Lloyd Oliver spent $325 to win the Democratic primary a few months ago. He admits he runs for office every few years to keep his name in the papers. It's good to drum up criminal defense work he says. But now he's managed to put the Harris County Democratic Party on the defensive after a win at the ballot box and now in court.
On the stand Wednesday, Oliver called Democratic party bosses goobers and twits. Then a judge gave him back his place on the ballot and Oliver found the high road.
"The voters won and that's the way it should be. If you win a primary election, you should be on the general ballot," Oliver said.
On May 29, Harris Co. Democrats voted in their primary and Oliver won the DA's race. The next day he told a reporter, "If I could have voted in the Republican primary, she (DA Pat Lykos) would have gotten my vote." On June 18, Oliver told another reporter he would've voted for Lykos if he weren't running himself.
Then on August 22, the Democrats determined those were endorsements of a Republican, even though they couldn't impact a single vote. Party bosses booted Oliver from the primary.
Ted Oberg: So why do you even have elections?
Dion Ramos, Democratic party lawyer: I can't answer that for you.
Oberg: Time out. You represent the Texas Democratic Party. Please tell me why they have elections if the executive committee can overrule them?
Ramos: Well, I think that that's something that is inherent in the power of a private political party.
The judge disagreed.
"I forgot who it was who said democracy can be messy," said Judge Bill Burke with the 189th District Court.
This case certainly is.
Oliver is a tough candidate for Democrats to campaign with. He's been indicted -- but never convicted -- for illegally soliciting clients. He's run in the past as both a Democrat and a Republican, and as a perennial candidate he was not expected to win.
The judge said though once he did win the primary, party bosses can't keep him from getting his shot in November.
"Thirty-thousand people wanted me. These three goobers were the one who don't want me," Oliver said.
There is a chance the Democratic party could appeal. That would have to happen Thursday, which everyone involved says is the deadline to finish the ballot.