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filing deadline

Final ruling in Pasadena redistricting lawsuit

It’s official – back to the original map.

Pasadena City Council

With candidate registration set to begin Tuesday, a federal judge Monday prohibited the city of Pasadena from using an unconstitutional redistricting scheme in the upcoming May elections, stating that the scheme violated the voting rights of Latino and Hispanic residents.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in Houston wrote in the final judgment that the city must use a map the city generated in 2011 that featured eight single-member districts and gave “Latino voters an equal opportunity to elect their preferred candidates.”

Rosenthal also ordered the city to face preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice for 6.5 years before changing the election system again.


Rosenthals’ order Monday – on a federal holiday recognizing the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., whose civil rights crusade led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – came two days before candidate registration opens for Pasadena’s municipal elections. All city council seats and the mayor’s office are up for contention.

See here for the background. There is no word as yet whether the city will appeal or not. The filing period opens tomorrow and runs through February 17, so if there is going to be an appeal and an injunction against using the previous map, the city will need to get its act together quickly. Not that I want them to, mind you, just stating a fact. We’ll see what they do.

UPDATE: Here’s a longer version of the story.

City wins first round of term limits ballot language lawsuit

It’s round one, of course, but it’s still a win.


The ballot language Houston voters used to change term limits for elected officials was “inartful” but not “invalid,” a state district judge ruled Wednesday, a move that nonetheless left the plaintiffs claiming victory ahead of an expected appellate battle.


Much of the debate before Judge Randy Clapp, a Wharton County jurist appointed to hear the case, focused on procedural matters: Whether Dick properly served the city notice of his lawsuit, whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the case, and whether attorney Andy Taylor could intervene to assist Dick.

Clapp acknowledged higher courts would not be bound to his view of whether the ballot language was misleading or omitted key facts, the tests under the law.

Still, he ruled in the city’s favor, having described his thoughts in an exchange with Taylor.

“My personal feeling at this point is, the omission part is pretty weak,” he said, noting case law says ballot items need not be comprehensive. “But the misleading part is, I think, the stronger allegation you make because of the choice of words involved.”

That Clapp ultimately did not find the ballot language unlawful was less important than his decision to rule on all motions before him on Wednesday, Taylor said, because the case will move to the appellate courts all at once. That will limit the city’s ability to, as Taylor views it, “run out the shot clock” by relying on procedural delays to push the case past November 2017, when the next city election would be held if the terms reverted to two years.

“The thing that was the most important here was that we get a ruling from the trial court so that we can go up to the appellate court where this is ultimately going to be decided,” Taylor said. “We’re confident the appellate courts will rule that this ballot language was both deceptive and misleading.”

See here, here, and here for the background. You have to admire Andy Taylor’s ability to declare that a loss is a win. Clearly, he missed his calling as the coach of a sports team. Anyway, as far as the timing goes, for Taylor and Dick to actually get a win, I think you’d need to have a final ruling by no later than a year from now, probably more like by next February. I mean, the filing deadline for a November of 2017 election would be around Labor Day, so in theory you could go as late as mid-July or so for a filing period, but that doesn’t leave people much time to fundraise. If someone wanted to run for Mayor, for example, or even for an At Large Council seat, they’d want to get started a lot sooner than that. Is next April enough time for an appeals court and the Supreme Court to rule? I guess we’ll find out.

UPDATE: KUHF has more.

Filing deadline highlights

I’m taking a look at interesting bits from the state and Harris County Democratic Party filings. You can see the latter here; there isn’t a page dedicated to this on the TDP webpage (why?) but via this press release we find the SOS candidate filing report, which once filtered for Dem only gives us what we want, albeit in a not-so-pretty package. We soldier on nonetheless. Here are the things that caught my eye.


– In addition to the three candidates with whom you may be familiar, your choices for President in Texas include Calvis L. Hawes, Keith Judd, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Star Locke, and Willie L. Wilson. Hawes, Judd, and Locke are themselves from Texas.

– Democratic candidates filed for 30 of the 36 Congressional seats, the exceptions being 8, 11, 13, 19, 32, and 36. Of those, only 32 could be considered on the horizon of competitive, so no great loss. Incumbent Democrats facing primary challengers are Beto O’Rourke (CD16), Henry Cuellar (CD28), Eddie Berniece Johnson (CD30), and of course Gene Green (CD29), who like Johnson has two opponents, both named Garcia (Adrian and Dominique). There are seven candidates for the open CD15. Former Rep. Pete Gallego, trying to take back CD23, has a primary opponent to overcome first. Frequent candidate A.R. Hassan is one of two hopefuls for CD22. And hey, remember Ray Madrigal, the guy who ran against Wendy Davis in the gubernatorial primary in 2014? He’s a candidate for CD27, along with two other folks.


