply typing "SSG" would count. It won't. Voter intent is a very vague concept under Texas law and as currently interpreted by the county and state officials who oversee the election it does NOT permit slogans, first names, or acronyms. REALISTICALLY, "voter intent" will only cover minor misspellings such as writing her first name as "Shelly Sekula Gibbs" or writing "Shelley Sekula" and "Shelley Gibbs." Simply writing "Shelley" or "SSG" WILL NOT count as a vote.

2. The poll you cite is fraudulent. Gibbs is using it to claim an 11 point lead so she can get campaign money from otherwise reluctant donors. The problem is she doesn't show anybody the actual script of the poll. I've seen that script and I've seen the numbers it produced. The poll dishonestly implied she was on the ballot and intentionally left out Smither and 2 other write-in options. It was also coupled with 3-4 push poll questions designed to inflate Lampson's negatives. All that makes it statistically invalid - and that's not just my a gut feeling, that's an opinion from somebody who's taught statistical techniques at the university level.

3. The papers in the polling booth and the special election will have little effect. The special election in fact will likely confuse voters more than it helps Shelley - they'll think they've already voted for her. And no - this isn't a problem of voter stupidity. It's a problem of simple time and attention to details. Most voters, including those in CD22, simply don't have the time or interest to take 10 minutes hand dialing Shelley's cumbersome name in letter by letter, even if they otherwise vote Republican. That's one of the reasons a write-in has never won a major race in Texas.

in 2000 or 1998, a write in one for a (small) county race. (I think it was a green). However, on many of the ballots, voters misspelled his name, those votes were tossed out. I think when he appealed the decision, the votes were still kept out and he still lost.

Why do so many people act like a write-in is doomed? It has been done before. In fact, it seems like write-ins have a good record of winning, or coming close to winning, when it is a credible and well-funded effort.

The two factors that pose the biggest obstacles here are:

1. Her name. She should have dropped her maiden name for this election.

2. The special election. For some strange reason, the Republicans scheduled a special election at the same time as the regular election. I am concerned that a lot of people will just vote in the Special (Gibbs will be the only one running in the Special), and skip the regular two year contest.

1. Regarding her maiden name, after being Shelley Sekula-Rodriguez when she was married to Sylvan Rodriguez and when she was first elected to City Council before he died of a brain tumor, I don't think it would have gone over so well for her to drop her maiden name for her second husband's in a clear show of political expediancy. Say what you will about it being difficult, but I think people value consistancy. It shows that whatever caused her to want to hyphenate her name before...she's sticking to it. LOL

2. I'm concerned that people will only vote in the Special, too, but it also allowed her to receive double the maximium campaign contributions since she's technically in TWO races. So, donors with the means to do so can give $4,200 each to her campaign.

Even with double contributions though, Shelley is still struggling with fundraising. The $4 million that State GOP chair Tina Benkiser promised from the RNC never showed up. Instead they sent her $100,000 to keep her quiet and wrote off the race.

if they've sent someone over here to register just in the last 24 hours and reply to EVERY SINGLE POST that mentions Gibbs. wow.

to posts that aren't even on the front page anymore

Actually I found this on my own last night after seeing it linked to on another blog. Nobody sent me here. I'm just a Republican voter who decided to go with Smither. I've watched Gibbs' campaign since day one and it just keeps getting worse.

Oh, and I'm also pissed at Sekula Gibbs because she imposed one of the most draconian smoking bans in the nation yesterday on City Council. She's a nanny-stater, not a conservative.

and apologies if i am mistaken. even if i'm not, i invite you to stick around and join other discussions.

I don't live in district 22, so I obviously can't say from first hand knowledge, but I've not heard anything so remarkably negative on the Gibbs campaign as the vague dismissals that have appeared in these threads. The one concrete thing that has been mentioned is the smoking ban, which I personally have no problem with, though principally, I'd prefer more lenient/voluntary (or put to a popular vote, if I understand you correctly to mean that it was decided solely by the council) bans of some sort. Even if I did, I'd not see fit to base my vote heavily upon it, or to herald the arrival of the nanny-state (to any more degree than it's already here)

1st, the smoking ban from a Houston perspective - it's not so much a problem with what it is but rather HOW it is administered. For example, I wouldn't have many objections with a smoking ordinance that eliminated it from restaraunts where children eat or (more preferably) required those restaraunts to have a separated room for smokers. But Houston's ordinance - written by Gibbs - is much worse than that.

- There's no choice option given to restaraunts that want to have a smoking section.
- You get slapped with a $2000 fine for smoking OUTSIDE if it is within 25 feet of a doorway.
- Yesterday's amendment extends the bans to bars and clubs, where there aren't any children around and most of the clients come there specifically to smoke and drink.

It's not a far cry to say that Gibbs' smoking ban is among the most draconian in the nation - and she wants to make it even more strict that it currently is. The point to be emphasized from the smoking ordinance is that Gibbs has made it THE SINGLE defining issue of her term on city council. It's essentially the ONLY thing big that she's ever done. It's the same drum she's been beating for the last 5 years. You're right that it's not the biggest issue out there, but it is the biggest and only issue that Shelley has a clear track record on. And I gotta wonder seriously about any candidate who sees that as her #1 priority in government.

