The single easiest pickup opportunity Democrats will have in 2012

I trust you are familiar with Roy Morales. He’s run for City Council, he’s run for Mayor, this year he ran for Congress (he lost to Rep. Gene Green), and I presume he’ll run for something in 2011. And in 2012, he will (again, I presume) run for re-election to the office he now holds, which is Harris County Department of Education Trustee. Morales was elected to this office in 2006. He ran unopposed.

I knew his term of office was coming up in the next cycle (as is that of one-man clown car Michael Wolfe), so I went back to check some data. The first thing I realized was that Morales did not run countywide. Of the seven HCDE Trustees, three are at large – i.e., elected countywide – and four are not. The next thing I noticed was that the undervote rate in his race was ridiculous – nearly 70% of the people voting in his race did not cast a ballot. (See page 30.) So I went back to the precinct data, where I discovered that the number of straight-ticket Democratic votes in the precincts where he was on the ballot far exceeded Morales’ vote total, 59,809 to 41,231. In other words, anyone with a heartbeat running as a Democrat would have defeated him. And I said to myself “WTF?”

That made me want to find out just what exactly the district was that he ran in, where it was and what it looked like. This led me to the HCDE Trustees page, where I noticed they’re not called “districts”, they’re called “precincts”. There are four of them, with Morales being in Precinct 1. And that’s when it hit me…

Roy Morales ran unopposed as a Republican in El Franco Lee’s precinct.

Let me say that again.

Roy Morales ran UNOPPOSED AS A REPUBLICAN in El Franco Lee’s precinct.

To give that a bit more perspective, Fred Head, our useless candidate for Comptroller that year who got 41.85% overall in Harris County, received 68.30% of the vote in Precinct 1.

Now, I’m pretty sure I didn’t know that the HCDE existed as a political entity in 2006. I didn’t really pay attention to it till 2008 when Democratic candidates Jim Henley and Debra Kerner got elected to at large positions. Prior to that point, everyone on the board was a Republican. As we can see, that should not have been the case, but there you have it. In 2012, there’s absolutely no excuse for there not to be a Democrat challenging Morales for that seat. Whoever does is as sure a bet as you’ll find to win. You know that old expression about how 90% of success is showing up? It’s even higher than that here.

Someone should also challenge the ludicrous Michael Wolfe as well; if 2012 is anything like 2008, both seats will go Democratic. But one pickup is virtually guaranteed as long as someone with a pulse pays the filing fee.

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7 Responses to The single easiest pickup opportunity Democrats will have in 2012

  1. Brad M. says:

    This is both impressive (your sleuthing) and sad (where the heck was Birnberg digging up a candidate).

    If there is no pesky residence requirement for this position I know a great Democrat from South Carolina who would be perfect for the tough campaignign that will be involved in this race.

    “Alvin Greene for HCDE Trustee!!!”

  2. Michael says:

    When do you file? 🙂

  3. Noah Horwitz says:

    Democrats are always passing up opportunities, I wondered a long time ago how in the hell morales was elected dog catcher, much less a real office.

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  5. Sleuth says:

    This was not an accident. Howard Jefferson held this seat and it was assumeed by all that he would run again, but at the last minute, without informing precinct one leaders, he failed to qualify. Why? Ask Jefferson. Only he knows.

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