– Your candidates for Railroad Commissioner are former State Rep. Lon Burnam, 2014 Senate candidate Grady Yarbrough, and Cody Garrett.

– All of the statewide judicial offices have candidates: Mike Westergren, Dori Contreras Garza, and Savannah Robinson, for places 3, 5, and 9 on the Supreme Court; incumbent Judge Larry Meyers (remember he switched parties last year), Betsy Johnson, and Robert Burns, for places 2, 5, and 6 on the Court of Criminal Appeals. I think you have to go back to 2002 to find the last time we had all such slots filled.


– I guess first-term SBOE member Martha Dominguez decided not to run for re-election, because she didn’t file for it. Dominguez was more than a little flaky about running after her surprise win in the 2012 primary (why she was in the primary if she was reluctant to run for November remains a mystery), so no great loss here. Three candidates – Georgia Perez, Joe Fierro, Jr., and Lynn Oliver – are on the ballot to replace her.

– Two familiar names are back, Rebecca Bell-Metereau in SBOE5, and Judy Jennings in SBOE10. Both good candidates (you can search my archives for the interviews I did with them in 2010 if you are so inclined), with perhaps better chances of winning this time.

– There are three candidates for SBOE6 in Harris County – Jasmine Jenkins, Dakota Carter, and Michael Jordan. I know nothing about any of them at this time.

District appeals courts

– We seem to have these covered for Harris and the other counties in our two appellate districts:

Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals – Jim Peacock.
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals District, Place 4 – Barbara Gardner.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals District, Place 2 – Candance White and Jim Sharp. Yes, that Jim Sharp.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals District, Place 9 – Peter M. Kelly.

That appears to be a full slate, unless there are any unexpired terms I’m not aware of. DA candidate Morris Overstreet ran for Chief Justice of the 1st Court in 2010. Peter Kelly is a neighbor of mine, so that’s cool.

– There’s a contested primary for Justice, 13th Court of Appeals District, Place 3, in South Texas, which had been held by 2008 Supreme Court candidate Linda Yanez; she lost it in a heartbreaker in the 2010 debacle. One of the candidates is Leticia Hinojosa, whom those with long memories may remember as Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s primary opponent for the re-redistricted CD25 in 2004. Everything old is new again.

State Senate

– You know about the TMF-Menendez rematch in SD26. Another “rematch” is in SD19, where Sen. Carlos Uresti faces Helen Madla, widow of former Sen. Frank Madla, whom Uresti ousted in 2006. Let me just say that as much as I love the city of San Antonio, I’m glad I’m not living there this primary season.

– Sen. Eddie Lucio also has a primary opponent, O. Rodriguez Haro III.

– Virginia “Jennie Lou” Leeder is running for SD24, the seat vacated by Troy Fraser. She won’t win, but at least someone is running. No one filed for the other open Senate seat, Kevin Eltife’s SD01.

State House

– By my rough count, Dems fielded candidates in 90 of the 150 State House districts, which I believe means they are challenging 38 Republican incumbents. Offhand I don’t know how that compares to other years. Some districts where I would have liked to have seen a challenger include 17, 32, 45, 132, and 138. Easier said than done, I know. The Dallas County Democratic Party put out a release touting the fact that all of their districts have a Dem running in them. Good on them for that.

– Incumbents with primary challengers, according to the SOS: Toni Rose (HD110), Ina Minjarez (HD124; she won a special election late in the session, so no shock here), Alma Allen (HD131), Gene Wu (HD137), Ron Reynolds (HD27; he has three opponents), Sergio Munoz (HD36), and Mary Gonzalez (HD75; she is facing former Rep. Chente Quintanilla). According to the HCDP page, you can add Jessica Farrar (HD148) and Hubert Vo (HD149) to that list, with both of their opponents being hot messes. Farrar faces Dave Wilson – yes, that Dave Wilson – while Vo draws minor Mayoral candidate Demetria Smith. Pass the Advil.

– Open seat report: Three candidates in HD116 (vacated by TMF in his Senate quest), two in HD118 (Joe Farias; son Gabe won the special election to fill out his term), six in HD120 (Ruth Jones McClendon), three in HD139 (Sylvester Turner), seven in HD49 (Elliott Naishtat), and two in HD77 (Marissa Marquez).

