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Early voting ends for District H runoff

Tuesday was the last day of early voting for the District H runoff, and as is often the case it was the busiest, with 278 in-person ballots being cast. That brings the final total up to 2188 early votes, or a bit more than 300 more than for the May election. If the early vote is the same proportion of the final tally as it was in May, when 45% voted early, then final turnout will be 4862. Who knows, maybe it’ll top 5000. I admit it, I didn’t see that coming, but Stace did, and kudos to him for calling it.

Meanwhile, Miya and Rick Casey weigh in on the race and its recent turn to the negative, with Miya saying she thinks Maverick Welsh’s mail pieces have been fairly tame, and Casey smacking him around for being critical of the kind of experience he himself has. As you know, I voted for Welsh, and I too think the mail pieces have been non-outrageous and well within the bounds of normal campaigning. That said, having received more than a dozen mail pieces from Welsh in the past week, including all of the negative ones, I’m a bit unclear on what the strategy was. The point of negative mail, at least as I understand it for a runoff, is to persuade the other person’s voters to switch or stay home. I gather all this mail has gone out to the full universe of voters, which I’d think carries a nontrivial risk of alienating some folks who’d otherwise be supporters, especially at this volume. Maybe I’m wrong about this – hell, I’ve never run a campaign, what do I know? But that’s the feeling I get.

I guess I’m a little surprised that some fairly run of the mill attack mailers in a low-turnout election have generated as much attention as they have. I mean, it’s not like negative mail in a runoff is something novel. There was a bit of a lull in the news cycle with the Lege adjourning, and maybe people were surprised that a candidate as positive and optimistic as Welsh would go negative, especially on someone like Ed Gonzalez who by all accounts is a good person and well-qualified for the job. Even Welsh’s own mail doesn’t really attack Ed directly but rather associates him with “the system” that needs change, which Welsh represents. I’ve already said that I’m not sure how viable that line of attack is when the most recent incumbent and most prominent supporter of one’s opponent is super popular among the voters, but again, it’s not like this is something that’s never been tried before. We’ll know on Saturday how effective it was.

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5 Comments

  1. Votingpublic says:

    Nice analysis. In my opinion, in a race where both candidates hold similar positions on the issues, it comes down to who is the better man. I just think Ed Gonzales has shown himself to be the better man. He doesn’t knock others (even an opponent) to try to elevate himself, he’s responsive, with well thought out answers, and he holds the same fine qualities that made his predecessor Adrian Garcia so popular. I don’t buy Maverick Welsh’s line about Adrian’s office having been lacking. He was highly responsive, even handed, and he listened. I believe strongly Ed will be every bit as good as Adrian Garcia was. Maverick Welsh’s mail items may not be out of the ordinary in a political race, but they’ve turned this voter off, and they absolutely represent the “politics as usual” line that Welsh has been trying to pin on Ed. True of Maverick (whose given first name is actually Reuben), not of Ed Gonzales. To me, the choice is clear. Ed has my vote.

  2. I agree with your analysis of the mailings, Kuff. Non-Outrageous? I’ll give you that much. But it doesn’t take a political junkie to see that some of the lines could easily be pointed at the previous office-holder, of whom Maverick simply said, “I’m not going to talk about him”. He didn’t really have to, as long as the ad pointed in a general direction.

    Frankly, these type of ads affect me more than the usual ads, such as those from Adrian Garcia’s first election to H. Personal attacks only remind people of why division exists in any given community. But when public policy is used as the basis of an attack, it means so much more–even if it is completely untrue.

    Which is why the Roundtable e-mail is so funny: Ed Gonzalez talks about public safety, but where was he the night Gallery Furniture burned down? Ed Gonzalez quit his job as a police officer to become a politician, then Yao Ming was injured and the Rockets lost the playoffs. He says he supports working families, but it’s getting really hot outside and our air conditioning bills are getting higher and higher. Ed Gonzales says he supports the gay community, but Adam Lambert lost on “American Idol.” While Ed Gonzales was a Houston police officer, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry, killing all seven crew members. If he can’t protect our astronauts, how can we trust him to protect our children?

  3. Anneliese says:

    I agree that the tone is pretty mild compared to other negative ads I’ve seen. But the frequency of the mailings is out of control, and it makes Welsh’s overall campaign feel more negative the more mail pieces we receive. I was pleased that we had two solid candidates for District H and could choose based on our evaluation of their experience and positions on critical neighborhood issues. I was so disappointed when we started getting these lame “What has Ed Gonzalez done?” mailings.

    By the way, you are exactly right about the risk of alienating some voters. Though we supported Ed Gonzalez in the first round, my husband had been reading more about Maverick Welsh and was leaning toward supporting him in the run-off. After the umpteenth Welsh mailing arrived at our house this week, he decided to stick with Ed.

  4. […] are here; if you’re not sure what precinct you’re in, go here. Early voting was heavier than I expected it would be, so I’m very curious to see if that carries over to today’s […]

  5. […] For what it’s worth, if we’re doing a little tooting of one’s own horn, I had a pretty good guess on the final turnout number. Here, the early vote total was 47.9% of the cumulative amount, or a […]