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The Six-Year Itch for Term Limit Reform

January 6, 2014 Politics-2014 No Comments

» Chron: As council seats churn, calls for term-limit reform

I’m a bit behind Kuff on this, but I think there are at least a few points worth making about it that don’t seem to come up by the time this idea gets studied by “very serious people.”

The mayor’s tenure in local government – on city council, as city controller and as mayor – has been under the current term limits regime approved by a voter referendum in 1991, but Parker said she has come to fully appreciate its weaknesses as a chief executive.

“San Antonio and Houston are the two megacities in America that have two-year terms, and it puts us at a disadvantage vis-à-vis our fellow mayors and those cities in terms of competing for grants, in terms of working through the organizations that support cities,” Parker said. “It’s expensive for the city and for candidates, and it provides for distractions.”

In 2010, a commission appointed by former Mayor Bill White proposed asking voters for two four-year terms. It failed in a 7-7 full council vote. In 2012, a council committee voted 9-1 not to forward a proposal for three four-year terms to the full council amid concerns it would fail on a crowded ballot.

I tend to think that the “every two year complaint” is fairly weak. There might be some kind of argument on that for a Mayor and maybe even Controller. But I don’t see why a two-year term for city council member is any more debilitating than it is for a member of Congress, State Representatives, half of the State Senate (at least at the start of the decade), and any unexpired state administrative office.

A few ideas that I wish were on the table are the following:

» Fix the JoJo exclusion. The statute, as written, is amazingly short and simple:

Section 6a. – Limitation of terms.
No person, who has already served two full terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office.

The statute is also amazingly unequal in how it applies a qualification for office. So much so, that I’m curious if this inequality provides an opening for a legal challenge. Basically, the law says that some folks get to serve three full terms and some only get to serve two full terms. If a candidate loses re-election to their second term (ala Brenda Stardig and Helena Brown), you have an entirely different qualification for office than someone who lost re-election to their third term (ala Jolanda Jones and Al Hoang).

There haven’t been many parties aggrieved by this statute, so it seems to me that there might be improved odds of that happening now that we have two such individuals. I would think that there might be ground to make this application more equal by substituting equally simple language that limits any officeholder to no more than three full terms … period.

That may not address any deeper concerns about the Clymer Wright-era limitations. But it does offer an incremental cleanup. And if it were to go through a charter amendment vote, it might be an easy enough one that it opens the door for public perception to see that elected officials aren’t trying to change the rules they have to abide by in the middle of the game. If you’re not sure about the public appetite for altering term limits, this modification would be a good test run.

» Why not three? – Many Texas towns have three year terms. Why is there such an immediate impetus for four-year terms when there is already a more common model already being utilized throughout Texas? You could leave the term-limit language as-is or make the tweak above. Doing so would create a nine-year window of service for people.

More importantly, it would also open Houston City Council to the whims of bigger electorates. If you really wanted to see a different City Council, the easiest place to start has always been to hold the election on even-numbered years. District A would be quite a bit more Dem-friendly, as would District F. My own District J, as it turns out, is as close to 50-50 in terms of partisanship among city year voters. That tilt would be eviscerated with an even-year electorate and the district would be reliably Dem-leaning. The rotating cycle of seats would lead to a seat being up for a vote in two odd-numbered election years for each six-year cycle. So there is some moderation to those swings that might be appealing.

It would seem practical, under this scenario, to stagger the elections so that each individual year would see one-third of city seats up for a votes. I’m not sure who that may appeal to or be unappealing to, frankly. One positive that I can see from this is that it might lead to an increase in competition for seats. If an elected thought to run for Mayor one year after being elected to a council seat, they could. In short, there would no longer be an incentive to sit out six years when terms are the same – as they currently are for the office of Mayor and Controller.

» Lacking that … of course, there’s always the “blow it all up” approach and do away with term limits. I would hope that the office of Mayor, and possibly Controller, could still be term-limited. I think there could even be an argument for limiting the terms of At Large seats while leaving district seats unlimited. That could theoretically provide a bit more power to district council members and your mileage may vary as to your preference for seeing that.

» Lastly … while we’re looking at term limits, why not look at the strong-mayor form of government?

CoH 2013: Mayoral Mapping and Neighborhood Analysis

November 11, 2013 Politics-2013 No Comments

For the post-Greanias Line outcomes for Anglo Dems, this is pretty much the template. I had suggested earlier that the inexplicably long run of anti-Ben Hall ads on television might have been aimed at keeping Afr-Am votes from Hall. Based on Parker’s 30ish showing in Afr-Am neighborhoods, there might be something to that. But the really impressive showing here is that Parker won Hispanic neighborhoods strongly (she barely lost them to Locke in 2009) and the only non-majority showing among Anglo GOP ‘hoods is in Kingwood.

I was guessing that Parker would end the night with an outright win south of 60% and that’s exactly where she ended up. 2015 will once more redefine “the new normal” for city election coalitions. And there’s a long way to go before seeing if there is potential for another Bill White-style consensus showing, or if the Parker templates have some staying power to elect candidates from an Anglo Dem + Anglo GOP base. There’s also no telling what’s in store for a potentially stronger Afr-Am candidate to perhaps join Anglo Dems and Afr-Am neighborhoods.

