With early voting for the March 9 primary underway as of yesterday, the race in CD09 has gotten spirited. Candidates Al Green and Rep. Chris Bell both landed some high profile endorsements for the home stretch.
Former Houston Justice of the Peace Al Green got support from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. She gave him a $5,000 check from the caucus' political action committee during a noon news conference at a south Houston early voting location.
Later Monday night, Waters' husband, Sidney Williams, hosted a fund-raiser for Green at the Warwick Hotel.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Chris Bell announced support from a number of congressional leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, the immediate past chair of the black caucus.
In a race in which Bell and Green differ little on most issues, both are making their backgrounds the litmus test for voters in a district that is 35 percent African-American, 30 percent Hispanic, 20 percent white and 15 percent Asian-American.
Monday, Waters indicated that Green's background as a longtime leader in Houston's African-American community best suits him to represent the diverse district. He is a former president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Waters said Green has support from at least 11 of the black Democrats in Congress, including Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois.
The Bell campaign argues that experience gained in his first term in Congress gives him a leg up over Green. Bell noted that the national NAACP gave him a 90 rating on its annual report card on legislative issues.
Monday, the campaign released names of congressional leaders supporting him, including Pelosi, Johnson, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ciro Rodriguez.
The third Democratic Party primary candidate in the 9th District is lawyer Beverly Spencer. The winner will face the winner of the GOP primary race between A.R. Hassan and Arlette Molina.
Bell's touting of his NAACP rating generated a minor kerfuffle, according to John Williams yesterday.
The Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has complained about advertising U.S. Rep. Chris Bell is doing in his Democratic Party primary race against former Justice of the Peace Al Green.
Yolanda Smith, the branch's executive director, issued a statement last week saying that Bell's radio advertising and mail-outs "are misleading."
Smith said her office has received complaints that the advertisements suggest that the NAACP is supporting Bell. The NAACP does not formally endorse political candidates.
Bell said his advertising never makes such a claim.
It states that Bell received an "A" rating from the annual NAACP Legislative Report.
The report chronicles the voting records of all members of the Senate and House.
Other lawmakers, such as U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., publicize their NAACP ratings without complaint from the organization.
The possible difference?
Green is the former president of the local NAACP branch.
The Bell campaign said the campaign ad will continue to run.
Finally, Greg Wythe attended a candidates' forum over the weekend that included both Bell and Green and came away unimpressed with the challenger. I don't believe the Chron has made an endorsement yet (annoyingly, I can't find a link to a collection of all of their recommendations so far), but if I were a betting man I'd put a dollar on their supporting Bell.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 24, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack