Meet the New Texas Born Political Party: SAM
“I just think there’s a big chunk of Texans and Americans – they want someone to do the damn job,” said Bill King, founding president.
DALLAS – If this was an old western, imagine the outlaw cowboy kicking the saloon door and making a grand entrance, forcing everyone to notice him.
This is exactly what a new political party in Texas is doing.
“I just think there’s a big chunk of Texans and Americans, they want someone to do this damn job,” Bill King said on Y’all-itics.
Bill King is the founding president of the Serve America Movement (SAM) in Texas. He is also the former mayor of Kemah and a former candidate for mayor of Houston (he lost a tight second round to current Houston mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016).
King said the people who started SAM about three or four years ago were in the middle of the political spectrum and frustrated that the two sides continued to “move away from the edges.”
“It originally started out as kind of a good government move, kind of like no labels or some of them,” King said. “But they quickly determined that the only way to do this is to organize a political party to exercise gross political power.”
King said there are two main factors that make him think the state and the country are ready for a political alternative. The first, he said, is that dissatisfaction with the two big parties has never been higher. He said that is in part because voters only hear the extreme voices of both parties.
“It ended with this very toxic environment where you basically have about 10 or 15% on either side of the political spectrum to lead the agenda, lead the debate, lead the conversation because that’s what gets the attention. social media and cable news. networks, ”King said.
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The second factor, King said, is that other alternative political parties tend to be viewed as even more politically extreme than the two existing parties. King and SAM supporters say voters are ready for a party that sits in the middle, offering what they call a common sense approach to governing.
King said Texans can look to the 2006 race for governor for proof. That race included incumbent Republican Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, and independents Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Strayhorn. Perry was re-elected with 39% of the vote, Bell won 30%, Strayhorn 18% and Friedman 12%.
This means that the two independents together won 30% of the vote. King said the Texans have generally always shown an independent streak.
“So even in 2006 you know the Texans sorted about a third, a third, a third and you think about how much worse things have gotten since 2006,” he said.
SAM claims to have created the only political platform not based on rigid ideology or predetermined political positions. Instead, the party said its candidates would rely on the party process to inform decisions.
Ultimately, however, King said the party knew it would be defined by the candidates it put on the ballot. He said there was already great interest from “recognizable” politicians.
“I recently had a meeting with seven elected officials currently in office and you know, I don’t have permission to tell you who they are, what their names are, but I will tell you that there were three Republicans and four Democrats, and all of them have said that I’m going to run as independent or that I’m going to join a new party or that I’m going to resign, ”King said.
King said they even reached out to actor Matthew McConaughey, who is believed to be considering a gubernatorial candidacy, but they haven’t heard from him.
Now that SAM has filed the documents and is an official party in Texas, his next goal is to qualify for the ballot, which King says requires about 80,000 people to join the party by signing a petition. Once SAM is on the ballot, King said that if a statewide candidate gets 2% of the vote, the party qualifies for the ballot for the next 10 years. They will try to present some candidates from the 2022 primary season.
Along with Texas, SAM now has an official party in New York City, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and expects Florida and California to join in very soon. King said he was also talking to people from Kansas recently.
“I think by the end of the year we will have 10 or 12 state organizations in place. “
But Texas could be the keystone of SAM’s overall success, as King said people in other parts of the country are already watching to see if the party has a chance to fight in a dark red state.
The next step for the party in Texas is to put in place the basic infrastructure of a political party. This includes looking for constituency presidents, county presidents, selection committees and, of course, candidates.
King said SAM is already putting his money where his mouth is, as he said the New York and Connecticut chapters have endorsed Democrats and Republicans as the party focuses on better governance.
“If they had someone in one of these races that they thought represented their values, then they would be supporting that person instead of running a candidate,” he said. “None of the existing parties would even dream of doing something like this.”