Monday, August 20, 2012

Lloyd and the Dems

Brian Rogers published a story this afternoon that I had been hearing rumblings about ever since Lloyd Oliver won the Democratic nomination for Harris County District Attorney.  In this story, Brian points out that former Democratic Party Leader for Harris County Gerry Birnberg has filed a complaint to have Leapin' Lloyd removed from the ballot as the Democratic candidate.

Per Brian's article, the reasoning that Birnberg cites is that Oliver stated publicly that outgoing District Attorney Pat Lykos "was such a good candidate that she 'would have gotten my vote.'"

Now that's interesting.  There are about two million reasons to not want Lloyd Oliver to be the Democratic face of the District Attorney's race.  Half of them can be found in this video.  His vocal support for Lykos, although odd, seems like the least of the reasons the Dems would want Lloyd off of the ballot.

The reality is that Lloyd Oliver is an embarrassment to whichever party he finds himself running with.  It just so happens that this election cycle finds him running with the Dems.

Late last year, it became clear that the Democratic Party of Harris County was concerned about the effect of having controversial Judge Kevin Fine on the ballot in 2012.  Now, I imagine they would gladly trade Lloyd in exchange for Judge Fine.

Lloyd is a disaster as both a candidate and as an attorney.

Any candidate who proudly boasts of his three indictments and then advocates for boxing lessons for domestic violence victims adds an anchor to what many political analysts believe is a sinking ship when it comes to the local Dems' chances in Harris County this year.

The most fascinating aspect of Brian's article is what he mentions at the end of the article:
[Harris County Democratic Chair Lane] Lewis, who is not a lawyer, said he is consulting attorneys on whether removing Oliver would mean he and precinct chairs would get to pick a new candidate or whether Mike Anderson, who beat Lykos in the Republican primary, would be running without an opponent.
This was the topic of debate with some friends this afternoon at Char a legal study group.

Supposing they were prohibited from replacing him, would other local Democratic candidates be better off with no candidate for D.A. rather than Lloyd Oliver?

My thought is that they would be.  My friends disagreed.

In my "armchair quarterback" opinion on local politics, I think the Democratic Party is looking at a rough road in November.  I don't believe that the Obama Enthusiasm that swept the county for the Dems in 2008 can be replicated for them. The backlash Republican Sweep of 2010 was dramatic, and the margins of victory in all of the 2010 races were incredibly decisive for the Republicans. While I'm not predicting the same margins of victory in 2012, I do think the Republicans will carry the day in Harris County.

The local Democratic candidates on the ballot aren't particularly controversial . . . until you add Lloyd.

Sheriff Garcia has had a pretty scandal-free three years.  Although some of the judges may not be the most popular to have ever occupied a bench, the most controversial of them isn't running again.  The candidates are all a pretty tame bunch on the whole.

There is no doubt that the Dems would have been ecstatic to have had Zack Fertitta on the ticket rather than Lloyd.

The question now is, "Would no candidate be better than Candidate Oliver?"

What do you think?


Study Group Member said...

"Why won't the other side just do the honorable thing and quit now?"

Murray Newman said...

My point doesn't have anything to do with honor. It's a question of strategy.

Franklin Bynum said...

Great. Strategy. Let's talk about that.

So there exists a statistically significant group of people who:
1) would be straight-ticket D voters,
2) if Lloyd Oliver weren't on the ballot, and
3) these people, despite their nuanced view of the qualifications of candidates vis-a-vis party loyalty, don't have the sense to both vote straight ticket and then go down-ballot and make more specific votes.

So if you take Lloyd Oliver off the ballot, which races do you gain? How many points in the sheriff's race? How many points in congressional races?

It's just completely ridiculous.

And I wouldn't get too glib about what an embarrassment Lloyd is. I bet even he knows that a woman can get pregnant from a sexual assault.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Dems are better off without him. Hail an average citizen in this county and ask who they are voting for 339th judge. You will get a huh. Ask them whether they are voting R or D and they will give you an opinion. On the big scale, people vote straight R or D. BUT a member of the criminal justice community that lands on the news or the radar of citizens can change that. A judicial and DA slate wins as a team in this county. One member of that team that makes news that pisses off the electorate brings the whole team down. They are in this together. It is why, I suspect, Kevin Fine isn't running this election. A bad apple can bring the barrel down. In the same manner, Lloyd Oliver, can do the same. To make matters worse for the Dems, he is on top of their criminal justice ticket. I can guarantee no one wants to get rid of him more than Dem judges. They are in a tenuous position in this cycle anyway and they have found themselves with an absolute buffoon ahead their ticket. He will ruin all their chances. If I was a Dem (im not) I would be exploring every avenue possible to run him off. I can't blame him at all. The fact that he won a primary is so absurd that it could only happen in Harris County. -NPH

Anonymous said...

