Believe it or not, there are other political stories in Texas right now, and the biggest one is the upcoming race in Houston to replace term-limited Mayor Lee Brown. There are six candidates in the race, four of whom can be counted as serious. The race promises to be the most expensive ever, probably by a wide margin, as I noted earlier.
Today, Orlando Sanchez picked up an endorsement from Gov. Rick Perry, who sent out a fundraising letter on Sanchez's behalf.
The mail-out came shortly after campaign finance reports submitted last week showed candidate Bill White with more than a 2-1 campaign funding edge over Sanchez, who was second.
"Orlando Sanchez is serious about making Houston great again, and he needs your support in realizing that vision," Perry wrote. "If you can, I hope you'll take the time to donate to his campaign by giving $50 or $100 today. It's important to Houston and important to Texas."
Three weeks ago, Sanchez won support from the Associated Republicans of Texas, a GOP business lobby that has pushed for congressional redistricting and limits on civil lawsuit damage awards.
In the coming weeks, Sanchez is expected to announce backing from Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and other statewide Republican elected officials.
I consider this race a must-win for Sanchez. If he wins, he's a rising star - a Republican Hispanic who won in Democrat-friendly territory - and will have a decent shot at statewide office in 2006. (Yes, Houston is Democrat-friendly. Harris County, which includes the heavily Republican independent townships of West University Place, Hunter's Creek, Spring Valley, Bellaire, and Southside Place, among others, is not. Subtracting all of that out leaves behind Houston and a modest Democratic majority.) If not, he's a two-time loser who couldn't oust an unpopular incumbent or win an open seat despite a ton of party support. I believe the question of whether he will ever run for elected office again will be settled this fall.
The other candidate making his second attempt at this office is State Rep. Sylvester Turner, who has the ghost of the 1991 campaign and a strong challenge for progressive and minority voters from Bill White to overcome. The latter is likely to cause him more grief than the former:
Turner's new team was quickly put to the test when the Tejano Democrats met to endorse candidates in the coming municipal elections. [Consultant Frank] McCune had predicted that [former Lanier and Brown campaigner Marc] Campos would be able to pull strings with elected officials in his client stable to snatch the endorsement from White, a charter Tejano member. But Campos was unable to deliver the support of allies such as City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado, who spoke in favor of White.
Turner forces tried to make the best of a bad situation by getting a joint endorsement, but only a few members voted for that, so the endorsement went to White.
So sit back and relax, this will be a loud and expensive campaign, and if anyone tells you right now they know who will win, don't believe them.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 22, 2003 to Election 2003 | TrackBack