Thursday, December 7, 2023

Outgoing elections leader announces 2022 challenge to county clerk


Michele Carew announced during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Commissioners Court – her last as Hood County’s elections administrator – that she will run for county clerk in 2022.

Carew will seek to unseat Katie Lang, a member of the Hood County Elections Commission who tried to fire her despite Carew having received kudos from the Secretary of State’s office for her handling of the 2020 presidential election.

Lang told the HCN last week that she intends to seek a third term.

The filing period for the March 1 primaries opens Saturday and runs through 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13.

Last month, attempts by Lang, Precinct 4 Commissioner Dave Eagle, Republican Party Chair David Fischer, and a faction of the local Republican Party to oust Carew from her nonpartisan position was the focus of a lengthy Texas Tribune article.

Publication of the article was followed by Carew’s appearance on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight,” and the situation was the subject of an opening monologue on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

Other media outlets picked up the story, and Carew, who has voted in Republican primaries for more than a decade, wrote an editorial about her experience in Hood County that was published by The Washington Post.

Carew was on the Commissioners Court agenda to provide the county judge and commissioners a report on the Nov. 2 election and to update them on the elections administration department.

When it came time to speak about her department, Carew read a prepared statement.

“Today I stand here angry,” she began. “I’m angry that the politically motivated harassment that I’ve received in this position has pushed me to the point where I am choosing to leave a job I was so excited to be in.”

Carew went on to say that the happiness she felt over being close to family and working in the profession she loves “was sullied significantly by political partisanship that has never been part of this position in the time I’ve spent in the election world, until now.”

The president of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, Carew has 14 years’ experience and was previously head of elections for Aransas County.

Elections administrator positions were created by the Legislature to allow elections to be supervised by nonpartisan, appointed officials.

Carew was appointed by the five-member Hood County Elections Commission to replace Crickett Miller, who resigned just weeks before the November 2020 presidential election. Miller, too, was criticized by Lang and Eagle.

In her statement to the Commissioners Court, Carew said that she is angry that what happened to her “is spreading across the country.”

She said that it is a “troubling issue as it seeks to control how elections are run, just to benefit a radical politically partisan group that is ultimately damaging to the democracy that made America great long before any of us were even born.”

Carew said that she has grown to love Hood County and will continue to be involved and serve the community.

“I therefore intend to run for the position of county clerk in 2022,” she stated. “I look forward to doing the will of the people, for the betterment of all, not just a select few.”

On Tuesday afternoon after the Commissioners Court meeting, Lang responded to the HCN’s request for comment about Carew’s claims of harassment and her announcement that she will run for county clerk.

“From what I have seen, the only thing Ms. Carew was subjected to was accountability,” Lang wrote in an email. “While she has been undermining the electoral process by ignoring Texas Statutes and soliciting money from liberal mega donors, I have been fighting to protect election integrity, the Top Republican Party priority.”

She continued, “Ms. Carew has the right to run for office just like she has the right to vote. I’m sure Hood County voters will easily see who best represents their Christian conservative principles along with the experience, and qualifications of a County Clerk.”