Latest comments by Rep. Kip Averitt today, 6.23.10 -- http://www.wacotrib.com/news/breakingne ... allot.html
Averitt says he's taking his name off the ballot
By Michael Shapiro / Tribune-Herald reporter
Wednesday June 23, 2010
Granbury Republican Brian Birdwell, the new state senator for District 22 as of yesterday, will serve out the remaining six months of Kip Averitt's term, and as of this morning it looks increasingly likely that he'll have a shot at running to serve in the upcoming legislative session.
Averitt told the Tribune-Herald this morning that he will be removing his name from the general election ballot, leaving separate sets of Democratic and Republican party chairs in the 10-county district free to name new nominees for the race. Presumably, given his special election victory, Birdwell will be the favorite among the GOP chairs.
"I want to let folks know that I said I was not going to run again and I'm not going to run again. I'm going to stick to my word," Averitt said.
Averitt had told the Trib on Tuesday that he was concerned about a potential Birdwell victory. He said his health had recovered enough since pulling himself off the campaign trail in January and he was contemplating remaining a candidate out of a conviction that Birdwell fails to meet a residency requirement for the seat. The logical extension of that, which Averitt said troubled him, was that the Democratic Party could legally challenge Birdwell's candidacy, knocking him off the ballot and taking the seat by default.
But this morning Averitt said he was swayed by the election results: "My goal in this whole process was for the people to be able to pick their senator, and we've had a process in which that's happened. I have all the confidence in the world in the voters."
As far as the Republican party chairs' upcoming decision, he said: "I'm assured that the county chairs know of the eligibility issue."
4.26.10 -- Excerpts from: Texas Court Declares Brian Birdwell -- a 37-year Texas Resident
(Granbury, TX) - Today, Senior Judge William Brigham ruled that Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell has been a Texas resident since 1973, confirming that Birdwell meets all of the residency requirements to serve in the Texas State Senate.
The Judge granted Birdwell’s petition for Declaratory Judgment.
At a hearing this morning in Granbury, Judge Brigham signed an order (attached) which reads as follows:
“It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that this Original Petition for Declaratory Judgment is granted. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Douglas Birdwell is and has been a resident of Texas continuously since 1973.”
Judge William Brigham is a long-time trial and appellate judge who, after retiring as a Justice from the Ft. Worth Court of Appeals, has continued to sit by assignment as both a trial and appellate judge. Judge Brigham was assigned to hear the case by Judge Jeff Walker, the presiding Judge of the 8th Administrative Judicial Region and Judge of the 96th District Court in Tarrant County.
In response to the ruling, Birdwell said “I’m grateful that my candidacy has now been certified by both the Texas Secretary of State and a well-respected member of the Texas judiciary. The process worked, and this matter is now behind us. I would urge all candidates to now focus on the important matters before us, such as who can best fight the liberal agenda of President Obama and stand up for Texas conservative values. I believe I’m that candidate, and that’s why more conservatives are joining my campaign every day.”
Former Republican Party of Texas Vice Chairman David Barton said, “Although Col. Birdwell was not required to seek this ruling affirming his candidacy, it was important to him that voters had absolute confidence in his legal status to serve as state senator. Once again, this speaks to Brian’s character and why we need him in the Texas Senate. He will always place the interests of citizens above his own.”
Earlier comments made by Averitt and Sibley: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/Birdwell-d ... unoff.html
Birdwell defeats Sibley in state Senate special election runoff
By Michael W. Shapiro Tribune-Herald staff writer
Wednesday June 23, 2010
Retired Army officer Brian Birdwell defeated retired lobbyist and former lawmaker David Sibley by a comfortable margin in Tuesday’s state Senate special election runoff.
Birdwell, a Granbury Republican, overcame a sizable fundraising disadvantage, winning with 57.9 percent of the vote.
He will serve out the last six months of the term of former Sen. Kip Averitt, who announced his resignation in mid-March.
Brian Birdwell will serve the rest of state Sen. Kip Averitt’s term.
Averitt, who won the GOP primary to serve in the 2011 session, is still on the November ballot.
Averitt suggested Tuesday afternoon before the votes had been counted that if Birdwell were to win, he might stay on the ballot and in the state Senate.
If Averitt were to remove his name, separate sets of county party chairs from the 10-county district — both Democratic and Republican — could select nominees for the general election.
Averitt, however, said he was concerned that if Birdwell was nominated, Democrats could knock him off the ballot because he didn’t meet an eligibility requirement.
Sibley’s campaign said voting records from Virginia showed Birdwell hadn’t been a Texas resident for the past five years and thus failed to meet a state requirement.
“I really don’t want to go back to the Senate, but I feel like I’m physically capable of doing so,” said Averitt, who pulled himself off the campaign trail for health reasons in January.
“It’s nothing personal against Mr. Birdwell, but we need to make sure there’s a Republican candidate on the ballot.”
In an interview after the election, Birdwell said, “I think it’d be a disappointment to the people of Senate District 22, who took (Averitt) at his word that he’d be stepping down.”
If Averitt stays on the ballot, Birdwell said, it would be an insult to voters who were treating the election as “a meaningful opportunity for folks to fill his vacancy.”
Birdwell also maintained that he is eligible to serve in the Senate.
“Residency is not the question,” he said.
Regardless of what happens with the general election ballot, Birdwell’s win was impressive.
In Sibley, Birdwell faced an opponent who was well-funded, well-connected as a once-powerful state legislator and endorsed by former President George W. Bush.
But the political atmosphere nationally is anti-incumbent, and Sibley, a former state senator, was running on his legislative experience.
“I’m disappointed,” Sibley said, “but I always thought the voters were smart when they elected, so who am I to question what they did tonight?”
Sibley, who made a big advertising appeal in the Waco region for keeping a local in the Senate seat, also noted Birdwell’s strength in the northern counties of the district, where Birdwell had roughly a 6,500-vote lead.
By contrast, Sibley won McLennan County by 63 percent and had about a 3,000-vote lead.
Birdwell, who works as a motivational speaker for an evangelical Christian group, played up his military background in radio ads.
Waco Tea Party president Toby Marie Walker recorded a last-second robo-call on behalf of Birdwell.
Though Walker didn’t state her affiliation in the recording, she said that “as a lobbyist, David Sibley is out of touch with tea party values.”
Birdwell said after the election, “We’re very pleased by the conservatives who’ve worked hard for this victory.”firstname.lastname@example.org