Fringe Candidates

In less than a week, I will be back in Boston, spending my days writing op-eds for my college’s newspaper, mainly pertaining to big, national issues. Today, however, I talk about the fringe candidates for the City Council.

First and foremost, I have noticed an unbelievably small sliver of ostensibly declared candidates have actually turned in their signatures/filing fees to the City Secretary’s office. You can see all the official candidates on the Houstontx.gov website. At first, I simply assumed the computer updating was a few days behind, but I have spent enough time at City Hall this summer (& visited the City Secretary’s office enough recently) to know this is not the case. Most of the time, they have been pretty good about doing things on time.

Anyways, I have been meticulously checking this list for about the last month now, and have gotten a little bit worried, considering only three business days remain to file. I suppose that everything is delayed this year compared to 2009, when everyone was a tad bit rushed after Gene Locke filed on Day 1.

But back to 2013, two fringe candidates have emerged: one a retread and one a new contender. Both are running for at-large positions and have very minimal media surrounding their candidacy.

First up, J. Brad Batteau is running for At-large #3. I recently saw one of his signs erected in an empty lot at Travis & West Alabama (adjacent to a plethora of Eric Dick signs), but it was not specific to any one election year. Batteau ran for the same position in 2011, against Melissa Noriega. He came in last (3rd) with about 18% of the vote, mainly in protest. Before that, he ran in 2009 for At-large 1 (then an open seat), coming in seventh with about 6%. In 2007, in what I think was his first run for office, he ran in the open District I election to a pitiful result.

Batteau provides the key exception to the rule that “all publicity is good publicity.” Back in 2007, during Batteau’s first run for the City Council, YNN Austin had a wonderful story explaining his extensive criminal record, including a felony robbery conviction.

Then there is Modesto Rivera-Colon. A cursory Facebook search reveals he is a Republican, and works for the City of Houston (and formerly for the Houston Chronicle). Very little media otherwise, but I suspect the fact that he has any online presence means there may be a website to come.

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