Tag Archives: Harris County

The Voting Problems

It’s safe to say that local Republicans didn’t mind the voting problems at locations which opened late or were short-staffed at the beginning of Election Day. When supplies were running low at some locations, though, all of a sudden they wanted to be a protected class. So goes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. It’s all about them–especially when they lose.

Don’t worry, Rethugs, I was almost a victim of those damn printers, too. (Did you hear that HC Elections was counting emergency ballots yesterday?)

I voted on the first day, being the responsible kind of voter who fears dying between Day 1 of early voting and Election Day and not having my vote counted. Though the polling location (Tracy Gee Center) was busy and the configuration of the room between check-in and voting was backwards, I got through that process. Unfortunately, when it came to pushing in the 2nd ballot sheet into the printer, it jammed. Badly! The first couple of lines printed before it skewed badly and injured the paper.

I immediately called up a poll worker who literally had to pull the sheet out, had me put my name on yellow sticky on the ballot while he found a supervisor. I stayed at my polling station, hoping that my vote wasn’t lost. Thankfully, a supervisor brought a new sheet, the poll worker ran it through, and the 2nd page was printed. Finally, both sheets went through the scanner and I was done, placing the I VOTED sticker on my mask. Yes, I still mask.

Anyway, voters need to check their paper print-outs to ensure everything printed out. We have these “paper trails” that were demanded by people for a reason. I thought the paper trail was going to be cash register receipt of my choices for ME, but so much for that.

Thanks to the good folks who committed to working for Harris County Elections for ensuring my vote counted.

Now, the staffing shortages and paper shortages do need to be addressed. The paper trail part is state-mandated now, so, maybe more staff to run a q-tip with alcohol on the rubber thingies that pull the ballot paper in are needed. I don’t know. You got paid people for that. But more paper kept in accessible secure locations or something!

But is this a blatant, purposeful violation of ones voting rights? It’s an inconvenience for sure, but we have 782 voting locations on Election Day that a voter can vote at. At least in my neighborhood, from Tracy Gee I could go down the street to one of the Chinese Cultural centers off Corporate to vote. A little further and I have the Alief ISD polling station. The options were plentiful. We just haven’t gotten people out of the mentality that they don’t have to vote JUST in their neighborhood.

The options were also plentiful for people who somehow didn’t pay attention to all the TV attack ads and mail reminding them that there was an election–early voting and Election Day–yet decided to give up when the one location they went to didn’t open up on time. Or didn’t realize it until they got a text that election day was extended by an hour (to vote on a provisional ballot that may or may not be counted).

Now, some might say, “How Republican of you, Stace, to have these thoughts.” But there were two million people in downtown sweating it out (and stinking it up) for the Astros a day before, I figure driving a few miles to a polling location wouldn’t be that big a deal. Maybe I’m just experiencing less faith in humanity. I wonder why.

Is there voter suppression? Of poor and ethnic folks? Hell yeah. Which is why we have early voting for two weeks, a late night of early voting, a weekend of early voting, and 782 locations to vote at on Election Day.

Do folks still have issues getting to vote? Of course! Especially by mail. The Republicans have improved their voter suppression tactics to include racist mailings to go along with their racist policies that make people give up on democracy. Gerrymandering is voter suppression, too. But given the fact that 9 million people in Texas (a million or so here in Houston) didn’t show up to vote, it’s safe to say that a lot of folks just weren’t giving a shit and for a whole lot of reasons. And that’s a whole other discussion to have, but other than forced voting, I’m not sure what a good solution is.

I’m proud to be the son of Tacho and Flora who instilled in me a love of voting and participating in the political process. And believe me, I went through a phase this summer of wondering if I should even bother, but that subsided when I saw all of the lies and misinformation by Fascist Mack and MagaMealer and “Judicial Fairness PAC.” But I guess 9 million others in Texas don’t want to be like me.

Needless to say, Republicans, your rights were not violated. Inconvenienced? Sure. And the rights of Democrats at those voting locations, too, but you didn’t seem to care about them. But there is a lot of that going on, mostly because of Republican policies.

