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Primary Mapping: Dem HD146

One of the more pleasant outcomes to watch outside of my own HD137, Borris Miles fended off two-time previous incumbent, Al Edwards, 57.6% to 42.4%. One tidbit that gives some of us hope that this will be the last go-round for Al Edwards: this was the first of the four matchups where Borris Miles has won the Sunnyside half of the district. In fact, the areas where Edwards did best this time, were the newer precincts to the far west.

On the whole, the scope of Borris' win is pretty broad. Edwards didn't have a lot of help from his previous enablers, so his campaign was on far more of a shoestring. I've got to think that if he still sees a State Representative in the mirror, it seems likelier that his former constituents don't.

Color-coding is: dark blue = Miles; light blue = Edwards.

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The 2012 Primary G-Slate

In what negligible amount of spare time I have before May 29th, here's my biennial check-in on where my personal preferences stand for some of the contested primaries on my ballot. Take 'em for whatever they're worth to you.

State Representative, District 137: Gene Wu
Easily the biggest one of importance to me since I'm still drawn in District 137. Also due to the fact that, professionally, I'm busting a hump or two trying to get the guy elected. I don't think its my style to be half-in for an open seat in my neighborhood. Much of the rationale here is similar to that I used for supporting Mike Laster in his two most recent runs for City Council: having a representative who's been involved in the neighborhood issues means a lot to an area typically overlooked. And much like the most recent race for Houston's District J, there's not a bad candidate running. But just like that year, there is only one clear choice if you want someone who's dealt with the area on a day-to-day basis.

Dem. Party Chair: Lane Lewis
I'm old enough to remember the Claude Jones years. Enough. Lane may certainly be a departure in style and background from the previous run of party chairs we've had. We'll find out soon enough whether that's a good or bad thing. But there's no argument over the fact that the opposing candidate in this race would be another shot in the foot that I don't think we have the luxury of affording.

U.S. Representative, District 7: James Cargas
After doing a small amount of work on the Skelly campaign in 2008, its hard to see how anyone else steps up to the plate with money, resume, background, or whatever and improves the odds. But there are three candidates up for this one and I'll take a semi-respectable showing for whatever trouble its worth to run everywhere.

State Board of Education, District 6: Tracy Jensen
Redistricting happened a hundred years ago, right? I've long since forgotten what the math looked like in the new 6th. However long the odds are, though, its still worth putting the best showing possible against Terri Leo.

State District Judge, 215th: Steven Kirkland
Funny thing is, I don't have any qualms with the attorney who's gunning for Kirkland. And under normal circumstances, I suspect that Elaine Palmer would have far better political advice than she's received this time around. Maybe she would have even payed attention to it long enough to not let anyone know she's as nutty as she's shown. But the secret's out now. So I think I'll stick with the guy who's there now.

District Attorney: Zack Fertitta
I don't have any major hangups with voting for Pat Lykos if the loony Dem wins this race. But Zack's a good candidate with a good resume for the job. I hope people are paying attention to this one.

Sheriff: Adrian Garcia
Seriously? ... why would anyone challenge Garcia in the primary? For whatever reason, they are. So my stamp is down with the guy I lifted a finger to help back in 2008. He's pretty dang good. So I think I'll keep him as my Sheriff.

County School Trustee, Pos. 3: Diane Trautman
I can't say that this is as strong an endorsement or need to prevent some whackjob from being on my ballot in November. But I think Diane's just the right one based on the strength of her resume.

I still have no idea what to even call for a coin toss on some contested primaries for County Commissioner (vs. Radack) and Constable (vs Camus). Both are going to be for nominees that have no chance in an area drawn a bit better for the GOP. Haven't met any of the candidates, so I can't really judge from anything else I've seen.

A few races elsewhere that I don't have any kind of say in ...

State Representative, District 144: Ornaldo Ybarra
Admittedly, I'll be shocked if he wins. The money and organizational strength tends to be behind Mary Ann Perez. But I've long since believed that Ybarra is a great story for the district since it would be great to see the Hispanic community outside of Houston show some strength. Its just a matter of time.

State Representative, District 146: Borris Miles
Here's hoping the rubber match ends here. Still prefer having him as my next-door-neighbor State Rep. There doesn't seem to be any serious money behind Al Edwards this time. And they haven't been successful at just making up sh*% for the 10pm news to air as an unpaid attack ad on Borris. Yeah, I still remember that, KHOU.