– Other contested races: HD117 (Philip Cortez tries to win back the seat he won in 2012 and lost in 2014; he faces San Carlos Antonio), and HD144 (Mary Ann Perez tries to do the same but first faces Cody Ray Wheeler and Bernie Aldape). Also of note, Lloyd Criss (father of former Judge and 2014 candidate Susan Criss) tries his luck in HD23, which he once represented some years back.

Harris County

– There are twelve contested judicial races. These are mostly for Republican-held benches, but incumbent Elaine Palmer drew two challengers. Guess I better start sending out those judicial Q&As.

– Those 12 judicial races are for district and county courts. There are also four contested JP races. Incumbent Richard Vara (Precinct 6, Place 1) has an opponent, and incumbent Hillary Green (Precinct 7, Place 1; she is the estranged wife of outgoing Controller Ronald Green) has seven (!) opponents, including 2012 HCDP Chair candidate and 2013 Mayoral candidate Keryl Douglas.

– There are 26 people running for 8 Constable positions. Incumbents Alan Rosen (Precinct 1) has two opponents; Chris Diaz (Precinct 2) has three; Henry Martinez (Precinct 6) has four; and May Walker (Precinct 7) has one.

– Sherrie Matula, who had a couple of good runs for State Rep in HD129 prior to the 2011 redistricting, is a candidate for HCDE in Precinct 2, while Marilyn Burgess is running in Precinct 4. There are no At Large HCDE spots on the ballot this year.

– Commissioner El Franco Lee is unopposed, while former Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool and Eric Hassan square off for the right to challenge Steve Radack in Precinct 3.

…And I do believe that’s a wrap. There may be some late additions or corrections – the SOS page may not have full information from the county parties, for instance – but this is a decent overview. There are a few names on the ballot that I wouldn’t mind seeing disappear, and trying to make sense of all these races and candidates will be a monumental task with not a whole lot of time to accomplish it, but overall this is a good thing. Much better to have a plethora of candidates than a dearth in a democracy.

We still can’t get new maps


To avoid confusion and uncertainty, the state’s 2016 elections for Congress and the Texas House will proceed under the current political maps, a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio said late Friday.

The court previously approved maps for use in Texas Senate races, but the lines for congressional and state House districts remain under legal challenge.

While the judges are deciding those challenges, however, the election deadlines loom: Candidates will begin filing to run for office on Nov. 14 in advance of primary elections on March 1 of next year.

The courts have been known to move election and filing dates; in 2012, the primaries were moved from March to May, disrupting the normal political cycle in the state.

But in a seven-page order on Friday, the judges said they will not disturb the 2016 elections. “… the court finds that the status quo should not be altered … The 2016 election will proceed as scheduled, without interruption of delay, under plans H358 and C235 [the plans used in the previous election],” the judges wrote.

As you may recall, the post-Shelby retrials were concluded last September. As that seven-page order points out, those were trials over the 2011 maps, to make a determination about discriminatory intent, which would potentially subject Texas to preclearance again under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. A trial on the Section 2 claims for the 2013 maps still hasn’t even been scheduled. Since those maps are basically the court-drawn interim maps from 2012, there may not be any relief to be had anyway, but still. Shouldn’t we have this mess resolved by now? At this rate, it’s a close call whether this litigation will be wrapped up before the 2021 redistricting cycle. Sheesh.

Are we ever going to get a redistricting ruling?

From the Texas Election Law Blog:

As Rick Hasen has reported, [Wednesday] the plaintiffs in the 2011 redistricting lawsuit asked the three-judge panel for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division to enjoin the State of Texas from using the patently illegal district boundary lines that were used in the 2014 election.

Evidence-wise, the plaintiffs have a slam-dunk on this one – the State has lost at every turn with respect to the question as to whether the 2011 redistricting violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; and there isn’t any serious disagreement on the facts – the State enacted a redistricting plan that was motivated by racial animus in order to limit the voting rights of racial minority groups.

For some reason that has never been explicitly articulated, the court appears to be paralyzed and unable to move on this issue. Possibly the members of the redistricting panel fear that any dramatic change in boundary lines will draw a disastrous results-oriented Supreme Court rebuke that might leave the plaintiffs in an even-worse position. but that doesn’t really justify the timidity with which the court has approached this matter. Whatever the motivation, the risk is now quite high that just as with the Texas elections in 2012 and 2014, the 2016 primaries and general election might be conducted using bad maps.