Election 2022 Results

Congrats to County Judge Lina Hidalgo. She fought off an all-out attack from Fascist Mack, his millionaire buddies and his puppet of a candidate, consistently adding to her lead as the votes were counted throughout the night. Other Dems, including District Clerk Marilyn Burgess and County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth return to their jobs, and Dr. Carla Wyatt will take over as County Treasurer in January. Amy Hinojosa and Andrea Duhon return to the Harris County Dept of Education board, too.

We will have a new Pct. 4 County Commissioner as Lesley Briones pushed on through to defeat the no-show incumbent. With Judge Hidalgo and Commish Adrian Garcia earning re-election, Harris County Commissioner’s Court will now have four (4) Democrats–a supermajority that can ensure strong budgets and policies are passed whether GOPer Tom Ramsey shows up or not. Some say this isn’t a mandate, but after all the hate-mongering and money wasted by the other side, I think Harris County did achieve a strong mandate for progressive values and policies.

With all of the attack ads full of misinformation and fear-mongering against “Democrat Judges,” Dems lost a few judicial races, including 180th District Judge Dasean Jones. Of course, the local Dem DA assisted in the bail-related fear-mongering, so, I hope Judge Jones stays close and challenges the DA in 2024. There were several sitting judges who were “in the news” regarding bonds and releases, but it seems Republicans honed in on African-American judicial candidates because they are the ones that lost. The non-Black judges seemed to cruise into re-election. Just an observation.

That said, I’m surprised nothing was said about all the corporate money that was used to create the Republican “crime” message that attacked all of the judges. The money came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a very dead Sheldon Adelson’s Vegas gambling corporation, and other non-crime, non-law enforcement-related corporations. They were trying to buy civil court judges, people! They didn’t care about crime.

Well, Democrats haven’t elected anyone statewide for over 25 years, and that reality continues. South Texas continues to add to Republicans’ bottom line, and anything over 35-40 % of the vote in those counties will keep the GOP strong statewide–even as suburban areas “liberalize.” Whether it’s “moderate” Democrats who fail to do anything about educating the South Texas public about progressive issues, Christian fundamentalism that creeps into politics, or South Texas voters falling for right-wing hate-mongering as if they aren’t included in the attacks, it’s a problem. A message problem for Democrats.

Thankfully, at the local level Democrats are still in charge in most of South Texas–even Starr County. It is gerrymandering that ensured right-wing victories in CD-15 and CD-23. There’s a lot to unpack and discuss about South Texas, but as long as Nancy Pelosi feels the need to help sell-outs like Henry Cuellar during Democratic Primaries, the party pendejadas will continue.

Bexar County had a good night, as did Travis County and Dallas County. For some reason, Republicans targeted Harris County, finding and exploiting weaknesses in our bottom line. Fortunately, they ran mediocre (yet well-funded) candidates with awful puppeteers (Fascist Mack, Steve Hotze, etc.) and exploited crime victims in creating a fear-based message. Democratic activists were still successful in the ground game, despite the daily vitriol on TV. Kudos to them. [Travis County Note: Good luck to Celia Israel as she moves on to a Mayoral run-off, and to Jose Velasquez in Austin City Council District 3 run-off.]

While Dem faithful seem to have adopted Greg Abbott’s “it could’ve been worse” line after the results were finally posted, given results in other urban areas of the state which were strong for Democrats, perhaps something needs to be discussed. The activism is working, but the media response to right-wing lies leaves much to be desired. Also, it might help reminding voters how great our elected officials are–at least those that are great. But, hey, we won!

Anyway, Dems have some work to do for 2024, including having a cleaner, more meaningful slate that runs together and supports itself from top to bottom. Of course, this is also something to think about for the 2023 local elections as we remember who, from those in the running for Mayor and Council, stood up for our Democratic slate and who did not.

And somebody educate the local newsreaders about the political and election process before they go on TV. The overdramatization of the last eight ballot boxes was quite annoying.

Kuff has more. And I thought I was the only one making hand gestures at homes with Mealer signs.

Is It Over?

I can’t say I got the warm and fuzzies when President Biden declared the pandemic “over” on 60 Minutes last night. He also mentioned that COVID-19 is still an issue that is being dealt with, so, at least he reminded folks. But the strongest statement was that the pandemic was “over.” I think that statement was irresponsible.

NPR reports that worldwide, there are still reports of over 400,000 cases daily. There have been significant increases between August 16 and September 17th in various countries, including the United States, though, I think the lower numbers in the US have more to do with lack of reporting of home tests than anything. News flash: People are still dying. So, COVID-19 is still here.

