I keep trying to blog about this story, in which Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill cries about Republicans on City Council voting on issues like SafeClear as they see fit rather than by party fiat, but I keep laughing every time I start. Suffice it to say that my morning cereal was more enjoyable than usual today with this as my reading material. See Greg for more.
All right, there is one serious thing I can say. Woodfill may be shaking his fist at these particular poltroons, but for the most part, he has no real leverage over any of them. Only first-termers Pam Holm, who won in 2003 by 29 votes over the more hard-edged Kevin Elfant, and MJ Khan, who's rumored to be a candidate for At Large 1 or 2, are in any real position to be hurt by a party-led revolt. This is clearly aimed at future Council members, in particular the eventual replacements for Mark Ellis and Michael Berry since they could then be more aggressive than their predecessors in opposing Mayor White. Of course, Woodfill might want to keep in mind that the city of Houston (not Harris County, at least not yet, just the city) is majority Democratic. Put that together with a popular Mayor White, and Woodfill may not have anyone in those positions to threaten retribution against. Not that this would be a terrible thing, mind you.
What about the post-Council political future of these folks? I'm sure Woodfill had that in mind as well, but honestly, what's available for them? Back when re-redistricting was still a theoretical possibility, there was talk of making Gene Green's CD29 and/or Chris Bell's CD25 more amenable to GOP challengers. That didn't happen, and unless Tom DeLay gets unseated by Richard Morrison this time around none of the four GOP-held seats that touch Harris County are likely to be vacated by their current occupants any time soon. There'll be a couple of State Rep slots, I guess - Hubert Vo will certainly draw an opponent (though I'd bet the field gets cleared for Heflin if he really does want a rematch), and Joe Nixon's seat may be open. The most fertile ground, at least for as long as Harris County is majority Republican, is probably the bench. I can't see Doctor Shelly running for a judgeship, but maybe some of the others might. All I'm saying is that I don't see a whole lot of golden opportunities around here.
Well, there is still one to consider. We all know Michael Berry has his eye on bigger things. What's the one bigger thing we know for a fact he's wanted? That would be Mayor. Do you think his chances will be better as a good Republican soldier (like, oh, I don't know, Orlando Sanchez), or as a middle-ground consensus-builder? I'll bet he's given that question some thought. If so, it doesn't look like Jared Woodfill cares for his answer. Alas.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 24, 2005 to Local politics | TrackBack