Regardless, this is a fairly solid showing by Team Parker for her final election as a candidate. In the end, the only surprise was that there was nothing to be surprised about. For comparison’s sake, here is the 2011 neighborhood analysis and here’s the one from 2009, and the 2009 runoff.


full pageGoogle Earth

Color-coding:
Dark Blue – Parker: 65% or higher
Med. Blue – Parker: 50% – 65%
Light Red – Parker: 35% – 50%
Dark Red – Parker: 0% – 35%

Neighborhood Analysis

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Heights        75.3%    15.1%    6.5%     3.1%      2.0%
Meyerland      75.1%    12.9%    9.5%     2.5%      2.3%
Montrose       86.2%     7.1%    4.7%     2.0%      1.6%
Rice U         81.8%    10.4%    6.2%     1.6%      1.9%

African-American Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Acres Homes    30.7%    63.6%    0.9%     4.8%      2.2%
UH/TSU         39.4%    55.5%    0.9%     4.3%      2.7%
Fifth Ward     30.0%    65.6%    0.7%     3.7%      3.0%
Sunnyside      28.8%    65.6%    0.5%     5.2%      2.9%
Hiram Clarke   38.9%    53.6%    1.9%     5.6%      2.5%

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Clear Lake     59.5%    20.3%   16.5%     3.7%      2.6%
Galleria       64.2%    18.1%   15.3%     2.5%      3.1%
Kingwood       44.1%    19.7%   32.5%     3.7%      2.7%
Garden Oaks    64.9%    15.6%   15.6%     3.9%      2.6%
River Oaks     75.3%    14.4%    8.6%     1.7%      2.8%
Spring Branch  54.8%    19.0%   21.4%     4.8%      3.0%
Memorial       59.7%    17.3%   19.7%     3.2%      3.0%
Sharpstown     63.1%    17.8%   14.1%     5.0%      2.8%

Hispanic Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
East End       68.3%    18.5%    6.2%     7.0%      4.7%
Near Northside 63.4%    19.3%    8.1%     9.3%      2.6%
Hobby          53.9%    28.4%   10.0%     7.6%      2.6%

Multicultural Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Alief          56.8%    25.0%    9.8%     8.5%      4.3%

Not Exactly Jury Duty

October 9, 2013 Politics-2013 No Comments

Since I’m gradually catching up on all things blog, I’ll take this opportunity to combine two events I had the good fortune to take part in recently. Both involved a lunch meeting with elected officials, so there’s a bit of similarity there. Both were also the product of Justin Concepcion organizing the idea for Mayor Parker, only to begin a new job with Harris County Tax Assessor Mike Sullivan before the event with the Mayor took place. Kudos to both electeds for their time and willingness to meet and kudos to Justin for making it all happen.

Friday afternoon with County Tax Assessor Mike Sullivan
The most recent meeting with Sullivan was held at his office, which afforded me the opportunity to pick up some info at the County Clerk’s office on the same trip. There’s something to be said for efficiency there. I’ve bumped into Mike a few times – all at or outside of church. In every instance, he’s been beyond cordial. Downright friendly, I’d go so far as to say. I’ve always had a fair amount of respect for Sullivan dating back to his time on City Council. While I may or may not have always agreed with those points where he spoke in opposition to something the Mayor wanted passed, I felt he was always thoughtful and explained his position very fairly. And since it’s my view that City Council works fairly well when there is one critical voice on the left and right, I think Mike’s time on council was a pretty good model for how to serve in that capacity from the right. It was an easy assumption in 2012 that if (and ultimately – when) Mike won the General Election, he’d be an easy upgrade over the previous two holders of his office.

The biggest point of emphasis that I think indicates Mike’s early success is that all of the voter registration-related lawsuits that were aimed at the office in prior years have since been dropped. That would appear to be a good sign of trust that the parties involved in those suits have in Sullivan to be fair with his treatment of the Voter Registrar section of his office.

I’m not sure how to compare Sullivan’s early years to that of Paul Bettencourt’s, though. While Bettencourt came up through the ranks of party bureaucracy and campaigns, I don’t know that I can point to his early years as being any kind of activist with regard to voter registration. But that’s certainly how it ended up for Bettencourt. For now, though, Sullivan benefits most in comparison to Don Summers and Leo Vasquez. That’s a low bar and one that Sullivan glows in comparison to. I’d obviously like to see the Sullivan we recognize today continue for as long as he’s destined to hold this particular office. There’s still a few areas of the office to keep an eye on if you’re the skeptical type.

My only minor gripe to impart was that the upgrade of the HCVoter.net website has apparently led to a change in the data provided for registered voters by precinct. Apparently, I can no longer download data to show whether a voter is “Active” or “Suspense.” My complaint has been politely heard and is being looked into. I’m confident that less than five other people in the world share in my grief over this.

We spent a bit of time discussing Voter ID, although much of the implementation of the law will fall on the County Clerk. I’m a little hopeful that Voter ID implementation will be looked at by the Lege once the Interim Charges are released. Part of that is a desire to see how agencies like the County Clerks, Tax Assessors, and Election Admins are dealing with the need to do outreach, training, advertising, and other activities at a point after much of their budget decisions have already been decided. I asked Mike what he could share about that and it seems the biggest uptick in dollars has come from new mailing requirements that added something north of $250,000 to the agency’s costs.

Kuff has some other notes from the meeting toward the end of this post. The gathering for this event was a Dem-friendly affair, with Justin noting that there were plans to arrange a GOP-friendly gathering afterward.

Last month with Mayor Parker
I arrived at this one a tad late. Two fairly interesting topics of conversations that came up were food trucks and pensions. The first of those mean something vastly different in my neighborhood than they do in trendier parts (or downtown, even). The latter of the two is a point where I’m not quite on the same page with the Mayor. Most of the attendees were among us Dem-types, but Tory from Houston Strategies was included for adding a bit of advocacy for libertarian policies for the city.