In Houston, we seem to have finally gone below 20 percent test positivity and continue to trend downward. And we even have a new 3-tiered COVID threat scale of Low-Medium-High. We are currently at Medium, which tell us: “If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.”

So, listen to your doctors…if you have access to one. Or have insurance. And if you really care about your high risk relatives and friends, mask up!

My worry continues to be about the immunocompromised and the frail whose relatives seem to continue going unmasked, as President Biden celebrated on 60 Minutes, stating, “Everyone looks in good shape.” or something like that.

Even more disturbing is an inflamed debate about what constitutes a “COVID death.” Dr. Monica Ghandi at UC-San Francisco seems to say it is just like the flu, now. Dr. Fauci disagrees.

“I’m sorry — I just disagree,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s medical adviser, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The severity of one compared to the other is really quite stark. And the potential to kill of one versus the other is really quite stark.”

Fauci states that at the current pace, COVID-19 could still kill 125,000 more people in the next year.

“COVID is a much more serious public health issue than is influenza,” Fauci says, noting this is especially true for older people, the group at the highest risk dying from the disease.

The debate then turns to if people are dying of COVID-19 or of a pre-existing disease. I’d think that with medical advances, people are living longer even with pre-existing disease, but COVID-19 exacerbates it because of its inflammatory nature. So, it’s still COVID-19 that is the killer. Unfortunately, it becomes a public relations debate about lowering numbers versus truth in numbers.

Anyway, we’re still in this. I’m still masking in public spaces, like stores and doctor’s offices. I made a return to patio dining and even went into a restaurant, masking up while walking through it and unmasking while eating and drinking. Ultimately, I just don’t want it.

So, stay vigilant.

COVID-19: CDC Says Mask Up Indoors, Again!

Well, if you haven’t paid attention to my COVID-19 posts of the last couple of months, or the steady climb of test positivity during the same period, it looks like the Feds are recognizing COVID-19 as a problem, again. Surprise? Hardly.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows about one-third of the U.S. population is now living in a county with a “high COVID-19 community level,” which means the agency recommends universal indoor masking.

Johns Hopkins University reports new COVID-19 cases rising slowly, which 108,000 new cases reported every day over the past two weeks. That is up 6% from the two weeks prior.

A recent pre-print study based on health records from the Veteran’s Administration shows that catching COVID-19 over and over again appears to increase the chances a person will experience new and sometimes lasting health problems after their infection.

People who had two or more documented infections had more than twice the risk of dying and three times the risk of being hospitalized within six months of their last infection.

Houston Health reports positivity is at 29.2% (probably undercounted) and that hospitalizations are indeed increasing. Moreover, Houston Health is now telling folks to mask-up indoors no matter their vaccination status based on CDC recommendations. The Texas Tribune and local news outlets also report that hospitalizations have doubled in the last week. All of this because of the newest variant that seems to be among the majority of infections.

But the omicron variant, which doctors say appears to be as contagious as the measles, could wind up sending more people to the hospital than during previous surges — even if it is a milder version of the virus — simply due to the sheer volume of people it’s infecting, Dr. Jason Bowling, epidemiologist at University Health in San Antonio.

Omicron has become the dominant variant in the state less than a month after it was first detected. The delta variant took several months to become dominant in Texas. That means the state’s medical community could be in for a bumpy ride this month as the virus infects people at an unprecedented rate.

Frankly it pisses me off that pundits continue to say that current numbers are “lower than last year’s peak,” as there are still people getting sick and spreading it a lot easier than with past variants. People are still acting as if this is over and it is pretty obvious it is not. Waiting for the numbers to get bad, instead of staying vigilant and proactive, is the problem. This new data that shows people infected multiple times have a higher chance of dying or hospitalization is pretty scary, too.

Now (or during the last few months) is not the time to continue to be lax in preventing disease. If masking had still been pushed while the numbers were lowering, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this current uptick in infections. But, hell, when people at the highest levels of government went unmasked at mass events, including some of our favorite Democrats, they ceased to be an example of prevention to the people. If anything, they were the excuse people needed to flick off their masks. And any new push by them to have the people mask up, I predict, will faceplant because of this.