He’s been asking these questions for awhile now. The trials for the State House and Congressional maps were held more than a year ago, and according to this post, the “last substantive order from the court was a scheduling order back in mid March, asking the parties to submit briefs on a 5th Circuit ruling related to the “mootness” of the fight over the 2011 Texas House of Representatives and Congressional districts”. What could the holdup be? Your guess is as good as mine, but filing season for 2016 opens November 14 – i.e., less than four weeks from now – and runs through December 14. Either we get a ruling on what maps to use before then, we once again use the same maps that have been previously declared illegal, or we have another year with later-than-planned primaries. Surely the first choice is the best one, no? Let’s get on with it, y’all. Enrique Rangel has more.

Your official slate of candidates

Yesterday was the filing deadline. Here’s the official list of candidates, modulo any challenges or subsequently invalidated applications. The highlights:

– There are thirteen candidates for Mayor. The City Secretary might consider starting the ballot order draw now, this may take awhile.

– Dwight Boykins in D, Dave Martin in E, and Larry Green in K are the only incumbents not to draw opponents. No new contenders emerged in G or H.

– Kendall Baker became the third candidate in District F. Here’s a reminder about who he is.

– Former HCC Trustee Herlinda Garcia filed against CM Robert Gallegos in I. She was appointed to the HCC board in 2013 to fill Mary Ann Perez’s seat after having served before, and was supported in the 2013 runoff by Dave Wilson.

– Frequent commenter Manuel Barrera filed in District J, joining Jim Bigham and some other dude against CM Mike Laster. You can search for his name in the archives here. I think we have our 2015 vintage “straight slate”.

– Former District A candidate Mike Knox is in for At Large #1, and performance artist Eric Dick has graced us with his presence in At Large #2. Again, “straight slate”.

– I am disappointed but not terribly surprised to see that Durrel Douglas did not file in At Large #5. He hadn’t filed a July finance report, and as far as I could tell had not screened for endorsements. I know he’s been spending a lot of time in Waller County and working with the Houston Justice Coalition on the Sandra Bland case. Sometimes the time isn’t right.

– Former District F Council Member and 2009 Controller candidate MJ Khan filed for Controller. Not sure what’s up with that, but I’m guessing Bill Frazer isn’t thrilled by it.

– Here’s the Chron story, which includes the HISD candidates. The main point of interest there is former Trustee Diana Davila running for her old seat in District 8, against Trustee Juliet Stipeche.

That’s all I know for now. I’ll be updating the 2015 Election page over the next couple of days to get all the changes in. We’ll see if anything else shakes out. What are your impressions of the candidate list?

What if they threw an election and nobody ran?

Congratulations, Katy!

The Katy City Council on Monday night canceled May’s municipal elections after no one sought to challenge the mayor and two other incumbents.

The deadline to file to run was at the end of February. The only candidates to file were Mayor Fabol Hughes and council members Bill Lawton and Jimmy Mendez, from Wards A and B respectively.

That left them unopposed and automatically re-elected for additional two-year-terms, said City Secretary Missy Bunch.

After taking the oath of office in May, Lawton will begin a third term and Hughes and Mendez will start their second.

Bunch said it was fairly common in the small town west of Houston for incumbents not to face opposition.

“Filing was open for a little over a month,” she said. “We had a couple people pick up books but nobody else signed up.”

City leaders interpreted the lack of opponents as a vote of confidence from the public.

“It just kind of makes you feel good,” Lawton said. “I just don’t believe that people weren’t paying attention. I think they knew an election was coming up and the feeling has been that things are going pretty good.”

That would be the optimistic interpretation, yes. I don’t live in Katy and I know nothing of the politics there, so I don’t have any reason other than my natural level of cynicism to dispute that. Personally, I think elections are better when they’re contested. Katy’s municipal election results don’t appear to be on the Harris County Clerk elections page, so I can’t tell you how these three did in 2013. Anyone from Katy want to comment on this?

Final filings: We have a statewide Democrat

Boy, I didn’t see this coming.

Judge Larry Meyers

Judge Larry Meyers

Longtime Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence “Larry” Meyers announced Monday that he is leaving the Republican Party to run as a Democrat for the Texas Supreme Court.

Meyers, of Fort Worth, filed Monday on the last day of filing to seek Place 6 on the Supreme Court, currently held by Jeff Brown.

“I am thrilled to welcome Judge Meyers to the Texas Democratic Party,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said. “I am even more excited to know that Judge Meyers doesn’t stand alone. Every day, I hear from real voters that our party represents the strongest path forward for our state.

