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More on Green versus Garcia

The Trib talks to Rep. Gene Green about the primary challenge he faces from Adrian Garcia.

Rep. Gene Green

Rep. Gene Green

“I was surprised when he called me yesterday a little before he was going to file, and we talked, and I expressed disappointment,” Green said in a phone interview with The Texas Tribune on Tuesday.

Garcia confirmed making the call and said Green asked him to reconsider.

“I went to Mass yesterday … I went to go visit my father’s grave site, who supported Gene in some of his early campaigns,” Garcia said. “So it was not an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.

“But what I learned during my mayoral campaign was that the Hispanic community was excited to have their candidate.”

Garcia insisted the race is neither personal nor about policy, saying he agreed with Green on many issues. Instead, it’s about demographics and real estate mogul Donald Trump’s incendiary comments about the Hispanic community on the presidential campaign trail.

“I’m not against Gene Green. This is not about him,” Garcia said. “This is about the fact that with the national issues that we have, Donald Trump just spreading vitriol and his vitriol that’s directed in the Hispanic community — and since 78 percent of the 29th Congressional District is individuals who are Hispanic — he’s speaking to us, to those folks in the community.”

But for Green, 68, who recalled he and Garcia watching each other’s children grow up, it is indeed personal. Trump is a smokescreen.

“I’m not Donald Trump,” the incumbent said. “If he wants to run against Donald Trump, he needs to go file in the Republican primary.”

Green pointed to his years of loyalty to Garcia. He praised his newfound rival’s public service, albeit lacing his compliments with what could be a coming political attack.

“I supported him when he ran for city council, when he retired from the Houston Police Department, and I supported him when he ran for sheriff,” Green said. “He was a good sheriff — he had some problems with the jail — and I supported him for mayor.”

See here for the background. You have to admire Green’s more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger response here. There are a lot of ways to react to a surprise like this that would have made him look bad, but he didn’t do that. I am certain that this race will get nasty and will leave some scars, but that’s politics.

As for why Garcia might take this shot, putting aside the answers that he himself has already given, from a practical standpoint the choice is between waiting for Green to announce his departure, which for all we know could be a decade from now, and then slug it out with four or five other people who have been waiting for Green to step down as well, and taking his chances one on one in the here and now. If he loses it might wind up being his political epitaph, but the potential reward is pretty enticing. No one ever said this would be easy.

As I said, I will be interested to see who lines up with whom on this. Garcia says he’s been reaching out to other electeds, and I’m sure that’s true. I wish I could have listened in on some of those conversations. I expect we’ll have a reasonably high turnout for this primary, especially if the Presidential nomination hasn’t been settled yet. That can cause odd things to happen in some races, but I doubt that would happen here when both candidates are well known. It’s just a question of who can get more of those folks on their side. The Chron has more.

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11 Comments

  1. PDiddie says:

    I already have an endorsement for Green in my inbox from the Latino Labor Leadership Council (and one from Joaquin Castro for TMF).

  2. Julain Deleon says:

    I suspect Green will rack up the endorsements, but the votes could be a different story. Green has served us well, so I personally like him. The reality of this matter is, Green will have to work really hard to keep his seat.

    It makes no sense to me why Garcia would challenge Green.

  3. jose mendez says:

    This sort of reminds me the last time Sheila Jackson Lee was “challenged” by someone within the Democratic party, & former Councilmember Jarvis Johnson ran against her. We all know what happen to him afterwards & how on top of all his other problems this may have cost him other opportunities.

    However, the difference between Sheila Jackson Lee and Gene Green are miles apart. Where Lee only delivers turkeys to her community every Thanksgiving Gene has actually contributed a lot towards the improvement of the district. I mentioned in an early post how he helped create the East Aldine District, but look at the thriving business in North Shore/Galena Park & San Jacinto College. Heck they even have a park named after him. I seriously don’t understand Garcia reason.

    I agree that Green has handled this situation very well considering how much of an opportunist Garcia looks right now. Using race is the most cheapest and sad way to hide someones ego.

  4. Joel says:

    like it or not, resembling your constituents is an important part of making them feel like they have representation.

  5. J says:

    I am pretty sure almost all politicians evaluate things the way this blog post does. And that is sad.

    *** “If he loses it might wind up being his political epitaph, but the potential reward is pretty enticing.” ***

    That would be the difference in how a “public servant” should look at things versus how a “politician” does. Because what we really need are people in office who are looking for “rewards” — a high salary, power, prestige, living off other people’s money in terms of trips and dinners and “fact-finding missions”. And we want to “entice” them.

    Because I am betting that the “reward” doesn’t have to do with serving people, bettering their lives, and the area, state and country as a whole, all while sacrificing yourself. That will be what the campaign says, it just won’t be true.

  6. Maria Hernandez says:

    Gene Green has been in elected office since Richard Nixon was covering up Watergate. It is time for him to go. He was last to champion path to citizenship and the DREAM Act and he’s voted to deport hard working people by giving DHS more and more money to deport people and votes as DONALD TRUMP and others filled with hate would want by funding the building of a wall with Mexico. If Gene Green has been such a hero why hasn’t he given remarks condemning immigrant bashing? Why does he stand by and do nothing? I went to a town hall meeting of his in 2009 and he told us he wasn’t for the DREAM Act unless it was in comprehensive immigration reform. Gee, that’s what John Cornyn told us too! Why are the only elected Hispanics who will endorse Gene Green those who are either jealous of Adrian or those Gene Green has paid on staff? Gene Green has never once stood for us, his constituents when Ted Cruz hates and Obama deported my father, who like others was simply working hard to put us through school. My Dad did nothing wrong. He worked up to 80 hours a week in construction, drove us to school, made sure we went to church and grew up to be good Americans. Now I just see hate everywhere. Gene Green is an obstructionist to Hispanic progress. He’s anti-American. If Gene Green was so much for Adrian for Mayor why didn’t I hear radio commercials, get fliers in the mail from Green asking me to support Adrian, see him at campaign events, on stage with Adrian on election night or filming commercials? At least Sheila Jackson Lee is everywhere. Whether you want her there or not she is everywhere for blacks,
    Hispanics and all of Houston. Gene Green ya basta!

  7. Jesus Vasquez says:

    Por todo nuestras vidas no hemos tenido alguien como nosotros que puede luchar en el Congreso para nuestras causas. Nuestros niños se les dicen, “espera, espera, espera su turno.” Mi familia y yo estamos con Adrian.

  8. Mainstream says:

    “resembling your constituents is an important part of making them feel like they have representation”?????????

    I could not disagree more. I would like a representative who thinks like me, and advocates for shared causes, not one who looks like me. Both Trump and Bernie Sanders look like me, at least on some superficial level, but their representation of me would lead to completely different results.

    What part of “resembling” constituents is important?? same gender, same religious faith, same education level, same sexual orientation, same age and experience in life. Or does only race or ethnicity matter?

  9. Sandi says:

    I don’t see how this can possibly work out for Garcia in the long term. Even if he beats
    Green once, all he will have done is open the primaries up in 2018 to all of Green’s many Hispanic proteges most of whom have greater capabilities than Garcia and would be likely to beat him in Anglo and Hispanic votes, and he will be a one-term Congressman with earned emnity from all sides. This wasn’t a very bright move for his long term political prospects.

  10. Paul kubosh says:

    How can anyone agree with j’s statement. It is racist plain and simple