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Runoff 2011

Belatedly …

Helena Brown     3,035 55.5%
Brenda Stardig   2,435 44.5%
Cast Votes:      5,470

Alvin Byrd       3,029 49.2%
Jerry Davis      3,127 50.8%
Cast Votes:      6,156

Kristi Thibaut  25,945 49.8%
Andrew Burks    26,156 50.2%
Cast Votes:     52,101 

Jack Christie   30,600 54.2%
Jolanda Jones   25,819 45.8%
Cast Votes:     56,419 

Tough to see any situation whereby Andrew Burks will be on council for two full years. The GOP types who played in the election wanted him there, though. It’ll be interesting to see how he ends up voting. Likewise, with Jack Christie.

Kuff notes that the next cycle has only one open seat: Melissa Noriega’s. And whether anyone thinks their odds would be better there or in a smaller field against Burks is certainly a worthwhile question for now. But it’ll have to wait until we have a sense of who sees 2013 as their time for either At Large spot. I’d hope to see a viable Hispanic candidate end up in the mix for either seat. Whether Jones and/or Stardig look to make comebacks next time around also seems like a good hypothetical.

As for finding some meaning behind it all, I’m not convinced that there’s much to find. I’m not quite convinced of Professor Stein’s hypothesis from the General Election. And I’m not entirely convinced it was the central defining issue of the runoff, either.

Among the things I’ll be looking for in the final canvass is what the vote looks like among the absentees vs the in-person ballots. In the case of the AL2 contest, that made all of the difference for Burks. And my hunch is that it allowed him to get a slice of the GOP-leaning vote that he probably didn’t get among the in-persons.

As for “JoJo/Christie 5″, I think the contest had it’s own dynamic, independent of much of the other races going on. And while the turnout model of 2009 and the Mayoral runoff that followed helped save Jolanda, while the lower turnout of 2011 and significantly lower turnout of the runoff made it too steep of a hill. Suffice it to say, but if elections were held in even numbered years, Houston City Council would look dramatically different.


At Large Returns: ‘Hood by ‘Hood

Picking up where I left off with the hood-by-hood analysis, here's all of the At Large contests below the fold ...

At Large 1

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
               Costello  P-Galvan   Boates   Cook
Heights         61.4%      5.3%     21.7%    11.6%
Meyerland       65.1%      4.2%     19.4%    11.3%
Montrose        74.3%      4.9%     10.9%     9.8%
Rice U          72.2%      3.3%     15.6%     8.9%
African-American Neighborhoods
               Costello  P-Galvan   Boates   Cook
Acres Homes     41.1%      7.3%     24.1%    27.5%
UH/TSU          44.4%      8.6%     20.4%    26.6%
Fifth Ward      39.4%      9.5%     18.0%    33.0%
Sunnyside       43.4%      7.2%     22.0%    27.4%
Hiram Clarke    49.1%      7.8%     18.9%    24.2%
Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
               Costello  P-Galvan   Boates   Cook
Clear Lake      50.0%      4.6%     31.8%    13.6%
Galleria        56.2%      2.6%     30.2%    11.0%
Kingwood        39.5%      3.5%     38.7%    18.2%
Garden Oaks     53.3%      6.1%     28.3%    12.3%
River Oaks      66.8%      2.6%     20.6%    10.1%
Spring Branch   45.0%      6.8%     34.4%    13.8%
Memorial        54.4%      2.4%     32.5%    10.6%
Sharpstown      50.9%      7.8%     22.6%    18.6%
Hispanic Neighborhoods
               Costello  P-Galvan   Boates   Cook
East End        51.8%     28.6%      8.8%    10.7%
Near Northside  47.3%     23.5%     12.2%    17.0%
Hobby           48.8%     14.6%     17.0%    19.6%
Multicultural Neighborhoods
               Costello  P-Galvan   Boates   Cook
Alief           45.6%     10.0%     21.6%    22.8%