State Representative, District 93: Roger Fisher
This'd be a district that covers my old 'hood in Tarrant County. The incumbent, Todd Smith, is looking to move up to the State Senate. This one's a GOP district and normally, I'd care incredibly little. But since the exiting Smith is a Trinity High grad, I feel a little compelled to root on the lone contestant for the open seat that happens to be a fellow alum. It helps that Fisher has also earned the endorsement of Parent PAC. So who knows, maybe he'll follow in the tradition of the pre-2010 Todd Smith.

Anything other than a yawner of a U.S. Senate primary that I'm overlooking?


Let the Campaign Filings Begin (Ctd)

Some updates on yesterday's post ...

HD136 ... I stand corrected on Mano DeAyala. He's showing over $144k raised and $106k on hand. That leads the pack in a pretty strong field of candidates that at least a few people have cast a ballot for in elections past. I'd still rank him as an underdog, but he's a very well-financed one.

HD137 ... Joe Madden gets his report in and shows just over $10k on hand.

HD144 ... Ken Legler gets his report in: $34k on hand.

A few more Harris County filing totals to highlight:


                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Alma Allen          $5,565.00    $14,542.75     $18,764.13
Wanda Adams             $0.00     $4,697.82     $59,572.22


                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Borris Miles          $15,900      $2750.00      $6,800.08
Al Edwards              $0.00         $0.00      $1,199.64

Adams' money lead over Allen is pretty impressive. I'd probably have to peg Allen as a better campaigner in that one. We'll see what the voters think, though. My hunch is that it gets more even in terms of resources. They should be at parity on dollars spent when it's all said and done. The dollar figures on Miles and Edwards is a bit misleading. Miles will have whatever resources he feels he needs - he can either raise it or write the check. The question for Edwards is whether he'll have the people driving his campaign that do all the work for him like Sylvester Turner has done in years past. If other people think Edwards is pushing it this time around, this could be the election where he becomes an afterthought. All that said, either new configuration for HD146 could show some interesting new twists.

District Attorney

                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Mike Anderson           $0.00         $0.00          $0.00
Pat Lykos         $194,598.71    $40,927.94    $320,551.54

I'm not sure what Anderson can bring to the table in terms of resources, but given the high profile of his challenge, I'm just assuming he hasn't gotten around to holding a fundraiser yet.

Tax Assessor

                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Mike Sullivan       $8,200.00    $14,629.25     $53.641.89
Don Summers             $0.00     $2,788.56      $3,921.11

Interesting. Just interesting.

Harris County Sheriff

                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Adrian Garcia     $187,726.78    $37,531.56    $302,290.00
Carl Pittman       $13,039.00    $25,178.31     $28,907.02
Paul Day                $0.00         $0.00          $0.00
Harold Heuszel          $0.00         $0.00          $0.00
Louis Guthrie      $96,690.00    $35,590.87     $21,641.03
Ruben Monzon       $33,250.23    $18,336.49     $14,913.74

All listed here but Garcia are running in the GOP primary. I have no idea what to expect from that electorate among the crew listed on their ballot. But it's nice to see Garcia start off with a healthy advantage.

Constable - Pct 1

                      RAISED       SPENT          ON HAND
Alan Rosen         $43,500.00     $5,923.87     $37,313.67
Quincy Whitaker     $5,475.00    $18,260.84          $0.00
Grady Castleberry   $3,741.06     $9,908.66      $4,568.00
Cindy Vara-Leija   $22,765.71     $3,256.01     $15,508.37

This could become more interesting if the "caretaker" appointed to Pct. 1 decides he's got the itch to run for election. But this is going to be an eventful field to watch since the district - and the primary electorate in particular - is a bit of a catch-all with no clear distinct tilt favoring any particular candidate. The precinct includes Acres Homes, part of Fifth Ward, Northside, and much of the Anglo Dem belt inside the loop. And you've got a field of candidates that appeal to every corner of that precinct.

There are a few contests that I drew the line at researching just for the interests of time and personal interest. If you're truly interested in putting together a more thorough list or adding to this one, feel free. I need to think through some placement on the Almanac for the county races as soon as time permits. Here's hoping that it permits sometime this year.


The Other Dissent on the State House Map

» Chron: African-American lawmakers don’t like legislative maps

The local African-American State Rep delegation doesn’t seem happy with their districts …

At a news conference at the Julia C. Hester House in Fifth Ward, Turner noted that he and his fellow lawmakers – Reps. Borris Miles, Harold Dutton, Alma Allen and Senfronia Thompson – had no objections to maps drawn for the state Senate and for Congress.

