November 07, 2007
Prediction review

So how good were my predictions yesterday? Let's take a look.

Mayor - The over/under line for Mayor White is 90%. I think he just slides over it.

Mayor White got 86%, so the unders won. Still, that's pretty impressive, better than Bob Lanier's third-term total, and given that the undervote in this race was significantly less than what it was in other Council races, the best any of his detractors can say is that there might have been people who weren't motivated to vote at all rather than cast a meaningless vote for a fringe opponent. If so, then I'd like to encourage such people to follow the same strategy in 2008 and beyond. And I'd also like to take a minute to make fun of Jared Woodfill:

The mayor still faces challenges in the coming years, including rising worker health care costs, massive pension debt and growing public safety needs.

Up first, though, is a potentially contentious City Council debate today about setting the property tax rate.


Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican Party chair, said he hoped to persuade enough council conservatives and force the mayor to compromise.

"They are hearing from Houstonians, and I think you'll see some movement," he said. "If not, they're not listening to the people."

Yes, I got one of those calls yesterday, asking me to contact Council Member Michael Berry and ask him to quit screwing around with his talk radio lineup and actually attend a Council meeting demand deeper tax cuts. You'd think they'd have a better use for a robodialer on Election Day, but there you have it.

White's critics also see the next two years playing out as a potential platform for a gubernatorial race. That has encouraged them to try to frame White's record on their terms.

"He's positioning himself for a run in 2010," Woodfill said. "We're going to be ready for him."

In the same way you were ready to get a Republican into the runoff for At Large #5 and to defeat the Cy-Fair ISD bond? This is me quaking in my boots.

Enough of that. Back to the prediction review:

Council At Large #5 - It's tough, but I'm going to guess Zaf Tahir and Jolanda Jones make it into the runoff.

I was half right, as Joe Trevino joined Jolanda Jones in the runoff. Tahir finished fifth, after Tom Nixon and Jack Christie. I confess that the other scenarios I envisioned for AL5 included Nixon and Christie opposing Jones, but I didn't think Trevino had a realistic shot at it. Shame on me for that, especially since Trevino had gotten my vote.

Council Districts D, E, and I - I think Wanda Adams will lead the field in D, and I think I is close enough that there will still be a runoff even with third candidate Brad Batteau drawing three percent or so.

Adams did lead the field in D, so I got that right. No runoff in I, however, and no close race either, as James Rodriguez won in a surprisingly (to me) strong showing. And Brad Batteau got about nine percent, not three.

Other contested Council races - Incumbents across the board. No surprises.

Incumbents did win across the board, but Sue Lovell's unrobust win against Griff Griffin has to count as a surprise.

HISD bond referendum - Passes with a close margin, say 52-48.

Passed by the slightly closer margin of 51.2 - 48.8. I'm claiming victory on this one.

Harris County bonds - All pass, none in any danger of not passing.

I'm happy to say I was wrong about this. Prop 3 failed, and three of the other five won by the skin of their teeth. Question: how will the split vote be seen for Ed Emmett (who pushed the bonds) and Charles Bacarisse (who opposed them)? I think each side takes some credit and tries to pin some blame on the other, but I don't know how it all spins out.

State constitutional amendments - All pass, though some of the bond proposals are close, say less than 55%.

All passed, and the bonds had the lowest margins, but they ranged from 58 to 62 percent, so I was off as far as that goes.

So overall, not too bad. I was half-right about most things, which would probably make for a good epitaph for me some day. Other good assessments of the day's activities come from Lose an Eye, Los Dos Professors, Houtopia, and Greg. Grits reviews the jail bond referenda, while Vince rounds up the school bond elections. Christof has an explanation for why the Harris County jail bond failed. Miya and Elise attended the Election Night parties so you didn't have to.

UPDATE: One more wrapup, from Stace.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 07, 2007 to Election 2007

NPR News mentioned that municipal bonds are taking a hit because their insurers invested heavily in the sub-prime market. Apparently bond money will be costing more despite a good rating.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on November 7, 2007 8:44 PM