I don’t know that there was much new ground covered in the meeting with the Mayor since most of the issues the city deals with are covered by professional media on a daily basis and few of us bloggers are moonlighting as actuaries to dive into the weeds of pension policy. But points for the outreach effort, nonetheless. It might be a bit more noteworthy to try this again with the city at a time when some new initiative is being rolled out and split the meeting into one-half “Here’s what the Mayor wants to talk about” and another half of “here’s what bloggers want to ask about.” The recent Chapter 42 policy changes might have been a good tie-in, for example. I’ve been in front of all of one presentation on the subject and it’s both interesting and very complicated. Those sort of issues don’t always come along on a routine basis, but that strikes me as a good point to impart some useful info while giving others a chance to ask about anything else that pops to mind.

Just as well, I do think that one area where Mayor Parker has been a welcome change has been the degree to which she’s made the rounds at a variety of public events throughout her term as Mayor. Heck, I even bumped into her at my church where she was making a presentation as part of a conference several days after this meeting. All in all, still a good meeting and hopefully an idea that continues over time. I can’t say that I’d mind seeing County Judge Ed Emmett latch onto the idea, as well.

Ben Hall in a Dark Room

August 9, 2013 Politics-2013 2 Comments

Caught this on TV yesterday morning …

I’m not sure how effective this is going to be toward Hall’s “Pincer Strategy” goal. On the one hand, it undoubtedly helps Hall identify with African-American voters. I’m sure there are some folks who will find Hall’s darkroom mannerisms folksy and good-natured. But the critiques of Annise Parker seem very insider-ish and he doesn’t really seem to have any details to offer ehre. Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to talk about next time. For now, I’m supposed to believe that Mayor Parker is hiding something. I think there are going to be a number of bold-type political consultant names, if not the candidate himself, who realize how invisible their argument is about debates. So far, I haven’t heard a natural clamor among normal people for six debates versus one … or two candidates versus twenty. And if it were my reputation, I wouldn’t bank on this ad changing that.

In short, the ad looks like it was devised in an echo chamber, with a faulty idea being what gets echoed in said chamber. Whoever decided to include “grew up poor” with mention of Duke, Harvard, multiple degrees, and a gig at Vinson & Elkins probably shouldn’t be allowed to write ad copy in the future. But at least they left out any mention of Hall’s longtime residency in Piney Point. Smart on their part.

Via media questioning, Team Hall attempts to spell out some of the detail by offering four areas where they believe Mayor Parker is “hiding” from Houstonians. One of those items is: “Our looming pension liabilities are real. What is Parker doing to address them before it is too late?” A fair enough point, in and of itself. What’s odd, though, is that Ben Hall doesn’t have a thing to say about the issue on his campaign website.

And since Hall is endorsed by the Firefighters, maybe it would be of interest for him to spell out some facts on how he would deal with this “looming” liability. Would he seek to get a bill carried in the Legislature that would force the Firefighters to negotiate directly with the City? Would he seek to restructure the city’s pension obligations (thereby funding them less) or does he see a need to put more funds into local pensions (thereby funding them more)? I think those would make some worthwhile questions if only Hall wouldn’t hide from them on his own campaign website. I don’t necessarily agree with Parker’s position on Firefighter’s pensions … but I at least know where she stands.

January 2013: Fundraising Notes – City Folk

July 16, 2013 Politics-2013 2 Comments

If you’ve had a sec to scope out some of the numbers that people have put up, maybe there was something or another worth raising an eyebrow over. Here’s what got my attention:

» Mayor … It’s officially down to “Few For Hall” and I’m guessing the current press secretary won’t be among that bunch before long. Hall is still going to drop his own money around town and there’s ample amounts of that to get some votes. But there is nothing about the visible portion of Hall’s campaign to warrant deep concern over the incumbent Mayor’s prospects. As for Annise, she did her fundraising the old fashioned way (other people’s wallets) and hauled in $2.2M and retains a lead in cash on hand. The Chron quotes my old boss thusly:

Democratic consultant Mustafa Tameez said Hall, as with many challengers to fairly popular incumbents, is spending a lot of money to make comparatively less progress.

” ‘All for Hall’ is primarily funded by Ben Hall. There’s not a lot of people in the ‘all,’ ” Tameez said, referring to the political committee Hall has formed for the race. “The other thing notable was, in practical terms, he’s raised $300,000, but he’s spent $800,000. If $800,000 is spent and we haven’t seen anything on television and we haven’t seen a whole lot of mail, we’ve seen a lot of outreach and we’ve seen a lot of consulting fees.”

… and I couldn’t agree more.

» Comptroller … A surprisingly strong showing by the challenger, Bill Frazer. I’ll have to review his actual report for details to see if there’s more reason for concern. Ronald Green has had a fairly charmed political life, as far as his re-election campaigns have gone. That this one might require more work is a pretty low standard to clear. There’s still not a lot of money circulating in this contest. Maybe you’ll hear about the folks that Ronald has vouched for in court if you’re one of the same 30 people that show up for civic clubs and whatnot. And maybe you’ll hear about it if you’re on a GOP-heavy mailing list that might not otherwise have been planning on voting for Green. But I think it’ll take more than that to make this contest as hot as it has potential to be.

