At least in the past 20 to 30 years, the State Bar of Texas has never held a run-off election to choose a new president-elect, says Bob Black, co-chairman of the Bar’s Nominations and Elections Subcommittee.
Normally, only two candidates run for president-elect, but there may be three this year. When the Bar’s board of directors meets tomorrow they’ll consider proposed rules for run-off elections.
“The current rules only prescribe there is to be a runoff,” explains Black, managing shareholder in MehaffyWeber in Beaumont. “We felt since the rules did not address the situation of the actual mechanics of a runoff, than rather than surprise people … we would draft some rules.”
The Nominations and Elections Subcommittee recommended in December 2012 that the board approve two candidates to run for president-elect: League City solo Trey Apffel and Larry Hicks, president and managing shareholder in Hicks & Llamas in El Paso. The third possible canidate, Steve Fischer, a Bar board member, may become a president-elect petition candidate because he has collected over 5,000 signatures from lawyers. The State Bar Act authorizes the procedure. [See, “State Bar Winnowing the Field of Choices for President-Elect,” Texas Lawyer, Dec. 17, 2012, page 5.]
The proposed run-off election rules say if no one gets a majority vote, the run-off will be between the two candidates with the “greatest number of votes.” The Bar will publish a notice on its website about the candidates, ballots and voting period. The Bar’s election rules will apply to run-off campaigning, but the Bar won’t give the candidates additional campaign brochures or funds.
Black says the Bar will get election results on April 30; if a runoff is necessary, candidates would campaign through May 8. Lawyers would vote between May 9-23. The quick schedule is necessary because the new president-elect takes office at State Bar Annual Meeting in June, notes Black.