Fundraising 2015

Theodore Scheifler at the Houston Chronicle has a great new story out today on the first big fight over the 2015 Mayoral election. As explained previously, the gaggle of politicians looking into the race are specifically prohibited from raising money for the contest until February of next year (the election will be in November 2015). Like I noted in my overview of the candidates last month, the likely candidates include both incumbent officeholders and non-incumbents. This is important because those who hold other offices may continue raising money for them while those who do not hold offices may not raise any money.

This has lead to a squabble between the the two arguable frontrunners: State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Harris County) and former Congressman Chris Bell (D-TX25). Turner, a current officeholder, is a Mayoral candidate in all but name; and yet, he continues prolifically raising money that is ostensibly for his State Legislative races (Turner is running unopposed for the State House this November). Scheifler notes that, at a recent fundraiser, he took in more than $4000,000 alone. Bell, meanwhile, cannot do any of this because he does not currently hold any political office.

Bell and his law partner, Geoffrey Berg, have officially complained to City Attorney David Feldman about this policy. For friendly PACs and other campaign organizations, there is a hard limit of $10,000 that may be transferred into a Mayoral account. However, Feldman has interpreted the city’s finance rules to allow for incumbent officeholders to transfer the first $5,000 of a plausibly endless amount of individual donations into a Mayoral account.

Turner’s campaign had no statement, and I’m still waiting on Bell’s campaign to get back to me.

The point Berg makes in his letter, which is attached in the Chronicle article, is honestly somewhat compelling. He diligently cites the sentiment expressed at City Council when these provisions were pushed through in 2005, complete with detailed quotations from former City Attorney Arturo Michel, former City Councilmembers Carol Mims Galloway (D-District B) and Gordon Quan (D-At Large 2), respectively. The precedent they outlined, as well as the one followed by City Councilmember Ellen Cohen (D-District C) when she first ran for the post (Cohen had previously served as a State Representative. She had money in her account leftover and refunded it to contributors), is hard to argue with.

I’m not saying that the most prudent course of action would be limiting Turner to one $10,000 deposit of his State Rep money into his Mayoral account. I tend to think these blackout dates on fundraising are a little silly, and wouldn’t see any problem with Bell raising money now. In fact, I’d probably prefer it. My point is that the unequal treatment of the two candidates is what is unacceptable.

What do you think?

More filings

I’d like to apologize for some inactivity recently, I have two finals and a 18 page paper due on Monday, so my blogging has had to take a little bit of a backseat. Anyways, with just two more days left in filing, there is a lot news to report upon both Statewide and at the Harris County level with the introduction of new candidates.

Most notably, the Dallas Morning News reports that Kesha Rogers will throw her tinfoil hat into the ring and seek the Democratic nomination for US Senator. Rogers, who has twice been the nominee for Congress in Sugar Land’s 22nd Congressional District, is a member of the Lyndon LaRouche political sect cult. This organization has little cohesive or consistent message besides revering LaRouche in a cult of personality. This organization is not really reminiscent of the Democratic Party in any way, spouting utterly nonsensical and conspiratorial views. Even the Morning News article notes of Rogers, “As an acolyte of perennial presidential fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche, she believes the U.S. economy is secretly controlled by a cabal of London financial institutions.”

Also included in the Senate slates are Harry Kim, a dentist out of Odessa. I can’t really find much information one way or another on him. Brains & Eggs also counts Roman McAllen,  local architect, among the Senatorial candidates (though he has yet to file).

Click here to read about new candidates for Railroad Commission and County offices

In re Boykins

Anyone who consistently reads my blog knows that I am a freshman in College. Compared to just about all of my contemporaries, I got into local politics quite early. I started working for City Hall and became completely and totally engrossed within local politics just before the 2009 election, at the age of fifteen. To become familiar with the pre-2009 officeholders, I did research on most of the elections in the past few elections before that time, mostly the previous elections involving people who held office at that time.

Anyways, I mentioned in my November 17 article “Dialogue in D” that a man named Dwight Boykins is running for District D. I simply mentioned him in passing, almost curiously wondering why Mayor Brown and Jew Don Boney were endorsing him. Further, I insinuated in another article on that day, “Jones to return?” that Jolanda Jones was free of other establishment politicians. All of that, cross that, Boykins is a big deal–I was wrong.

This is one of those embarrassing moments when my age gets in the way. It turns out that Dwight Boykins has run for the City Council thrice before, once going into a runoff. Unfortunately, I was 3, 5, and 9, respectively, when he ran, so I have no memory of this. But, for the record: Boykins ran in a crowded field in 1997, coming in fourth place. He ran again in 1999, coming in second to Gordon Quan, and losing in the runoff. Finally, he ran in 2003 against Michael Berry in at-large 5, coming in second but failing to grab enough votes from Berry for a runoff.

So, essentially, my ego got in the way vis-a-vis Houston politics and I did not foresee a connection to politics of before my time. This moots most of my commentary about if Jones returns to run in District D. That will be a hard race.