» At Large 3 … I’m not entirely sure that the herd in AL-3 is significantly sorted out from the January reports. Kudos to my friend, Rogene Calvert, for clocking in at an impressive ~$84k raised/$75k on hand. That comes in as the highest legally-filed totals due to Michael Kubosh reporting a $72,000 contribution from a relative. I’m assuming that that amount gets cleaned up and considered a loan (there was a situation like that a cycle or two back, as I recall). That’s money that will still drop somewhere for Kubosh and I’d still expect him to end up as the lead dog on money. But a quick scan of his spending demonstrates that a lot of it is going to go toward funding an imperfect understanding of where votes come from. Any campaign that plays smarter is likely to do well. I got bogged down with other work before noticing any updates on Pool and Al Edwards. The report I spotted by Pool just didn’t have totals on page 2. There seemed to be a healthy number of individual donors, but I wasn’t about to spend my time adding it all up. It will be interesting to see whether Al Edwards blunts a lot of the Afr-Am support that Michael Kubosh was hoping he could buy up. There’s still GOP support available for Kubosh, but I’d expect Morales to chip away at some of that. On the whole, this is shaping up to be the worst possible field for Michael Kubosh to be in. Or, at least, I’m not as convinced that he’s the expected first-place finisher in November. Also of interest is how the three Hispanic candidates sort out among voters. When talk of this race first started, Roland Chavez was the first name people mentioned and other than having some good manpower available via the firefighters, his first report doesn’t exactly shake anyone up. I’d feel fairly comfortable about the state of city affairs if I saw Calvert and Chavez go to a runoff. But, as we’ve seen … big fields have a way of generating some crazy results. It’s anyone’s game until I start seeing some honest field metrics during Early Vote.

» District A … I was really hoping that this race might turn into a healthy battle between Brown, Stardig, and Peck. As it stands, replace Peck with Knox. Either way, you’d have a really hard time defining “dog” before I got around to identifying a dog in this race. All things considered, I think council is capable of functioning at its best when there is one smart critic from the right and another from the left. Which is to say … I really miss Mike Sullivan.

» District D … As expected, its Dwight Boykins’ race to lose. But I’d still expect his money to be spent at an efficiency rate approaching North Korean farming standards. It wouldn’t take a Billy Bean to make up for a 3-to-1 difference in a race like this.

» District I … Ben Mendez leads the Benjamins Primary, but silly spending abounds. Hard to buy into conventional wisdom about “name ID” of any candidate in this pack. This might just be one of those contests where it’s amazing that anyone manages to win it.

» Elsewhere … Not a total surprise, but still nice to see an incumbent-friendly showing by my CM, Mike Laster. In the one AL race where an incumbent should have a healthy challenge, David Robinson seems to have some good totals posted to unseat Andrew Burks. I’m guessing that the Andrew Burks caucus of the local GOP is still considering Burks to be bought and paid for, so maybe they can repeat their mail ballot surprise that helped Burks into office. But I wouldn’t mind seeing Robinson run a smart enough campaign to negate that. There’s an easy path for Robinson to win. But someone else is driving that train, so I’ll see what the rest of you see in November.

Pincer Strategy Redux

March 7, 2013 Politics-2013 No Comments

» Chron: Hall launches bid to challenge Parker for mayor

In case anyone wasn’t aware … Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. We’ve now gradually gone through the various iterations of “I’m thinking about it” here, here, and here. If you were wondering if this fourth entry in the slow-motion marathon of Hall’s announcement tour through Houston was now complete, the story tucks away the best part toward the end of the article:

No candidate has formally filed for mayor; filing begins July 29 and ends Aug. 26.

So, wild hunch here: July 30th will be another round of “Really, seriously, this time I mean it … I’m running” stories.

In fairness to Hall, I do think he makes something of a valid critique of Parker on the “leadership vs manager” argument. But that’s also a fairly easy argument for Parker to rebut. The bigger, tactical mistake is Hall attempting to recreate the “Pincer Strategy” that didn’t work terribly well for it’s original practitioner, Gene Locke. There’s a big difference between winning broad Anglo GOP support and having a GOP consultant along with a fringe Republican Kubosh brother by your side at one of the way-too-many announcements of your candidacy.

Inaugural Aggreblogging

January 21, 2013 Politics-2013 No Comments

Another four years, another inauguration. Here’s a random break from whatever it is that I do when I don’t blog.

» Chron: Again, Hall says he will challenge Parker
In case anyone wasn’t aware … Ben Hall really, really wants to be mayor. This story follows a Chronicle blog posting, where Hall had previously announced his intentions. And that follows the KTRK story from a month ago, where Hall had also previously announced his intentions. And that followed the KHOU story from November, where Hall had … well, you get the point by now. And it’s worth pointing out that this is still far from official since Ben Hall has yet to publicly announce and to officially file as a candidate. I’m sure that’ll be worth two new pitches to the local media that he really plans to run this time. Can’t wait to hear if he has anything to say about his candidacy outside of “Hey, I’m running!” But based on his initial foray into civic thinking, I doubt he has anything to offer that moves me off of my default choice.

» SSRC: Evangelicals who have left the right (Marcia Pally)
This follows up somewhat from Pally’s 2011 book, with a little added context from the 2012 election. Responses by Pastor Joel Hunter and Professor David Gushee are also worth a read.

» Nate Silver: What Is Driving Growth in Government Spending?
Good wonky reading from Nate Silver. Nice to see him turn his analytical skills toward public finances. Of some interest:

Another surprise is how little we are paying in interest on the federal debt, even though the debt is growing larger and larger. Right now, interest payments make up only about 6 percent of the federal budget. In addition, they have been decreasing as a share of the gross domestic product: the federal government spent about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product in paying interest on its debt on 2011, down from a peak of 3.3 percent in 1991.

I distinctly remember a few conversations – both online and in-person – where many of my Republican friends rationalized the renewal of deficit spending under Bush-43 by stating how low the GDP percentage was in historical terms. Now, considering the spikes in deficits that began in Bush’s last years in office but are now associated with Obama … the argument is nowhere to be found.

» AZ Republic: Bruce Arians wants QB with ‘grit,’ leadership
Kevin Kolb gets his third head coach as an NFL QB. And the early read is uncertain as to what it means for his future as a starter in Arizona. Of course, even if he does start next season, it’s an open question as to whether he can endure it without the kind of injuries that have ended his previous three seasons.

