Tuesday, June 24, 2014

HERO continuing skirmishes could influence 2014 election

Especially if Jared Woodfill & company succeed in getting a resolution on the November ballot.

Time is running short for opponents of Houston’s recently passed equal rights ordinance, which supporters call HERO, to gather signatures on a petition to try to overturn it. Opponents led by longtime – and now former because he was recently ousted – Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill are working to turn in at least 17,000 signatures of Houston residents by next Monday. If they can do that and the signatures are verified, the issue will be on track to cause all kinds of additional heat in Houston with potential statewide implications.

On the surface, this would seem to be a classic liberal versus conservative argument playing out at the local level. But one possible statewide consequence has do with Woodfill’s role in the fight coupled with speculation that he’d like to be the next Republican Party of Texas chairman. Meantime, the placement of what’s been framed as a gay-rights issue on the November ballot could be used by Democrats to push their voters to the polls in the state’s largest city during a non-presidential year.

The conservative Christians want to use it to energize their base turnout, but since Republicans are all running against the evil Obama already, I predict that there's no greater gain to be had for them.  In fact I believe it will boost the fortunes of those who stood and fought for equality. 

Woodfill and others ominously call it a “sexual predator act.” As he and other opponents put it on this website: “It will by government decree open thousands of women’s restrooms, showers and girls locker rooms in the city to biological males! Predators and peepers can use it as cover to violate our women and children!”

Now working alongside Steve Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas, Woodfill told Quorum Report on Monday that his group is confident they’ll have enough signatures in time to meet the deadline. “We can't afford to wait. Lives are at risk," Woodfill said. “It’s about the safety of our wives and daughters and kids.”

Woodfill declined to comment on growing speculation that he may be using the issue to position himself as the “conservative choice” for the next chairman of the Texas Republican Party. He stepped down as Harris County Chairman earlier this month after losing to challenger Paul Simpson. Voters in Houston could be forgiven, though, for not noticing Woodfill is no longer chairman given the amount of email blasts he is still sending out regularly about the ordinance. “This isn’t about anybody’s personality,” Woodfill said. “This is about the issue.”

I just can't see anything that could be better for increasing turnout among liberals and progressives than this.  It would in fact be a godsend.

And wouldn't that just be hilarious.


Unknown said...

Any time Woodfill ends up in the news, there are going to be delightful quotes.

He loves the word "sodomite." I can't believe you got several quotes here in which he didn't use it.

Greg said...

Actually, the "sodomite" quote came from Steve Hotze -- and he even had sense to change the word in his own press release.

And I agree that this referendum could be a net-plus for Democrats, but for a different reason than you give. If, in fact, opposition to this ordinance is high in the black and Hispanic communities, the referendum will have the effect of bringing out more black and Hispanic voters to strike it down. But we know that in partisan races these same voters tend to vote Democrat -- meaning that Woodfill's effort could have the effect of striking down the ordinance while increasing the number of Democrat votes in some close legislative and judicial races -- especially the judicial races. Can you talk about a Phyrric victory?

The other thing of note is that Woodfill may recognize this last point and actually like it. After all, this will be the first election after his defeat in the race for county chair, and the Woodfill faction could use the damage they do with the referendum to attack new chair, Paul Simpson. A successful repeal referendum coupled with a bad showing in the partisan races would therefore be a tool to bring back Woodfill as party chair -- or allow him to pick one of his cronies to take on SImpson in 2016.

PDiddie said...

I will guarantee you the ordinance will NOT be struck down.

Whatever (unverifiable) opposition exists to it among minority communities is miniscule compared to those of all stars and stripes who will turn out to vote against its repeal.

I've never been more certain of anything, electorally speaking, in my life.