April 12, 2006
Runoff results roundup

Rounding up what happened yesterday...

Radnofsky wins

Radnofsky received about 60 percent of the vote against San Antonio retiree Gene Kelly, who shares the same name as a late movie star. Radnofsky, a mediation specialist at Vinson & Elkins, said her race against Hutchison now will turn into a "referendum" on the direction of the country.

"I'm calling for debates right now," Radnofsky said, saying she would like to have debates on education, health care, veteran affairs and the economy. "If we talked about the economy, we could talk about whether Senator Hutchison really brings home the bacon the way she claims ... when Texas is ranked 47th in bringing home the bacon."

Hutchison issued a statement saying she looks forward to the general election campaign. "I look forward to the campaign ahead and the opportunity to discuss the issues important to Texans," she said. "I have been proud to serve the people of our great state and, if re-elected, I will continue to be a senator for all Texans."

Here's a picture from her victory party at Maria Selma's last night. (Note to the three people in my audience who'll know what I'm talking about: Maria Selma's is now what the old Munchie's used to be on Richmond near Mandell.) That's our own PDiddie standing behind BAR's left shoulder.

Miles ousts Edwards

Edwards, 68, first elected to the south Houston district in 1978, staked his re-election bid on his seniority — saying he could be removed, but not replaced.

Miles, 40, who owns a Farmers Insurance Agency office in the Third Ward, was the first challenger Edwards had faced in more than a decade.

"I'm committed to the people of 146 and not the special interests," Miles said. "The people of the district said they want their voices heard in Austin and now they have it."

Miles said that he would focus on improving access to small-business loans and increasing home ownership by expanding Land Bank legislation, which aims to turn tax-delinquent property into affordable housing. He said he also would make constituent services a priority.

Miles contended that Edwards has been inattentive to the district's needs and had developed a sense of entitlement to the seat.

Edwards conceded the race to Miles around 10 p.m. He told supporters at his election night party that it had been a long run and he was grateful to serve them.

"The people have spoken, and he's accepted the results," said state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. "He's had a tremendous ride. He's proud of his service and he wishes the district well."

Miles had some very gracious things to say about Edwards and his many years of service last night after he conceded. He's a class act. The turnout in this race may have been small, but you couldn't tell that from the Miles victory party. It seemed like everyone who'd voted for Miles was there, whooping it up.

This is gonna drive me crazy:

Miles will be the favorite in November against Libertarian nominee Gerald W. "Jerry" LaFleur. No Republican sought the seat.


In the Republican runoff for the open House District 133 seat, Houston Community College Trustee Jim Murphy took 53 percent to defeat lawyer Mike Schofield.


The district voted 56 percent Republican in 2004 statewide elections, so the GOP runoff winner will be the favorite in the November general election against Democrat Kristi Thibaut and Libertarian Chris Camero.

Equating HD146 and HD133 is meaningless. Miles has no Republican opponent, and the average Democrat got over 72% of the vote in HD146 in 2004. Murphy will be going against a well-funded Democrat in a district that's trending Dem and where the average Republican got 56%. Miles is a shoe-in, Murphy is a slight favorite. Calling them both "favorites" without any qualifiers is simply not accurate.

State Rep. Richard Raymond, in a runoff with former Webb County Judge Mercurio Martinez, held his seat. I can't find a newspaper account of this, for some odd reason.

Alvarado defeats Grant

"I'm very pleased to see that all our work the last few months has turned out to be something that I believe will be good for Democrats in November," Ms. Alvarado said Tuesday night.

Asked what paved the way for her victory, she said, "I spent a lot of time on the road, and I think my ideas about education, health care and immigration resonated with voters."

For Ms. Alvarado, the goal of winning the state's number two office will get much tougher as she faces Mr. Dewhurst, a one-time Houston millionaire businessman who is prepared to spend several million dollars to win re-election to his second term this November.

The 49-year-old Democrat said her success may ride on efforts by the Legislature to fix the state's troubled school finance system this spring. Lawmakers have failed several times – dating to 2003 – to come up with a new education funding plan.

As leader of the Senate, Ms. Alvarado said, Mr. Dewhurst shares the blame for those failures.

"Unless something happens in the next few months and his performance improves, I don't see why I won't have an excellent chance in November," she said.

My best wishes to Maria Alvarado. I admire her enthusiasm, but let's just say this is a tough race and leave it at that.

Ted Ankrum wins

In a congressional district stretching from Northwest Austin to West Houston, Ted Ankrum of Cypress, outside Houston, has bested Paul Foreman of Austin.

In the fall, Ankrum will face first-term U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, in the eight-county 10th Congressional District, which was redrawn by state lawmakers to GOP advantage in 2003.

On Tuesday night, Ankrum vowed a campaign focused on McCaul's alliance with national Republicans. "McCaul represents the Republican leadership, not the people of the district," he said.

Ankrum got about 70% of the vote in this runoff. Congratulations, Ted!

On the GOP side, the big race was for the Court of Criminal Appeals. After initially knocking both his opponents off the ballot on technicalities, former State Rep. Terry Keel lost in the runoff to incumbent Charles Holcomb.

"Well, for the first time since I was 24 years old, when I became an assistant district attorney, I'm going to be a private citizen. I kind of look forward to it," said Keel, 48.

"You know, I campaigned hard, but it's very difficult to challenge an incumbent in your own party, especially when you have a low turnout like this. But I knew that going into this, so I'm not unhappy," Keel said.

Statewide turnout was less than 2 percent.

