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Council Name-Dropping

January 6, 2011 Houston/Harris 7 Comments

» Examiner: Cohen ponders run for City Council

A poorly-kept secret, here. Usually, when politicians say that people are encouraging them to look at running for an office, it’s a lie. With Cohen, it’s believable.

I would suspect that redistricting at the State House level will lead to the mapmakers trying to make Sarah Davis’ seat safer for her and that would be enough to make it a prohibitively favorable Republican seat. So the odds of seeing another State Rep seat appeal to Ellen Cohen seems remote.

That leaves City Hall if she’s still looking. In Kuff’s overview of upcoming 2011 elections, the only “for sure” At Large seat would be Sue Lovell’s current seat. There’s already a decent-sized line for that seat – maybe not enough to scare off Ellen, but enough to mean she’d have to work a bit harder for it than she might elsewhere. Everything that I’ve heard has revolved around Ellen running for District C, which strikes me as odd in a redistricting year. For one, it’s not clear what District C will be yet. Despite the proximateness of both Ellen’s and Oliver Pennington’s residences (see map below), there’s a good shot that Ellen would be in some formation of either a “new C” or a “new Montrose/Heights” district and not paired with Pennington in the “new G”. That should favor her for a district seat and since she’s establishing herself as being at the front of the line, it would take a lot of hubris to think you’re going to defeat her in November.


pink – District C
purple – District G
green – District D

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. CG says:

    If you look further west along the C-G line, you see that the Galleria is split at Westheimer. It seems to me to make more sense for G to be extended south out in that area, moving the border down to 59 or at least down to Richmond or Westpark. Then all of the Galleria can be in G. In general, I think G will be compacting in towards River Oaks, giving up some of its more northwest parts to Stardig (I forget the letter). If you accept that reasoning for G, then the little chimney of C where Cohen lives should really be in G as well, moving the line down from Westheimer to 59. If C does indeed move north into the Montrose area to transfer those areas out of , I don’t think the people with that agendat will want it to go any further west than Shepherd, where the current D line is. Yet another reason not to leave a little chimney of C north of 59. So I don’t think Cohen can count on being in C, unless the lines are gerrymandered specifically for her, leaving her the “chimney.”

  2. gregwythe says:

    I can see it going either way as to whether Cohen’s home precinct might be more at home in a “new G” vs a “new C.”

    Politically, you’d have to think that there’s no reason that Pennington would want to invite a potential challenger (I don’t think it would happen, but politics is a paranoid-driven business) into his district. And given that Clutterbuck is term-limited, it’s not like there’s anyone else with much motive to keep Cohen out of a new district. About the closest person with any motivation might be Wanda Adams if she wants to push for keeping Montrose in Dist. D (another scenario I don’t see happening).

    As far as determining “communities of interest” and what that might mean for a new C and G (and whatever else), I tend to agree with you on the Galleria making sense for G. But pct. 569 is trending toward a healthy shade of purple with each passing election (51.7% – 41% Perry in 2010). One purple precinct might not mean much in terms of the overall balance of power for a GOP-favored district, but it does suggest that other districts in the area might find it to be more valuable real estate to pack on for a Dem-favorable district.

    Cohen’s home precinct (Pct. 139), can be justified along with other precincts between Westheimer & 59 as being different from the nature of G due to the higher prevalence of apartments. That’s not exactly an air-tight, certain-to-succeed argument and comes undone by the time you get add Pct. 222 to it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of pushback that “south of Westheimer” isn’t the same as “north of Westheimer” once you get west of Shepherd.

  3. CG says:

    I was just focusing on what appears to make sense from a geographic cohesiveness point of view, not protecting Pennington or keeping Cohen “out” of a particular race.

    And I think where you say 222, you meant 233? If you do mean 233, I do see your point that some map-makers would buy the argument that 139 could stay with its east neighbors in C because it votes Dem, while 233 moves into the west and north G district because it votes Rep.

    Of course that would leave 139 as a geographical oddity, sticking out to the west. With 139 in C, you would also split along Kirby, with the presumably aligned business interests split between two council members. I think that is okay for Shepherd, where it has been the case for years, but to split Kirby just to keep Cohen in C? Seems too manipulative to me.

  4. gregwythe says:

    “Seems too manipulative to me.” … Welcome to politics ;-)

    I was referring to 222 (2 boxes south of 139) as being the ill-fitting precinct if you argue that apartments are different from big, expensive homes. Geographically and partisan-lean-wise, it makes sense to keep it as part of a “new C” or whatever it’s called, though. The neighborhood is essentially the Democratic answer to the GOP’s 227 in terms of wealth. 233, I think, makes sense to attach with 139, wherever it ends up going.

  5. gregwythe says:

    One followup point in light of her filing a designation of treasurer for 2011 … I think that makes it a certainty that she’s not drawn into a district with Pennington. There’s no way that an incumbent draws her into their own district.

  6. CG says:

    I think I saw on one of your maps that 139 voted Dem. Perhaps it just voted for Cohen and is otherwise split or leaning Rep. But I know I saw that 233 voted Rep — but maybe that was just for Davis over Cohen, even though it is usually a Dem district (? — sorry I didn’t have time to research it).

    At any rate, I see putting 233 into G because it would keep everything north of 59 in G and be more geographically consistent to draw a straight line and pull in the Galleria, Afton Oaks, Greenway, and then all of Upper Kirby to Shepherd. Shepherd being the historical east boundary of G.

    But if 233 is in G, then I agree with you that 139 fits best there as well (see Upper Kirby discussion above).

    Cohen isn’t a threat to Pennington because even a redrawn G is heavy Rep, so I see her either dropping out or Pennington not really caring. If she challenges Pennington, she won’t be able to raise any real money. So I have to disagree with you on your last comment.

    Sorry about the 233-222 confusion. I totally agree that 222 remains in C. It is all south of Bissonnet and east of Kirby. And, as you say, votes Dem. No reason to even consider moving it in to G.

  7. gregwythe says:

    Pct 233 … 52.6-39.6 Cohen-08; 49.4-48.7 Obama-08; 45.1-49.0 Cornyn-08; 47.0-50.1 Davis-10; 52.6-45.9 White-10;

    Pct 139 is about 4-5 points better for Dems.

    Pennington is a prohibitive favorite for G as long as he’s in it (I don’t see them drawing him into a less-favorable district). But I’ll stick to my point about not inviting any shred of uncertainty that you don’t have to invite.

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