More Than You'll Ever Need to Know About the 23rd Senatorial District's Convention This Saturday

You know who we feel for right now? Gary Fitzsimmons, who's got a long Saturday ahead of him. Like, marathon long.
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There are 178 precincts in the 23rd Senatorial District -- including Sandra Crenshaw's, No. 3549. But as it turns out, despite Crenshaw's claims in the item below, only one person has challenged the results of her precinct caucus, despite the March madness that ensued on the night of the Texas Democratic primary. And that challenge comes from a Hillary Clinton supporter, who alleges there are no minutes from the precinct caucus and wants to disallow delegates from the precinct from being seated. But the challenge -- which was sent in yesterday, the final day challenges were allowed -- doesn't provide evidence to substantiate the claim.

Which means, according Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who is also serving as chairman of the 23rd Senatorial District's credentials committee, it may not be a valid challenge after all. Which means that come Saturday's senatorial district convention at the Ellis Davis Field House, from which six delegates will be chosen for the Democratic National Convention in August, Precinct 3549 will likely seat delegates after all. It just may take "a while," Fitzsimmons says, sounding like someone really looking forward to Saturday morning.

Much more -- so, so much more -- after the jump.

As it turns out, several of the 23rd's precincts' results are being challenged -- how many Fitzsimmons can't say just yet, as he's still going through the paperwork following last night's deadline. But here's how all the challenges will be handled.

On Saturday morning, the credentials committee will meet to discuss and vote on the challenges. If they're considered valid protests -- meaning, there's evidence to prove wrongdoing or mishandling of the results from the March 4 precinct conventions -- then no delegates from that precinct will be seated at the senatorial district convention. But if they're just complaints without further corroboration, they'll be disallowed.

Which begins an entirely new process. (And please note: We're dealing solely with the 23rd Senatorial District here.)

Because, see, when someone shows from a problematic precinct that's been flagged for whatever reason -- among those reasons, they sent too many delegates or insufficient information was provided by the precinct convention -- they'll be sent across the street to D.A. Hulcy Middle School. There, they will go through a verification process, "where we'll go to the database to see if we can find any permutation of their name," Fitzsimmons says. If and when the credentials committee determines that the individual is eligible to be seated, they'll be sent back to wait at the field house to get their credentials.

"And, at some point," Fitzsimmons says, "the committee will ask the people from Precinct 3549, or some other problematic precinct, to caucus and determine who the delegates are." Which sounds very much like do-over. In fact, Fitzsimmons says, "That's exactly what the state party calls it in the advisory we received."

Fact is, Fitzsimmons says, he was actually able to "go through [Crenshaw's] sign-in sheets and reconstruct distribution of Clinton and Obama delegates," which means 3549 isn't quite the mess folks were led to believe. "It's a simple procedure," Fitzsimmons says. But he says 3549 will have to get in line -- "because it's not the only with some questions."

He also wants to correct something Bill Howell said below, where the temporary chair of the 23rd Senatorial District told Unfair Park that Crenshaw's precinct didn't elect delegates.

"There was an election of delegates," Fitzsimmons says. "I've had a number of calls from delegates from the precinct who said there was an election to determine delegates and alternates. People have contacted me from the precinct and said they did, so I am inclined to honor it."

Incidentally, the 23rd's Senatorial District convention should be especially interesting, because one of the first items of business on Saturday morning will be the election of a permanent district chairman -- and State Sen. Royce West, who represents that district and has endorsed Obama, has indicated he'd like the job, which Fitzsimmons expects him to get "by acclamation." --Robert Wilonsky

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