At Large 2

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
                  Thi    Per    Bur    Fra   Dick   Pool  Griff    Rob    Sho
Heights         18.5%   7.9%   5.7%  13.5%  11.7%  17.3%  12.5%  10.2%   1.6%
Meyerland       23.3%  13.6%  10.0%   8.9%   4.9%   7.4%  16.0%  11.2%   3.0%
Montrose        14.7%   6.3%   3.4%   9.4%   6.6%  28.1%  10.3%  18.9%   1.2%
Rice U          23.3%   8.5%   7.2%  12.0%   4.0%   9.4%   9.8%  23.0%   1.7%
African-American Neighborhoods
                  Thi    Per    Bur    Fra   Dick   Pool  Griff    Rob    Sho
Acres Homes     10.0%   3.4%  40.7%   3.8%   3.9%   4.6%   3.8%  16.5%  12.0%
UH/TSU           6.9%   3.1%  34.5%   4.8%   2.3%   5.5%   4.5%  14.1%  23.5%
Fifth Ward       9.3%   4.3%  27.3%   2.8%   5.3%   4.3%   4.4%  23.9%  16.2%
Sunnyside        3.4%   2.7%  54.3%   2.0%   1.2%   1.9%   3.2%  13.3%  17.3%
Hiram Clarke     8.2%   7.7%  27.0%   5.0%   2.3%   3.6%   4.8%  21.6%  18.2%

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
                  Thi    Per    Bur    Fra   Dick   Pool  Griff    Rob    Sho
Clear Lake      21.6%  20.7%  13.5%   5.5%   8.7%   5.4%  12.6%   8.0%   1.9%
Galleria        20.1%  16.7%  17.5%  10.1%   8.5%   4.1%  11.5%   8.8%   1.1%
Kingwood        14.6%  25.2%  19.1%   5.4%  11.7%   4.5%   7.3%   8.1%   1.6%
Garden Oaks     13.9%  15.4%   8.7%  12.6%  14.9%  13.7%  10.9%   7.0%   1.3%
River Oaks      18.0%  11.3%  12.1%  10.5%   9.1%   6.4%  12.3%  17.0%   1.7%
Spring Branch   17.8%  17.9%  15.1%   6.2%  10.1%   6.1%  10.9%  10.3%   2.1%
Memorial        24.6%  18.2%  16.5%   6.3%  11.4%   2.6%   9.2%   8.6%   1.2%
Sharpstown      18.9%  16.5%  11.3%  10.1%   8.8%   6.5%  11.0%  12.2%   1.9%

Hispanic Neighborhoods
                  Thi    Per    Bur    Fra   Dick   Pool  Griff    Rob    Sho
East End         7.5%  28.0%   2.4%  45.0%   3.4%   3.7%   3.6%   3.5%   1.1%
Near Northside   7.8%  30.9%   8.4%  23.0%   5.1%   5.4%   6.7%   6.4%   4.0%
Hobby            8.7%  25.1%  13.5%  12.5%   5.6%   4.8%   9.0%  10.1%   8.6%
Multicultural Neighborhoods
                  Thi    Per    Bur    Fra   Dick   Pool  Griff    Rob    Sho
Alief           38.2%  15.4%  11.1%   3.4%   5.8%   4.4%   5.2%   9.5%   4.7%

At Large 3

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
               Noriega   Carmona  Batteau
Heights         68.3%     23.2%     8.5%
Meyerland       64.2%     26.4%     9.4%
Montrose        78.8%     13.9%     7.3%
Rice U          73.5%     19.3%     7.2%
African-American Neighborhoods
               Noriega   Carmona  Batteau
Acres Homes     49.6%     12.6%    37.8%
UH/TSU          41.8%      7.0%    51.2%
Fifth Ward      50.1%     17.8%    32.1%
Sunnyside       55.2%     14.2%    30.6%
Hiram Clarke    49.9%     15.5%    34.6%

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
               Noriega   Carmona  Batteau
Clear Lake      49.4%     39.1%    11.5%
Galleria        44.1%     44.0%    11.9%
Kingwood        35.2%     48.5%    16.2%
Garden Oaks     57.4%     31.7%    10.9%
River Oaks      55.4%     32.6%    12.0%
Spring Branch   44.6%     40.4%    14.9%
Memorial        43.3%     45.0%    11.8%
Sharpstown      53.6%     30.6%    15.8%

Hispanic Neighborhoods
               Noriega   Carmona  Batteau
East End        79.2%     16.5%     4.3%
Near Northside  60.9%     26.3%    12.8%
Hobby           59.2%     25.3%    15.5%

Multicultural Neighborhoods
               Noriega   Carmona  Batteau
Alief           50.3%     27.1%    22.6%

