The Houston Chronicle notes that early voting for December 14th’s municipal runoff election has officially begun. I have yet to receive my absentee ballot, though I have three layers of confounding incompetent bureaucracy (Harris County Clerk, US Postal Service and my university’s mailroom) to deal through, so I have faith it is somewhere between Houston & Boston at press time.
The incumbents in the top two municipal elections (Mayor Annise Parker and City Controller Ronald Green, respectively) were both re-elected outright last month, meaning that only an assortment of City Council races will be on next Saturday’s ballot. Specifically, at-large Positions #2 and #3, as well as Districts A, D & I. There are also a few HCC Trustee races with runoff elections, though these only cover a portion of the City.
In At-large Position #2, incumbent City Councilmember Andrew Burks was drawn into a runoff with challenger David Robinson. Burks, a perennial candidate who found his way onto the Council last year following a crowded runoff, has had a tumultuous tenure and a history of making somewhat odd statements. In comparison, Robinson is a fairly no-nonsense, straightforward candidate who has been endorsed by most progressive groups even though both candidates are Democrats. [FULL DISCLOSURE: Texpatriate has endorsed Robinson]
In At-large Position #3, the Democrats outdid themselves once again in snatching defeat from the jaws of the victory. Despite capturing 55+% of the vote between its four candidates, the quartet stumbled over one another and allowed solely the two Republicans, Michael Kubosh and Roy Morales, into the runoff electon. The President of the GLBT Caucus has endorsed Morales, as have many fellow bloggers, portraying him as the lesser of the evils, but I beg to disagree. [FULL DISCLOSURE: Texpatriate has endorsed Kubosh]
In District A, fiercely conservative City Councilmember & Tea Party favorite Helena Brown will face off against her predecessor on the Council (whom she defeated in 2011), Brenda Stardig. Both are Republicans, though Stardig has demonstrated a great eagerness to work with others across the aisle on comprehensive solutions during her brief tenure on the Council. Brown tends to cast symbolic ‘no’ votes that demonstrate her opposition to expansive Government. [FULL DISCLOSURE: Texpatriate has endorsed Stardig]
In District D, frontrunner Dwight Boykins was barely squeezed into a runoff against Georgia Provost. This open election has entered the realm of the absurd perhaps more than any other, with Boykins’ opponents accusing him of being an insincere Democratic or much, much worse. Meanwhile, Provost has engaged in enormously pathetic campaign tactics that drug up these tired and untrue attacks. [FULL DISCLOSURE: Texpatriate has endorsed Boykins]
Finally, in District I, a competitive runoff has taken shape between Graciana Garces and Robert Gallegos. Garces, who is the incumbent (James Rodriguez)’s Chief of Staff, has been running the support of individuals such as Carol Alvarado and the family of the late State Senator Mario Gallegos. Robert Gallegos (no relation), meanwhile, is relying on the support of Sylvia Garcia. [FULL DISCLOSURE: Texpatriate has endorsed Gallegos]
There are also a few HCC Trustee races, but we have made a point of not covering these races. A few Texpate consultants have been hired by these campaigns, and we determined there would be too large a conflict of interest to objectively follow and report on the campaigns, as well as endorse in many of the races. I will note, however, that I voted for Robert Glaser for HCC District V and plan on doing so once more.