Holcomb, 72, was seeking a second term on the state's highest criminal court, but he will have to step down in September 2008, when he meets the mandatory retirement age for judges, 75. The governor appoints his replacement.

Keel said he wasn't thinking about lining up for Holcomb's seat. "That's something down the road that's to be discussed in the context of a couple years from now," he said.

Nor did Keel rule out seeking a future office, saying "you never say never."

Keel carried most large counties Tuesday, but Holcomb dominated the rural areas to stave off an upset. Holcomb had topped Keel by 75,000 votes in a three-way March primary to lead 45 percent to 31 percent.

Holcomb won by a 53.7-46.3 margin statewide.

In San Antonio, former aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison George Antuna won in HD118, Carlos Uresti's now-open seat.

[Antuna] captured more than 81 percent of the vote in his primary runoff with Steve Salyer of Universal City, the GOP's nominee two years ago.

Antuna, a former regional director for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, declared victory at 8:30 p.m.

"I honestly believe this special day is going to propel us into the November election," Antuna told supporters packed in the back room of a Live Oak restaurant.

Antuna, 37, said he would campaign as hard for the general election in the fall as he had for the runoff.

"Our strategy is to continue getting out to meet people and to let individuals know there's an option out there," he noted.

Though Antuna's margin of victory was convincing, the number of votes putting him over the top was a pittance. Only 1,126 Republican voters decided the race.

"Even with our best efforts to motivate our folks, it was difficult to get people out to vote," said Christian Anderson of Election Support Services, who worked on Antuna's campaign.


In November's general election, Antuna will face Democrat Joe Farias, a former Harlandale Independent School District board member who avoided a runoff by defeating three opponents March 7. Libertarian James L. Thompson also is contending for the seat.

District 118, which is 64.5 percent Hispanic, snakes from South Bexar County to its northeastern corner, taking in most of Live Oak, Selma and Universal City.

This will be a race to watch. HD118 was pretty evenly divided in 2004, and Uresti won with 56%. This is a good chance for the GOP to pick up a seat, and you can bet it will attract a lot of attention.

Finally, another Craddickite goes down, this time in West Texas.

Drew Darby unseated state Rep. Scott Campbell in Texas House District 72, as Campbell's bid for a third straight term in office ended in Tuesday's runoff.

With all precincts reporting, Darby defeated Campbell with 60 percent of the 9,503 votes cast in the four-county district.

''It's very humbling to know I have the faith and the hopes of that many people in the district,'' Darby said.

District 72 is a Republican-leaning district that encompasses Coke, Mitchell, Scurry and Tom Green counties. Darby must still campaign this fall to beat Libertarian Dennis Higgins in November.


Jeri Slone, who as a Democratic candidate lost twice to Campbell in the general election, said early Tuesday evening that if Darby held on to his lead, she would not run as an independent. Slone filed as an independent candidate with the state in January.

''I feel strongly we need a change,'' Slone said, ''and if the (voters) in the primary make that change, I can live with that.''

Campbell nearly lost in 2004 due to some problems with drunk driving and indecent exposure. He trailed Darby in the three-way primary in March, so he was expected to be toast.

Finally, as Philip notes, overall candidates backed by Speaker Craddick did poorly yesterday. I'll bet he's looking forward to that special session now even less than he had been before.

UPDATE: Other blog coverage: Dos Centavos, PinkDome, Capitol Annex, Latinos for Texas, PDiddie, Aaron Pena, the Brazosport News, and Casual Soapbox.

UPDATE: Forgot Eye on Williamson.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 12, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Miles is a shoe-in, Murphy is a slight favorite. Calling them both "favorites" without any qualifiers is simply not accurate.

They both ARE favorites. That is not an inaccurate statement.

Your description is better because it fills in useful details (and I agree that the reporting should have included those details -- they're important), but the other statement is not wrong.

I wonder if an editor rewrote some of that copy, thinking the details unimportant. Chronicle line editing tends to mangle a lot of stories, unfortunately, so it's sometimes hard to tell if the reporter or the editors blew it.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on April 12, 2006 8:50 AM

What work has Alvarado done? I don't think that I have recieved a single mailing from her. She, unlike Grant, had no presence at the Travis County convention.

We'll see how she does at the State Convention in June, but she has a lot of work to do before then.

Posted by: Jeb on April 12, 2006 1:04 PM

Statewide turnout was less than 2 percent for Charles Holcomb vs. Terry Keel campaign in April.

Mr. Kuff, if you only knew the corruption that is the legacy of Charles Holcomb, former District Attorney of Cherokee County. His past co-horts murdered a man in Alto for his insurance money, deal drugs to this day in the New Summerfield police station and swindle every last cent out of the county coffers to spread around to their family members. Holcomb recaps his "greatest case" from his base in Alto, TX, seen in his State Bar profile. A feed store owner named Jackie Hicks was murdered, and Holcomb and his constable for hire convicted an innocent elderly man from Nacogdoches. Holcomb leaves out the fact that this innocent man was released 5 years into his life sentence because Holcomb had collected monies from the insurance policy taken out on the victim. The constable/deputy that "found the body" according to Holcomb, actually married the number one suspect/the widow within hours of the murder. All at Holcomb's request as not to testify against each other. And they all live happily ever after on a dead man's insurance policy after his estranged wife murdered him at Holcomb and "the deputy"--funny Holcomb can't remember his name, Constable Chris Parsons of Alto, Tx.

Posted by: Randy on September 2, 2006 2:00 AM