January 27, 2009
City Council lineup update

Via Carl Whitmarsh, we have a third potential candidate for the to-be-open Council seat in District A, attorney Alex Wathen. Wathen joins Bob Schoelkopf and Jeffrey Downing in eyeing that seat. Wathen has been a candidate for City Council before - he ran for At Large #2 in 1999, finishing last in a field of 11 that was eventually won by Gordon Quan. He also ran for Justice of the Peace in 2002 against Justice David Patronella, garnering 33.66% of the vote and causing a bit of a stir as a local Republican wingnut put out a robocall urging other Republicans not to vote for Wathen on the grounds that Wathen is gay. (Shocking, I know.) A press release from the Log Cabin Republicans, of which Wathen was a local leader, noted the attack against him while mistakenly stating he'd won the election anyway.

Anyway. Here to the best of my recollection is an up-to-date list of declared and potential candidates for various city elections this year. Please chime in and let me know where I've missed something.

Mayor: The lineup is pretty stable at this point, with City Controller Annise Parker, At Large #1 City Council Member Peter Brown, and former City Attorneys Gene Locke and Benjamin Hall in the mix. Former Kemah Mayor Bill King has apparently dropped out, and former Governor Mark White was in there for a minute, but hasn't been heard from in a few months.

City Controller: Not very much chatter about this one so far, but three of the remaining term-limited City Council members - Ronald Green in At Large #4, MJ Khan in District F, and Pam Holm in District G - have been mentioned as potential candidates.

City Council At Large: For sure, At Large #4 will be open. Noel Freeman is a declared candidate, while Terence Fontaine, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Bill White, and former candidates for District C George Hittner and Brian Cweren have all expressed interest in the past. More recently, former HPD Chief and District Attorney candidate CO Bradford has said he's considering a run.

At Large #1 will be open unless Peter Brown makes like Michael Berry in 2003 and decides to run for re-election rather than pursue his Mayoral ambitions. Former State Rep. and Harris County Democratic Party chair Sue Schecter has said she'd be interested in running here. Bill King has apparently turned his attention towards an At Large Council race and may wind up here. HCDE Trustee and former At Large Council candidate Roy Morales has also expressed some interest in another Council run.

Finally, in At Large #5, freshman Member Jolanda Jones has drawn the attention of former State Rep. candidate Carlos Obando. And though I have not heard any names recently, there was definitely talk after the 2007 election that two-term Member Sue Lovell could draw a real challenger in At Large #2 after she won a surprisingly close race against perennial gadfly Griff Griffin. As yet, no word of an opponent for At Large #3 member Melissa Noriega.

District A: Covered above. For purposes of comparison, there were five candidates for the open seat race in 2003, which Toni Lawrence won outright after two unsuccessful attempts to unseat Bruce Tatro.

District F: Mike Laster is the only name I've heard so far. There were four candidates for this seat in 2003.

District G: Nada. If anyone is out there looking at this one, I've not heard about it yet. There were seven candidates in 2003.

District H: Karen Derr, Maverick Welsh, Ed Gonzalez, and Hugo Mojica are in. Gonzalo Camacho and Rick Rodriguez are reportedly in, while Yolanda Navarro Flores and Diana Davila Martinez are reportedly mulling it over, but I don't have direct confirmation of their interest. There were six candidates in 2003, including Martinez and Camacho.

So that's what I know about who is or may be running for a given city office this year. Who am I missing?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 27, 2009 to Election 2009

In District G, two names have been floating around:

Mills Worsham, who currently serves as HCC Trustee;

Oliver Pennington, a businessman who has been fairly politically active over the years.

Posted by: houtopia on January 27, 2009 9:44 AM

Back at Chris Bell's kickoff party last summer, I asked Ron Green about his intentions to run for city controller, and he made it clear that he intends to run. That was half a year ago, though, so who knows?

Posted by: Dale on January 27, 2009 11:08 PM

I just wanted to let your readers know that I have not expressed any interest in running for City Council and I am not running for City Council this year.

Roy Morales
Harris County School Trustee

Posted by: Roy Morales on January 28, 2009 10:47 AM


The at large five city council member prefers the name Ronald and he has NEVER waivered EVER on his intent to run for city controller.

Posted by: Burt Levine on January 28, 2009 7:36 PM

I might remind Mr. Levine that RONALD (Not Ron, I guess) Green is actually the At-Large 4 seat. Jolanda Jones is 5. And, to my knowledge, she's never answered to Ronald or Ron.

Posted by: Josh on February 2, 2009 7:04 PM

The Oliver Pennington Campaign is having a reception honoring his candidacy for Houston City Council, District G, Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at
Susan and Mike Garver's home. I think that qualifies as a candidacy.

Posted by: Nelda Luce Blair on February 9, 2009 9:48 AM
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