Election Day Observations (05092009)

SA’s Mayor
Congrats to my Facebook friend Julian Castro. DCs been supporting Julian since his first run for SA Mayor, and this time, he not only won, he blasted the opposition right out of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone! On top of that, he’s got a cool cuate (twin) in the Lege who sponsored the Planned Parenthood bills, and an even cooler Chicana activist mom. All I can say is…Ya era tiempo! When I got a tweet from my friend Carlos Guerra that only 50 people had voted at his polling location, I got nervous. Thankfully, he was able to win handily and without a run-off.

Houston District H
Looks like the DC-supported Ed Gonzalez and Maverick Welsh (a DC friend, actually) are set for a mano-a-mano run-off in a month. Ed Gonzalez proved he had an early-vote and absentee vote plan which put him way ahead of the pack. Welsh made the run-off with a strong showing on election day. It looks like both campaigns proved their campaigning chops.

For the run-off, DC will once again support Ed Gonzalez. With less than 5% turnout on election day, the usual thing is to expect even less participation in the run-off. I would like to predict an increase, since now, things get more interesting and both campaigns have the opportunity to really sell their wares now that there are only two, instead of nine.

Another thing to consider: Who gets endorsed by the others in the race? We shall see, and hopefully, early instead of the day of the run-off. Three words: Retail Politics and GOTV.

Farmers Branch
DC supported restaurant owner Elizabeth Villafranca for one of the FB City Council seats. Villafranca showed some leadership and took on City Hall when they wanted to ban housing rentals to Latinos and immigrants. She fell short this time around; however, I would suggest continued runs by her and more Latinos. It may be the one shot at promoting single-member districts to ensure representation.

Humble ISD
Not very surprised that the incumbents won. One of these staunch “7-R” Republicans was even going around telling Dems that she voted for Obama–and some bought it! Still, any Democrat in the running must build their own infrastructure, raise the money, and actually campaign with the people to even have a chance to be noticed, and possibly, win. Considering where we live, it is not surprising that the Harris County GOP was making phone calls for this “non-partisan” race. Things are very partisan here, and they re-elect the same anti-education nuts all the time. (But they vote for Obama, but shhh, don’t tell anyone!). Anyway, Dems can’t complain. If we aren’t willing to run (and do our homework–raise the money and campaign) for these seats when turnout is so low, we’ll never learn to win. If all the GOP can muster is 1400 or so votes, and Dems now have upwards of 20,000 identified Dems in the school district…get the picture?

Denton City Council
I spent my Saturday evening at the election night get-together for incumbent Charlye Heggins and candidate Amy Manuel. Heggins was easily re-elected with 68% of the vote against a couple of opponents. Manuel garnered 8% in a five-person race. With only a 5% turnout overall turnout, anything could have happened. It was a fun night, nonetheless, and we even got to listen to Amy’s “Toll Road” song. And I got to finally meet TPA colleague and former candidate for State Rep. John McLelland.

Austin City Council
That town full of lib-labs doesn’t seem to change. The town is “liberal” enough to only give Carol Keeton Strayhorn only 20% or so of the vote, but isn’t able to support a progressive, experienced Latina to the City Council? So, Austin remains the same ol’ town with only one Latino on the Council. Thanks to Perla Cavazos for running–please keep your name out there!

In Closing…
Nationally, we still have another election to follow–the one to fill the seat left vacant by now-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. DC has endorsed Gil Cedillo. Otherwise, it’s back to streets and online in support of Ed Gonzalez.

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