At Large 4

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
                Molnar    Price   Bradford
Heights           9.8%    28.1%    62.2%
Meyerland         9.6%    22.8%    67.5%
Montrose         11.8%    24.1%    64.1%
Rice U            8.3%    21.7%    70.0%
African-American Neighborhoods
                Molnar    Price   Bradford
Acres Homes       2.2%     7.3%    90.5%
UH/TSU            2.6%     8.5%    88.8%
Fifth Ward        4.5%     7.6%    87.9%
Sunnyside         2.1%     8.4%    89.5%
Hiram Clarke      5.5%    11.5%    83.0%
Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
                Molnar    Price   Bradford
Clear Lake       12.9%    24.6%    62.5%
Galleria         10.2%    17.6%    72.2%
Kingwood         10.4%    27.5%    62.2%
Garden Oaks      10.6%    24.7%    64.6%
River Oaks        8.3%    17.9%    73.8%
Spring Branch    13.9%    26.8%    59.4%
Memorial         10.7%    20.3%    69.0%
Sharpstown       14.7%    30.4%    54.9%
Hispanic Neighborhoods
                Molnar    Price   Bradford
East End         28.8%    29.1%    42.1%
Near Northside   27.4%    31.6%    41.0%
Hobby            15.7%    25.3%    59.0%
Multicultural Neighborhoods
                Molnar    Price   Bradford
Alief            15.4%    28.2%    56.4%

At Large 5

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
                Robinson  Jones  Christie   Ryan
Heights          26.4%    37.9%   27.8%     7.8%
Meyerland        26.3%    23.3%   41.7%     8.6%
Montrose         23.4%    45.6%   22.6%     8.4%
Rice U           24.0%    31.5%   37.2%     7.3%
African-American Neighborhoods
                Robinson  Jones  Christie   Ryan
Acres Homes      20.1%    76.8%    2.1%     1.0%
UH/TSU           15.0%    80.7%    2.8%     1.6%
Fifth Ward       17.5%    77.0%    2.7%     2.8%
Sunnyside        11.4%    83.7%    3.2%     1.7%
Hiram Clarke     16.9%    73.9%    5.2%     4.0%
Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
                Robinson  Jones  Christie   Ryan
Clear Lake       20.0%    15.2%   54.5%    10.3%
Galleria         15.4%    11.9%   64.8%     7.9%
Kingwood         18.0%     8.8%   61.9%    11.2%
Garden Oaks      23.3%    21.8%   44.5%    10.3%
River Oaks       16.7%    15.6%   58.4%     9.3%
Spring Branch    16.7%    15.9%   58.7%     8.8%
Memorial         12.1%    11.8%   69.6%     6.5%
Sharpstown       21.9%    21.9%   43.1%    13.0%
Hispanic Neighborhoods
                Robinson  Jones  Christie   Ryan
East End         30.2%    35.5%   20.7%    13.6%
Near Northside   27.7%    32.3%   26.1%    13.9%
Hobby            23.0%    37.3%   28.3%    11.4%
Multicultural Neighborhoods
                Robinson  Jones  Christie   Ryan
Alief            17.4%    38.4%   32.6%    11.6%


Mayoral Returns: ‘Hood by ‘Hood

A little bit of reminder on how these calculations are done: I'm not perfectly defining the entire neighborhood with each definition below. I am looking at about 5-7 precincts that cover the area of each neighborhood. In some cases, that may mean that 100% of the neighborhood is accounted for. In some, that may mean that 25% of the neighborhood is covered.

The comparison for the first round in 2009 can be found here. For the life of me, I'm not sure why I didn't blog the results for the runoff, but I did manage to put them on the wiki.

The design is to get a feel for how an area voted, even if by a fairly large sample of the neighborhood's precincts. With that, here's how the Mayoral election shaped up.

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods

                Simms    Wilson  Herrera  Parker  O'Connor
Heights          1.7%     6.8%    19.6%    62.5%    9.4%   
Meyerland        1.3%     9.1%    10.0%    66.3%   13.4%   
Montrose         0.9%     3.7%     6.1%    82.9%    6.4%   
Rice U           0.9%     5.1%     6.0%    78.0%    9.9%   

These were obviously packed into District C, which accounts for Parker's strong showing there. No great surprises, but I continue to be a bit cautious of the Heights. Since the area is undergoing a fair amount of "re-honkification", a growing rightwing vote shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

African-American Neighborhoods

                Simms    Wilson  Herrera  Parker  O'Connor
Acres Homes     19.7%     9.6%    20.7%    43.8%    6.2%   
UH/TSU          15.8%     7.7%     8.8%    63.4%    4.3%   
Fifth Ward      25.8%    13.3%    10.3%    44.8%    5.8%   
Sunnyside       18.5%    12.1%    13.9%    45.0%   10.5%   
Hiram Clarke    18.2%    12.9%    10.9%    52.2%    5.7%   

This is the area where a conservative Afr-Am candidate (Simms) was designed to pull votes out of Parker's column. What surprises me most here is the degree to which Wilson, Herrera, and O'Connor also peel away some votes. In sum, I think it's a fair guess that Parker was narrowly below a majority in these and other Afr-Am precincts. Chalk this up to another datapoint for Afr-Am voters not being overly supportive of GLBT candidates. Whether it's causal, coincidental, or otherwise, I'm not quite prepared to evaluate. But it's interesting, to say the least. Coalition parties rely on cohesiveness and even the slightest of fissures are well worth noting.

