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Primary Mapping: Dem 215th District Court

Continuing on with some old Dem Primary mapping ....

Next up is a look back at the contentious race for the 215th District Court nomination between Elaine Palmer and Steve Kirkland. In this contest, Palmer would go on to win, 61.5% to Kirkland's 38.5%. There was obviously a lot more going on in this contest besides where each candidate went from their respective starting point demographic bases.

That said, Kirkland's areas of success don't extend too far beyond the Anglo Dem and Dems-among-Republican voters on both the westside, Clear Lake, and Kingwood areas. Palmer did very well in Hispanic areas, which is something a bit counter-intuitive. I'm not sure how much activity Palmer's backers put into Hispanic neighborhoods or if the flood of anti-Kirkland mail that every Dem voter got just clicked with those voters.

The most obvious missed opportunity that I think I see for Kirkland are those Dems-among-Republican voters in the northwest part of the county. Why they'd vote differently than similar voters on the westside or Clear Lake isn't immediately clear to me. It might not have been enough to swing the vote significantly closer, but it's a healthy reminder that Democratic voters outside of city limits probably deserve more attention.

full page - Google Earth


Election-Eve Aggreposting

A random assortment of election coverage as I take care of my own State Rep district. I'll be back in action Tuesday night.

» KHOU: Allegations of dirty politics arise in civil court judge race
I've been in campaigns for judges who were under attack from a lawyer scorned. It's rarely fun. But it also makes me more sympathetic for Judge Kirkland over the lady with fake supporters.

» Chron: Crowded field vies to succeed Ron Paul in US House
Nearly a dozen candidates crammed into a brief overview. It is what it is. But this'll be phase two of my year. It'd be easier reading if people got over the fact that this district has very little in common with the district Ron Paul has been representing since 2005.

» New Yorker: Cory Booker: The Dilemma of the New Black Politician
» National Journal: The Emerging Democratic Divide
Two articles that really deserve to be read alongside of each other. The strain of belief within the Democratic Party that believe in things like free markets, entrepreneurship, and liberalized trade isn't dead. Its just not on the Sunday talk shows and is increasingly hard to find in DC. The voters are still there, though. Knock on a door or two in a any Democratic district and you'll find them easily enough. That said, there are a lot of electeds who need to drop the DC-centric talking points and reflect their district a little more. Kudos to Cory Booker for letting that happen ... on a Sunday talk show, no less.

» New Yorker: Do We Still Need the Voting Rights Act? (Jeffrey Toobin)
There's room for improvement in a nation where multicultural areas are proliferating. It would also be a good thing to see greater protections afforded to Asian populations (spoken as one who is campaigning in one such area that has been fractured into no less than 5 different State Rep districts!). But the short answer is ... yes. Until there's any reasonable discourse allowed on the topic from the far right, the middle ground will just be a continuation of the same 60's era solution applied for as long as SCOTUS allows.

» Chron: Census count stirs up debate (Jeannie Kever)
The Chron follows up with some Texas reactions toward the single biggest issue known to mankind the brouhaha over the American Community Survey. There's also an update that Houston will get an answer to their appeal on undercounting in the city in a couple of weeks.

» Texas Observer: House District 26: As Fort Bend Goes

Fort Bend has been called a bellwether county so often that it’s easy to become skeptical about the use of the term ....

I'm too overworked to have enough patience to dig through the archives for where I might have first made mention of this. I'm fairly certain I had to have been part of the early crowd, though. But the article is more of a snapshot of the HD26 contest. Unfortunately, the court didn't maintain a more competitive district in this instance.

» 538: Swing Voters and Elastic States
After doing my own round of number-crunching of historical voting patterns in HD137 as well as the daily ritual with the Early Vote rosters provided by the County, its actually very soothing to read someone else's work with election data for a change.


How Not to Run a Campaign

» Chron: A little mystery over primary opposition to judge (Patricia Kilday Hart)

I'm a little late to this party, but one thing jumped out at me during the most recent kerfuffle over Elaine Palmer's primary challenge to sitting Democratic judge, Steve Kirkland. PKH covers the internecine aspect of the battle, which is bad enough. A ride through the Third Ward over the weekend for the Senate District convention also saw a number of "empty lot" signs of Palmer's posted on a lot of places where there were no voters to be had. At best, that's just funny. Besides, one location had both Palmer's and Kirkland's signs next to each other.