» NY Times: Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test
» NY Times: Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Among the issues I get to track in the Lege is education. Both of these are good backgrounders on some issues in secondary ed.

» Chron: Political novices look to gain stature working for legislator (Patricia Kilday Hart)
» Texas Tribune: For Dean of Senate, Public and Private Blur (Jay Root)
Two good reads on matters pertaining to state government. On a somewhat related note, I also attended my first Trib Talk event with Michael Williams being in the hot seat next to Evan Smith. First impression is that the event is a bit too clubby for my taste, but watching Evan interview someone in person is pretty fun to watch.

A Few Goings On …

October 13, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

23 days until the blogging calendar opens up some more. In the meantime …

» Sen. Mario Gallegos still in grave condition today.

» Mayor Parker recommends Janiece Longoria for Port Commish, while Jack Morman seems to want Steve Stewart. Interesting since the Longoria-Corgey fight over a board spot was a notable loss for the Mayor in 2010. Also interesting since it may not be a given that she wins this fight.

» The Republican candidate for Ft. Bend County Commissioner is nailed for voting twice in two states for the same election back in 2008. As a fan of the incumbent County Commissioner Richard Morrison, I could not be more pleased by this. And it bears pointing out that the single biggest restriction that Republicans want to put on voters would have done absolutely nothing to prevent it.

» I’m woefully behind on catching up with Kuff‘s interviews on bonds and referendums on this year’s ballot. Any supporters of them, feel free to start swaying me. My starting point for things like that is generally negative and the only solid “Yes” so far is Prop D, the Library bond, (nerd that I am) and the city’s Prop 1 & 2 that clean up the charter.

» El Paso schools find innovative ways to game the test.

» Oh, and there was a debate of moderate importance the other night. Funny how Republicans suddenly insist upon a Vice President being polite. We’ve come a long way since 2004.

Runoff, Pre-Early-Vote Aggrepost

July 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

No rest for the weary. Rock & roll, yes. Rest, no …

And for newsier-ish events and whatnot, here’s a bit of a sampler so that I don’t feel too far behind on all the goings-on around here:

» Wash. Post: In Virginia, frenzied weekend highlights fight ahead in state for Obama, Romney
» LA Times: Nevada isn’t a sure bet for Obama
I’m told there’s still a Presidential election going on. Too early to really take polls seriously. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from gnawing away a few precious fingernails to deal with the anxiety.

» GC Daily News: Jason Murray to spend 7 months in jail
A good poster-child for voters paying more attention to who they vote for down-ballot.

» FW Star-Telegram: Keller City Council nixes proposed food truck park
Nice to see a conservative little corner of Tarrant County so concerned about too much competition in the food industry.

» Kevin Drum: Medicaid Expansion May Turn Out to Be an Offer States Can’t Refuse
Kudos to KDrum for picking up on this. And also kudos to Arkansas for honestly reviewing the tradeoffs involved in expanding Medicaid.

They figure that in 2015 the new law would cost them $42 million and save them $131 million. So it’s a clear winner. But that’s because the federal government picks up 100% of the tab for expansion during the first three years. That declines to 90% by 2020, and Arkansas figures that by 2021 the expansion of Medicaid would cost them $3.4 million per year.

Now, that’s $3.4 million out of a $4 billion Medicaid budget, of which Arkansas pays $750 million. So it’s not a lot of money, especially considering the number of people it would help.

There are still critiques to be had with the expansion and Drum cautions that Arkansas’ mileage may vary from others. But it sure would be nice to see Texas try a little honest accounting on this issue. It would certainly be a lot better than …

» Chron: Passing on Medicaid expansion is the right call for Texas
Signed by State Sen. Bob Deuell (R); State Rep. Charles Schwertner (R); State Representative Mark Shelton (R); and State Rep. John Zerwas (R). Most interesting, because …

» Kaiser Health News: Businesses Will Push Perry to Rethink Medicaid Expansion

“Fights seem to follow the money, and there is a lot of money at stake in Texas on this,” said Phil King, a Republican state representative from outside Fort Worth who opposes the Medicaid expansion. “Maybe you need to rename this ‘The Full-Employment Act for Lobbyists.’”

With world-renowned medical institutions such as the University of Texas and a large part of its Medicaid coverage handled by private insurers such as Amerigroup, the state’s health industry is “just behind oil and gas” in size and influence, said Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University. “Given how much Amerigroup has to gain from a Medicaid expansion in Texas, they may be one of the most effective organizations to lobby Perry and the state legislature to fund the expansion.”

Founded in the mid-1990s in Virginia Beach, Va., Amerigroup contracts with 13 states to manage Medicaid care, generally for a fixed fee per member. Now grown to Fortune 500 size, the company had twice as many Texas members last year — 632,000 — as in any other state.

Oughtta provide a good deal of entertainment in the lege come January.

Oh yeah, and this happened:

And just for a little bit of retro-linkage, here’s an interesting local story from 1986 on how familiar names may or may not have wrecked havoc on political primary outcomes. Elsewhere, TBogg notes a hilarious example of Randian hypocrisy.

MAP Looking at Maps

March 28, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Via twitter, Mayor Annise Parker in Rio …

Using Rio de Janeiro's Smarter Cities technology firstha... on Twitpic

Using Rio de Janeiro’s Smarter Cities technology firsthand. I want this for Houston, IBM!

The NY Times reported on Rio’s system a few weeks ago. Hopefully, we’ll see soon enough if there are any legitimate plans to start the process for getting a system like this in place. It’d certainly be a positive step. But a far greater step is going to be to crack open some of the data and put it in the hands of people who are more interested in a micro-level view of things.

Mayoral Returns: ‘Hood by ‘Hood

November 17, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

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.

