Dave Martin is one lucky son-of-a-gun. Faced with what would be a shoe-in for a normal municipal election, he faced a real issue when it came to Sullivan’s integrity and frugality. Sullivan, the presumptive Tax Collector-elect, decided to give far advanced notice of his retirement, prompting a special election concurrent with the general in November. But there is a problem. Turnout is quite low in municipal elections, but the upside is there are not very many uninformed voters. A Presidential election may quadruple turnout, or more, for this City Council special election.
This brings the challenge of a lot of uninformed voters who only vote every other year (or every four). However, there is a saving grace for the frontrunner, Mr. Martin, his name is first on the ballot. Study after study has shown that if your name is first, it provides a tremendous advantage to uniformed voters simply trying to pick a candidate at random. However, I find that there could be chance that Martin is dragged into a runoff, and this is where it looks up for him.
Even if Martin comes in second place, with (I’m guessing Perez) having a mere plurality, a runoff would almost surely be won by him. Even in a Presidential election, the December runoff would not have more than about 10-15% turnout. This would again limit to the informed voters, who seem to be backing Martin with unparalleled numbers. Now, before some of the other candidates comment on here disputing my reasoning, the way I come to the decision that Martin is the front-runner is his support from Sullivan and the GOP establishment.
The astute will know that Houston City Councilmember Mike Sullivan won the GOP primary for Harris County Tax Collector a few months ago and, as promised, will resign in time for a special election in November. I’m not going to go into why Sullivan might be one of two Republicans I endorse this year, because that is a different story, but I would like to talk about the race for his successor. District E is comprised of Kingwood and Clear Lake, and such is the most conservative district in the city (Maybe “G” too). Sullivan has steered clear of being overly partisan (cough cough Mr. Berry), but I do not know if his followers will keep up the tradition.
First, there is Dave Martin. Martin is a school board member from Humble, and is quite the heavyweight of district. He is first in the ballot order and most definitely the frontrunner. Then there is Elizabeth Perez. Perez, just like everyone else, ran for the Houston City Council At-large 2 in 2011, and finished near the bottom. Evidently she is a Hispanic, Jewish Republican. She does not have a website (neither do the other candidates), but she does have a facebook page with about 180 likes (although it is rolled over from 2011). Finally, we have Lonnie Allsbrook, another retread. He ran for At-large 1 in 2009 and finished near the bottom, and has since moved from the Heights to Kingwood. Yes, Allsbrook is openly gay, but I would not so quickly categorize him as a Democrat. He endorsed the more conservative Costello in the run off in At-large 2009 after he was eliminated.
Most interesting, however, is how Kingwood dominated the candidate pool is. I guess the people of Clear Lake shouldn’t complain if they aren’t even willing to field a candidate. I believe Perez is from Meadowcreek, not Kingwood, but as she is by no means running on an anti-Kingwood platform.