But some of the other communication that Palmer has done has been worth noting, also. Below the fold is an email from around 3/12. In it, you get pictures of a couple that were "Meet & Greet" hosts as well as another of "Supporters." The problem with this is that the "supporters" aren't really supporters. The photo is a stock photo that anyone can buy for about a buck or two. You can see the stock photo of one of the couples in this email here.

And every other name mentioned in the email as a supporter or host doesn't turn up as a registered voter in Harris County.

A few days after that, the Palmer campaign sent a similar email with the following prayer included in it (emphasis mine):

Heavenly Father...

As we approach the upcoming election for Civil District Judge 215, we ask you to strengthen Elaine Palmer in her commitment to dispense with mercy and compassion. Thank you for preparing her through education and experience for public service. We ask that she continue to be a beacon of hope for those often mistreated by our legal system.

We ask that you touch her opponent, helping him to resist the temptation of dirty politics. So often, desire overrules ethics. We ask that, like Elaine Palmer, her opponent run a campaign grounded in truth and rooted in high moral character.

And we thank you for the opportunity to choose our political destiny without fear and intimidation, a right fought for by those who walked the path of freedom before us.

Bless us, Father, and bless Elaine Palmer.

I think I've crossed paths with Judge Kirkland once or twice back in 2008. I can't say he's one of those judicial candidates that I'd jump and scream about everyone needing to vote for based on any knowledge of him in the past. But stuff like this makes it easy for me to make a point of voting for Kirkland this time around.


Elaine Palmer

About Elaine
Elaine Palmer

A Native Houstonian
Practicing Attorney for 14 years
Graduate of  Lamar High School
University of Houston
Texas Wesleyan University Of Law
Member of Trinity United Methodist Church
Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.


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Does being first on the ballotimprove your chance of winning public office? YES!

Specialists in the mechanics of voting have long recognized that the order in which candidates' names appear on aballot influences voters' decisions. Typically, candidates listed at the top of a ballot earn a greater share of the vote than they would receive in any other position, regardless of their policies and personalities. Now research on voting patterns in local state elections coauthored by a Kellogg School researcher has taken the issue a stage further. It concludes that the first listing on the ballot also increases a candidate's chances of actually winning office-by almost five percentage points.





The results were clear-cut. "In one out of ten elections, the candidate listed first won just because he was listedfirst," Salant recalls. "The first candidate advantage," the paper notes, "comes primarily at the expense of candidates listed in the median ballot position who are 2.5 percentage points less likely to win office than expected absent order effects" (Figure 1). The first candidate advantage was "similar in city council and in school board elections, in races with and without an open seat, and in races consolidated and not consolidated with statewide general elections." In addition, the percentages of winners from specific positions remained similar whether the elections were designed to produce one or more winners.



Special Thanks to Meet and Greet Hosts.



The Wrights support Elaine Palmer
Richard and Rita Wright of Spring smile for the camera.


A special thanks to those of you who have been so gracious in opening your homes to host a "Meet and Greet"for Elaine.
Richard and Rita Wright of Spring, TX
"Buck" and Genny Mathews of Tomball, TX
Marty and Katherine Anderson of Katy, TX

Nguyens at Meet and Greet
The Nguyens are now proud supporters of Elaine Palmer for Judge.

NOTE: If you want to host a "meet and greet" for Elaine contact the campaign at

Message from Elaine Palmer


Elaine Palmer

Thank you to the many people I've met during this campaign for Civil District Judge 215. I appreciate the warm reception I've received in churches, and senior centers, and from people I meet on the streets. I am grateful for the wise counsel I have received.  I am moved by those who shake my hand and share their stories of their fight for justice and ask that when I get elected that I don't forget where I came from, and serve all people fairly. Keep me in your prayers, and join me on this road to become the next Civil District Judge 215.


We can win this together.


Elaine Palmer

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Polling for Palmer
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Elaine Palmer Volunteers Chatting
Elaine Palmer Volunteers Chatting

Friends of Elaine H. PalmerSupporters

The Honorable Chris Oliver, Houston Community College Trustee


The Honorable Diane Olmos-Guzman, former Houston Community College Trustee
The Honorable Michael  P. Williams, former Houston Community College Trustee
The Honorable Jew Don Boney, former Mayor Pro-Tem and Houston City Council Member
Georgia D. Provost, Community Icon & Business woman
Jeffrey L. Boney, Community and Small Business Advocate


Michael Neely, Precinct Chair 252


Jacquelyn Baldwin-Doakes- retired HISD Disciplinary Coordinator and Community Activist


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