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods

                Simms    Wilson  Herrera  Parker  O'Connor
Clear Lake       1.5%    17.6%     9.8%    50.0%   21.1%   
Galleria         1.1%    14.3%     9.5%    53.3%   21.8%   
Kingwood         2.8%    15.7%    17.8%    31.9%   31.8%   
Garden Oaks      1.9%    17.3%    16.6%    49.0%   15.3%   
River Oaks       1.5%     9.3%     6.0%    68.6%   14.7%   
Spring Branch    2.7%    15.7%    20.3%    40.6%   20.7%   
Memorial         1.1%    14.0%    11.4%    47.8%   25.7%   
Sharpstown       3.3%    16.1%    14.7%    49.7%   16.1%   

This is an interesting bit of diversity in terms of how these areas vote in support of or in opposition to Annise Parker. It's not terribly surprising that the older, more establishment-ish GOP areas are more supportive of an incumbent who's governed pretty moderately in her first term. But this is a good snapshot of the divide within the GOP's coalition.

Hispanic Neighborhoods

                Simms    Wilson  Herrera  Parker  O'Connor
East End         2.2%     5.7%    39.0%    48.3%    4.7%   
Near Northside   3.9%     9.6%    42.0%    36.5%    7.9%   
Hobby            8.4%    15.7%    26.7%    35.7%   13.4%   

This is a big problem and one that I don't think has been made enough of for this election. Hispanic voters had an out-sized impact on this election. Unfortunately for Annise Parker, I don't think we'll see them celebrate the fact that she tanked in areas outside of the more politically connected East End neighborhoods. I've said it once and I'll say it a million times more if needed: Hispanics do vote. And this time around, they almost voted strongly enough against a Mayor to send her into a runoff.

Multicultural Neighborhoods

                Simms    Wilson  Herrera  Parker  O'Connor
Alief            7.3%    10.6%    13.0%    52.7%   16.3%   

Ideally, I'd like to add a few more neighborhoods like this to my election analysis since it's a growing group of voter clusters. Hiram Clarke, arguably, belongs in this group already. But all I take from this and Hiram Clarke combined is that the Mayor hit her baseline and that's about all.

The grand sum of all this is something that I think was evident in the district-by-district analysis and some single-precinct spot-checking. The Mayor basically had about 50% of the vote for the taking and it was fairly even, geographically. She killed in District C (just as she did in 2009) and got whacked in Kingwood. The surprises this time around were the Hispanic vote and her drop-off in Spring Branch.

The Insider Coalition
In 2009, Annise Parker benefited in some areas because she was running against an Afr-Am candidate. I think the best way to really understand how the 2011 elections compare has already been stated by Kuff: this was essentially an election between Annise Parker and a generic "anybody but Annise" gaggle of candidates.

If you were to re-run the 2011 election season with the two most mentioned opponents who never seem to run for offices they tell reporters they're looking at running for (just sayin'), I think it's fair to assume that there would be a runoff. But whoever that runoff opponent turns out to be would get smoked something like 65-35. In other words, the pincer strategy doesn't exist. Minorities that voted against Parker would vote for her if the opponent were Paul Bettencourt. GOP voters that voted against her this time would flock to her against Ben Hall in much the same way they did against Gene Locke.

That's not to say that Annise is invincible at somewhere around 50-55% of the vote. Things can change for good or bad during her next term. But there definitely seems to be an interesting pattern of how a group of voters can hold the balance between a coalesced Afr-Am vote and a GOP-leaning vote that always seems possible to turn out in far greater numbers. The fact that those two groups aren't able to join together is the biggest thing keeping the famous "Greanias Line" as a sustainable floor of support for Inner-Loop Anglo voters and politically connected/attentive minority voters as opposed to a ceiling that once prevented them from electoral success. How that formula holds up after Parker's tenure should be pretty interesting to watch for.


Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 2 Results

Here's the simplest view of the At Large 2 race that I can do for the time being. This is basically a heat map for the top three candidates. If I wanted to be thorough, I could do another with combined Burks/Shorter vote and another with combined Perez/Fraga vote. Those would amplify the showings for more demographic-based voting. But other than show the more extreme contours of where any the Afr-Am vote is likely to be for Andew Burks in the runoff, I'm not sure that they're necessary for now. One obvious point about Kristi's base of support is that it tracks almost identically with House District 133, where she's been on the ballot three times.

