December 08, 2008
King for Council?

Previously, I had noted a report that potential Mayoral candidate Bill King was thinking about dropping out of that race. Now it looks like he's contemplating a different race.

Bill King, once talked about as a definite mayoral candidate, may now be leaning toward a city council seat. Not only is he nervous about the city's fiscal health, but he told me today that he's getting behind-the-scenes "pushback" for not living in Houston long enough.

The former Kemah mayor and councilman moved to Houston full time three years ago.

"There is some thought that you need to earn your stripes for a little bit before you can become mayor," King said.

King says that's not entirely fair, because for 15 years he's maintained homes both in Houston and Kemah. He was Kemah's mayor from 2001 to 2005.

Fair or not, I dunno how well saying "My second home has been in Houston for years" would go over on the campaign trail. It should also be noted that the City of Houston is pretty darned Democratic these days, so a relatively unknown Republican might not fare so well in a race that already features at least two prominent Dems. Make of that what you will. If he's in for a Council seat, King joins Noel Freeman in that regard.

Speaking of Council, Marc Campos has been bemoaning the fact that once Adrian Garcia is sworn in as Harris County Sheriff, James Rodriguez will be the only Latino on Council, pending the outcome of the special election in May to replace Garcia in District H. He notes that in 1996 there were four Latino members on Council. What I note is that two of them - Gracie Saenz and Orlando Sanchez - were elected At Large. Which leads me to this Dos Centavos post, in which Stace notes that "Latino and Latina candidates that are willing to take the leap and run "at-large" are few and far between--even locally."

Which made me curious. So I looked through the City of Houston election archives from 1997 onward to see how many Latino candidates had run in one of the citywide races - At Large Council, City Controller, or Mayor. Here's my list, with minor and perennial candidates edited out:

Roy Morales - 2007, 2005
Joe Trevino - 2007
Poli Acosta - 2005
Gabe Vasquez - 2003
Orlando Sanchez - 2003, 2001, 1999*, 1997*
Sylvia Garcia - 2001*, 1999*, 1997*
Andres Pereira - 1999
Gracie Saenz - 1997

Asterisks indicate winning candidates. That's eight people, in a total of 14 races (out of 42 possible), over six elections. (Morales also ran in the 2007 special election to fill At Large #3 after Shelley Sekula Gibbs resigned to be Congresswoman For A Day.) Half of those races were run by Orlando Sanchez and Sylvia Garcia. Seems to me that's not a whole lot of leap-taking. Will this next election be any different?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 08, 2008 to Election 2009


Why arent you mentioning Herman Litt or Lawrence Allen running for at large 1 2 and Terrence Fontaine running for at large 4.

Posted by: Burt Levine on December 8, 2008 8:26 AM
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