Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Democratic Party of Collin County Elects New Chair

Shawn Stevens
On July 22, 2009 the Democratic Party of Collin County Executive Committee elected a new chairperson in special election.

The new chairperson, Shawn Stevens, a former assistant chair of the county party, was elected on the fifth round of balloting. Mr. Stevens received the most votes in the first ballot round and he picked up votes in each ballot round until he was only one vote away from the party chair position on the fourth ballot.

Marlene Byndon
Candidate Marlene Byndon, who is the current assistant chair of the county party, saw her vote totals decreased over the first four ballot rounds. After the vote tally was complete on ballot round four, Ms. Byndon announced that in spirit of party unity she was withdrawing her name from consideration. Ms. Byndon received a standing round of applause from the county precinct chairpersons in appreciation for her candidacy, positive campaign and enthusiasm for Democratic candidate victories in Collin County in future elections. Candidate Victor Manuel's vote tallies remain relatively steady through the first four rounds of Executive Committee balloting.

As soon as Mr. Robert Miller, temporary chairperson for the special election meeting, called the meeting to order three party chair candidates were nominated: Marlene Byndon, Shawn Stevens and Victor Manuel. After nominations were closed each of the candidates spoke on their own behalf and the candidates also received seconding speeching from three of their suporters. The short speeches delivered by each of the candidates and their supporters echoed the same message -- That working together Collin County Democrats can become a force in local, state and national politics.

During his remarks Mr. Stevens said,
"Democrats have been making great progress in Collin County, and together we can do even better by welcoming all Democrats that want to help the effort. Comparing 2008 to 2004, there were 20,000 more straight ticket Democratic voters in 2008, while the Republicans’ straight ticket votes were virtually unchanged. Also, the raw Democratic vote in Collin County went up by 40,000 votes, while the raw Republican vote went up by only 10,000, a 30,000 net gain for the Democrats, reducing the vote gap between the Democratic and Republican vote by around 17.5 points

Another fact is that the 2008 Democratic Collin County Convention was attended by about 4,000 people and is the most well attended event in the history of the Frisco Conference Center, the largest publicly available indoor venue in Collin County. Before that, 20,000 people took the time to show up at Democratic precinct conventions in neighborhoods across the county!

We want to do everything we can to help turn Texas blue, both in the statewide elections in 2010 for races like Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General, and in the next Presidential election in 2012. If there is a special election for Kay Bailey Hutchison's U.S. Senate seat in the near future, I will encourage Collin County Democrats to be fully engaged, as Collin County voters could be the deciding factor in a race with numerous candidates, putting a greater spotlight on Collin County Democrats, and increasing our momentum.

The Republican era of domination of Collin County is beginning to come to a close."
During the short campaign span, one of Mr. Stevens supporters said of Stevens,
"As a long-time Democratic activist, an attorney specializing in, among other things, election law and a former staffer in the Texas Legislature, he knows how the game of politics is played – from conducting local campaigns to influencing legislation and getting our delegates to the National Convention. In my opinion, he is one of our most experienced and knowledgeable activists.

Local politicos now recognize that we, and Shawn in particular, know election law and will insist that they follow it. In fact, on a number of occasions I’ve seen local Republican leaders and Elections Office staff automatically turn to Shawn for clarification of a fine point.

Likewise, Shawn has earned the respect of the leadership of the Texas Democratic Party, state officials, DNC members and others in the Democratic community on a statewide and national basis. They know him, they trust him and they value his opinion.

Shawn knows who to call for high-level help on political issues without having to look them up, and often knows them personally. His contacts have been extremely helpful in the operation of our Party, and have helped us raise significant amounts of money.

Shawn understands why increasing the Democratic vote in Collin County is critical on a statewide, and perhaps national, level. Because of our large population, a few more percentage points in our county can tip a statewide race blue.
Mr. Stevens, a fifth generation Texan and attorney at law, has been active in the Democratic Party for approximately two decades.

Mr. Stevens was the senior legislative assistant for State Representative Glen Maxey over two regular Texas legislative sessions and numerous special sessions during the early 1990's. During the fall of 2008 he was appointed by the Obama campaign to organize and provide support to election pollwatchers working in Collin County for the Obama and Rick Noriega campaigns.

Mr. Stevens served as Vice-Chair (Asst. County Chair) of the Democratic Party of Collin County for five years, from 2003 until mid-November 2008 and was also the county party's General Counsel. Mr. Stevens currently serves as Precinct Chair for precinct 115.

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