I may get around to mapping these out by order of finish, which should outline where I think Kristi has a good opportunity for winning in much the same way that Annise Parker's 2009 map against Gene Locke's order of finish showed her path to victory. The obvious catch with this view, however, is the same thing that gives Jones her opportunity for AL5 ... Afr-Am precincts will see a higher percentage of vote return to the polls for runoffs than the precincts Kristi will win. That levels the playing field somewhat, but I'd still say that Kristi starts off with more advantages.

The color-coding is obviously different for this map since nobody really got 75% of the vote anywhere. Also, I kept the color-coding the same for three different candidates across each map. If there's any confusion, drop a comment and let me know.

Kristi Thibaut (default) - Andrew Burks - Elizabeth Perez

full page - Google Earth

dark blue - 25% or more for candidate
blue - 20-25% for candidate
light blue - 15-20% for candidate
purple - 10-15% for candidate
pink - 5-10% for candidate
red - 0-5% for candidate


Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 5 Results

No doubt, this is the most bi-polar map we'll see for the 2011 election in Houston. There's a lot of ways to interpret this and I think it's very possible to look at the results for this contest and conclude that either JoJo or Christie has a leg up for the runoff.

Historically, African-American precincts are better at coming back out for the runoff than GOP voters who may look at city government as something void of opportunity for expressing their worldview. Turnout in this round was pretty close between westside GOP and southside Afr-Am precincts. I'd expect turnout to be good for the latter and drop off a bit for the former when December 10 rolls around. The runoff in District B on the northside certainly doesn't hurt JoJo one bit, either.

But one characteristic of this contest is that it had the lowest dropoff of all the At Large contests. People weren't lacking for an opinion on this contest and JoJo's starting point this time around is lower than it was going into the runoff in 2009. She didn't have much margin for error this time and the first glance looks like she's dipped below whatever that margin was.

All that said, it'll be the Anglo Dem areas that determine this outcome. JoJo got some high-40s in Montrose that will turn into 70-75% wins in December. But her performance in Meyerland/Westbury was in the low-to-mid 20s while Jack Christie rarely broke 40%. In the Heights, JoJo was in the mid-30s, typically leading Christie by a slight amount. In Hispanic areas, the pattern is similar, with JoJo ahead and likely to pull out a win in a head-to-head contest with Christie. It's basically the same exact pattern as 2009 for this election. Whoever wins those probably wins the election. Alterations in turnout may be a complicating factor, though. Christie's best bet seems to be that Anglo GOP voters are motivated for a December election - and probably moreso to vote against JoJo than for Christie.

So factoring all that in, my sense from looking at a few of the neighborhoods and specific precinct returns is a bit more optimistic for identifying a path for JoJo winning this contest and Kristi Thibaut winning the AL2 runoff. Both should be close, though.

full page - Google Earth

dark blue - 65% or more Jolanda Jones
blue - 55-65% Jolanda Jones
light blue - 50-55% Jolanda Jones
purple - 45-50% Jolanda Jones
pink - 35-45% Jolanda Jones
red - 0-35% Jolanda Jones


Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 1 Results

The last of the Al Large "normal" re-election bids here. Not too surprisingly, Costello's pattern looks most similar to Parker's. My sense is that the places where he did marginally better (like the western periphery of Dist. C), may be due to the intensity of vote not being quite the same as it would be against the Mayor. If so, then maybe it helps a bit that he's not the most well-known council member. I still think it makes more sense for the guy to spend a little more to define himself. Because you just never know when someone with a checkbook will decide to do it for you ... and not in a way that you'd like.

Costello's taken on some high-profile projects in his term so far. Not all of them entirely well-recieved, but that's par for the course. I just think if you're going to go through the trouble of taking some leadership on council, that it makes sense to more actively manage your own destiny with the electorate at the same time.

full page - Google Earth

dark blue - 65% or more Stephen Costello
blue - 55-65% Stephen Costello
light blue - 50-55% Stephen Costello
purple - 45-50% Stephen Costello
pink - 35-45% Stephen Costello
red - 0-35% Stephen Costello


Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 4 Results

C.O. Bradford's re-election map here for the AL4 contest. As Kuff notes, the lack of a GOP (or even GOP-ish) challenger makes this a very odd outcome. Bradford won every council district in his re-election bid. Kingwood even voted for him. The most heavily Hispanic precincts were his low point, but even here, the lack of a clear, defined alternative with a buck or two to communicate to voters salvaged Bradford from all but a few boxes lost to either challenger.