What pisses me off even more is that the immunocompromised are still under constant threat. People still need to work and are in unmasked workplaces that insist on putting employees in danger. Mass events are being held with little to no recommendations for masking. Look, no one is telling you to close down, but mask the hell up! I really don’t need to see y’alls faces.

I preferred the politics of COVID-19 when Greg Abbott’s ineptitude wasn’t getting the help of everyone else in politics.

Race For Precinct 4 Is Almost Over, But…

The Precinct 4 race for County Commissioner continues its negative track as Leslie Briones responded to Ben Chou with her own attack ad, which called out Chou’s self-crediting statement as the inventor of drive-thru voting. In addition, Briones offered up some receipts regarding Chou’s alleged acceptance of money from folks who work for Harris County vendors. Also, Briones pointed out that Chou and his supporters created a fake organization that violated all sorts of campaign finance rules. Though the receipts didn’t really resonate with me since they were small, personal donations to Chou, the rest of the ad did because everything else Briones states is true.

Unfortunately, a doctored photo of Chou on the headline of the ad is what has caused the race to go rather ugly, with charges of racism against Briones. Briones has apologized and gotten rid of the designer of the photo and ad, but Chou continues his attack against the Latina candidate, while not accepting the apology. As if either community isn’t under real attacks by forces who will effect racist and bigoted public policy if we don’t win this seat in November.

If Chou and his supporters were offended by the doctored photo, Chou’s use of an unflattering, grainy, black and white photo of Briones, a highly successful, professional Latina leader, may be equally offensive to some. It is to me as our Latina sisters are under relentless attack. But it’s part of the business as one campaign tries to paint the other as sinister and bad in order to convince voters to decide for whom to vote by way of artwork, instead of actual words. I mean, have you seen the imagery the Republicans create as they tear each other apart?

In this case, both campaigns are guilty of going negative. And both campaigns are guilty of trying “gotcha” politics as the election winds down because it may be that close of an election. Ultimately, it’s about who one believes and who presents a better story of themselves to convince whatever voters are still undecided. And, yes, doctored and grainy, unflattering photos are something that Democrats should avoid. Both campaigns are guilty of this. Above all, we seem to be bad at it.

I voted for Lesley Briones because she has a track-record as an executive, educator, attorney, and as a member of the judiciary. She has given of herself to her community and the community at-large. She is proven in all facets of leadership, whether as a decision-maker or as a paper-pusher. Above all, she makes herself accessible and is responsive. These are qualities we need on the Commissioner’s Court and Lesley is the only candidate who offers these qualities.

Vote on Tuesday!

Chou Goes Disingenuous With Briones Attack

Thursday morning, I saw a couple of attack ads on Facebook against Lesley Briones, Democrat for County Commissioner, Pct 4, paid for by her opponent Ben Chou. (Coby has the artwork.)

I really wasn’t sure if I should write about it because I think bringing it up would give it more attention than the ads actually earned, but since it is a race in which I actually vote and the Briones campaign responded, I thought I’d pay attention and say something.

Attacks are nothing new and this blogger (and others) has been known to play “gotcha!” with many a political campaign based on and backed up by actual facts after a hell of a lot of research. But when an attack is not backed up by facts, then, one is just being disingenuous, probably during a fit of desperation, hoping something will stick as Early Voting begins soon.

Each Facebook ad, which were paid by Ben Chou but under the guise of a group that suddenly popped up out of nowhere, had a link to a Houston Chronicle article by Zack Despart regarding “pay to play” on the Commissioner’s Court, while the caption written by the group was an attack on Briones’ fundraising as a judge. The problem is, the linked article had nothing to do with Briones; if anything, the article didn’t even mention her because she is not on the Commissioner’s Court. But the caption by the Facebook group made it seem as if the Chronicle was somehow linking Briones to activities on the Commissioner’s Court.

As Facebook ads go, I’m pretty sure local campaign attack ads are seldom clicked as whatever the caption states is enough for the uninformed voter. Facebook activists will share a caption before they read an article. I’m pretty sure that was the goal of the Chou campaign, which makes it all more disappointing because he’s supported by a few groups and individuals that promote “democracy” and other stuff I support. So, I clicked the link thinking Chou would provide facts about his attack only to be sent to Despart’s article, which I read months ago.

