When the polls close, a new kind of battle begins

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the party in-fighting that begins after the polls close on Tuesday.


As soon as the polls close Tuesday, the next political battle of the 2010 campaign begins across Texas.

The most active of the party faithful will head back to the polls for precinct conventions in hopes of helping chart the direction of their political party for the next two years. In 2008, Democrats wanting to weigh in after the historic presidential primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton showed up in such large numbers that they overwhelmed the system.

This year, the Republicans are preparing for a large turnout. The more than 100,000 Texans who became active with the grassroots Tea Party and 912 movements in the past year show are expected to attend. . .

As a result, a new battle for the direction of the Texas Republican Party could unfold Tuesday night at polling places statewide.

Tea Party activists have been lining up precinct chair candidates and potential delegates who hope for a chance to work on shifting the party's focus away from social issues and toward personal freedoms and requiring more financial restraint from the state and federal governments.

"This is not something that's happening just in Tarrant County or Texas," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "Tea Party people are mobilizing to try to take over the primary election process and state convention process.

"They don't like what would be done in their absence, by the regular Republicans."

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