Editorial note: Sophia Arena contributed reporting to this article.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Ben Hall is releasing his fifth –and likely final– television commercial before next Tuesday’s general election. The ad, unlike his some of his previous spots, are about neither issues nor the campaign per se. Rather, the 30 second video features Hall and his wife, Saundra, discussing how they met one another.
“BEN HALL: I met Saundra in church, I was seventeen.
SAUNDRA HALL: He’s wearing orange bell bottoms, white platform shoes, and I nudged my cousin and said, what is that?
BEN HALL: I was the first boy she ever kissed.
SAUNDRA HALL: I was attracted to his intelligence, but I was thinking more like pastor and pastor’s wife.
BEN HALL: April eighteenth, nineteen eighty-one, seven PM. Married thirty-two years.
SAUNDRA HALL: And he’s still never given me a proper honeymoon.”
When I voted last Friday in Houston, I had to cancel the absentee ballot that was sent to be on the account of my sojourning in Boston. I was desperately worried, given the law voting restrictions, that there would be some issue with the casting of my ballot. Fortunately, there was no issue. When my father went to vote, however, that was a different story.
His driver’s license bears his full middle name, whereas his voter registration merely contains the middle initial. Evidently, this creates the risk of voter fraud, but since the names are “substantially similar,” he signed an affidavit confirming his identity and was allowed to cast a ballot. As Burnt Orange Report reminds us, the original bill would have required these individuals to cast provisional ballots, meaning they would be forced to return to the polls to produce a different ID in order for their ballots to be counted.
Annise Parker, after three previous commercials slamming Ben Hall for alleged tax dodging, has release her fourth TV ad today, which incidentally is her first positive commercial. The ad touts Houston’s impressive job record and many of her accomplishments the last 3 1/2 years in office.
“Mayor Annise Parker is building Houston’s future today. Her Hire Houston First policy has helped create more jobs than any city in America. She’s cut millions in waste, and balanced every budget, while putting more police on our streets. More funding for after-school programs, reopening libraries, expanding parks, speeding up street repair and flood protection. Mayor Annise Parker: Making Houston a better place to live and raise a family.”
Contrary to majority opinion, a Mayoral runoff –at least for a nominally liberal individual such as myself– is good. In recent days, we have been hearing the news from the Chronicle and other blogs that Parker has begun to pull away from Hall, and could very well garner over 50% in the November election. Robert Miller recently wrote that Parker has a “better than 50% chance” of winning outright. If you are a Parker fan, as I suspect many readers of this blog are, it would appear to be logical that this is good news. However, one could not be further from the truth.
Democrat voters are lazy. The preceding statement, while often controversial, is extremely true nonetheless. Presidential elections, those with higher turnout, see outcomes significantly more amicable to the Democratic Party in this State. As voter turnout drops into the low single-digits, Republicans become more and more successful in the heavily Democratic city of Houston.
For example, in the 2011 At-large position #5 election, the incumbent Jolanda Jones garnered a full 39% of the vote. Laurie Robinson, a likewise Democrat, earned a further 20% of the vote. According to reasonable inferences, Jones should have crushed her opposition in a runoff with close to 60% of the vote. However, when runoff election day came, Jack Christie defeated Jones with over 54% of the vote, rising over 21-points in the polls in the interim. The rise of 21 percentage points, however, was offset by actually about receiving 5000 fewer votes. This was possible because of a devastating drop in voter turnout. Without the Mayor’s race at the top of the ticket, over 1/3 of the electorate stayed home, allowing candidates severely out-of-touch from the interests of Houstonians to get elected.
Back in August, when CNN covered the Mayoral election, Ben Hall brushed off a question about LGBT issues, saying “Anyone who tries to bring that issue into the campaign, I think, mis-serves the city.” Hall was correct in that position, as he was shortly thereafter when he told the Harris County Democratic Party that he supported a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for LGBT people.
Now all that’s changed.
Note: The opinions expressed by the Texas Progressive Alliance or any other blog are not necessarily those of Texpatriate or its members.
The Texas Progressive Alliance has its Halloween costume ready as it bring you this weeks’ roundup.