Saturday, March 29, 2014

Black Woman Continues to foil Texas Democrats

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues,
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it on its walls;
Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it.
Destruction is in its midst;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets.
Psalm 55:9-11

Kesha Rogers continues to give them fits:
Kesha Rogers is a Democrat despite favoring Obama's impeachment and holding other party-questioned moves

Kesha Rogers of Houston, whom we’ve described as a Lyndon LaRouche Democrat, isn’t even a Democrat, according to the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.


A Rogers adviser, Harley Schlanger, the Western States spokesman for the Lyndon LaRouche PAC, urged us to check Hinojosa’s not-a-Democrat declaration, pointing out that thrice before Rogers has run as a Democrat for a Texas post.

The state party has been emphatic about LaRouche Democrats not being mainstream. An example of that: In a March 19, 2014, commentary, LaRouche--a longstanding conspiracy theorist and former presidential candidate--called Obama a lackey for the queen of England intent on global thermonuclear warfare. LaRouche also speculated about Obama’s imprisonment or suicide.


Rogers' past candidacies

Texas Democrats twice nominated Rogers as the party's candidate to represent the Houston-area 22nd Congressional District and Rogers previously ran for state party chair.

In 2010, Rogers carried 53 percent of the primary vote to capture the Democratic nomination for the House seat representing CD 22, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, and she won the party’s 2012 nod to represent the district by carrying 51 percent of the primary vote, defeating the other hopeful. At the 2006 Democratic state convention, Rogers finished last among candidates for party chair, attracting 98 delegate votes, or 1.5 percent, according to a June 11, 2006, blog post by the pro-Democratic Burnt Orange Report.

So, Rogers is making her fourth run for a post as a Democrat.

We turned next to Texas laws touching on party identification.


Rogers' voting history

This leads us to a traditional though crude way of gauging a Texan’s lean: their history of voting (or not) in party primaries. Any registered voter can vote in any primary (though they can't switch to the other party's runoffs). Still, as we wrote in a 2010 fact check, voting in a primary doesn't always mean a person sees himself as belonging to that party. Most voters abstain from primaries.

To our query, Democratic pollster Jeff Smith of Austin, citing data he jointly owns with the party, said Rogers voted in Harris County in the 2002 through 2008 Democratic primaries and November general elections. He said Rogers voted in the county’s 2014 Democratic primary after voting in Fort Bend County in the 2010 and 2012 Democratic primaries and general elections. He said the records show no instances of Rogers voting in a Republican primary.

For her part, Rogers told us she's been a life-long Democrat. "I’m a Democrat because I represent the true traditions of the Democratic Party," Rogers said by phone. "I don’t represent the Wall Street leg of the Democratic Party, which has now taken control."

Expert observers

Finally, we asked close observers of Texas politics including Mark Jones, an oft-quoted Rice University political scientist, to weigh in.

By email, Jones said that it’s inaccurate to say Rogers isn’t a Democrat. "While Kesha Rogers without question holds positions on many issues that are sharply at odds with those of most Democrats," Jones wrote, "she has the right to profess to be a Democrat and run for public office as a Democrat... In the United States in general, and in Texas in particular, anyone can claim to be a Democrat or Republican and compete in that party's primary," Jones said, "even if they hold positions that are anathema to an overwhelming majority of people that identify with and support the party.


Our ruling

Hinojosa said Rogers isn’t a Democrat.

We don’t see how to factually reconcile this statement, tied to disagreement with Rogers’ anti-Obama views, with Rogers twice winning primaries to become the party’s nominee for a House seat. Under state law, too, a voter affiliates with a party by voting in its primary, which Rogers has done repeatedly.

We rate this claim as False.

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