Mapping the 2011 Mayoral Result

November 14, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

More like this will be coming in the days ahead. For now, here’s the Mayoral results with color coding explained below the map. The individual precinct results are in the map’s info boxes when you click them. So click, poke, prod and explore.

A few candidate requests will be fulfilled tomorrow, but otherwise, I’m pretty gosh dang busy. So I hope this tides you over till I get back in front of the blog tomorrow evening.


full pageGoogle Earth

Color-coding:
dark blue – 65% or more Annise Parker
blue – 55-65% Annise Parker
light blue – 50-55% Annise Parker
purple – 45-50% Annise Parker
pink – 35-45% Annise Parker
red – 0-35% Annise Parker

E-Day ’11: AM Refresher

November 9, 2011 Politics-2011 2 Comments

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.

E-Day ’11: PM Wrap

November 9, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

Here’s how things ended for the November round. These are all three counties combined. Nothing like a little bit of raw data to end the night with.

Look elsewhere for deeper post-election wraps. I’ll be knee-deep into some overnight work unrelated to any of this and catching up on sleep during sunlight hours tomorrow while the pontificating goes on. The only deep thought I’ll impart for now is that I think I see at least a few parallels in how the big-name GOP types treated this election and how Texas Dems treated statewide runs in 2006. Both involved a lot of top-tier talent staying on the sidelines in years that were otherwise very advantageous for them. And it could easily end up that, just as Dems saw in 2010, the next cycle for the local GOP wannabes will be a very different environment. So for whatever perception of vulnerability that may be seen in a 50% and some change showing, 2013 is a long ways from now.

MAYOR
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annise D. Parker  4,340 50.1%  19,380 53.4%   36,200 49.6%    59,920 50.8%
Jack O'Connor     1,256 14.5%   4,699 12.9%   11,310 15.5%    17,265 14.6%
Fernando Herrera    974 11.2%   5,400 14.9%   10,425 14.3%    16,799 14.2%
Dave Wilson       1,362 15.7%   3,305  9.1%    9,191 12.6%    13,858 11.8%
Kevin Simms         636  7.3%   2,884  7.9%    4,677  6.4%     8,197  7.0%
Amanda Ulman        102  1.2%     624  1.7%    1,156  1.6%     1,882  1.6%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:       8,670        36,292         72,959         117,921
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT A
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Helena Brown         223 48.7%   1,112 46.7%    2,392 47.3%   3,727  47.2%
Brenda Stardig       189 41.3%   1,034 43.4%    2,025 40.0%   3,248  41.1%
Bob Schoellkopf       46 10.0%     236  9.9%      644 12.7%     926  11.7%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:          458         2,382          5,061         7,901
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT B
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alvin Byrd            462 39.8%    763 24.1%    1,039 22.2%    2,264 25.1%
Jerry Davis           364 31.4%    771 24.3%    1,063 22.7%    2,198 24.4%
Kathy B'ford-Daniels  117 10.1%    619 19.5%      889 19.0%    1,625 18.0%
Kenneth Perkins        46  4.0%    338 10.7%      553 11.8%      937 10.4%
Charles A. Ingram      63  5.4%    224  7.1%      392  8.4%      679  7.5%
Phillip "Paul" Bryant  38  3.3%    207  6.5%      292  6.2%      537  6.0%
James Joseph           36  3.1%    139  4.4%      259  5.5%      434  4.8%
Bryan Smart            35  3.0%    109  3.4%      199  4.3%      343  3.8%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:         1,161        3,170          4,686          9,017
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT C
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ellen Cohen          452 33.8%    3,491 60.2%   7,337 52.8%   11,280 53.6%
Brian Cweren         679 50.8%    1,264 21.8%   3,780 27.2%    5,723 27.2%
Karen Derr           135 10.1%      663 11.4%   1,894 13.6%    2,692 12.8%
Randy Locke           54  4.0%      223  3.8%     550  4.0%      827  3.9%
Josh Verde            17  1.3%      159  2.7%     339  2.4%      515  2.5%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:        1,337          5,800        13,900         21,037
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT D
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wanda Adams         1,110 89.4%   4,066 84.4%   5,378 78.5%   10,554 81.7%
Larry L. McKinzie     131 10.6%     753 15.6%   1,477 21.6%    2,361 18.3%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:         1,241         4,819         6,855         12,915
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT E
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike Sullivan       386 100.0%   2,927 100.0%   6,029 100.0%  9,342 100.0%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:         386          2,927          6,029         9,342
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT F
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Al Hoang               98 45.6%   1,314 57.7%   1,244 55.1%   2,656  56.0%
Peter "Lyn" René       80 37.2%     480 21.1%     678 30.1%   1,238  26.1%
Hoc Thai Nguyen        37 17.2%     482 21.2%     334 14.8%     853  18.0%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:           215         2,276         2,256         4,747
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT G
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oliver Pennington   1,043 89.3%   3,025 77.7%   7,837 75.1%   11,905 76.8%
Clyde Bryan           125 10.7%     868 22.3%   2,598 24.9%    3,591 23.2%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:         1,168         3,893        10,435         15,496
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT H
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ed Gonzalez            495 77.5%   1,230 70.3%   2,615 65.8%   4,340 68.2%
Patricia Rodriguez     144 22.5%     520 29.7%   1,358 34.2%   2,022 31.8%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:            639         1,750         3,973         6,362
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT I
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
James Rodriguez        480 84.1%   1,162 63.9%   2,403 61.9%   4,045 64.5%
Leticia Gut'rez Ablaza  91 15.9%     656 36.1%   1,482 38.2%   2,229 35.5%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:            571         1,818         3,885         6,274
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT J
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike Laster          225 85.9%   1,047 68.1%    1,521 64.7%    2,793 67.3%
Criselda Romero       23  8.8%     329 21.4%      549 23.3%      901 21.7%
Rodrigo Canedo        14  5.3%     162 10.5%      282 12.0%      458 11.0%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:          262         1,538          2,352          4,152
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DISTRICT K
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Larry Green          612 70.7%   2,522 70.1%    4,729 61.9%    7,863 65.1%
Pat Frazier          191 22.1%     794 22.9%    1,922 27.7%    2,907 25.8%
Alex Gonik            63  7.3%     208  7.0%      654 10.4%      925  9.1%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:          866         3,524          7,305         11,695
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

