Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Houston's runoffs, part 1

Thanks to TXElects for their comprehensive wrap of last night this morning's final results.

Four council incumbents -- Martha Castex-Tatum (Dist. K) Robert Gallegos (Dist. I), Dave Martin (Dist. E) and Greg Travis (Dist. G) -- and City Controller Chris Brown won re-election outright.

My predictions here were 4 for 5.  Brown got dented but survived the challenge from Orlando Sanchez.  Blue turnout -- 54-33 in the EV -- got him there.

Mayor Sylvester Turner (47%) will face Tony Buzbee (28%). Turner’s 2015 runoff opponent, Bill King, was a distant third with 14% followed by council member Dwight Boykins (6%). Turnout citywide was 22%.

Turner should be able to get this done.  Buzbee has already shot $10 million of his wad, and who knows how high he will go to win.  He's got a tall hill; Boykins' and Sue Lovell's and possibly some of the others' votes will transfer to Mayor Sly.  Hizzoner will have to beg, plead, and borrow with his cash network, his troops will have to beat the streets in the precincts, and the turnout will have to be there, but this year should look a lot like 2015, when he eased past King for the big chair.

I doubt if it matters whether Chris Bell endorses Buzbee.

The council seat runoffs:
  • A: Amy Peck (45%) and George Zoes (17%)
  • B: Tarsha Jackson (21%) and Cynthia Bailey (14%)
  • C: Abbie Kamin (32%) and Shelley Kennedy (15%)
  • D: Carolyn Evans-Shabazz (17%) and Brad “Scarface” Jordan (15%)
  • F: Tiffany Thomas (39%) and Van Huynh (23%)
  • H: Incumbent Karla Cisneros (38%) and Isabel Longoria (27%)
  • J: Edward Pollard (30%) and Sandra Rodriguez (30%)
  • At Large 1: Incumbent Mike Knox (36%) and Raj Salhotra (22%)
  • At Large 2: Incumbent David Robinson (38%) and Willie Davis (27%)
  • At Large 3: Incumbent Michael Kubosh (48%) and Janaeya Carmouche (22%)
  • At Large 4: Anthony Dolcefino (21%) and Leticia Plummer (16%)
  • At Large 5: Sallie Alcorn (23%) and Eric Dick (20%).
The December runoff date has not been set by the council.

That Peck, Jackson, Thomas, and Plummer have to run off with someone who should have been technically disqualified from the ballot could simply be the typical, casual indictment of poorly informed voters.  Or it could be something worse.

Let's refresh our memories.

Dolcefino lives with his parents at a home they bought in Braeswood Place. The family moved there from Katy in February.

To fulfill the requirement for the full year, Dolcefino said he switched his residence last year to his father’s Kirby Drive office building.

“We’ve consulted with election lawyers about the situation ... They didn’t seem to have a problem,” Dolcefino said.

His father, former TV investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino, acknowledged his son spent much of his early period of residency in Houston at addresses other than the Kirby Drive office he claimed. Still, he said the law allows that location, with an Ashley HomeStore couch, to pass muster.

Vote for Dr. Leticia Plummer, please.

Van Huynh is on less shaky ground.

Huynh listed his address as a house he rents just off Brays Bayou, but he and his wife have owned a home in Brays Oaks for two decades.

That home-- in District K -- is where they still claim a homestead exemption, according to property records.

Huynh said he stays in the rental he listed on his filing form two to three nights a week because it is “more convenient” for his work in District F, where he is chief of staff to incumbent Steve Le.

“Sometimes we have a late meeting and everything, I don’t have to go to the other place,” he said of his primary residence on Wrenthorpe, a 15-minute drive away.

Huynh provided a copy of his lease for the rental within the district, which likely qualifies him under the law. That lease says Huynh has his “main address” at the home outside the district.

The family is in the process of moving to a new home on Turtlewood Court, which is in the district, but they did not purchase that home until July of this year.

District F has a habit of sending Vietnamese men to City Hall regardless of party affiliation, so Tiffany Thomas must recharge her ground game to get past what might be expected to be a groundswell from the Viet-American community.

The candidacy of George Zoes appears to be a joke, and if that's a reflection on Amy Peck's tenure as Brenda Stardig's chief of staff, then District A is in serious trouble.

Zoes lists his address in the shopping center where he owns Ruby’s Wig Salon.

He owns a home nearby on Westview Drive that is less than a one-minute drive from the store, but that house is located in the small city of Spring Valley, outside Houston city limits.

Reached by phone, Zoes said he lives in the strip mall on Bingle Road.

“What are you checking on, exactly?” he said. Then he said he was getting a call on another line and agreed to call back later. He did not respond to questions when reached later.

His lawyer, Joe Synoradzki, said Zoes has been forced to live in the shopping center because his Westview home flooded in Hurricane Harvey.

Sounds like a prospective CM willing to be held accountable to his voters, doesn't he?

Cynthia Bailey is the only one of these whose ballot disqualification should have happened not because of a residency violation.

Bailey was convicted in 2007 of theft over $200,000 and sentenced to 10 years in jail, though she did not have to serve the full sentence.

Bailey declined an interview, but provided the Chronicle with a statement.

“I am eligible to run to serve the great people of District B, as I have paid my debt to society, my voting rights have been restored and I meet all necessary criteria to run and serve,” the statement said.

Tarsha Jackson and her TOP crew should be able to win this runoff.

I'll blog the other races above tomorrow.

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