“Texas is changing and voters will continue ot reject a Republican Party more focused on ideology than ideas.”

Meyers’ party switch makes him the first statewide Democratic officeholder since 1998.

What’s more, since his term on the CCA isn’t up until 2016, no matter what happens in that race he’ll be on the bench at least until then. It’s a little strange having a criminal court judge running for a civil court, but that’s far from the strangest thing that’s happened this cycle. Meyers announced a challenge to Sharon Keller in the GOP primary in 2012 despite having previously been an ally of hers, but as far as I can tell he didn’t actually go through with it; the SOS page for the 2012 GOP primary shows her as unopposed. In any event, welcome to the party, Judge Meyers. Best of luck in your election.

That was the first surprise of the day but it wasn’t the last and may not have been the biggest, for next came this.

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, has filed to run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the March GOP primary, joining at least eight other hopefuls vying for the senior senator’s seat, according to a spokesman with the Republican Party of Texas.

Stockman, who had filed for re-election in Congressional District 36, had to withdraw from that race to seek Cornyn’s seat.

In an interview with the website WND, Stockman said he was running because he was “extremely disappointed in the way [Cornyn] treated his fellow congressmen and broke the 11th commandment and undermined Ted Cruz’s fight to stop Obamacare.”

There’s crazy, there’s bat$#!+ crazy, and then there’s Steve Stockman, who does a triple lutz barrel roll with a half-gainer but still sticks the landing. Take that, Louie Gohmert!

GOP political consultant Matt Mackowiak said Stockman faces an uphill battle, from recent investigations into his political and fundraising operation to Cornyn’s “huge bankroll.”

“Now we will find out if Sen. Cornyn is truly vulnerable, which I have doubted,” Mackowiak said, adding, “I predict that not one member of the congressional delegation will support Stockman. Ultimately, he will need outside groups to spend, and that is the most important unknown right now.”

All I can say is that so far, no one has gone broke underestimating the insanity of Republican primary voters. I suppose there’s a first time for everything. In the meantime, I join with PDiddie, Texpatriate, Juanita, and BOR in marveling at the spectacle.

Stockman’s change in office means that he won’t be running for CD36, which means there’s at least a chance Congress could be a tiny bit less wacko in 2015. There are three other Republicans running, and one Democrat.

Meanwhile, Michael Cole has had his eye on the heavily-Republican district since 2012, when he ran as a libertarian. He got about 6,000 votes in that election.

Now Cole, a 38 year old teacher from Orange, Texas, is running again as a Democrat. He says he has a campaign team in place, has been crisscrossing the district, and is about to file his first report on fundraising to the Federal Elections Commission. He said he’d focus on getting things done and charged outgoing Stockman with wasting time on politics.

“I can listen to what my constituents want instead of just showboating against Barack Obama,” he said, noting that his major focus would be on middle class job growth.

The change in candidates doesn’t change the fact that this is a 70% GOP district. But still, a Republican and a Libertarian both turning Democrat to run next year? Not a bad day if you ask me.

Anyway. Here’s the TDP list, which will not include people that filed at their county offices, and the Harris County GOP list; I’ve put the HCDP list beneath the fold, since the updated version of it isn’t online just yet. Stace notes the contested primaries of interest in Harris County, but here are a few other highlights:

– In addition to Larry Meyers, the Dems have two other Supreme Court candidates (Bill Moody and Gina Benavides, who is a Justice on the 13th Court of Appeals) and one CCA candidate (John Granberg for Place 3). Not a full slate, but not too bad. According to a TDP press release, Granberg is an attorney from El Paso (as is Moody, who is a District Court judge) and Benavides is from McAllen.

– Kinky Friedman has a second opponent for Ag Commissioner, Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III. Either the Dems got used to the idea of Friedman on the ballot or they failed utterly to find an opponent for him that isn’t some dude. I never thought I’d say this, but as things stand today I’d vote for Kinky.

– Another press release from the TDP makes a nice-sounding claim:

Today, the Texas Democratic Party announced its slate of candidates for 2014. Texas Democrats are fielding more candidates for statewide office in this election cycle than any time since 2002.

In addition to the statewide slate, the party devoted significant time to recruiting for down ballot races, and announced challengers in State Senate districts 10 and 17, and a full slate of candidates to the State Board of Education.

The party spent significant time recruiting Justices of the Peace, County Constables, County Judges, County Commissioners and others in places like Lubbock, Wichita Falls, San Angelo and across Texas.

