Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The At Large 1 contest

Here are your contestants, in alphabetical order by last name, from the city's filings page.  I'm only linking to the pages of the candidates that I believe have a realistic shot at the seat.

Last go first.

Griff and Partsch-Galván are perennial losing candidates for city council.  That's really all that can be said about either man.  Wait; Griff lost his tenth bid for city council in 2011 and promised us then that it was his final race, and he used to own a fun, dive-y sports bar that still has his name on it.  JP-G is a freak.  Now that's all.

Provost made the runoff in District D two years ago, clearing a field of twelve with 14% to face off against Dwight Boykins.  She ultimately fell to the incumbent, who had garnered almost enough votes (42.9%) to avoid the runoff.  She is well-known in the African American community as a professional photographer, businesswoman, TSU alum and fundraiser with Alan Helfman, the proprietor of River Oaks Chrysler Dodge Jeep.

Speaking of Boykins, he was the only African American council member who voted against the HERO last year... but he then voted to sustain it last month.  The equal rights ordinance is likely where AL1 will turn, with Pool (a trans-woman) and Lewis (a gay man, also chair of the Harris County Democrats) leading the contingent of pro-tolerance liberals among the Houston electorate.

Pool has run for at-large seats on council in 2011 and 2013, missing the runoff both times.  She has clashed with HGLBT favorite son Lewis a couple of times as well, most recently when she lost the Caucus endorsement last month.  Two years ago, she and the other three Dems -- Rogene Calvert, Roland Chavez, and Brad Batteau -- canceled each other out, allowing Republican Paul Kubosh to defeat Republican Roy Morales in AL3's runoff.  This same dynamic is in play for AL1 this time around.

Of these two, Lewis -- whom I support -- is most likely to move into the runoff.  He has by far the most endorsements, momentum, etc. to be left standing on the evening of November 3rd.  IMHO the only question is who will join him for the December round from among Knox, McCasland, and Oliver.

Knox -- former USAF, former HPD, defeated two years ago in the Stardig/Helena Brown second-time scrum in District A -- is running this time on what's being called the "straight slate".  Knox is the only reasonable Republican option (I am not counting Griff and P-G as reasonable, though they are certainly GOP).  If you think this is going to be a 'bathroom' election, and I do, then it's going to be Knox and Lewis in the final round.

McCasland is roundly praised for efforts in addressing public housing in the county, has the bonafides to be an effective council member, but is supported by too many of the local Democratic Party's conservative wing for my taste.  Bob Stein at U of H likes him as the best chance to move ahead with Lewis, but I am of the opinion that if the Democrats split their votes among their four very qualified candidates in this race, McCasland -- mostly by virtue of having the lowest name recognition -- is the odd man out in a strong field.

Oliver, elected a couple of times to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees -- often a stepping stone to a Council seat -- is the only black man in the race and received the endorsement of the Houston Black Dems, so I rate his chances ahead of Provost's, who doesn't have much online presence to speak of this cycle.  Google returns a lot of activity from two years ago, but she hasn't Tweeted since 2011, her Facebook page is low-profile, and a website in her name is inactive.  Oliver is running hard and has a good platform, but appears to be mum about HERO, from what I can find.  I cannot discount his shot at being one of the top two at the end, but somebody needs to get him on record as favoring or opposing the equal rights ordinance.  It's possible that Provost is only on the ballot to draw down his bid.

Prediction for the runoff: Lewis and either Knox or Oliver.

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