The mere fact that voters actually chose Lloyd over qualified candidate Zack Fertitta tells you that many people do nothing to educate themselves about the candidates.

The good thing about Oliver being on the ballot, even if he is replaced, guarantees the election of Mike Anderson, which a huge win for Harris County.

There was a lot of similarity between Lloyd and Pat in that neither is much of a lawyer. I am 100 % for Mike Anderson because he is very qualified. I'll also be voting for Adrian Garcia even though he is a Democrat. The Republican candidate for Sheriff has way too much in common with Lloyd Oliver.

Murray Newman said...

Franklin, you ignorant . . . oh never mind.

You are missing my point yet proving it at the same time.

Yes, the Republican Party would be THRILLED to get this Akin guy off the ballot for the damage he would do to the party as a whole. Of course there will be damages to losing that particular slot, but the idea is that the collateral damages could be avoided.

Franklin Bynum said...

The only reason that Republican leaders would even consider urging Akin out of the race is that Missouri law provides that they can substitute a candidate of they do it before 5 p.m. today. There is no way that Republicans would leave a senate race uncontested in Missouri. Between Akin and no candidate at all, they'd take Akin. Especially since a lot of Republicans still like and agree with him.

The most important difference between Oliver and Akin is that no one believes that Oliver truly represents Democrats or what they think, whatever the hell that is. Democrats don't widely, secretly hold unpopular, misogynistic beliefs like "women don't need help when their husbands beat them," so Democrats can easily disavow Oliver-based attacks (by the way, I've seen none).

Akin, however, does represent some widely held beliefs by Republicans. They've been saying this shit for years.* Every Republocan nationwide will be asked to disavow Akin's comments (because the attacks have already started) and many will have difficulty because deep down, they agree with Akin.

It's an important difference.


Anonymous said...

When this hits the news, I believe that those uninformed individuals who consider themselves democrats and actually blindly voted for Oliver will focus on the "what about the votes cast for Oliver, don't they count?" statement and they will, hence, do an about face and vote Republican. People don't like it when their rights are taken from them, even if they are a blind follower of an idiot who will end up costing them and their county in the end.

Anonymous said...

Murray, what do you know about a special prosecutor being appointed on the Temple case and that that special prosecutor used to represent Steve Clappart? How is that not a conflict?

Anonymous said...

"Why won't the other side just do the honorable thing and quit now?"

Were you asking this question of Lykos in 2008?

The funny thing is, in the last (presidential election year) election, as in this one, the voters most likely to swing this election are the non-straight ticket voters. Republicans are far more likely to be straight-ticket voters (just ask Rick Perry, or Pat Lykos), but the moderates who look at each candidate will be what swings this one. THat's what happened last time--they voted for Obama but against Bradford. Republicans voted against both. Perry is in office because no matter how many times the ticket gets split, the Republican Bloc keeps him in--and with no run-off in the gubernatorial race, the one with the plurality wins--thanks to straight-ticket Republicans.

So, folks like Bynum need not worry about the straight-ticket Dems, he needs to worry about educating the moderates who will vote for Obama, but may vote against Anderson (who is to many a symbol of Holmes/Rosenthal that they do not want to return to), unless otherwise educated.

I don't think there will be collateral damage for the Democratic Party. That's primarily because the Republican Party isn't running against Oliver. If they advertised his quotes as indicative of what the Democrats stand for (when we all know it's what Republicans like Akin, Romney, and Ryan stand for), then they might make some hay out of it. But they're not. So the moderates may vote around him, but they'll still vote for candidates in either party because they don't assume that Oliver = Democratic Policy. Basically, I think Bynum's second post is spot-on.

People don't like it when their rights are taken from them, even if they are a blind follower of an idiot who will end up costing them and their county in the end.

While both parties are guilty of helping reduce our rights, the Republicans are far more willing to give up rights than Democrats are. Just say something about terrorists and wanting to be safe, throw in a soundbite about the border and brown people, and you have a willing group of Americans who will shed their rights like a dirty pair of undies.


Anonymous said...

Might you be speaking of Brad Beers?

If not, who? I would also be pretty surprised if the Queen of Special Prosecutors has actually tried an end-run to try to get the Temple case overturned. If she and Leitner are doing that, its her last ditch effort to immitate Craig Watkins in Dallas to find some case she can claim actual innocence on and at the same time make Kelly look bad, regardless of the facts and regardless of what the jury decided.

Leif said...

The evidence that "Republicans are far more likely to be straight-ticket voters," at least in Harris County, is shaky, at best. 2010 was the first time since 2004 that there were more Republican straight-ticket voters than Democrat, and the percentage differential between the average Republican candidate and the straight-ticket is generally larger than the same differential for Democrats.

Jigmeister said...

