Friday, February 26, 2010

Early vote doubles in Harris County (and predicted outcomes)

With early voting coming to end this evening, more Houstonians are casting their ballots before next week's primary than in 2006, the last time Texans went to the polls to choose a governor.

According to daily early-voting updates compiled by Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, a total of 55,960 had voted through midafternoon Thursday.

“It will easily double our turnout in early voting as of four years ago,” said Kevin Mauzy, chief deputy in the Harris County clerk's office. In 2006, the total number of early voters through Thursday afternoon was 33,362.

A total of 36,321 Republicans voted through Thursday. That number compares with 18,803 through the same period four years ago. On the Democratic side through Thursday, 23,914 voted early, compared with 6,454 in 2006.

My predictions for next Tuesday: Bill White gets the 60% Dr. Murray said he would; Governor AMF in a run-off with Kay Bailey; Hank Gilbert defeats Kinky Friedman in the race for commissioner of agriculture. Hector Uribe easily bests Bill Burton for commissioner of the general land office.

I can't predict the lieutenant governor contest between Linda Chavez-Thompson and Ronnie Earle, but Marc Katz might just get enough to force a run-off between them. Thompson has the surname advantage that usually sweeps a Democrat to victory in places like the Valley, but Earle's name recognition and perception of competence for the state's highest elected legislative job is formidable. I'll SWAG that Thompson finishes slightly ahead of Earle, run-off or no.

Sheila Jackson Lee comes in first against her two challengers in CD-18, but they hold her under 50% and she goes to a run-off with councilman Jarvis Johnson. Borris Miles edges Al Edwards in HD-146. And Sue Schechter just ahead of Ann Bennett for Harris County Clerk.  Here's a good story Chris Moran at the Chron did about the two women as well as the two Republicans running to replace Beverly Kaufman. Kevin Mauzy, quoted in the excerpt above, is one of them and is piling up his earned media, just as Kaufman promised.  Besides being the Chosen One, Mauzy seems competent and experienced and is running against an extreme party hack named Stan Stanart ...

Long a GOP activist, Stanart said he wants to give the public more confidence in the security and integrity of its elections. He suggested that not all voters are being asked for identification and that elections need protection from the activist group ACORN, which has been plagued by accusations of voter fraud. Stanart did not offer any instances of specific Harris County breaches, though. Stanart is also the former executive director of Citizens Lowering Our Unfair Taxes.

There's your TeaBagger, folks.  Do you think he can win next Tuesday?

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