With former city attorney Gene Locke in place to finish the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee’s term, Democratic players are quickly emerging as candidates in the November general election.
State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said late Thursday that he intends to run, sacrificing 25 years of legislative seniority in a bid for a powerful local office. City Councilmen Jerry Davis, Dwight Boykins and Larry Green said Friday they have begun campaigning, such as it is, under these unusual circumstances. Councilman C.O. Bradford said constituents had encouraged him to run, and he’s considering it.
Ellis was the first to go public with his campaign efforts. He began researching what it would take to run for the county position, since his name is on the November ballot for state senator.
A legal memo prepared for county Democratic chair Lane Lewis outlined a path by which Ellis said he could seek the ballot spot. In mid-June the Democratic party chairs for Precinct 1 will vote for a candidate to replace Lee on the ballot.
If the party chose him for commissioner, Ellis could withdraw his name from the ballot for state senator, which would trigger a second process by the Democratic leaders to pick a Democrat for state Senate.
Ellis said a move to local office would bring him back to his political roots.
“I started out in local politics in 1983” to run for the City Council, Ellis said. “I left a great job I loved as chief of staff of a U.S. congressman, Mickey Leland.”
Despite having passed 600 bills in the Legislature, Ellis said, he sees himself as “very much an activist” on local issues like urban homesteading and criminal justice.
When he ran for the state Senate, he always planned to find a path back to local office, “probably to run for mayor,” Ellis said. “I have done a lot of thinking, a lot of praying on this.”
This is from the fuller version of yesterday’s story regarding new Commissioner Gene Locke and Ellis’ first-in-line announcement. Good timing has its rewards. I don’t have much to add except to note again what I’m looking for in a new Commissioner. I’ll leave it to you to decide which of these candidates may fit what I have in mind.