Second - I've seen the campaigns first hand on the ground in District 22. As I indicated earlier, I've also seen the script and reports from the "poll" Gibbs did that claims she's in the lead. And I've seen more realistic polling that shows her hovering closer to 10%. All in all, her campaign leaves much to be desired on several specific counts:

- She doesn't have the money to compete with Lampson on the air or in the mail. The $4 million RNC cash never materialized. She got only $100 out of them - a drop in the bucket to keep her from complaining. Most of that is gone already - she's blown through it without any significant dent on Lampson's numbers.
- Her polling is fraudulent - it was a rigged script with push poll elements, and she deceptively misportrayed the results to fool donors into giving her more money.
- Her campaign is way short on volunteers and doesn't even have enough people to man the polls at less than a dozen early voting places. They just sent out an email offering to pay $12 an hour for people to stand there and do something that should be volunteer work.
- Her performance as a candidate is lackluster. Shelley has been late or a no-show to several candidate forums throughout the district over the last few weeks. Smither and Lampson are always there on time. In one recent forum I was told that Gibbs showed up almost an hour late and had to be given special time to speak because they had already moved on to other races on the ballot.

some of that is troubling, and even though I would probably personally still go with her, I do want to reiterate that I don't see anything wrong with Smither and don't have a problem with people voting for him, just that it looks like Lampson could win because conservatives split. I don't blame that on either Smither or Gibbs, libertarians or republicans, it's just the sad and frustrating fact of the situation.

and again, please stick around and join in other threads

Actually the track record of write-in candidates in Texas is pretty poor. Texas' laws are harder on write-ins than most states, and none has ever won a major office.

The last time there was a major push for a write-in by a political party was in the late 1970's. The unopposed Democrat candidate for a Texas Supreme Court seat, Don Yarbrough, got indicted for corruption. Yarbrough is something of a legend in Texas politics for his eccentricity and several high profile corruption cases against him, so he wasn't exactly a candidate with great voter appeal.

The Texas Republican Party saw his vulnerability and recruited a write-in candidate, because it happened after the primary. They dumped all sorts of money into it and had poll workers passing out pencils with the write-ins name on it all over the state. He polled 10%.

Yarborough won, and shortly after that he got convicted on all sorts of felony charges. It gets crazier though - to avoid prison time Yarbrough fled the country. U.S. troops found him in Granada in 1983 when we invaded to topple the communist regime.

To see GOP voters shift more libertarian in response to recent scandals, media-created or otherwise.

We're only in this mess because Tom Delay took too long to quit, and this sort of thing doesn't happen very often.
If you're seeing shades of gray, it's because you're not looking close enough to see the black and white dots.

If Delay was so worried about his (mostly politically driven) troubles being a distraction that helps turn a Republican seat blue, then he should have gotten out in plenty of time to avoid this mess. If Lampson wins, and is smart, he will avoid voting like the liberal he really is for the next two years, and hope that two years of incumbency will help him in 2008.

And I say that as someone who thinks Delay has gotten mostly unfair treatment, especially from the media which clearly hates him.

maybe we'll find out what went on behind the scenes there. There appears to be lots of power struggles going on in the GOP, this being one on them. If only they could expend a fraction of the effort in fighting the Democrats ..

Smither and Wetterling, no? he's not using his personal tragedy and to make a dishonest attack via Mark Foley.

gotta say, he looks like a good candidate, and had the Republicans decided not to field a write-in candidate and back him instead, I would not have had a problem with it. but Sekula-Gibbs can win, her campaign is organized, and this is only going to increase the chances of Lampson winning by splitting Republican votes.

bottom line is that everyone has to get on the same page, whether its for Smither or Sekula-Gibbs, and since she's already come this far it makes the most sense to back her, IMO. (and if she were to drop out, we'd probably suddenly see Dem poll workers desperately trying to convince people to write her in, lol)

You are forgetting that she is not on the ballot. Smither has been on the ballot since May. No matter how organized the Gibbs campaign is, they will never get as far as getting her name on the ballot.

Her support is primarily in Harris County. Her "name recognition" is not so bright when you get outside Houston.
When Houston faced a $8 million dollar deficit, she voted to give herself a raise. Are these the actions of a conservative? I think not. This record is well known in the district.

Additionally, she is not the only Republican write-in on the ballot. She is simply the only one getting press.

You're mistaken about her winning. Gibbs' campaign to date has been nothing but a flop.

The money never arrived and the campaign has no momentum. She was promised $4 million to go head to head with Lampson. She got $100,000. Realistic polls of the district have her hovering around 10%

(The poll Shelley keeps touting that shows her in the lead was fraudulent - I've read the script and seen the numbers. It had no statistical merit).

Your best bet is to go with Smither. Shelley will be lucky to break double digits on election day.

I suggested that it was risking a hell of a lot to push the write-in candidate in this district on my site recently, and asked why we should not support Smither. Now, of course, I am a libertarian-leaner who is no great fan of social cons (of which Sekula-Gibbs is one), so I would feel like voting for Smither makes sense-- both for pragmatic and philosophical reasons.

Glad to see you see the sense in it, too!

Liz Mair is the editor of WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM, a RedState-style blog for libertarian, mainstream and moderate Republicans

Redstate Network Login:
(lost password?)

©2008 Eagle Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Legal, Copyright, and Terms of Service