AT-LARGE POSITION 1
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stephen Costello   3,802 51.8%  15,701 51.8%   29,437 50.7%   48,940 51.2%
Scott Boates       1,590 21.7%   6,536 21.8%   13,399 23.3%   21,525 22.7%
Don Cook           1,522 20.7%   5,457 18.0%   10,317 17.6%   17,296 18.0%
James P-Galvan       431  5.9%   2,512  8.4%    4,816  8.4%    7,759  8.2%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:        7,345        30,206         57,969         95,520
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

AT-LARGE POSITION 2
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Burks, Jr.  2,336 30.1%   6,077 18.4%   9,099 14.6%   17,512 17.0%
Kristi Thibaut     1,411 18.2%   5,169 16.4%   9,228 15.3%   15,808 15.9%
Elizabeth Pérez      634  8.2%   3,469 11.0%  10,264 17.0%   14,367 14.4%
David Robinson       956 12.3%   3,808 11.7%   7,351 11.7%   12,115 11.8%
Bolivar Fraga        696  9.0%   3,035  9.7%   5,836  9.7%    9,567  9.6%
"Griff" Griffin      519  6.7%   2,352  7.4%   5,430  8.9%    8,301  8.3%
Eric Dick            463  6.0%   2,455  7.8%   4,492  7.4%    7,410  7.4%
Jenifer Rene Pool    292  3.8%   2,677  8.5%   4,164  6.8%    7,133  7.1%
Roslyn Shorter       320  4.1%   2,443  7.5%   4,207  6.6%    6,970  6.7%
Gordon Goss          141  1.8%     552  1.7%   1,202  2.0%    1,895  1.9%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:        7,768        32,037        61,273        101,078
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

AT-LARGE POSITION 3
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Melissa Noriega   4,206 55.5%   17,497 57.0%   32,543 54.9%   54,246 55.6%
Chris Carmona     1,914 25.3%    7,274 23.9%   16,393 27.9%   25,581 26.4%
J. Brad Batteau   1,458 19.2%    6,005 19.1%   10,338 17.2%   17,801 18.0%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:       7,578         30,776         59,274         97,628
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

AT-LARGE POSITION 4
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
C. O. Bradford    6,236 78.3%   21,991 69.1%   39,079 65.8%   67,306 67.9%
Amy Price         1,088 13.7%    6,166 19.7%   13,517 23.1%   20,771 21.2%
Louis Molnar        644  8.1%    3,523 11.3%    6,459 11.1%   10,626 10.9%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:       7,968         31,680         59,055         98,703
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

AT-LARGE POSITION 5
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jolanda Jones     3,006 35.8%   15,077 43.8%   24,303 35.8%   42,386 38.3%
Jack Christie     3,348 39.9%    9,730 29.3%   22,522 34.6%   35,600 33.4%
Laurie Robinson   1,383 16.5%    6,354 18.9%   13,665 20.8%   21,402 19.8%
Bob Ryan            664  7.9%    2,645  8.0%    5,748  8.8%    9,057  8.5%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:       8,401         33,806         66,238        108,445
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

CITY CONTROLLER
                    Absentee      Early          E-Day           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ronald Green     7,129 100.0%   28,463 100.0%   53,139 100.0%   88,731 100.0%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cast Votes:      7,129          28,463          53,139          88,731
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

E-Day ’11: Second Batch

November 8, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

136 new boxes just came in for Harris County. 21% of the boxes are from District C. 15% from A, 15% from E.

- Annise Parker holding up. She gets 50.5% from the new boxes. 52.1% overall.

- Stardig falling in A. She loses the new boxes 41.6-49.2. Overall race is at 42.8-47.5. Let’s call this one a runoff.

- Districts B, C, F, J & K seems to be keeping the same shape with new boxes.

- Ed Gonzales and James Rodriguez get some good boxes. They’re not both north of 62% on E-Day numbers. Should be interesting to see where they had the weakest results. But they’re both fine for re-election.

- Stephen Costello’s new numbers are still north of 50%. I’m guessing he hangs on with the slimmest of wins. Lessons should be learned about how well-known incumbent CMs are.

- New boxes in AL2 show a clump of Burks, Perez,and Kristi, with Burks at 17% and the others at 15% or so. Burks and Kristi are still in the lead for the overall.

- JoJo gets under 40% with the new boxes. Overall it’s 41.0-31.3 in Harris County overalls.

E-Day ’11: First E-Day Numbers

November 8, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

87 boxes in for Harris County. And the Mayor is running at 49% for those boxes. Here’s the rundown …

- 52.3% total for MAP so far. 49.1% on E-day ballots. District B seems to have turned in a bundle of them as 31% of the precincts and 22% of the vote turned in are from that district. So far, this indicates a bit of the Peter Brown effect. Could make the night interesting if it holds up.

- District A has 11 of 157 boxes in, but a lot of those are partial precincts. The worse news is that challenger Helena Brown is running at 51.1% on E-Day and stands with a 47.4-42.8 lead so far.

- District B is still Byrd v Davis. 26 of 124 boxes in.

