Keith Hampton was TCDLA Secretary, then Treasurer, then Second VP and so forth. I’m sure he expected to be President by operation of the system as it has always worked—the “chain” of positions that lead inexorably to the presidency.
This year, for the first time in recent memory, TCDLA’s members are not content, sheeplike, to allow the Board of Directors to choose the organization’s officers. Gary Trichter tossed his hat into the ring. The bylaws somehow allowed it. So, for the first time in recent memory, TCDLA had to get ballots out to its members so that they could vote for one of the two candidates for President-Elect. ...
The online discussion among TCDLA members of the contested election has been as passionate and vocal as you would expect. The listservs have lit up; TCDLA Past-President has used TCDLA’s email list to send a one-sided and error-laden email promoting his favored candidate.
Bennett and Paul Kennedy were miffed that their ballots for the race came in a non-descript plain envelope from an accounting firm they'd never heard of before.
I find it perplexing why Hampton chose to seek the TCDLA Presidency the same year he is running for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Even Sharon Keller was never elected head of the prosecutors' association while sitting as a judge! Does Hampton's bid mean he assumes he will lose the CCA race? If so, why run? I emailed Keith to get answers straight from the horse's mouth. He replied:
There is no president's election. I was nominated as president-elect, and in accordance with our by-laws, have been challenged for that position. If I am elected to the CCA, I would resign that office (assuming my election to it) because I believe there would be a conflict of interest between the two offices.
I don't understand that response. Of course there is a TCDLA president's election - that's why TCDLA members are receiving ballots in the mail! (Hampton even refers to "my election" in the sentence after he denied there is one.) And it's difficult to imagine why one would simultaneously seek two positions if they "believe there would be a conflict of interest between the two offices."
A contested election every now and then never hurt any membership organization. But to win such battles requires focused campaigning, which always favors those playing insider baseball. It'll be hard to unseat Hampton if Trichter isn't actively organizing supporters and making sure they all open and return their nondescript ballots. If he does, though, he might be doing Hampton's so-far ghost-like CCA campaign a favor. He's on the November ballot no matter what, and he can't do both jobs.