As Kuff points out, there's not point in totally dismissing the impressiveness in Bradford's showing, but I don't think I'm inclined to say that this represents any foreshadowing of a Locke-ian "pincer" strategy. Had there been a straight-up, higher-profile contest between Bradford and Parker, I think Kingwood voters would revert to their 2009 stance and vote for Parker. As Herman Cain might say, Bradford's performance here is apples and oranges to how it will be if he opts to move up in city government. For now, though, here's the apples ...

full page - Google Earth

dark blue - 65% or more C.O. Bradford
blue - 55-65% C.O. Bradford
light blue - 50-55% C.O. Bradford
purple - 45-50% C.O. Bradford
pink - 35-45% C.O. Bradford
red - 0-35% C.O. Bradford


Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 3 Results

Picking up where I left off, here's the map for Melissa Noriega's At Large - 3 re-election bid. See Kuff for the District-by-District breakdown for this contes. Obviously, Melissa did better in Hispanic precincts, where Carmona was unable to crack 20% for the most part. There were a few Anglo Dem boxes where Noriega underperformed Annise Parker by about 3-5 points.

At some point, I'll have the full neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis as well. For now, poke, prod, and explore however many precincts you want. I'm obviously in the process of going through each contest, so it's an all-out mapping kinda day.

full page - Google Earth

dark blue - 65% or more Melissa Noriega
blue - 55-65% Melissa Noriega
light blue - 50-55% Melissa Noriega
purple - 45-50% Melissa Noriega
pink - 35-45% Melissa Noriega
red - 0-35% Melissa Noriega


District J: A Very Different Kind of Opportunity

» Chron: After vote, Houston Latinos fail to capture district

Good reading as Joe Holley finally gets to the core of why District J isn't the Hispanic opportunity district that some folks thought they saw on the map.

Even though Hispanic population growth fueled the four-seat expansion of Texas' congressional delegation, fewer than half of all Hispanics (43.1 percent) are eligible to vote, according to figures from the Pew Hispanic Center. That number compares with nearly 8-in-10 whites and 7-in-10 blacks who are eligible to vote.

Although Hispanics make up 63 percent of the 180,000 residents of District J, only 17 percent of registered voters are Hispanic. Many are non-U.S. citizens or under age 18.

The low percentage of Hispanics eligible to vote, combined with a relatively well-known Anglo candidate who spent nearly 10 times as much money as his neophyte challengers - $40,000 to about $4,000 for both his opponents - made District J an opportunity district in name only. Anglos cast more than 50 percent of the vote.

It would be a disservice to compare the election returns in this election to another Ben Reyes/Gene Green type of election loss for a Hispanic candidate in a Hispanic opportunity district. The central difference between SW Houston and the East End and North Side is the difference in citizenship rates among Hispanics. As I've been saying repeatedly, the demographic changes in the last decade, combined with the rise in immigration, were very unique and different changes from what we've seen before. And if the more recent trend is an indication, it's one that won't have the same impact on this decade. Births and deaths, the aging of more voter-eligible Hispanic and Asian youth, combined with intra-state/intra-county/intra-city migration will be more important factors unless we see another spike in immigration like we saw from 1998-2007.

But regardless of how the broader trends play out, Gulfton seems likely to be a starting point for an enormous number of new immigrant families. That means they don't vote. That means they can't vote. And if and when they become citizens, or their kids grow up to be of voting age ... they're likelier to move away from SW Houston. Aside from the remnants of Sharpstown's previous migration of 1950s white flight, Jewish population, and weird people like me that enjoy what the area has to offer ... the neighborhood, as a whole, isn't thought of as a place people move to stay for the long haul. That's with some notable exception to the nicer parts of Sharpstown, Braeburn Glen and Braeburn Valley. But the voters in those areas aren't exactly known to be hospitable to minority candidates.

There's still more Marc Campos stammering in the article, unfortunately. Apparently, if there had been better "vetting" and if someone who isn't a Campos client had stayed out and let Campos decide who should run (using Campos as a consultant, of course), then the 16% of Spanish surname registered voters would have coalesced around said candidate. Also unfortunate is that there's no mention in the article that he had a client in the race and that client finished third. So much for Marc's vetting.

Maybe Campos should visit the district he helped draw. With all the patron politics that Campos suggests we should have had here in SW Houston, that effort would have given such a candidate about 16% of the vote, of course. If they'd gone door-to-door and registered as many new voters as they could, they miht get that number up to about 24-25%. Criselda at least benefited a bit more as the only female candidate in the contest. I wonder if female political consultants needed to vet anyone.