I think the DA race is still a down ballot race in a presidential year and the electorate is not very educated. If the dems get the vote out, Oliver will still get lots of votes. Any publicity at this point is good for him. Rain would be good for Reps.

Anonymous said...

Wtf with Fine???

Anonymous said...

Anons 9:30 and 11:30: Wasn't Brad Beers the defense attorney that Steve Clappart got caught giving copies of unauthorized offense reports to? He got disciplined for that by the HCDAO, didn't he? If so, shouldn't there be something in his personnel file about that? Maybe the Lucas' ought to make an Open Records Request for Clappart's file. Also, didn't Brad Beers represent Steve Clappart in the lawsuit filed by George Rodriguez after he (Rodriguez) was exonerated by DNA? If this isn't a conflict, I don't know that there would ever be a conflict. What were Lycos and company thinking by hiring Brad Beers? Sure looks totally fishy and almost like the fix is in.

Anonymous said...


Right on all counts.

You ask what were they thinking? The same as always-they never think before acting. It's their stock-in-trade. That loud whistling noise is air blowing in one ear and out the other.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed that lykos still has her campaign web site up trashing Anderson. Hey pat, you are a good republican. Wasn't Reagan's 11th commandment that you should not speak I'll of fellow republicans. You lost. It looks like sour grapes to still have the sight up and you are trashing your party's nominee. Time to move on and pull the site.

Benizon and/or roger, please pass on to pat.

Anonymous said...

Ch 13 reporting he is off the ballot.

Anonymous said...

Why won't Lykos do the honorable thing and resign effective immediately. Mike is clearly going to be the next Harris County District Attorney.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Folks, this is far from a done deal . . .

Murray Newman said...

Mr. Hobbes is absolutely right. Look for some seriously entertaining and interesting moments in the days, weeks and months to come.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd Oliver's reputation as a defense lawyer has been horrendous for the last 25 years. He is the epitome of sleaze. And he thinks Pat Lykos was a great DA. What does that say about both of them...

Anonymous said...

Oliver was allowed to run on the Dem primary ticket and he won. I can see the reason that the Harris county DP might not be pleased with that but what are the legal bases upon which they based this decision? If it was as easy as tossing an inconvenience off a ticket, Todd Akin wouldn't be running for U.S. Senator of MO.

Anonymous said...

HCDAO charged him with barratry 3x and lost. He must not be totally incompetent...on the other hand I have given DA'S enough to charge their own with crimes and they use their discretion to not charge. Yet when they bring their crap charges against others and refuse to give up for many months playing chicken...makes you wonder who is a good attorney, who is not and if it's not just polical rhetoric and ad hominem attacks. What are the specifics things Oliver has done that make a 25 year attorney unqualified? I have spoken with him and would agree he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer based on our converstion about how to make DIVERT legal...but I would like to know why he is considered a bad defense lawyer or unqualified in light of the baffoons who have preceded him as DA.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd has lead an incredibly lucky life which extended to his winning the Demoncratic Primary for DA this year. He even admitted it was dumb luck. Lloyd is reasonably bright but a full bubble off level. He loves running on both sides of the tracks however, and I'd one of the sleaziest defense lawyers you will ever see. Plenty of people who are very guilty never get convicted. Lawyers seldom get convicted when charged in criminal court because they know all the tricks of the trade to get themselves off. Add Lloyd's luck to the mix and there is your explanation.

Anonymous said...

Anon10:53...what are some examples of the sleaze everyone keeps referring to without any details. Not real fair to keep saying a man is sleaze as a defense attorney in a conclusory manner any not back it up with factual examples.

Anonymous said...

Are you Lloyd? Just ask anyone around the courthouse about his reputation. He has a history of being accused of paying off witnesses not to come to court so his client's case can be dismissed. How about paying runners to stand outside the Harris County jail exit and passing Lloyd's cards out suggesting they call him to represent them. How about admitting he runs for public office just for the name recognition to get more clients.
Does that sound like a defense attorney who provides his clients quality legal counsel? Sounds more like a sub-par sleazy lawyer scraping the bottom of the barrel for a client.

Anonymous said...

No...not Lloyd. I just keep hearing non specific references about him being sleazy and wondered if anyone knew anything solid against him.

Anonymous said...

Can we see the irony of the good ole boy network that gave Ruben Guerrero the lucrative criminal defense and judicial appointments, taking the federal bench from Ruben. The surprise came when Ruben actually got re-elected. Remember? He was one of the judges who appeared on television (the other one was Carl Walker) claiming that their failures to get re-electd were a product of racism. It was actually the Republicans that the tide brought in, when voters were identified as angry white men. I figured both of their careers were cooked. Carl Walker never received a judicial appointment and drew a full pension from his "service" as a federal prosecutor.