Worse, Chou (or a supporter who once ran for Congress in CD9 and is Chou’s treasurer) seems to have created an organization on Facebook and Twitter that has no members (and 5 likes) and probably isn’t an official political action committee, nor reports any of its expenses or activities as an individual organization supportive of Chou as required by campaign finance laws. Chou’s campaign finance statements show he’s paid Human Age Digital (which is credited on the Facebook page of the new group) a nice amount of cash.

Briones responded stating that Precinct 4 deserves much better than a candidate who spreads lies and violates campaign finance laws. The campaign statement defended her time as a judge pointing to the fact that she cleared her docket backlog and “connected low-income individuals to to free legal representation.”

I have no idea what Chou’s response would be, now, other than backing up his attack with numbers and confusing paperwork. Or, just ignore the backlash and let it ride.

Either way, it’s a cheap attack which lacks substance and really shows a campaign that is seriously tanking or badly advised. Chou’s digital ad had a better message but he fell short of expanding on it given these Facebook ads. “Electing better leaders” takes a convincing argument that captures hearts and minds and simplistic attacks are not a good strategy to achieve that goal.

Early voting begins on Monday.

Update: Rumor was that the ad was taken down, but it looks like he decided to keep attacking as another ad with a campaign-connected link popped up that provides a list of donors. He provides no proof that rulings were made in favor of donors. He’s grasping at straws, again. I guess Chou’s saying no judge should accept money from lawyers?

Thoughts on Viernes 04152022

Still With Judge Lina

Speaking of political performance art, the local DA seems to be going too far in the use of her office to wage a political vendetta against Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

While local purveyors of sensationalist reporting are having a field day while reporting whatever the local DA tells them, which mostly serves as porn for anti-Latina right-wingers, it is other news sites that report more of the story, such as Texas Monthly.

Beyond its potential legal consequences, the contract investigation reflects long-standing tensions between Hidalgo and Ogg, the Democratic district attorney who has found an alliance with the two Republicans on the five-member commissioners’ court, chaired by the county judge. In recent months, the Republicans, Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey, have generally supported Ogg’s requests for funding beyond the annual increases her office has received, while the three Democrats—Hidalgo and Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis—have resisted her entreaties. Ogg also increasingly finds herself estranged from the progressive wing of her party, which has faulted her for not embracing reform of the cash bail system.

Sounds like a political vendetta to me and quite the political performance. It’s not a secret that the local DA has even supported a slate of anti-reform assistant DAs to defeat incumbent judges. From what I hear, she was even part of the failed attempt to primary the County Judge. Her failure in playing political games has resulted in her using the office of the DA to pursue and finish this vendetta, it would seem. Where is the local reporting on this?

Given her office’s failure to prosecute a killer cop who assisted in the choking murder of a man, or failing to indict other killer cops who murdered an emotionally unstable man by shooting him 22 times, or her railroading of a local doctor accused of stealing COVID-19 shots that were about to expire only to fall on her face, voters were given plenty of reasons to defeat her. Now that she is using her office for political vendettas, it is high-time that Democrats did something about it and stopped living in fear of her actions.

Abbott’s Border BS

Greg Abbott is also pretty good at performance art as he increases state inspections of trucks delivering fruits and veggies from Mexico in the name of anti-immigrant policies and Texans’ thirst for Fentanyl, thus causing trucker protests (that actually work), supply chain issues, and cost rises at the grocery store. We’re talking about food that is rotting as soon as it is cut off the vine, so it needs to get to the warehouses and stores ASAP. And people are freakin’ out and politicians are doing their own bit of performance art in showing how inept Greg Abbott is.

But let’s talk about a better reason to increase prices of food being imported on trucks from Mexico. Did you know that farm workers make on average less than $200 a month (acc to The Wilson Center) to pick the fruits and veggies that we’re freaking out about right now? Is it any wonder prices are actually cheap as profits are going to corporate farmers and shipping magnates? I mean, who’s doing the complaining on TV if it isn’t the corporate types who are affected by Abbott’s idiocy?

Imagine paying a living wage to poor and indigenous farm workers. Would people be willing to pay more for fruits and veggies from Mexico if workers were paid more? Because, let’s face it, trade deals do more to ensure profits for corporations, rather than pay people fairly for their work. Thanks to NAFTA and other trade deals, Mexicans are really screwed, while we Americans benefit from cheaper prices. And people wonder why we have migration issues? We need trade deals that ensure fair pay for workers. Unfortunately, when the trucks start rolling again, people just enjoy whatever is normal.