I like the look of that. I wish they had more information in that release, but it’s an encouraging sign regardless.

– There will not be a rematch in CD33 between Rep. Marc Veasey and Domingo Garcia. As a fan of Rep. Veasey, I’m glad to hear that.

– Rep. Harold Dutton did file for re-election in HD142. Some people just can’t be rushed, I guess. Rep. Carol Alvarado joined Rep. Alma Allen in drawing a primary challenger, as Susan Delgado filed at the last minute in HD145. I’ll be voting for Rep. Alvarado, thanks. Oh, and the GOP did find a challenger for HD144 – Gilbert Pena, who lost in the primary for that district in 2012.

– Dems did not get candidates foe each local judicial race, but there are a few contested judicial primaries. Yes, that’s a little frustrating, but people will run where they want to run.

– No one is running against Commissioner Jack Morman, and no one else is running for County Judge. Alas. Ann Harris Bennett has an opponent for County Clerk, Gayle Mitchell, who filed a finance report in July but has been quiet since.

– Possibly the biggest surprise locally is that outgoing CM Melissa Noriega filed for HCDE At Large Position 7, making that a three way race with Traci Jensen and Lily Leal. I will have more on that later.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to say about many of these races soon. Here’s the Chron story for now, which doesn’t add anything I didn’t already have here. What are your thoughts about the lineups?


HISD candidate sues to get back on the ballot

I missed this when it first happened.

Anthony Madry

Anthony Madry, a former administrator in the Houston Independent School District, filed a petition with the 14th Court of Appeals this week after HISD rejected his application to run for the school board.

A manager in the school board office, Veronica Mabasa, sent Madry a letter, dated Aug. 28, that she was rejecting his application under the state’s election law because it was incomplete.

Madry did not list the specific board seat that he was seeking on the application.

In his petition, Madry argued that he should have been given a chance to correct the omission. He submitted his application to the HISD board office on Aug. 21, five days before the filing deadline of Aug. 26.

State law says that applications must be reviewed within five days. The fifth day was the day of the filing deadline.

Attorneys for HISD said the district was correct in dismissing Madry’s application.

“Mr. Madry’s failure to identify the office he wished to run for, combined with his decision to file close to the filing deadline, is the reason that his application was properly rejected as required by law,” attorneys David Thompson and Lisa McBride said Thursday.

I generally don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the candidate in these situations. The filing form is not complicated, and it’s not too much to ask to get it filled out correctly. Anthony Madry’s voter registration card lists him in HISD district 6. This is something a would-be candidate ought to know. And if state law gives school districts up to five days to review candidate filings, then it’s on the candidate to get those filings in more than five days before the deadline if they want to have a chance to fix any mistakes they might have missed. To the best of my recollection, previous candidates that have been disqualified for messing up their paperwork too close to the deadline have had no luck with the courts, but we’ll see. Here’s the court case information, if any lawyers want to armchair-quarterback it.

The 2013 lineup

So many candidates.

He’s baaaaaaack…

More than 60 candidates have filed to run for city of Houston elective office this fall, many of them rushing in before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline.


Atop the ballot, [Mayor Annise] Parker is challenged by wealthy attorney Ben Hall, conservative Eric Dick, repeat Green Party candidate Don Cook, and six others. City Controller Ron Green is opposed by accountant Bill Frazer.

The ballot’s most crowded council race, with 11 contenders, will be for District D, the south Houston seat held by term-limited Wanda Adams, who has filed to run for a seat on the Houston ISD board.

Looking to succeed Adams are several candidates who have sought the seat or other council posts before, including Dwight Boykins, Larry McKinzie, Lana Edwards and Keith Caldwell. First-time contenders include Anthony Robinson, a businessman and lawyer who was exonerated after serving 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and Houston Housing Authority vice-chair Assata-Nicole Richards, who briefly was homeless and went on to earn a doctorate in sociology.


Other notable filings include Issa Dadoush, who formerly ran the facilities department for the city, then HISD. He will challenge incumbent Councilman C.O. Bradford. Perennial candidate Michael “Griff” Griffin – who said his 10th failed bid for City Council in 2011 would be his last – also filed, against At-Large 1 incumbent Councilman Stephen Costello.

So we will have Griff to kick around again. Whoop-de-doo. No, I will not be interviewing him. My to-do list is a little longer now, but it doesn’t include Griff. Life is too short.

