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Endorsement watch: Rodney racks ’em up

One more to a long list.

Sen. Rodney Ellis

Sen. Rodney Ellis

The widow of the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee has endorsed state Sen. Rodney Ellis for the seat that her husband held for decades, the senator said Friday.

A letter dated Tuesday and signed by Kaye Lee urges Democratic party district chairs to select Ellis, the longtime Democratic state senator, when they gather later this month. Ellis’s top rival in the race for the Precinct 1 seat is Commissioner Gene Locke, a Democrat who was appointed in January to fill Lee’s seat by County Judge Ed Emmett, a Republican.

Kaye Lee has not confirmed the authenticity of the letter and did not respond to several phone calls, messages passed through intermediaries and a written note seeking confirmation of her endorsement. Ellis said Friday he had spoken with Kaye Lee after the letter was sent out and said it was genuine.

The letter stresses that Ellis is a “loyal Democrat” and family friend with a track record of electoral success.

“Your vote is much more than electing a replacement for an unopposed term,” the letter says. “On June 25, 2016, you will determine if we as a party will continue to have a voice and presence on Commissioners Court for years to come.”

“I think it’s extremely important,” Ellis said by phone Friday of the endorsement, which he called a game-changer. “I’m very honored to have it.”

Locke said in a statement this week that he was “surprised” by Kaye Lee’s decision, but he added, “I respect her right to endorse whomever she wishes.”

Locke’s campaign consultant, Keir Murray, added that the commissioner has been unable to reach Kaye Lee to discuss the letter.

I received a copy of the letter on Wednesday. Gotta say, it didn’t occur to me that it needed to be confirmed. For what it’w worth, I don’t think this endorsement, or any of the multiple others that Sen. Ellis has collected, means that much. I figure endorsements mean more when a significant portion of the electorate doesn’t have a strong opinion about the candidates involved, or when they just don’t know that much about them and are looking for some direction. That surely isn’t the case here, in an election to be determined by 125 or so precinct chairs. That hasn’t stopped Sen. Ellis from collecting a lot of them, with each endorser sending a letter on his behalf. How much of an effect they may have, I couldn’t say. They’re nice to have, to be sure, I just have a hard time believing they will change anyone’s mind.

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One Comment

  1. Who cares.

    We should call it the dinosaur-court.