Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Election Wrap: Omar's Future

Now that Richardson's mayoral election is over, there are a few loose ends to tie up.

Monday night, Amir Omar made a gracious exit after serving four years on Richardson's City Council. But in losing the Richardson mayor's race, he has made it very hard on himself to have a future in Richardson politics. The establishment turned its back on him. In return, he turned his back on them. The standing ovation he received after his farewell doesn't change that history.

During the campaign, Omar gravitated to becoming the de facto candidate of the tea party, whether any group going by that name officially endorsed him or not, whether he himself embraced the notion or not. Unfortunately for him and his future, the tea party hasn't been able to elect dog catcher in this town. Omar was their best candidate by far in three elections and even he came up far short.

Maybe the city council will be magnanimous and offer him a seat on a board or commission, and he'd probably be humble and dedicated enough to accept, but somehow I don't see that happening. The attacks on his character were too vicious, too personal, for a "let bygones be bygones" attitude to prevail after this election. Still, stranger things have happened.

Is there an opening up the ladder? He didn't help himself with the country club Republicans in this election. As for the tea party Republicans, he could recreate himself as a full-fledged tea party candidate, then challenge an existing officeholder from the right in a GOP primary. But think of that. Is it even possible to imagine anyone getting to the right of, say, Stefani Carter? Or outfundraising Pete Sessions? Or attacking Tiger Mother Angie Chen Button?

Is there an opening elsewhere? Is Omar young enough to pack his bags and move away from Richardson to work his way up through the ranks again in another city? Regardless here or there, he would need to clean up his biography and business résumé, which was picked on to devastating effect by the Richardson Coalition PAC and not just them. Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News expressed doubts about Omar's claimed business experience. Omar has some damage control to do if he wants a future in politics anywhere.

If he can put aside electoral ambitions on his own behalf, he would probably be both welcomed and excellent working for another officeholder. A stint in Austin or even Washington, D.C., working on a politician's staff or for a lobbying group could do wonders for his own next run for public office. Will Omar be satisfied leaving politics and throwing himself fully into his work with charities and non-profits? Who knows? He himself may not be sure what he wants to do next. But any organization that can recruit him is getting a dynamo.

All that's certain is that there will be another act for Amir Omar. He has too much talent and energy to just fade away. I just don't have the crystal ball that can give me any confidence in predicting just what his future might hold.


dc-tm said...

Mark, if you think Amir was in any way supported by the Richardosn Tea Party, think again. They were Laura fans. Maybe if you would show up to the Tea Party meetings sometimes, you would see that for yourself.
david chenoweth

Mark Steger said...

David, you might very well be right. I've heard from others that the tea party types were very split this election, for reasons I won't go into here. I don't have any polling data to settle it, but just going by the 70%-30% final vote, Amir Omar probably didn't have strong support from any groups, including the tea party types.

Unknown said...

The first question asked at the Tea Party sponsored debate was whether either candidate would instill Sharia Law if elected. I don't think that was aimed at Laura...

I'm not sure I understand your comment: "In return, he turned his back on them". Are you referring to Amir's support for the direct election for mayor - or something else?

Mark Steger said...

Sharia Law. Thanks, Peggy, for bringing up the elephant in the room that I only hinted at in my first comment. If the attitude behind that question is widespread among tea party types, then there's no future among tea party types for Amir Omar.

As for Omar turning his back on the establishment ... from the very first forum, he highlighted his differences with the people who didn't want direct election of the mayor. After the RC voters guide was published, he accused Maczka and her supporters of "lies and dirty tricks." So, yes, I'd say he turned his back on them after they turned their backs on him.

Mark Steger said...

More evidence that the tea party types are more Islamophobic than I had given them credit for... Cathie Adams, the president of the Texas Eagle Forum and former chair of the Texas Republican Party, spoke about Amir Omar and his run for Congress in 2006 in a talk to the Far North Dallas Tea Party. Unfair Park has the story:

"Adams next turns to Richardson City Councilman Amir Omar and his failed 2006 bid for Eddie Bernice Johnson's U.S. House seat: 'Many of my Republican friends were supporting him because they didn't wanted to look like racists,' Adams says. 'I went right into the heart of that, and I changed my Republican friends from supporting a man who had never even voted. But they were afraid of not supporting him because he was a Muslim. That man moved and came to Richardson and ran for mayor and lost to Laura Mackza. Thank God.'"