Joe Agris

I read with great interest this feature story on Houston plastic surgeon Joe Agris, who was a longtime collaborator with the late Marvin Zindler in getting medical help to indigent children. I did so partly because Agris is a fascinating person with a distinguished career, and partly because he was the Republican candidate for HD134 against Rep. Ellen Cohen in 2008, and his accomplishments and high profile seemed to make him a formidable challenger to the incumbent. Yet his candidacy went nowhere, due in part to the fact that he raised absolutely no money, and had nothing resembling a visible campaign as far as I could tell. I spend a lot of time in HD134 – I drive through it every day on my way to and from work, and my in-laws live there – and I never saw as much as a single yard sign for him; there had been several for Carlos Obando, the opponent he defeated in the GOP primary for the nomination, but they were never replaced by Agris signs. I wish I had some insight as to why he put forth no apparent effort into that race – does anyone doubt that Obando would have run a more vigorous campaign? – but alas, the story does not mention his candidacy at all. So, if you know something about this that I don’t, please leave a comment, because this one is still a mystery to me. Thanks.

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7 Responses to Joe Agris

  1. Anonymous says:

    Disclaimer: I’ve never met Joe Agris and do not know his motives for running. I do know Carlos Obando and have heard various opinions from him and others on why he didn’t win the nomination and/or why Agris got in the race. Again the following is mostly rumor/speculation but it is the best I know.

    Obando was in the race long before Agris decided to jump in and by that time Obando had already gained a decent amount of support. However a few party insiders did not want an openly gay, pro-choice, hispanic republican on the ballot for the general election and recruited a primary challeneger for the purpose of knocking him off. I do not know why Agris did not run a general election campaign after successfully defeating Obando. Perhaps his purpose was simply to keep the nomination away from Obando, or perhaps he just lost interest in the race after the primary.

  2. Mainstream says:

    I met Agris only one time the entire campaign, and he voiced displeasure at being expected to stand around at a political meeting waiting to be introduced. His political advertising was closer to an advertisement for his philanthropy and medical practice, than about any issues. He had a history as a donor to Republican candidates, I was told. I was also baffled why he appeared to make no effort in November, unless the Obama tide or some personal matter dampened his enthusiasm for spending the time and resources. His campaign report does reflect that he held one fundraiser in the fall. The fact that he obtained 42% of the vote with no effort in a year of a Democrat landslide indicates to me that the GOP candidate this year, Sarah Davis, who is hard at work, has a better than even shot to pick up the seat. McCain won the district. Abbott in 2006 had 57%.

  3. Mainstream – Actually, HD134 was more Republican in 2008 than it was in 2006. In 2006, six Democrats won a majority in HD134 besides Cohen – Jim Henley, Bill Moody, Jim Sharp, Richard Garcia, Mary Kay Green, and Andrew Burks. In 2008, only Adrian Garcia and Michael Skelly carried it. In 2006, the average Democratic countywide candidate got over 48%; in 2008, it was more like 46%. If 2010 is more like 2006, Cohen will have less of a headwind than she did in 2008.

    I’m sure Sarah Davis will be a stronger candidate than Agris was. I know that Team Cohen is taking her candidacy very seriously. Anything can happen, but I think the GOP’s best chance to beat Cohen was last election.

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