Moving on to the office that is both second in prominence and last in ballot placement, the City Controller:
Dist Khan Brown Frazer Boney Jefferson Robinson ===================================================== A 2,749 3,406 6,588 798 602 1,573 B 1,836 4,042 1,047 4,275 1,057 5,154 C 6,143 12,574 12,181 1,194 838 2,387 D 2,338 5,139 2,180 6,242 1,547 5,358 E 4,595 4,121 13,436 659 653 1,895 F 2,485 2,118 2,493 670 497 1,246 G 5,105 6,416 17,965 596 666 1,615 H 2,514 4,304 2,094 1,047 525 2,220 I 2,082 3,452 1,685 1,098 573 2,087 J 1,885 1,478 1,925 483 273 782 K 2,941 4,508 3,276 3,028 855 3,309 A 17.49% 21.67% 41.92% 5.08% 3.83% 10.01% B 10.55% 23.22% 6.01% 24.55% 6.07% 29.60% C 17.39% 35.60% 34.49% 3.38% 2.37% 6.76% D 10.25% 22.54% 9.56% 27.37% 6.78% 23.50% E 18.12% 16.25% 52.98% 2.60% 2.58% 7.47% F 26.13% 22.27% 26.22% 7.05% 5.23% 13.10% G 15.77% 19.83% 55.51% 1.84% 2.06% 4.99% H 19.79% 33.88% 16.48% 8.24% 4.13% 17.47% I 18.97% 31.45% 15.35% 10.00% 5.22% 19.01% J 27.62% 21.65% 28.20% 7.08% 4.00% 11.46% K 16.41% 25.61% 18.28% 16.90% 4.77% 18.47%
Remember how I said earlier that if you combined Lane Lewis, Tom McCasland, and Jenifer Pool in the At Large #1 race you’d have a leading candidate going into the runoff? The same can be said here for Jew Don Boney, Carroll Robinson, and Dwight Jefferson; just the first two together would be enough. Robinson was in the race first and had a more visible campaign, but Boney received some late-breaking endorsements from groups that likely moved a few votes. However you want to look at it, they basically canceled each other out.
MJ Khan got something for his party-like-it’s-2009 campaign strategy, just not nearly enough. He nudges ahead of Frazer in his old Council district once you add in Fort Bend, but then falls behind Chris Brown there. (Insert sad trombone sound effect.) The good news is that his timelessly generic TV ad that blanketed the airwaves over the past few weeks could easily be hauled out and reused in 2019 and/or 2023 as needed. He could be the model for campaigning in the Andrew Burks/Griff Griffin style with an actual budget to spend.
Here’s my three-point plan for Chris Brown to win next month:
1. Make sure Democrats know who he is and that he’s the only Dem in the race. Bill Frazer did about eight points better in District C than Bill King did. Putting it another, and more alarming way, Frazer plus Khan was almost 52% of the vote in C, while King plus Costello was 37%; even counting Ben Hall as a Republican only gets you to 43%. I can’t see a path to victory for Brown that doesn’t include a strong showing in C. The HCDP sent out an email on Monday saying that they would make recommendations now in races that have a single Dem in them, which will help a little, but I’d plan a blitz of mail targeting Democratic likely voters making sure they know which team each candidate in this race is playing for.
2. Deploy surrogates. First and foremost, do whatever is needed to get Brown’s soon-to-be-former boss Ronald Green to cut a radio ad or two for heavy rotation on KCOH and Majic 102 and so forth. Get Peter Brown to star in a mailer or two to voters who were known to like him from 2009 and his days on Council, and also from his days now advocating for sustainable urbanism. Chris Brown’s wife Divya is Indian-American; she and their baby daughter were in a standard family photo in Brown’s November mailings. I’d consider sending some mail to voters in F and J (where there is a high proportion of Asian voters as well as two district Council runoffs) that featured her more prominently. If a few voters there wind up thinking she’s the one they’d be voting for in this race, that would not be a bad outcome.
3. Make sure the police and firefighters are invested in this runoff. Frazer’s campaign is in large part based on the need for drastic action on pensions; there’s not much space between him and King on this issue. The police and firefighters’ unions backed Sylvester Turner for Mayor, but (as far as I know) did not take a position in the Controller’s race. Brown seems like a much better fit for them in the runoff. They may be gearing up to act anyway, but I’d be sure to talk to them and try to get them involved.
As for Frazer, he’s the frontrunner and thus only needs two bullet points: Make sure Republicans know who he is, and otherwise keep on doing what he’s been doing, which is to focus on the issues as he defines them and his qualifications as a CPA. The bad news for Frazer is that the runoff electorate is likely to be more favorable for Democratic candidates. The good news is that there’s no guarantee that voters who supported Robinson or Boney will necessarily transfer for Brown – one possibility is that they vote for Turner and one or more of the African-American Council runoff candidates and then stop there; Robinson recently sent an email urging support for Georgia Provost, Amanda Edwards, and Sharon Moses, but didn’t mention the Controller’s race at all – but Khan voters ought to have a home with him. What he’s done so far, in 2013 and this year, has worked pretty well for him. Don’t overthink it, and don’t do anything stupid, that’s my advice.