Jonathan Neerman Says "It's Very Unlikely" He'll Return as Dallas County GOP Chair, Leaving His Political Future Uncertain
After losing yet again to the Democrats, Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman is prepared to let someone else attempt to turn the blue county back to red, telling us that he doesn't expect to run for a third term in 2012.
"I don't want to say I'm definitely not going to do it, but at this point, I think it's very unlikely that I'll do it for another term, because I do think it's important that you have fresh leadership and blood come in with new ideas," he says.
Neerman, who appeared early this morning with Democratic Party chair Darlene Ewing on WFAA, says he planned to only serve one term but saw this election cycle as an opportunity to reestablish the GOP through the state House races, which he accomplished when the Republicans swept last night. Among those ousted was Allen Vaught, who Neerman considered running against instead of staying on as chair. But now that Kenneth Sheets is there, Neerman admits that he "worked myself out of a potential job." He's also ruled out running for judge.
"I don't think I have the proper judicial temperament," he says.
The only way he'd stay on as chair is if the party couldn't find a suitable replacement, says the Hunton & Williams securities and real estate lawyer and former CIA intelligence officer, so what happens if he bolts then?
"If I don't serve as county chairman in 2012, I don't know what I'll do," he says.
We also asked Neerman about the enormous number of mail-in votes favoring the Republicans by a two-to-one margin in many cases. He says it's all a result of a combined effort with the state party, which sends out pre-filled-out requests, and the county party, which performs "chase calls." These are follow-up calls to voters over 65 years old reminding them to send back the postcards to receive their ballots by mail.
"I think it's something that our older voters are used to," he says.
And, finally, in other post-election news, we contacted Kurt Watkins, the cousin and campaign manager for District Attorney Craig Watkins, to find out why he didn't appear at the Democrats' shindig last night until after midnight.
"Family has been very important to District Attorney Watkins' success, and he remained with his family until all the votes were tallied," Kurt told us in an e-mailed statement.
Most awkward pic from last night? Newly elected County Judge Clay Jenkins with NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.