Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Three point two million down the drain

All that money and he barely outdrew Roy Morales.

The unpredictable and unorthodox race for Houston mayor narrowed Tuesday to a choice between a veteran City Hall insider trying to become Houston's first openly gay leader and a former civil rights activist hoping to become only the second African-American to run the nation's fourth-largest city.

City Controller Annise Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke, the two candidates originally predicted by many to prevail at the race's outset, face each other in a Dec. 12 runoff.

Roy. Freaking. Morales.

(T)he big surprise of the night was the strong showing by Roy Morales, the race's only conservative. The retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, who ran with virtually no money and no endorsements compared to his opponents, placed only a few percentage points behind City Councilman Peter Brown, who poured more than $3.2 million of his family fortune into his candidacy.

All of the teevee ads, all of the forests of dead trees who sacrificed their lives for his direct mail pieces, and all of Marc Campos' bleating about it came to naught.

The old axiom about choosing between a real Republican and a pretend one is only partly true in this case -- more people still chose Brown, but barely. Both his and Morales' endorsement will be sought (read: pandered to) over the next five weeks. Let's watch how hard Gene Locke runs to the right in the run-off. Will Beverly Kaufman endorse him a second time?

Meanwhile in the city council races, a pretend Democrat -- Stephen Costello -- did get into a run-off with a real one -- Karen Derr. A couple of incumbents, Sue Lovell and Jo Jones, will have to fight to keep their jobs next month. CO Bradford resurrects his political career after losing the very close Harris County DA race in 2008 with an outright win in Peter Brown's vacated council seat. And the controller's contest heads to a runoff with Ronald Green and MJ Khan barely eliminating Pam Holm.

Two Progressive Coalition candidates, Deb Shafto and Don Cook, managed double-digit vote percentages but missed the run-off.

More fun still to come, and if you want more excruciating detail, Kuffner and Muse and Wythe are where you want to be.

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