If Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman is nervous, he’s not showing it. Since he arrived at the Radisson Hotel around 5:30, he’s calmly been working the room, checking his Blackberry while sipping from a glass of water. Neerman says the GOP has “pounded the hell” out of its grassroots plan to reclaim power.
“Is that going to be enough to overcome the Obama enthusiasm? I don’t know,” he tells Unfair Park. “But we haven’t sat back playing defense.”
Neerman has his eyes keenly focused on three races: sheriff (Cannaday vs. Valdez) and state representatives for District 107 (Keffer vs. Vaught) and District 102 (Goolsby vs. Kent). He adds that the District 106 race between Karen Wiegman and Kirk England could be a surprise because of Wiegman’s impressive number of volunteers and grassroots effort. He also says Cannaday could surprise by pulling in better numbers than John McCain in Dallas County. “Hell, it could happen,” he says.
He claims Democrats have a significant advantage because of Barack Obama’s visit to Reunion Arena, which could create a “false positive reality” because it’s a presidential year. “The Democrats have already planned their damned victory parade,” he says. “If he wasn’t on the ticket, it would be a whole different ballgame.”
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So, when the early voting comes in, when is it time to hit the panic button?
“Panic? There won’t be any panic. I feel comfortable knowing we’ve done our best as a party,” Neerman says. “Now, at what point does it become insurmountable? I’d say if Obama has a 20-point lead, then, Houston, we have a problem.”
Any other surprises?
“If we win any race, it will be a surprise,” he says. --Sam Merten