I’m still working on my 2013 Election page, since there are some names that remain unknown to me. I’ll wait and see what the final list of candidates on the City Secretary page looks like before I declare the page finalized. Some races are no different – At Large #2, Districts A, C, and I. Apparently, neither Chris Carmona nor Al Edwards filed in At Large #3, leaving that field a bit smaller than I’d have expected. The Bradford/Dadoush race in At Large #4 is potentially interesting. I know of at least one more candidate in At Large #5, James “father of Noah” Horwitz. And my God, could we possibly have more Mayoral candidates?

The big non-city-race news is the retirement of HISD Trustee Larry Marshall.

Marshall, who turned 81 in June, first was elected to the board of the Houston Independent School District in 1997. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

The other four incumbents up for re-election are running, and two face opponents.

A civil lawsuit filed by a construction contractor in late 2010 put Marshall under intense scrutiny, accusing him of a bribery and kickback scheme with his political campaign treasurer to help certain construction firms land HISD contracts.

The Houston Chronicle also has reported that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office had launched a criminal investigation tied to the lawsuit.


The candidates running for Marshall’s seat are: W. Clyde Lemon, who served on the board in the mid-1990s; City Councilwoman Wanda Adams; Anthony Madry, a former HISD assistant principal; and Coretta Mallet-Fontenot.

I need to update the District IX race on the 2013 Election page, but I have the other races right – Anna Eastman versus Hugo Mojica in I, Harvin Moore versus Anne Sung in VII, and nobody versus Mike Lunceford in V and Greg Meyers in VIII. At least these races are straightforward.

Not mentioned as far as I can tell are the HCC Trustee races. Five trustees are up for election, thanks to the two appointments. Two incumbents, Neeta Sane and Bruce Austin, have no opponents that I am aware of. Yolanda Navarro Flores, who in 2011 lost a defamation lawsuit against her colleagues, is opposed by educator Zeph Capo and civic activist Kevin Hoffman, who narrowly lost to Navarro Flores in 2007. Herlinda Garcia, a former trustee who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by State Rep. Mary Ann Perez in HCC 3, is opposed by Adriana Tamez and Dane Cook. Leila Feldman, appointed to replace Richard Schechter after he resigned, is opposed by Phil Kunetka. Among other things, this means that the tail end of my interviewing schedule will be fuller than I originally thought it would be. As I said, these are the races I’m aware of. If I’ve missed anything, let me know. Stace and Campos have more.

Election page updates

If you take a look at my 2013 Election page, you will see that I have added information about HISD and HCC races. I don’t have information about all candidates, mostly because I don’t think I’ve heard of everyone yet, and because I’m certain that some of the fields are not settled yet. The rumor mill is saying that long-term scandal-plagued HISD Trustee Lawrence Marshall is not running for re-election, but as yet there has been no announcement to that effect, so take it with an appropriate level of skepticism. I am aware of at least one well-known candidate that is preparing to jump into that race, but again as yet no public announcement has been made. The filing deadline is one week from today, so we’ll know for sure who’s in and who’s not at that time. In the meantime, if I’ve missed anyone, or if I’ve missed someone’s webpage, please let me know.

Please note again with endorsements that I only include information that comes from the source. Press releases from the endorsing organization, webpage or Facebook links from the endorsing organization, ideally listing all of their endorsed candidates, are the sort of thing I’m looking for to include it on that page. I will not link to a release or post from the candidate. If you aware of an announcement or link from an endorsing organization that I have not included, please send it to me, but please do not forward an email from a candidate touting an endorsement they have received.

Some organizations have made endorsements but have not sent out press releases on them yet. I’ve had communication with three such groups so far, and am expecting something from them in the next couple of weeks. Patience, please.

HCC finance reports for July are finally available on their website, but only for incumbent Trustees. Finance reports for non-incumbent candidates, in both HCC and HISD, are not readily available to me. As you know, this is something I believe they need to fix.

Finally, as you can see, interviews are proceeding along. I’ll be skipping most unopposed incumbents this time around due to constraints on my time, but should be able to get everything else in by around the start of early voting.

So who’s in for the SD06 special election?

