Wednesday, November 07, 2012

More Good, Bad, and Ugly


-- Harris County bond proposals all passed with flying colors. In the midst of the caterwauling about being broke, it's heartening to know that some conservative voters understand the need for progress.

-- Barack Obama appears to have carried Harris County by two votes. Out of almost 1.2 million cast. There are still provisionals and a few mailed stragglers to be counted, so the outcome of which party controls elections in two years is still to be determined. We're split right down the middle here, folks.

I suppose somebody might choose to blame their losing on one of the two third parties.

-- Texas House Dems gained seven seats in the Lege, with Craig Eiland holding on to retain his Galveston-area seat. Gene Wu is the brightest star in that freshman class of 2013.

-- County Attorney Vince Ryan turned back Crazy Bob Talton 51.5-48.5. Maybe that stripper donation business cost him. Sheriff Adrian Garcia's race was closer (53-45) than it should have been, and not because of Remington Alessi (2%). Dr. Diane Trautman beat the Republican incumbent to claim a win for Harris County School Trustee.

-- Harris County Democratic incumbent judges Al Bennett, Larry Weiman, Kyle Carter, RK Sandhill, Michael Gomez, Jaclanel McFarland, Mike Engelhart, Robert Schaeffer, Alexandra Smoots-Hogan, Ruben Guerrero, David Mendoza, and Maria Jackson were all returned to the bench. Elaine Palmer, who defeated Judge Steven Kirkland in the May primary, also was elected.

D incumbents Josefina Rendon, Shawna Reagin, Randy Roll, Herb Ritchie, Erica Graham, and Damon Crenshaw and challengers Tracy Good, Donna Roth, Vivian King, and Mack McInnis all fell short.

All of these contests were decided by 3 percentage points or less, mostly on the strength of straight ticket voting. But the undervotes also played a large part in the demise of the Dems who lost. Apparently 60-70,000 voters who did not vote straight party didn't make it down the ballot to their races.

-- The two unopposed (by any Democrat) Greens on the statewide ballot, Josh Wendel running for TRC and Charles Waterbury for SCOTX, earned 10% in Harris County and 8% across Texas. Other Greens in downballot races performed to this level in statehouse races: David Courtney (SD-17, no Dem running) got 9%, Chris Christal (SD-26, against Dem incumbent Leticia Van De Putte) got 6%. Matthew Britt, the only candidate running against the odious Phil King in HD-61, gathered 11%. Herb Gonzales ran against a Dem incumbent in HD-124 and picked up 15%. Closer to home, Art Browning got nearly 10% as the sole challenger to Allen Fletcher. And Henry Cooper ran hard against Jessica Farrar, getting 14%.

These are foundational numbers for the Texas Green Party, and can be built upon in the future.

-- That said, the Libertarian Party of Texas approximately doubled the numbers of the Greens across the state. They have a better idea about how to secure continuous ballot access, running someone everywhere. They pose a greater long-term threat to Texas Republicans than do Texas Democrats, in my humble O.

(This last barely qualifies as good, in case you were wondering.)


As mentioned last night, Texas Democrats have at least ten points of ground to make up with the electorate statewide. Keith Hampton's 55-41 defeat to Sharon Keller is particularly bitter. The appeals court wins were concentrated in the San Antonio-based 4th district, and the winners had Latino surnames. The two Harris County CCA, First and Fourteenth, saw Democratic challengers like Nile Copeland and Barbara Gardner lose by 5 to 7 points (53-46). Justice is still red as a baboon's behind in the Lone Star State.

-- Jill Stein got three-tenths of one percent of the Texas electorate. Disappointing to say the least. Gary Johnson got almost four times as much and that's underperforming for him compared to the rest of the country. I'll have more to say about this in the coming days.

-- Ann Harris Bennett lost her race for tax assessor/collector by 2,400 votes out of over 1.1 million total. There were almost 49,000 undervotes in that tilt.


There's some, but I'll hold it until later.

Charles Kuffner's wrap from last night covered a lot of this ground, and South Texas Chisme excerpts the Brownsville Herald's executive summary graf.

More added to this post as responses and analysis trickle out today.

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