Thanks to Kuff for taking a look at City of Houston races that will be upon us before we know it. The Summer campaign season will hopefully arrive soon and we’ll all get to talk more on the back-and-forth between campaigns. That said, I think Kuff’s take deserves some commentary on a per-race basis from my end, since he did all that work.
Other than seeing signs and signs of Facebook activity from Ben Hall and Eric Dick, not much else has caught my eye. There’s no doubt that Mayor Annise Parker has an edge provided by incumbency, so, the recent positive news items in the form of “Top” whatever lists and “best city” articles continually point to her mayoral tenure. Finally, there’s no doubt that we also look to our leaders for a sense of comfort and hope during tragedies, and Mayor Parker and her administration have provided this since the Southwest Inn tragedy, in my opinion.
At this point, any well-funded opponent should have already been on the airwaves (regular and virtual) introducing themselves to Houston. Simply relying on, as Kuff mentions, the pincer strategy, will not be enough to generate excitement for kicking out an incumbent. Finally, while Kuff mentions the parody Hall twitter, there’s also a parody Hall for Latinos twitter, whose tagline is: “No se porque estoy corriendo para alcalde. Tambien, porque mis empleados no registraban esta cuenta?” or “I don’t know why I’m running for Mayor. Also, why my employees didn’t register this account.”
So, at least us Twitterers (Twitteritos in Spanish) will have fun with that one.
The only one I’ve given some attention is District I, and only because it has a few good candidates. Sure, there’s been controversy along the way, but for the most part, it’s all about the campaigns working away at fundraising and pressing the flesh. The biggest obstacle to winning, other than a possible run-off, will be lack of voter excitement.
I’m hoping District J is unopposed so I can keep Mike Laster without worries. As diverse as District J is, so are the issues that affect the various areas of the district. I’m glad that Harwin is finally getting the concrete and pipes it deserves, but I do hope more of my own neighborhood’s streets get some paving/flooding/ponding issues taken care of in the future (cough-Marinette-cough- Clarewood-cough-Bellerive).
More than likely, this will be the most interesting of the at-large races. There are at least three candidates who have caught my eye: Jenifer Rene Pool, Roland Chavez, and Rogene Gee Calvert. Others who have signed up are mostly bad, but these mentioned have some sort of base from which to begin; not to mention real campaigns. I supported Pool in her 2011 run for At-Large 2, and she showed up to the 2013 Kingwood Area Democrats’ brunch which I emceed, so, that’s points for her, thus far, in 2013.
HCC District I
This will be an interesting one, too, given that there are two progressive candidates trying to unseat a long-time incumbent, Yolanda Navarro Flores. Community activist Kevin J. Hoffman returns for another try after coming close in 2007, as well as Teacher’s Union leader Zeph Capo. The difference this time around is that what was once a Latino opportunity district has become a lot more iffy for a Latino to win. During the recent redistricting of 2011, a good bunch of Latino-voter heavy precincts which had gone heavily for Navarro Flores in the past were switched out with a swath of precincts in Gulfton, which, although Latino-heavy, do not necessarily have much of a voter participation rate. While some of us were arguing over Commissioner’s seats and a lack of a Congressional seat, Latino voting strength in this district got a bit diluted. Oops.
Houston ISD District VII
And speaking of messed-up districts, I keep hearing of an opponent for incumbent Harvin Moore in my district, but nothing official. My district almost seems to be part of some “cracking” expedition because somehow it has a nice swath of minority-heavy SW Houston (my part of Sharpstown and Gulfton) stuck in a district which includes Memorial and River Oaks. Meanwhile, other minority-heavy parts of SW Houston (Bellaire and the southern part of Sharpstown) are placed in a couple other districts. Another, “oops,” I guess. Anyway, I hope there’s a viable and hard-working opponent that I can support.
Those are the ones that have the eyes of DosCentavos on them. By all means, check out Kuff’s post on the rest. I do agree with Kuff that we are looking forward to the first campaign finance reports to be published. They always give a better snapshot of things.