I guess I want to see how the pro-Ukraine, “I’ll pay extra for gas to save democracy” folks react to paying more for food to save a family from poverty and violence that causes them to escape to the US.

Happy Easter

Enjoy your Easter holiday.

Isabel Longoria Resigns As Elections Chief

After County Judge Lina Hidalgo made it clear that she preferred someone else in charge of elections, Isabel Longoria submitted her resignation, effective July 1.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Houston Chronicle reported that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, said she wanted a change in leadership and intended to replace election administrator Isabel Longoria. Shortly after, Longoria announced she would step down on July 1.

Her resignation came after Harris County Democrats called for a comprehensive post-election review, while Republicans — regular adversaries of the county’s Democratic leadership — simultaneously sued the county and demanded Longoria’s resignation.

Also…

Ultimately, the county commissioners court voted to bring in a third-party consultant to review the county’s elections operations and make recommendations for improvement for the remaining 2022 elections.

I guess that the consultant will work double-time so the office can be ready for November. That’ll be a nice vendor contract.

County Commissioner Adrian Garcia supported Longoria’s resignation and defended the creation of an election administrator’s office stating the current system allows for accountability. Also, that an elected official running the elections would have an unfair advantage in their own race.

County Commissioner Rodney Ellis expanded on the fact that Longoria had to face an “unprecedented amount of obstructions aimed at her office and Harris County voters.” That would include anything from frivolous lawsuits to SB1 to no guidance from the Secretary of State. Ellis also stated that the real threat to voting rights are barriers to voting and other voter suppression tactics.

Back when the office was created, I defended our Democratic majority doing so since we elected them, and despite opposition from the Tax Assessor-Collector to the idea. What I did prefer at the time was a lengthy discussion on how it should be created and run and that a national search be done for someone to lead the office. Someone who knew the new voting system and could hit the ground running. Something that would not have taken two years, as Garcia mentioned in his statement. And look at where we are now.

Like Kuff, I was happy with the choice of Longoria because I knew her as a hard-working, open-minded person who would get the job done, if given the freedom by all sides. So, I appreciate Isabel Longoria’s commitment to remaining for the next two elections in May, though, I do remind her that this is a right to work state and loyalty is a two-way street. Whatever errors occurred happened within the entire office, so, I hope that all those involved are held accountable. That’s if all the hubbub wasn’t “political,” right?

Something else I said about the creation of a “non-partisan” elections office that would take out the politics from elections is that these offices are always political, no matter who is in charge. And with republicans continually tossing around voting conspiracy theories, it will be hard for anyone to run this office. And that’s exactly what Republicans want. So, best to keep a Democratic majority at Commissioner’s Court.

Kuff has his take and smacks the local news a bit for basically misleading viewers on how the “missing” votes could have affected the outcomes of some close races without context on the data. As Kuff (and many of us who follow vote counts as hobbies) expected, no outcomes were affected.

10000 Ballots?

I guess the first question is: How does an elections office miss 10,000 ballots?

KHOU reports

“The oversight occurred between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m. as the political parties that make up the Central Count Committee were reviewing ballots,” Longoria’s office said in a press release.

They said the votes were scanned into the tabulation machines but not transferred, which meant they were not being counted in the unofficial count on Election Night. The votes are set to be added to the final count when the Central Count Committee next meets on Tuesday, according to the elections administrator’s office.

The good news is that the elections folks at the Secretary of State’s office caught the error when the reconciliation forms did not match between votes tabulated and the number of actual votes. So, it’s not like the votes were “lost” or “missing.” They just didn’t get tabulated once entered into the system. But the question remains: How was this not checked at Harris County before anyone clicked [SEND} to the Secretary of State’s office?

While the buck stops with whomever is in charge of the elections office, there needs to be a full accounting as to procedures and employee actions occurring throughout the vote count. Staff involved in this should also be held accountable in one way or another. No doubt, republican whining didn’t help, but the focus should always stay with the vote count.

