May 20, 2009
Endorsement watch: Yolanda backs Maverick

Yolanda Navarro Flores, who finished third in the District H special election on May 9, has endorsed Maverick Welsh for the runoff. From the email the Welsh campaign sent out:

"Maverick Welsh will be a great city council member. He is sensitive to our Latino needs and issues...his door will be open to black, brown, and white. Maverick will not put the personal political agenda of others before the interests of the people."

Yolanda is a distinguished resident of District H, serving on the HCC Board and having served in the Texas House of Representatives. She and her family have a proud history of standing for the people of our community.

"Today, I offer my endorsement to Maverick Welsh," Yolanda said Tuesday. "My endorsement is for change and responsiveness for our District, not the same politics of the "patron/patrona" hand-picking the candidate for the people. No more status quo politics. My endorsement is for Maverick Welsh--he represents hope for a new and better future for all people in District H and our great city."

That seems like a big deal to me. The question for the runoff, as noted by folks like Miya and Greg, is whether the Hispanic majority in the district will turn out in enough numbers for Ed Gonzalez to overcome Welsh's advantage in the Heights. If Flores' endorsement gets some of her supporters to vote for Welsh, that could be the difference-maker. I'm going to guess that Gonzalez will counter with a push from the elected officials that support him. We'll see how it goes.

Having said this, it's not that big a surprise that Flores would back Welsh. We know that there's no love lost between Flores and Gonzalez. For her to endorse him would have been the bigger surprise.

The runoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 13. Early voting begins on Monday, June 1, and runs through Tuesday, June 9, at the same locations as for the May election. You can see the times and places here (PDF). If you voted in the May 9 election, expect to have your door knocked sometime between now and then.

Even fewer voters are expected at the polls for the runoff than the initial contest, when about 4,200 out of 93,000 cast ballots among nine candidates. That, political analysts say, and the already slim 183-vote difference between Welsh and Gonzalez, is expected to transform the next three weeks into a campaign blitz between two highly-motivated candidates with vocal and ardent supporters.

"It's all about turnout and who has the organization and can deliver their voters to the polls," said Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University.

Anyone want to take a guess at the turnout figure for this race? In 2007, Melissa Noriega and Roy Morales combined for 22,306 votes in the first go-round, out of 34,274 ballots cast (65.1% of the total), and 24,954 votes in the runoff. Here, Gonzalez and Welsh accounted for 2,413 votes out of 4,141 cast (58.3% of the total). I'll place my chips on 2,000 to 2,500 total ballots on June 13. What do you think?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 20, 2009 to Election 2009

I am voting for Maverick.
1. Ed does not even own a home in the district; he rents. He moved in to run for office. Until recently, his wife had a homestead exemption in Clear Lake. As soon as he loses, he will move back to the suburbs.
2. Ed voted for Bush and was president of a youth Republican organization.
3. Ed does not vote; he did not vote in several elections. How can he ask for people to vote for him, when he does not vote consistently?

Posted by: John on May 20, 2009 9:28 AM

This is insulting. What Maverick and Yolanda are saying in his e-mail is that Latinos are too ignorant to make a decision on their own about who to vote for, that they need a "patron" telling them what to do. Never mind that Ed Gonzalez is better qualified, has more education and has been a public servant and community leader in the Heights & North Side longer than Maverick Welsh has been in Houston. Yolanda Navarro Flores doesn't care that her words and actions harm the community because it's never

Posted by: Marie on May 20, 2009 10:25 AM

... been about the community. It's always just about Yolanda. How unfortunate.

Posted by: Marie on May 20, 2009 10:48 AM

The comment from "john" is a cut and paste that I suspect comes from maverick's campaign staff, as it's turned up in multiple places. While I've been for we all along, I didn't have anything against him originally. However, one of his main campaign planks is historic preservation, and yet one of his main campaign operatives is a well known anti-HP woman who publicly advocated for widespread demolition and redevelopment of the oldest intact neighborhood in Houston. Likewise, Having Yolanda's endorsement, to me, is a turnoff. Based on answers she gave at a candidate forum, she has an almost disdain for some of the historic parts of district H like Old Sixth Ward and the Heights. It has made me see Maverick in a less positive light.

Posted by: Anonymous on May 20, 2009 11:16 AM

Apologies for the typo. "we" in the comment should read "Ed".

Posted by: Anonymous on May 20, 2009 12:35 PM

Maverick is the only candidate in the race with historic preservation credentials i.e. past President of District H's largest historic district, Norhill. For more information on Ed's historic preservation policies please feel free to visit the HAR website. Dedicated preservationist's do their research and know who their candidate is in this race.

Posted by: Norhill Resident on May 20, 2009 12:49 PM
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