A few days after the general election, Dr Ben Hall went and ruined everyone’s post-election fun by making a “big announcement” about the next election cycle. He said he was considering a run for Mayor and would be making a final decision “very soon.” Trouble is, about five weeks have gone by and I still don’t see any announcement or any announcements about Hall whatsoever. So, without further delay, let me personally pontificate my views about the state of the race. Parker is obviously running for re-election, and she might even have made a formal announcement. Hall is MIA about his intentions, and Bill King is quiet, but that is expected.
Parker is, in my opinion, significantly more popular today than she was in 2011. This is because there is no longer as much talk on furloughs and painful austerity in the budget. Parker has really solidified the “intelligentsia left,” with only a few options for defeat. Ben Hall would usurp a chunk of the African-American left’s vote, whereas Bill King could take the smaller, but still formidable, Republican vote. But there are quite a few problems with this. First, the Houston Democratic establishment should realize that a difference in skin colour is not a reason to challenge a candidate, especially if it could cause a candidate of a different party or ideology to take the office. Sylvester Turner and Chris Bell should not be role models for Dr Hall.
This leaves the Republican, Bill King. Houston has not had a Republican Mayor since 1982. We haven’t had a Republican Mayor for so long that none of the former ones are even still living. So this would be quite a hurdle for King to accomplish. I have a few problems with King’s possible candidacy, and he has a few other ones as well. First, I don’t like the idea of someone being Mayor of two different cities, unless one had annexed or merged with the other, and last I checked, Kemah was still its own town. Second, King has made a habit of writing op-eds for the Chronicle. Bad idea. The conventional wisdom is that politicians should never open their mouths more than they have to. Mainly because he has attempted to cast himself as a pragmatic moderate. This does not ring well with the far-right that now dominates the GOP, especially in Texas. I remember, in particular, that he took a stand against Voter IDs. This opinion piece prompted livid, bitter responses from the Tea Party, with the most common denominator in the comment section being, “I won’t vote for you,” though usually with more obscenity.
Bill King may end up not being the candidate of the right. If the right nominates someone more extreme like, say, Paul Bettencourt, they will be resigned to do about as well as Roy Morales. Ben Hall might not even run. If there is one thing this previous year has taught me, it is that elections are unpredictable. I went into election night thinking Romney would win, and we all know what happened (and by how much). Parker could get elected by a landslide, she could lose. To quote Plato, “I know that I know nothing.”