10 most important elections (besides the Presidency)

The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. He sets the foreign policy, has tremendous influence over Congress, and can nominate Justices to the Supreme Court. Obviously, the race between President Obama and Governor Romney is much more important than anything else. However, the media already devotes all of its energy to cover this election, so I would like to focus on the 10 most important other elections.

10. Houston City Council, District E
Dave Martin is the widely assumed favorite, but Elizabeth Perez could very well pull an upset. What we have here is not an election between Democrat and Republican, it is an election between an old-guard Republican and the recalcitrant Tea Party. Martin will surely follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, and perhaps also be like Councilmember Pennington. However, Perez would most like imitate the habits of Councilmember Brown. It will be interesting to watch, but I’m not throwing any of my money at it.

9. Washington gay marriage referendum
There are actually four referendums, but Washington’s has the best chance of approval. Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota also have referendums, but I am less optimistic. Especially Minnesota, I think the traditional midwestern social conservative state has been given up on. Maine is a tossup, and Maryland similar. Maryland has a large African-American population which has ranged from tepid to hostile on the issue. However, Washington has a fairly good chance leading into the home stretch. Most importantly, this could finally break the curse of states approving gay marriage bans.

8. United States House of Representatives, Texas’ 14th district
Control of the House is not especially up for grabs this year, but this election will essentially make-or-break Nick Lampson’s career. A second loss in a row would be disastrous and most likely put an end to the former Congressman’s political aspirations, which could be quite valuable for Texas Democrats.

7. Texas House, 134th district
Sarah Davis seems to represent an average Tea Partier, completely inexcusable for my home district. Texas Democrats NEED a solid number over 50 in the delegations, and Ann Johnson will be the way towards that goal.

6. United States Senate, Indiana
The control of the Senate is up for grabs, and every election counts. This seat, held by longtime Senator Dick Lugar, is now open after Lugar was defeated in the GOP primary by an extremist. The Republican, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is now trailing in polls against the Democrat, Congressman Joe Donnelly. Donnelly is a strong candidate who I may even donate some money towards.

5. United States Senate, Massachusetts
I believe this election (Scott Brown vs Elizabeth Warren) is important in more ways than one. Massachusetts, arguably one of the most liberal states in the union, is faced between a very liberal Democrat and a very moderate Republican.

4. United States House of Representatives, Texas’ 23rd district
Again, the House is not up for grabs, but this election is important for another reason. Congressman Canseco and Representative Gallego are competing in the heavily Latino district. A loss by Gallego would be truly embarrassing for a Texas Democratic Party attempting to court Latinos.

3. Harris County Sheriff
Sheriff Adrian Garcia is perhaps Harris County’s best chance of retaining a countywide Democrat. His opponent is a crook, and Garcia has done a fantastic job while in office. This election will answer that question he had on November 3rd, 2010 in Houston. Can it get any worse?

2. United States Senate, North Dakota
The funny thing about the Senate is that no matter how small the state, the Senators hold equal power, so this election is just as important as the one in California or Texas. Former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat, is running against Congressman Rick Berg, the Republican. The seat has long been held by Democrat Kent Conrad. Heitkamp CAN WIN, and she will if she can raise enough money to compete against the outside money being funneled in by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. I will surely be donating some money to Ms. Heitkamp and I suggest y’all do the same.

1. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Presiding Justice
Keith Hampton’s campaign against Sharon Keller is almost as important as the Presidential election. Keith Hampton’s campaign against Sharon Keller is almost as important the Presidential election–it is important enough to say twice. Sharon Keller is a travesty to justice and our state. Mr Hampton has been endorsed by quite conservative papers and individuals for a very simple reason: he will restore honour to our highest court.

Also, RIP Arlen Specter. You were a good man in a profession full of wrong-doers.

Martin resigns post on Sports Authority

Dave Martin resigned from his position on the County/City Sports Board on Friday, as he gears up his campaign for the City Council. According the Chronicle, Martin would consider the position a “conflict of interest” while campaigning. Martin also holds a position on the Humble ISD school board, which the Chronicle states he will resign from if elected.

It seems Martin is getting a bit cocky, I would truly not be surprised if Perez could pull an outsider-win in the same fashion as Helena Brown.

Social Media in “E”

Elizabeth Perez, candidate for the District E special election in November, now has a website. (Linked here)

Perez lists a number of endorsements from “elected officials”, but they all seem to be from municipal officeholders outside of the city, including La Porte, Deer Park, and Highland Village. I find this quite odd, it seems to be if someone in my old neighborhood touted their support from the Mayor of Bellaire, it would be a negative (Perhaps that’s just my bias against racist cops). It seems somewhat weak compared with Martin’s support from the incumbent Councilmember, who still seems popular. However, Perez is also playing off of two other angles: national conservatism, and the Clear Lake lobby. I seemed to be mistaken earlier, as it seems that Perez does actually live on the southern side of the district. She is using this to her advantage by also bringing up the whole NASA issue. Additionally, she is playing off of tea party anger and national tidings, listing we small business owner supports as “‘I built this business’ supporters”. Perez’s website, coupled with her comprehensive Facebook page, shows her putting the most energy into social media. Martin’s website is still a basic stub, and thanks to comments from Allsbrooks himself on this blog, we know he is simply going to use his facebook page in lieu of a website.

For the record, I endorse Dave Martin. I will assume that we have some stark differences politically, just as I do with Councilmember Sullivan. But I have a tremendous professional respect for Councilmember Sullivan, and given the conservative leanings of all the candidates, I am inclined to support Sullivan’s endorsement.

District E update

A few days ago, I started a little discussion about the District E special election. I commented that none of the candidates had a webpage, although Elizabeth Perez did have a facebook page. Well, now front-runner Dave Martin was a webpage. It isn’t much, just an introductory biography front page that seems to have a link to donate. I would have to predict that this website will most likely grow to the standard format of most City Council campaign websites.

Lonnie Allsbrook, on the other hand, still has little correspondence of any kind. This is especially weird because of the comprehensive website and youtube presence he had in 2009.

2013 Comes Early

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.