District J does at least have some advantage in that it's not inconceivable that a Hispanic, or anyone else for that matter, could win the district. But the emphasis should really be on the "anyone." While that's a better opportunity for a Hispanic candidate, it's not quite the same as a traditional "Hispanic opportunity district" as it's known elsewhere. Especially when you have over half the votes coming from old Anglos in odd-year elections, with a majority of the electorate being Sharpstown.

As Mike Laster has been saying, it's an opportunity for everyone district. And that's not just some fancy political slogan. It's the reality of why so many people from multiple backgrounds find a home here. I live in a precinct with two mosques, a Baptist church, a Presbyterian Church, a Methodist church and yet another church of indeterminate congregation that operates out of a health care industry strip center. The Head Start program that operates where I catch my morning bus is doing a hopping business with Latino, Asian, and African families dropping off their kids and that diversity is seen equally in the kids walking to Jane Long Middle School or the YES Prep charter school (and hopefully soon, the still-planned KIPP charter school) also in Pct. 430.

This is the reality of today that the old guard political crowd doesn't seem to know what to do with. And the future is going to look a lot more culturally complex. That's pretty much the dead horse I've been beating with the whole multi-cultural chatter and whatnot. It's something that folks better learn if they want to understand how to engage actual voters in the area.


E-Day ’11: AM Refresher

Taking a brief break from some dayjob duties to hash out some thoughts from last night. Kuff and Robert Miller have their takes posted. The Chron has their take, as well. I think it's generally good practice to review where the prior predictions were and how they held up against reality. So here's some background reading on my early calls. With that, here's how I fared ...

The first thing I'll note is how wildly off my guess was about what the stay-at-home voters meant for Annise's margin of victory. I had my marker down on the fact that she'd do substantially better in minority communities compared to her 2009 showing. I'll wait until I have a draft canvass of the returns before offering a more substantive take, but a glance at Fort Bend shows that Annise got 48% of the vote there, with Kevin Simms a distant second at 23%. My hunch is that the gaggle of challengers just rotated out in terms of where each one got that 20-30% second-place showing, with the Mayor holding steady at around 45-55% of the vote. Obviously, the post-election dissection work that I thought was going to be fairly mundane this election may yet prove to be a bit more interesting.

Secondly, there's this prediction for District A that Brenda Stardig was fine. What do I know? I'm a SWHOU kinda guy.

Speaking of that. One of the things I did manage to get right was my own backyard. Mike Laster carried District J handily and without a runoff. Ellen Cohen won outright. I didn't want to predict that outright, but it was my very cautious hope. District F proved a little tricky. Whether that can be chalked up to the district's tricky demographics, the nature of the incumbent, or the demographics/partisan lean of the challengers ... I don't think we have a great read on that yet. Suffice it to say that District F could throw some surprises at us during the decade. And in District K, everyone and their dead dog had Larry Green picked to win with a strong showing.

The At Larges had a number of interesting results, too.

Stephen Costello - The guy should think about spending some time getting known. When he won in 2009, not a lot of people voted for him in the first round and not a lot of people voted - period - in the runoff. For elections like this, it's helpful to have a lot of people that are just accustomed to voting for you. He should have done better. The anti- spin will be that his showing results from his being a point person in the ReBuild/ReNew Houston setup. I don't quite buy that because I think he'd fare worse if that was all that was known about him. If he has any aspirations beyond six years on council, there's just no substitute for name ID.

The AL2 Mess - Elizabeth Perez finished in first place among Election Day voters. David Robinson (one of the white guys in the race) finished second with 24.5% in Fort Bend County. Eric Dick probably has more yard signs than votes cast for him. This contest may very well be the most interesting and complicated of all post-election maps that I'll likely ever do. Fortunately, at least one sane candidate made the runoff and it's the one I had hoped would make it: Kristi Thibaut. But man, what a contorted result in this contest.

Melissa Noriega - I think her 55.6% showing is open to interpretation as either a sign of the more challenging electoral times or a suggestion that raising some name ID wouldn't hurt. However it's spun, it's her final term. So it won't matter much. It's worth noting that each candidate's returns in this contest were pretty even for absentee, early, and E-Day. If there's anything I look for in the post-election mapping/crunching, it's seeing where Noriega doesn't break 50% or places second in voting.

C.O. Bradford - has to be sitting pretty right about now. He finished with the best margin of incumbent At Larges despite some lingering negative name ID and a built-in base of opposition to African-American candidates among some voters. And just for good measure, I'm sure his name will be thrown back into the rumor mill for random names of people that might possibly think about considering a challenge of Annise Parker in 2013.

