Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Mayor's race tied, Gonzalez in for sheriff, and more *updates*

-- The unaffiliated-with-any-campaign poll shows it 38-38.

The Houston mayor's race appears to be a dead heat after the close of early voting Tuesday, according to a new poll and political experts who have reviewed ballot records, setting the stage for a four-day campaign sprint to usher voters to the polls on Saturday.

More than 113,000 voters had cast ballots by the end of early voting Tuesday. Through Monday, turnout had been concentrated in the same African-American and white conservative precincts that vaulted state Rep. Sylvester Turner and businessman Bill King into the runoff to succeed term-limited Mayor Annise Parker.

The end of early voting coincided with the release of the first independent poll of the runoff, showing Turner and King tied at 38 percent support among likely voters.

"I've never seen a race this close this late in the election," said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein, who conducted the survey for the University of Houston's Hobby Center for Public Policy on behalf of KHOU-11 and Houston Public Media.

24% of voters who describe themselves as having "already voted in the runoff, or were certain or very likely to do so" are undecided.  That's a weirdly high number of people who seemingly won't make up their minds until Saturday.   

Update: Kuff and KHOU. If you watch the video at the teevee station link, it shows that 'undecided' is actually 13% and 'refused to answer' is 11%.  This reminds me of all the undecideds in the HERO polling before the general, and as Kuff also wondered: why are people who are likely to vote refusing to answer the question?

-- Ed Gonzalez for Sheriff.  That's an early Christmas present for local Democrats.

City Councilman Ed Gonzalez,  an 18-year Houston Police Department veteran, announced Tuesday that he will run for Harris County Sheriff next year.

Gonzalez is finishing his third and final term as councilman of District H, the majority Hispanic district that includes the Near Northside and the Woodland Heights, in addition to some neighborhoods north of the 610 Loop. Gonzalez currently serves as mayor pro tem and chairs the council's Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

"My passion has always been public safety, it's been kind of my wheelhouse," Gonzalez said. "It's something that I just feel, as a someone who cares about public safety, I want to continue to serve in this capacity. ..."

Gonzalez has a big mess to clean up over there, but you can rest assured that voters next November are going to assign the job to him.  With Hillary Clinton and Joaquin Castro at the top of the ticket, the Third Way Dems can ignore the protests of progressives and replace all of their votes and then some with Latinos.  (I'll have more on this shortly.)

-- Will people who do not vote continue to have representation in Congress and the state legislatures? The SCOTUS is going to let us know some time next year.

Sue Evenwel, a conservative activist from Mount Pleasant in rural Northeast Texas believes it isn't necessarily fair to have the same number of people in every legislative district in the state.

She thinks the Texas state Senate map should be based on the number of eligible voters instead - to ensure that every vote counts the same. Last year, she and another conservative voter from Montgomery County sued the state in an attempt to force it to change the way it draws its legislative districts.

On Tuesday, U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in her case, a challenge that has become a national flashpoint in the debate over minority voting rights and undocumented immigrants.

The arguments were closely watched by activists on both sides of the political divide, particularly by Hispanic groups who say her plan would dilute the Latino vote by excluding children, legal permanent residents and those brought into the country illegally as children.

Analysts say it would also greatly diminish the political clout of Democratic-leaning cities like Houston, while increasing the influence of rural white voters who skew Republican.

For the justices who will rule on her challenge, the case also raised fundamental questions about the very nature of political representation in a democracy.

"Well, it is called one-person, one vote," said Chief Justice John Roberts. "That seems designed to protect voters."

Kuff's post is a great place to find info for a deeper dive.  Taking CJ Roberts' words at face value, it seems possible that voters might be the only ones who count, but as with the gun case earlier this week, there could also be a chance for the less partisan justices to demonstrate their temperance to their freak right colleagues.

My humble O?  No matter which way the Supremes go, it makes Democrats' job to turn out their vote more critical than ever.

-- The Republican judge presiding over Ken Paxton's trial is running for the state Court of Criminal Appeals, because he thinks -- as a result of his recent experience with Paxton's lawyers -- that justice is threatened in Texas.

In legal filings and court hearings, Attorney General Ken Paxton's legal team has taken a scorched earth approach to attacking (Judge Chris) Oldner, accusing the veteran Republican jurist of orchestrating a Machiavellian plot to get Paxton indicted by the grand jury that he oversaw.

"It's a common tactic for criminal defendants; when they have reached a desperate place, they attack the process," Judge Oldner said in an exclusive interview with News 8. "They attack prosecutors, they attack law enforcement, and they'll even attack the judge."

