One of Hays County’s most prominent Democrats, attorney and former state party chair Charles Soechting, has resigned as a precinct captain over his party’s nominee for Pct. 3 commissioner.
Former Wimberley Mayor Steve Klepfer is challenging incumbent Will Conley, the only Republican on the five-member county commissioners court.
“Until only recently [Klepfer] voted in the Republican primary and I am convinced that he is still a Republican and not a moderate one at that. He has fought progressive issues for no real reason and that is why I cannot support him. I am as stalwart a Democrat as there is but I have no stomach or conscience for supporting a fool like this,” Soechting wrote in an e-mail to Anna Martinez Boling, the county Democratic Party chair.
Soechting, the former Texas Democratic Party chair and general counsel, chaired the Texas delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In February, he endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and was recognized by the presidential candidate during a campaign rally in San Marcos.
Full text of Soechting’s e-mail, obtained by The Mercury:
“Anna, this is Charles Soechting. I hope everything is well with you and your family. I got the note about the meeting but I will be in Dallas and unable to attend. Anna, I have to tell you that I have been extremely conflicted as to whether I would continue to serve as a precinct chair. The party rules are very specific that I am obligated to support every candidate running as a Democrat.
“For this reason I cannot continue to serve as a precinct chair. We (the Hays County Democratic Party) have a candidate running for county commissioner (in my precinct) who has been on the opposite side of almost every issue that I and most of my fellow Democratic friends have been on.
“On a personal and professional level I have had to deal with him and/or his surrogates on issues that were plainly undemocratic, things like using his position as Mayor to try and intimidate citizens who chose to display signs on their property for candidates who were not his “preferred replacements” in Wimberley, called TXDOT and caused signs to be illegally removed from private property, tried to restrict the free speech and freedom of association of an employee at City Hall in Wimberley, etc. I don’t like to get mixed up with local politics but this guy epitomizes all that is wrong with “local” politics.
“Anna, as an attorney, I was highly offended that anyone would hold the law of the land in such low regard. Further, until only recently he voted in the Republican primary and I am convinced that he is still a Republican and not a moderate one at that. He has fought progressive issues for no real reason and that is why I cannot support him. I am as stalwart a Democrat as there is but I have no stomach or conscience for supporting a fool like this. At public events I have been cussed on two occasions by his supporters, close supporters, vile people who hang around the county courthouse like they were employees.
“I don’t want him representing me or my family — it’s as simple as that. I am a longtime Hays County resident and more than anything I want this to be a great place to live and raise kids and hopefully I will die an old man here but I am not prepared to see this commissioners court go backwards just to see an alleged Democrat elected. I have been a Democratic county chair, party general counsel, state chair, member of the DNC, chair of the Texas delegation to a national convention but I am just not prepared to support someone that I know will actively work against the law and the best interests of the citizens of Hays County. This guy is just so wrong in so many ways.
“I will submit my resignation of office under separate cover. Thanks for your hard work and I hope that this is a great November for Hays County except in Precinct 3.