We admit that of the 14 contested primary races for Republican precinct chairs in Dallas County, the odds are that you aren't paying attention to any of them, even if you live in those precincts. Heck, we hadn't planned on it either until we discovered an intriguing battle up North in Precinct 1800, which is bordered by Addison to the west and Preston Road to the east.
Turns out that Homer Adams, husband of Cathie Adams, chair of the Republican Party of Texas, is squaring off against Rob Schlein, president of the Dallas chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans. If you recall, Cathie wasn't exactly friendly toward the Log Cabin Republicans as president of the Texas Eagle Forum, a title she held since 1993 prior to taking over as state chair in October 2009.
In our December 2008 cover story profiling Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman, she criticized him for reaching out to Log Cabin Republicans in an effort to build the party, claiming that doing so tore away "the fabric of the morality of our community." Earlier in '08, she told The News that the Log Cabin Republicans "do not accept the beliefs of the grassroots of the party."
So naturally we wanted to see if Homer shared the same views as Cathie on the matter. When reached on his cell phone, he told Unfair Park, "I'm in the process of cooking right now. I'll have to talk to you later. Thanks." Click.
Not sure what we've done to rub him the wrong way, but Schlein says he's never talked to him about his views. And, unlike Neerman, Schlein is willing to give Cathie a chance in her new role. He even congratulated her when she was elected state chair. "Of course, we didn't hear back from her," he says.
As for Homer, Schlein says he's lived in the precinct for six years and hasn't been contacted by him. He claims many of his neighbors haven't either.
"He's been pretty ineffectual, so I decided to go ahead and put my name in the hat," he tells Unfair Park. "And I guess he's wanting to hold onto it. Either that or deny me the opportunity."
It's not the first time the two have squared off as Adams didn't file his paperwork on time in 2008, forcing the Dallas County Republican Party Executive Committee (made up of all the precinct chairs) to make a decision between the two after Schlein claims he was recruited by Neerman to take over the vacancy, and then Adams expressed his desire to keep his gig.
Schlein says he garnered approximately 40 percent of the vote, which not only surprised him but Adams as well. Had the vote been secret instead of by hand in the open, Schlein believes there could have been a different outcome.
Neerman denies recruiting Schlein, claiming he only made a general statement to the Log Cabin Republicans that "the best way to get involved is to become a precinct chair." He also disagrees that the voting should have been done secretly.
"You're making a representative vote, so everyone should know how you voted, and you should be accountable for your vote," Neerman says.
Regardless of his support among the other precinct chairs two years ago, Schlein now needs to secure the votes of his fellow Republican primary voters. He says he's begun contacting his neighbors and will implement a strategy before early voting begins in his effort to oust Adams.
"I think he's been active in terms of the party structure, going to exec meetings and having influence there, but as far as working the neighborhood door to door and organizing groups, I don't think he's been real active or effective," Schlein says.
Neerman says he's not sure how long Adams has been a precinct chair, only that it's been for "a long time." Like Schlein, he hasn't had any in-depth policy discussions with him. "Because I don't live in 1800 or anywhere near 1800, I don't know how directly engaged he has been with his neighbors, and I don't recall any complaints from anyone up there," he says of Adams' performance.
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And while Far North Dallas is solid Republican, Neerman stresses that it's not enough to just win those precincts in November. "What we need are volunteers to go in and say, 'We're going to go in and get 75 percent turnout instead of 50 percent turnout,'" he says.
So how important would it be to get the president of the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans more involved in the party?
"It's much more important to get active and involved precinct chairs regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion," he says. "From that standpoint, we need good people who are going to go out, engage their neighbors and get them to vote Republican. All the other issues are secondary and tertiary."
If Adams calls us back after he's done cooking, we'll update accordingly.