From a political sense, I’m pretty sure there is no turning back from this. The Republicans whined enough that something simple, yet so major, will stick when calling for resignations, now. In other words, the elected officials who created the office and hired the election administrator will need to decide which direction to go. And in an election year. With two elections happening soon and a major one in November. It’s not really a good time for upheaval in the elections office.

Dem Primary Part 1 is Done, On To Part 2

Looks like County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s strategy of ignoring her opponent (and the naysayers who put up the opponent) worked quite well. After the mail and early votes were tabulated, Hidalgo had amassed a healthy lead with almost 70% of the vote which continued all night. I didn’t have a doubt she could win, but my worry was about her taking hits from awful Republican ads and how that could affect the Dem vote. It didn’t. Those that put up an opponent against Hidalgo better watch out in a couple of years when their seats come up. And those who fought to keep her in office did a great job in the field, where it really counts.

My Commish Precinct 4 seems to be headed to a run-off between Leslie Briones and Ben Chou. In an open seat race with seven in the running, that’s to be expected. Briones edged out Chou 35-23 in early numbers in our recently redrawn district and that margin remains. What used to be a precinct that took up most of the west side is now a lot more sprawling. I think we’ll find that Briones did well enough on the west side to be the top vote-getter, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be quite the competition to earn the votes of those who voted for the five other candidates. I’m sticking with Briones.

One race that caught my interest was a 10-county race for the 14th Court of Appeals between Cheri Thomas who ran in 2020 and Kyle Carter, a current district judge with a good stack of campaign cash. Thomas, who is the DC-supported candidate, had an 18,000 vote lead after the mail and early votes were announced and her lead continued to get healthier as the first election day votes were announced. Thomas held good leads in Fort Bend and Harris Counties, which still had many votes to be counted. By this morning, Thomas’ lead of around 20,000 votes was holding as more votes in Harris County were counted.

More than a few court benches will be changing occupants one way or another as a good bunch of Dem incumbents are being taken out by challengers. Hopefully, those new Dem candidates will work hard for the party’s bottom line in November and not just ride whatever wave is caused by the strong candidates at the top of the ticket, like Judge Hidalgo and Beto O’Rourke.

One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of run-offs to keep us busy for the next couple of months, including Lt. Governor and Attorney General, which I expect to be spirited. I expect the local run-offs for Commissioner and some court seats to provide much of the energy.

Where there will not be run-off is the race for Precinct 2 Commish in which Adrian Garcia reclaimed the Dem nod for re-election in explosive fashion. As I stated yesterday, it would seem that his opponent’s angry white guy strategy probably won over some of the target audience, but Garcia actually ran a good campaign that reached all voters by selling his actual accomplishments. He probably carried other candidates to victory in the process. Congrats to the Commish.

State Senator and Houston Mayoral candidate John Whitmire will continue to be both, though Molly Cook did put herself on the map for anything, but specifically for what will be a crowded SD15 if Whitmire moves to a downtown office in 2023.

One outcome I did not like at all was that of the County Treasurer’s race in which incumbent Dylan Osborne was defeated. As I said after some good judges were taken out in the 2020 primary, when someone wants to play the odds, or play the latest in scare tactics, and the voters feel like it, they were surely oust you without much effort. That seemed to happen a lot in this primary.

In other areas of the state, it was Greg Casar rolling over several opponents in a Congressional District 35 that runs from San Antonio to Austin. In CD28, Jessica Cisneros was giving FBI-searched incumbent Henry Cuellar an excellent run. As the votes from Bexar, Zapata, and Starr Counties were finally counted, Cuellar came out in the lead. By this morning, Cuellar was just under the 50% mark, so we may have a run-off in this one pending any additional ballots coming in, and thanks to a third candidate who got a little less than 5%.

We’ll have more on local run-offs as the numbers continue coming in in Harris County. There is one race for County Civil Court #4 which still has 2nd place to be decided for the run-off. Rooting for Treasea Trevino in that one.

That’s all I got. Happy Wednesday! Also, thanks to the folks at Harris Elections for their work. Problems will happen as things get perfected, but a dumb tweet from a Trumpy Secretary of State will always cause even more problems.

Kuff has more.

UPDATE:

Another race likely headed for a run-off is the race for the Dem nomination for Congress District 38, where Dem activist Diana Martinez Alexander has the lead against her opponent. Fingers crossed.