But Paxton is no common criminal defendant. As the attorney general, he is the state's top law officer.
Paxton's legal team has accused Oldner of — among other things — improperly selecting the grand jury, entering the grand jury room when he shouldn't have, and leaking confidential grand jury information to his wife, Cissy.

Last month, Oldner announced that rather than running for his current judicial post — a job he's held for more than a decade — he was going to run for the Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal appeals court.

"Right now, we are facing an unprecedented time," Oldner said. "The system and the integrity of the system is being attacked, and I think it's important for strong, good, ethical judges to stand up and push back against the special interests."

Oldner talks of "dark money agenda groups who use massive email lists and web sites to push an agenda."

"When you face bullies, you have to stand up and push back," he said.

Land O'Goshen, this could be a Republican I could vote for.

-- The state Republican party douchebags are going to keep fighting over secession and equal rights and a few other things nobody else in the state of Texas gives a damn about.

Anger is building among some in the Republican Party of Texas over the way the State Republican Executive Committee meeting this weekend was handled by new Chairman Tom Mechler. But others are thankful he presided over the death of a controversial ballot resolution on secession that critics said caused the state’s governing party to be a “laughing stock” for most of the past week.

The anger now festering among some conservatives is the type of ire Mechler has been largely successful in containing since he was installed earlier this year by the SREC after former Chairman Steve Munisteri retired.

But some believe Mechler’s prevention of the steam from being released now could ultimately cost him the party's top job next year when he’s expected to face a fiery challenger at the 2016 RPT Convention in the Metroplex.

Longtime observers of the inner workings of the state GOP noted that exerting control in the midst of an executive committee meeting is very different from fending off a challenge from the far right at a convention. That is especially true for a rural chairman – Mechler is a businessman from Amarillo – at a convention held in one of the state’s major cities dominated by urban and suburban delegates.

Jared Woodfill thinks he can do a better job than Mechler.  It's as big a clusterf as their presidential nominating contest.  Days like these are when it's hard to believe that Democrats are getting their asses kicked by these clowns.


-- Should African Americans boycott Mattress Mack for his support of Bill King?

-- Marc Campos rumor-mongers that Adrian Garcia will primary Gene Green.


meme said...

That lawsuit does not effect Congress. Not sure that it will be bad for Democrats in the long run, that is why I suspect that Texas is fighting it.

PDiddie said...

I suspect that if the suit is successful, redistricting Congressional seats comes along quickly behind. Falling dominoes and all that.

Gadfly said...

Meme, per Perry's comment, given that it directly challenges Reynolds v Sims on state reps, which then led to Wesberry v Sanders on Congressional races, falling dominoes indeed.

Re Wesberry: "The Supreme Court asserted that Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution requires that representatives shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and shall be "apportioned among the several States...according to their respective Numbers...." These words, the Court held, mean that "as nearly as practicable one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's."

WTF SCOTUS is doing taking this case, I have no idea.

meme said...

Congressional is based on population by law, that is why they are naming the state senate seats. The way that the Republicans do it is to pack as many minorities in a district thereby allowing them to create winnable Republican districts and using the voting rights law, the part that benefits them in creation of districts, that is how they moved Chris Bell out and got Al Green.

They make the Democrats the party of the darkies, well darker than the Republicans. Birds of a feather stick together is pretty much true most of the time, think on that.

If it has to be by voters or registered voters than it may be harder to create as many Republicans seats.

meme said...

Texas would lose congressional districts, would that really be that bad? In the long run I am not sure what the Democrats win by counting people that cannot vote or do not want to vote. I really think that in the long run it will be beneficial to the working persons that vote. In 2014 Democratic primary less than 7,000 people cast a vote for the person in Congressional District 29 in the primary, that is less than 3% of the registered voters.

The number of Congressional districts is set at 435 if memory serves me correctly. I need to think possibilities that I can come up with.

Gadfly said...

First, you obviously ignored the "dominos" comments by the other two of us.

Second, no, it would make it easier, not harder. Dunno why that's so hard to understand. Would mean more districts to hold more regularly voting voters, and, as I said on Twitter, the GOP could make a state senate district 300 miles long x 20 wide in the lower Valley.

meme said...

I didn't ignore it, I just think that maybe we have different opinions as to what can happen. I have lived long enough to see the pendulum swing in both directions. In fact just a few days ago I think I read PDiddy state that maybe things have to get really bad for Democrats before there may be change. There are senate districts like the one you describe that exist today. Could be that my definition of not bad is really bad for others.