- Ellen Cohen is under 50% for E-Day. 47.0% to be precise. The second and third batch should be worth watching here. She’s at 54.3% overall, so far. Only 6 of 65 boxes in so far.

- District F only gets one box in. It’s a good one for Al. 57.3% on the whole for him.

- District H gets 9 of 68 boxes and the E-Day numbers are 50.3-49-7 for Ed. Much closer. Could be interesting to see what the rest of E-Day holds here. Ed has a solid lead from the earlies and is at 69.8% overall.

- Similar findings in District I. James Rodriguez leads the E-Day counts 53.8-46.2 and has 66.9% overall. Weird results.

- Mike Laster is pulling 65% on E-Day with the first two boxes (of 30) in. That’s about the ratio I think he’ll get throughout the night.

- Larry Green is pulling only slightly lower than his 70% on E-Day. He’s fine.

- Stephen Costello is barely over 50% for E-Day. Compare that to the Mayor if you want. This one could get tight since Costello didn’t break 52% on either of the early counts.

- AL2 is still the Kristi & Burks show. Oddly, Perez leads in the first early boxes 17.8% to Burks’ 16%. Kristi’s close at 14%. Should be intreresting to see what impact E-Day has on this one. Robinson holds third place for now, with a 207 vote lead over Perez in fourth.

- Melissa Noriega is getting an even line for both earlies and E-Day results. 56-57 percent across the board.

- Jones is at 37.8% in the first E-Day boxes. She leads 41.6-31.6 on the whole.

E-Day ’11: Early Votes In

November 8, 2011 Politics-2011 No Comments

A few minor surprises, but nothing that shouldn’t revert to normal when today’s numbers come in. Again, these are ONLY Harris results I’m looking at so far. So factor in a bump from black vote coming out of Ft. Bend.

- Mayor Annise Parker clocking in at 52.8% in the EV. That’s definitely on the low side of projections, but I think her numbers improve with E-Day totals. It might be a stretch to see her numbers get up to 60% based on this start. We’ll see. I think I hear the spinning from the anti-Annise peeps now.

- Brenda Stardig trailing Brown in District A. That’s a definite surprise to me. Stardig trailed both Absentee and Early votes. This might go either way … and it might go into a runoff since neither has a 50 on either column.

- District B looks to be Byrd v Davis for the time being.

- Ellen Cohen over 50 … I repeat, Ellen over 50. 55.3%, to be precise. Cweren is the one to watch for second place and he’s all the way back at 27.2%. I think this one closes tonight.

- In District F, Al Hoang is sitting at 56.7% in the earlies. Lower than I’d have guessed. The others are at 22% and 20%. Wait and see if or how they move as the votes come in from today. I believe the early analysis had a high Asian vote cast in this district, so the post-election analysis on this one might be very revealing.

- Mike Laster starts off at 70%. La Opportunidad turned out to be quite the good ol’ fashioned opportunity.

- Same in K … Larry Green with 70%. Both races are over.

- AL1 … Stephen Costello barely cracking 51% and the pattern is nearly identical for absentee and early. I’d expect E-Day to hold the same for him. Much closer than I think he wanted.

- AL2 … Kristi & Burks start off as 1-2. Robinson & Perez seem to be the ones to watch for a move on E-Day numbers.

- Melissa Noriega starts off at 56.7%. I’d expect her to clear 60 by the end of tonight.

- JoJo starting off at 42.2% with Christie at 31.5%. Not terribly different than the ’09 showing. Looks like we’ve got our runoff there. Robinson’s 18.4% is pretty even among absentees and earlies. Looks like she served her role this election in pushing it to a runoff.

- Obviously, no opponent for Ronald Green or Mike Sullivan. So they’re back. Ed Gonzalez in H has it wrapped up with 72.2% of the earlies, as does James Rodriguez in I with a 68.7% start. JRod, has a big difference in his absentee (84%) and EV (64%), though. He’ll win, but his number might drop during the night. Oliver Pennington starts with 80% in District G, so he’s done for the night. Wanda Adams starts off the best among the district incumbents with 85.4%. Lights out on the south side.

In HCC, Carroll Robinson starts off with a 55-45 lead in early voting. It should remain about that tight.

In HISD, Manny Rodriguez starts out over Ramiro Fonseca 53-47. It’s one to watch tonight.

ADD-ON: Here’s the Harris County line for Mayor …

Kevin Simms       3,341  7.55%
Amanda Ulman        707  1.60%
Dave Wilson       4,603 10.40%
Fernando Herrera  6,333 14.31%
Annise D. Parker 23,348 52.76%
Jack O'Connor     5,919 13.38%
Cast Votes:      44,251

… and here’s Fort Bend:

Kevin Simms       179 26.09%
Amanda Ulman       18  2.62%
Dave Wilson        57  8.31%
Fernando Herrera   39  5.69%
Annise D. Parker  360 52.48%
Jack O'Connor      33  4.81%

The numbers for Simms should be seen in African-American precincts in Harris, also. I definitely think the contours are showing for what it would take to challenge Annise more aggressively (essentially the same as Lanier/Turner’s dual attack against Whitmire). The details should be a bit more revealing for how resilient or how at-risk she might be two years from now. But there will definitely be spin.

SIDENOTE: Glancing at state constitutional amendments while I wait for city numbers to change, I notice that Prop 8 is losing 51-49. That’s the water bonds thing. I voted against all of them out of my principle that we have too many amendments. But if there’s one that I might have thought twice about, that was one. It should be interesting to see how it ends up.

AirAnnise

October 21, 2011 Politics-2011 2 Comments

I’m pretty surprised that nobody’s taken to the airwaves so far to raise some name ID this election. Annise is up now, it looks like:

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