Friday, September 20, 2019

H-Town race track 5 weeks long

All the doo dah day.

If the muni elections in Space City don't begin to gin up some enthusiasm -- and the inglorious Mark Jones is here for that -- then there will be a few Republicans who sneak through to upset wins in a few contests.  Orlando Sanchez defeating incumbent Controller Chris Brown could be one such.

Brown's done fine as the town's counter of beans, has the legacy pedigree, and certainly all the money he should need to maintain skyward trajectory toward future political success.  Didn't help his dad, RIP, beat Annise Parker, though.  In a low turnout affair -- perhaps now with Houstonians again struggling with flooded homes and cars -- and with the conservatives agitated as usual, as well as the firemen and -women working hard to eject Mayor Turner, there's a possibility Brown could get caught in a red tide of anti-incumbent sentiment at City Hall.  I'm just sayin'.

So as some local polling begins to trickle out over the next few weeks and pundits like Nancy Sims sniff and prognosticate, Democrats should start thinking about scaring their voters to the polls.

The eleven alphabetically and geographically identified city council districts:

(Since I'm not as plugged in as I used to be, these are really just best guesses as far as who is favored to be selected by their neighbors.  Again, the super source is here.)

A:  Term-limited incumbent Brenda Stardig's chief of staff, Amy Peck, would be the prohibitive favorite in this typically conservative-voting northwest-area district.  The Democrat with the best chance at pushing Peck into a runoff might be Iesheia Ayers-Wilson.

B: CM Jerry Davis, also term-limited, sees fourteen bidding for his chair around the horse shoe down on Bagby.  This is a minority/majority, Democratic district; split almost evenly now -- or at least as of 2017 -- black and Latino (48-45%).  Situated in the north and northeast neighborhoods that encompass the Fifth Ward, Greenspoint, Acres Homes, and Kashmere Gardens, District B's residents are among the oldest, poorest, and least educated in Houston.

The five I'd rate as favorites to move on to the runoff would be, in no particular order:

C:  In stark contrast to B, C is the wealthiest and most Caucasian district in town.  It's also very purple, similar to its counterpart in the Texas Lege (HD-134, represented by that most moderate of Texas Republicans, Sarah Davis).

Mayor pro-tem Ellen Cohen, also term-limited, has endorsed civil rights attorney Abbie Kamin from among the thirteen (six Democrats) running to take her spot.  Community activist and former SDEC member Shelley Kennedy has piled up endorsements from Democratic electeds and orgs.  All candidates reported a total of more than $330,000 in funds raised on their July reports, with Kamin holding $175K of that.  Of the five Republicans hoping to be in December's runoff, I'd give political advisor Mary Jane Smith and former HISD board president Greg Meyers the best odds of taking on Kamin or Kennedy.

D: Should be the funnest election going.  CM Dwight Boykins is challenging Sylvester Turner, and there's a fifteen-member scrum going after his seat.  District D, comprising the south and southeast side, is also predominantly black (Third Ward and Sunnyside) and while there are a few recognizable names in this race -- Carla Brailey, Andrew Burks, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz -- I think it would be a shock if one of the two people in the runoff weren't named Brad "Scarface" Jordan.

E: ... is a GOP district and incumbent Dave Martin has a challenger, but don't expect a surprise.

F: This far west and southwest majority/minority district (17% white, 24% black, 39% Latino, 18% Asian) has sent three different Vietnamese men to city council in the past three elections.  One of them, Democrat Richard Nguyen, returns for another try.  He was the incumbent when barely defeated by conservative Steve Le in 2015; Le is not running again, due in large part to the pay scandal surrounding his former COS.

(Nguyen's own victory in 2013 was a narrow upset over the GOP incumbent, Al Hoang.)

Because the district's races are always close -- with just a few thousand voters turning out, swinging back and forth between R and D -- give Le's new COS Van Huynh a good chance as the only Republican running.  Tiffany Thomas is the other Democrat in the race.  It's all about ground game out here; one of these three could escape without a runoff with a lot of hard work.

G: ... sweeps straight west and south of I-10 and encompasses almost everything north of the Westpark Tollway.  As you might expect of the Memorial area, it's rich, white, and oily.  Republican incumbent Greg Travis isn't being seriously challenged.

H: Campos client -- and Democratic incumbent of this northside, mostly Latino district -- Karla Cisneros draws three challengers, two of whom seem serious: activist Cynthia Reyes-Revilla and former Farrar and Congresista staffer Isabel Longoria.  I can't project whether they are serious enough to push Cisneros into a runoff.

(Campos is also pimping Anna Eastman for HD-148.)

I: Incumbent Robert Gallegos (also east end and southeast) has a Republican challenger but I wouldn't give him much of a shot at unseating the popular councilman.

J: Mike Laster is termed out; there are seven Ds and one R angling for the right to represent this southwest 59 wrap-around.  Once again it's hard for me to gauge favorites, so I'll guess that the Republican Barry Curtis, a former cop, makes it to December against one of Edward Pollard, Nelvin Adriatico, Freddie Cuellar, or Sandra Rodriguez.

K: My CM, Martha Castex-Tatum, isn't going to be upset by either of the two Republicans who decided to enter the race at the last minute.

I'll update this prior to early voting and offer some thoughts about local and state ballot referenda at that time.  Still need to finish my research on those.

No comments: