Talk about a case of elitist conceit. Outgoing State Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco) managed to badly mangle his transition into political retirement, with a ham-handed withdrawal, forcing a series of very costly elections. Now, because a conservative has won the seat to fill his unexpired term, the Waco moderate is considering not withdrawing from the November ballot. And some politicos wonder why so many people have given up on what they see as a corrupt, good-old-boy system.

Averitt’s comments in the online news source Texas Tribune came out on Tuesday, curiously coinciding with the special election to fill the unexpired term created when Averitt resigned his seat for vague health reasons.

By way of history, Mr. Averitt announced he wouldn’t seek re-election too late for his name to be removed from the 2010 March primary ballot. Through a series of backroom dealings and whisper campaigns, he still managed to win the primary. That means absent other action, he is the GOP nominee for November. So then he resigned his seat so he could give his predecessor (lobbyist David Sibley) a chance to re-take the seat in a special election.

But he has cynically held on to the nomination – apparently as a trump in case the voters got uppity.

As they did. It seems voters weren’t interested in having a squishy senator-turned-lobbyist in the seat. After all, he stepped out a decade ago to go take up a lobby practice (representing some taxing entities, by the way) — even listing his Austin home as his primary residence for tax purposes.

(Disclosure: we endorsed Mr. Birdwell before the initial special election last month.)

Now Sen. Averitt says maybe he’s feeling better, and maybe he’ll just stay on the ballot. Rather than graciously acknowledge Mr. Birdwell’s victory, rather than pledge to support the obvious choice of voters — and, especially, Republicans — in the district, Averitt appears poised to subvert the political and electoral process. In doing so, he will be responsible for the waste of untold thousands (millions?) of taxpayers dollars in the cost of special elections, not to mention political donations for campaigns and the untold efforts of volunteers for the various candidates.

Is ‘selfish’ too strong of a word? Or not strong enough?

Now, Mr. Averitt claims he might stay on the ballot because of the spurious charge Mr. Birdwell isn’t eligible. Mr. Birdwell is a Texas native and life-long legal resident, who honorably served our nation in the armed forces and survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. (The several months in which he wasn’t a registered voter in Texas was because he was undergoing a series of painful operations to repair to injuries inflicted by our nation’s enemies.)

From the Texas Tribune:

“Nothing against Col. Birdwell and all, but it looks to me like it’s pretty obvious that he’s not eligible to serve,” said Averitt, who resigned due to health problems.

It’s pretty obvious, senator, that the voters disagreed. In fact, 58% of voters supported Birdwell on election night. The people have expressed, through their vote – and despite relentless negative attacks by Averitt, Sibley and Co. – that Mr. Birdwell was eligible to serve them, that he met the spirit and intent of the law.

What apparently really galls the likes of Mr. Averitt, the Fort Worth Star Telegram and others of the moderate-to-liberal bent, is that Mr. Birdwell is an actual conservative. Not the “campaign” type who votes with liberals when he thinks no one’s watching, but the real kind who takes seriously the values and principles of liberty. That’s why David Sibley had the support of far-left liberal donors like Bernard Rappoport.

The people, however, clearly preferred Mr. Birdwell’s common sense message.

Mr. Averitt should respect the expressed preference of the voters, not subvert it. He should support his party’s team, not undermine it. He should respect the expressed preference of the voters, not subvert it. If he cannot be helpful, he should be silent. At the very least, Mr. Averitt should now go gracefully into the political night and retire as he announced.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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