Reddit PAC aims to kick SOPA's daddy Lamar Smith out of Congress

Mike sez, "With the Texas Primaries coming up in May, I thought you would be interested to know that some of the Redditors that were involved in the boycott on and 'Operation Pull Ryan' (where Reddit raised money for Rep. Paul Ryan's opponent), have started TestPAC, a non-connected, registered PAC, with the goal of defeating Lamar Smith in the Republican Primaries."

You'll remember Lamar Smith from such stupid Internet laws as SOPA and the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (AKA "the Spy on Everyone Always Act"). He's a 25-year incumbent and a powerful committee chairman. And he's kind of a tool.

What we aim to do is a bit unorthodox: use Texas’ semi-open primary system to edge Smith out in favor of another Republican candidate. When voters identify themselves to the election officials, they must request a party’s specific ballot. As explained on Wikipedia:

Only one ballot is cast by each voter. In many states with semi-open primaries, election officials or poll workers from their respective parties record each voter’s choice of party and provide access to this information. The primary difference between a semi-open and open primary system is the use of a party-specific ballot. In a semi-open primary, a public declaration in front of the election judges is made and a party-specific ballot given to the voter to cast.

This means that Republicans, Independents and Democrats can participate in the choosing of either party’s candidate in the primary election. While Democrats who choose to participate in the Republican primaries are exempt from also voting for their own party’s candidate, it is important to note that their actions would speak volumes in regards to changing the political landscape in their district. Keeping in mind the fact that Smith has enjoyed comfortable margins of victory over the years in a district that heavily favors Republican candidates, a vote for another candidate in Texas’ open primary would possibly have a greater effect than simply voting in the Democratic primary and ultimately losing the race.

Mr. Smith Comes Back From Washington (Thanks, Mike!)


  1. I was wondering about this just this morning when I saw Smith’s latest demagoguery over ACTA. Good luck, I’m betting he’s assigned to run point on the SOPA/PIPA/ACTA legislation based on the security of his seat.

    1. In this case Internet freedom is a bi-partisan issue.  And the pseudo-conservative Lamar Smith is on the same side of the issue as Obama and the Hollywood liberal establishment.   

      Succeed in painting Smith as Hollywood’s & Obama’s pet Republican, and you won’t need that much cross-over voting in the Texas primaries to get rid of Smith. 

  2. Keep in mind that if you vote in the GOP primary, you are then prohibited from voting in any other party’s run-off elections (in Texas, at least).

    1. … but, if the dems have no chance of winning in your area, it’s not like that matters.

      1.  There is a nominal Dem. But TX-21 is populated by Facebook moms who are convinced their kids are buying nuclear warheads and heroin syringes on the interwebs… The evil interwebs…

        1. Have you seen the new SuperNuke2000®? You get it as a bonus if you send in 12 of your used syringes.

  3. It’s worth noting that when Texans vote in either party’s primary, they can no longer add their signatures to petitions to put other parties on the ballot. That probably doesn’t matter this year, though. (Having voted in the Republican primary against Rick Perry in 2010, I was ineligible for merely adding my signature to help put the Green Party on the Texas general election ballot.)

    Voting in a party’s primary also means that the state officially considers you a member of that party for the entire calendar year. Prepare to receive Republican mail!

  4. Here’s the biggest problem with that plan. Smith’s redrawn district takes in a chunk of Travis County (Austin), mostly drawn from Lloyd Doggett’s old district. Those are the voters most likely to be interested in the idea. But in Travis County, winning the Democratic Primary is tantamount to election — the Republicans don’t even bother to field candidates in most races. So if you vote in the Republican primary to try to unseat Smith, you’re foregoing your chance to weigh in on county offices like district attorney, judges, county commissioner, state representatives, etc. Some of those races are hotly contested this year. Besides, such schemes rarely work. Better to spend the money doing some good grassroots organizing to help shift the district over time.

  5. The first internet (well, and compuserve, and AOL, and bbs) campaign was DF8, to remove the sitting speaker of the house, Tom Folley, he pissed off gun owners by violating his campaign promises and passing the assault weapon ban. Two people in his district, spending only $30-40,000, coordinated people across the country to defeat him. People downloaded fliers and mailing lists, had parties to assemble mailiers, and did it. This was in 1994.

    So it most certainly can be done, and is worth doing.

  6. Can we add John McCain and Maxine Waters to that list? They’ve been attacking the internet like crazy. I’d join anyone in protecting the internet.

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