For some lucky voters, the 2010 election season refuses to take a break. With primaries, run-offs, municipal elections, municipal run-offs, special elections and run-offs, some folks will be voting more in six months than many will do in several years. It doesn’t get much busier, or stranger, than in Senate District 22 where conservative Brian Birdwell is facing off against former-senator-turned-lobbyist David Sibley.

Birdwell, a retired Lt. Colonel who distinguished himself through service in the middle east, is best known nationally for the wounds he sustained on the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. He’s a solid conservative with an impeccable record.

Sibley served in the legislature, before leaving to become a lobbyist, taking on a variety of clients — including taxing entities.

It should be recalled that this had all the makings of a ho-hum run. Back in December, Darren Yancy filed in the Republican Primary against incumbent moderate Kip Averitt. Shortly afterward, the incumbent said he wouldn’t actively campaign (citing health issues). But thanks to election code requirements dealing with the date of his non-withdrawal, the senator’s name stayed on the ballot.

The Democrats didn’t field a candidate, so it looked like underdog Yancy had a walk into the Senate chambers. Looked like, but not really.

An orchestrated effort to “keep Kip” meant Yancy lost to someone who technically wasn’t running. Averitt responded by resigning his seat — creating the need for a special election — while not yet removing his name from the November ballot.

With the Republican primary thus voided, a new election was held to replace the resigned (but still on the ballot) Sen. Averitt. Enter Col. Birdwell and Mr. Sibley, joining Mr. Yancy. A token Democrat, Gayle Avant, also tossed his name in the ring.

Through it all, Mr. Sibley was clearly the choice of the Waco country club crowd and the sort-of-retiring Mr. Averitt.

The outcome of the special election was split, pushing Birdwell and Sibley into this special election run-off. The winner is assured of getting to be a Texas senator for about six months.

But wait, there’s more. Averitt will (allegedly) withdraw his name from the November ballot, which means the Republican county chairmen from SD 22 will pick their party’s standard-bearer. One presumes it will be the winner of this June 22 special run-off contest pitting two Republicans against each other. One presumes.

The Democrats get another bite at the apple, and will be able to appoint someone to be beaten by the Republican in the general. Sounds like fun, eh?

Of course, the county chairs might not pick the winner of the June 22 contest. They could just as easily pick the candidate who won their individual counties — or someone else entirely.

Anyone living in SD 22 is advised to vote (we’ve endorsed Brian Birdwell), and then take two aspirin.

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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