The Jack & JoJo Show - 38.3% JoJo .... 33.4% Jack. Compare that to 2009: 42.2% JoJo ... 36.4% Jack. It's a very marginal step back for JoJo, but as Kuff has repeatedly pointed out, her margin for error goes down without a Gene Locke campaign spending big bucks on citywide field. The runoffs in District A and B are a mix of not-so-good and great in terms of an energetic campaign bringing out anti- and pro-JoJo voters. Note that District B saw 9,017 votes cast to District A's 7,901. That patterns also held up in terms of total ballots cast: 8,667 in A; 10,007 in B. By way of counterpoint to this ounce of good news for Team JoJo, the undervote in AL5 was lowest among the At Larges. That suggests that voters aren't lacking an opinion in this contest. That's not great for JoJo. And what happens to Anglo Dem voters in District C? Do they come out to vote? If so, where do they go? And will Bill White send out another pro-Jack letter? All this and more on the next episode of As The Runoff Turns.

As an aside in looking at the At Large runoffs together, I have a hard time seeing the needle threading such that both JoJo and Kristi win, though that's obviously the outcome I'd most love to see. The more JoJo voters there are, then theoretically, the better the odds are for Andrew Burks. And the better things look for Kristi, the harder they look for JoJo. I really hope I'm wrong on this. The runoff will be hideously low, possibly repeating the 36k turnout we had in 2005. But it's important to realize that the 2005 runoff had the benefit of the Clutterbuck v Hittner runoff in C. No dice this time around. So I'll pick the under until I see an indication that the Jack & JoJo contest gets heated.

The two school-related contests were about as expected, though I'd rather see Manuel Rodriguez not rewarded. At least it was close and there's something to be said about the difficulty of knocking off an incumbent. Even in a tough year for incumbents. In HCCC, Carroll Robinson carried the day 56-43. Oddly enough, I'm actually impressed that Jew Don Boney had it in him to be as competitive as he ended up being.

Runoffs are December 10. We do this all over again, albeit on a more limited scale. Maps galore once I get a draft canvass.

ADD-ON: Stace has his day-after post. Here's his take on 2013:

Believe it or not, I think there is one person who is in the best position to challenge her in 2013, and it’s not perennial wannabe-a-candidate with free space in the Chron, and it’s not some other former activist-turned-wealthy lawyer. It’s that one At-Large member of Council who was handily re-elected and will have the ability to create a bully pulpit where he will be seen on a weekly basis. Some may argue money-raising ability, but we’ve learned that money may not be everything. Still, I’ll root for the Mayor.

Campos, meanwhile, take a different focus:

Commentary is not happy with the fact that H-Town CM Ed Gonzalez and a few other Latino and Latina leaders endorsed Criselda Romero in District J and not check with others before doing so. H-Town CM James Rodriguez who led the Latino redistricting effort on City Council was hoping for a vetting process to get a strong Latino candidate. CM Gonzalez and others decided to handpick a candidate who ended up being a weak candidate and we saw what happened last night. CM Gonzalez and others didn’t do much in terms of raising money or providing resources to help their candidate. Never again!

Cheap shot. Dude, your candidate finished last and actually raised less money than Criselda. So if you're going to play the "weak candidate" card, there's a little exposure on your side. And I say that as one who ended the campaign impressed with both Criselda and Rodrigo. The district wasn't carried by Mike Laster because the internal machinations of Latino politics were given a monkey wrench instead of more WD-40. The bigger failing here is people from outside the district thinking they know how to win elections in SW Houston.

On that note, I'll extend my own kudos to both Criselda Romero and Rodrigo Canedo. I voted for the other guy, but I hope that the lesson they leave with is that active civic involvement in SW Houston is a valuable asset. Both Romero and Canedo proved to be great examples of the type of home-grown talent that's been hidden from political view in the district for too long. There's more where that came from. Rodrigo was a great messenger for his involvement at Bo's Place and I appreciate him mentioning that prominently at campaign events. That he also comes from a less-political world is certainly something that I view as a plus. Criselda Romero was a great reminder of the younger talent that comes out of SW Houston. I can easily see how her work in Ed Gonzalez's district might pay a lot of dividends down the road as District J residents ask their council member to represent their interests. If the stars happen to align just right, I think it would be a plus for the district to see Mike Laster hire her out of Ed's office. I would hope that this isn't the last time I see either individual on the ballot and I've got better things to do than to tear either of them down. To each their own, I suppose. But if Marc's not too busy tearing down people I think he owes Criselda an apology. That shot was just uncalled for.

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