They objected to the House map, he said, after an analysis of the numbers led them to believe that predominantly African-American districts in Harris and Dallas counties were being diluted and historic communities of interest were being divided.

This has come up since the lines started getting drawn in the Lege. The core of it is that anytime you show a district that has a high-30s for African-American population share and a low-40s for Hispanic population share, you’re almost guaranteed to get one frantic incumbent from the African-American delegation crying over it. And given the way demographics have unfolded in the past decade, it’s increasingly common. Barbara Mallory Caraway, for instance, made an issue of her HD110 being drawn at one point to be 39.6% Afr-Am and 50.7% Hispanic.

Now that the politicians have been removed from the process, the districts aren’t quite to their liking. Here’s one instance, with what is apparently now MY State Rep district:

Rep. Borris Miles, who represents House District 146, said that he will lose 60 percent of his African-American district. “They split Sunnyside right in half,” he said. “It’s obvious to me that the three court judges did not know what they were doing when they came in and drew these new lines.”

As luck would have it, Borris gave his nickel version of this complaint at the same Meyerland Dems meeting where I was invited to speak at. He talked briefly about the numbers in the new district, as proposed by the San Antonio court: 41.6% Hispanic and 41.5% Afr-Am. He pointed to Gulfton in the district and said while he knew he could win the district because Gulfton had a lot of “non-voters”, he said his concern was for the person who came after him … or after the “sleeping giant” of Hispanic voters finally woke up.

I like Borris. I’m proud to have been a part of the team that got him elected in 2006. I’m looking forward to giving him all sorts of grief as my State Rep starting in January 2013. But he’s flat out wrong on this. The reason should be obvious if you’ve read more than a handful of posts here during the past year. It’s not that Gulfton has a lot of “non-voters” who might “wake up” and finally start voting. It’s that Gulfton has a lot of non-citizens. Who can’t vote. Period. In fact, by the time, you get to viewing the district’s Citizen Voting Age composition, it turns out that HD146 is 55% African-American. That’s better than HD131 and HD147, both of which are over 50% as well.

Another part of the complaint with the drawing on the south side is that Sunnyside is carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey. What’s odd about this being a complaint from Borris is that he’s not won Sunnyside once in the three times he’s been on the ballot. Shedding a bit of Sunnyside might not be the worst thing in the world for him. There’s also the fact that the other two Afr-Am State Reps in the area reside in adjoining precincts to HD146 – Coleman to the north, Allen to the south. So if the concern is keeping Sunnyside whole, someone would likely have to be drawn out of their district. I’m fairly certain that there are no volunteers for this.

Where there is something of a complaint is the manner in which Garnet Coleman’s new district would take in parts of the Fifth Ward in order to bolster the Afr-Am numbers in a sixth such district in the county. The current HD147 picks up a fair amount of Montrose, but doesn’t go significantly north of Washington Ave and downtown at it’s northern-most border. Here’s the new northern wing of HD147:

The challenge that both creates and vexes all at the same time is that if you were to simply calculate the number of districts in the county that the Afr-Am population would warrant based on total population, it comes to 4 districts (24 total districts x 18.4% population share = 4.4). At a Citizen Voting Age Population level, it comes to 5 districts (24 x 21.9% = 5.3). There are, at present, six African-American districts electing African-American State Representatives. In order to sustain that, either one district has to be made as thin as possible, or a district has to go. Again, volunteers seem to be at a premium.

The math for sustaining six African-American districts will get thinner and thinner each decade. But the districts won’t hit a tipping point for Hispanic electoral viability this decade … and likely not even by the end of the decade to follow, barring some more dramatic demographic shifts among the African-American population.


House Redistricting: On the South Side

The two districts below don't necessarily alter any of the demographic dynamics of each district. HD146 is 43.7% VAP Afr.-Am. and HD131 is 42.4% Afr.-Am. Each is about as secure as they were before for minorities to elect candidates of their choosing. But it's worth highlighting that each of them extends more to the north and west than they previously did. Where the 2001 maps sought to diminish the minority voting strength of Southwest Houston by attacking from the north, the 2011 mapmakers sought to accomplish the same end-result by a combination of slices from the north and south.

So for whatever they're worth to you for noticing the change in what the districts cover, here they are:


View House Redistricting: HD131 in a larger map


View House Redistricting: HD146 in a larger map


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