As noted, yesterday was the official filing deadline for the SD06 special election. I didn’t have the chance to call the Secretary of State’s office to ask what filings they had received, and as of last night I had not seen any news accounts of who was in and who was not. In addition to the three candidates that were known to have filed before Christmas – Sylvia Garcia, Carol Alvarado, and Dorothy Olmos, two other names did emerge yesterday. One, via Carl Whitmarsh, is Rodolfo Reyes:

Rodolfo M. Reyes was elected to the League City Council in 1994 and was the first Hispanic Mayor pro tem, and the second Hispanic to serve on the City Council. During his three year term, he worked with his council brethrens to realize the League City Sport Complex; revitalized the Economic Development Corporation; he challenged the City Planning Commission to streamline procedures for dealing with new developers coming into the city; and rolled-back the property tax rate.

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Harris County Educational Foundation; Member-at-large of the Amateur Athletic Association committee; Vice-President of the Community Housing Resources Board; Member of the Board of the Clear Lake Area Economic Development Foundation; and, worked with the Mentor Program at Bonner Elementary School.

The other, via Stace, is Joaquin Martinez.

Joaquin Martinez, father to Joaquin Edward Martinez, is a native Houstonian and has been a silent community leader in the East End. Joaquin has worked for one of Houston’s oldest and largest non-profits, Neighborhood Centers, for over 10 years within the Community Based Initiatives department. Joaquin’s continued perseverance and personal values have allowed him to continue his education at the University of Houston – Downtown as he pursues a B.A. in Political Science.

Joaquin’s previous role as a Youth Manager has been to build youth programs in the East End, Sunnyside, Independence Heights, Pasadena and La Porte communities in order to build upon the skills of the youth in these communities.He also took on the role of Program Coordinator in the Pasadena and La Porte communities, where civic engagement and education were fundamental in creating a community environment. Joaquin has seen many youths become successful; he continually challenges parents to remain involved their children’s lives. He also worked as Staff under Council Member John Castillo, in which he visited several civic club meetings and was committed to assure that community member’s needs were met.

I assume both have filed, but as yet I have no confirmation of this. Others who previously said they were running but had not filed as of Wednesday include RW Bray, whose campaign Facebook page was last updated on December 21, and Maria Selva, who has an under construction webpage that incorrectly lists the date of the special election as January 22. Oops. As for HCC Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores, she doesn’t appear to have a Facebook page and I’ve seen nothing in my email or via Google. Now you know what I know. If you know more than this, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: Via Stace and PDiddie, we now know there are eight candidates total in this race. What we don’t know is why there was no one at the Chron or the Trib that bothered to find this out, leaving it instead to a bunch of unpaid bloggers. Be that as it may, I’ll have a post with more information tomorrow.

Re-Filing deadline roundup

Let the races begin!

The re-filing deadline was Friday, and as expected there was a flurry of activity on the final day. I’m going to do a news roundup to highlight what went on and who’s now running for what. You can find a list of filings that the Texas Democratic Party is aware of here, but bear in mind that this is not a complete list because any candidates who are running for an office which is wholly contained within one county will have filed with their County Democratic Party, so the TDP may not be aware of it. Also, it’s not clear to me if they have removed all of the candidates who filed for an office in December and then subsequently withdrew or switched. A spreadsheet of HCDP filings is here, and the Harris County GOP’s list of candidates is here. A few highlights before I go to the papers:

– US Senate candidate Daniel Boone withdrew from that race and filed for CD21 instead. Candace Duval has also filed for that race. Grady Yarbrough filed for the Senate, so there are still four Democratic candidates there.

– A San Antonio attorney named Michelle Petty filed to run for State Supreme Court, position 6, against Justice Nathan Hecht. She is the only Democrat running for the Supreme Court.

– There is also only one Democrat running for the Court of Criminal Appeals – Keith Hampton, who was on the ballot in 2010. Hampton is running against the notorious Sharon Keller, who is challenging his place on the ballot.

Keller’s challenge, filed with the state Democratic Party on Thursday, claims Keith Hampton did not submit enough valid signatures to qualify for a place on the ballot.

Candidates for statewide judicial office must collect signatures from 50 registered voters in each of the state’s 14 appellate court districts. Keller’s challenge, filed by lawyer Edward Shack, claims irregularities on several petition pages should invalidate numerous signatures, leaving Hampton short of voters in three districts.

Hampton, a 22-year Austin lawyer, dismissed Keller’s challenge in two appellate districts as quibbling and was working Thursday to correct petition forms in the third district before the evening candidate filing deadline.

Keller claimed several petition pages in two districts were invalid because signatures were collected while Hampton was running for Place 8. When Hampton changed his mind last fall and targeted Keller, it appears “Place 8” was scratched out and replaced with Keller’s position on the court, the challenge said.

The change should not invalidate the forms, Hampton said Friday. “That’s not even a clerical error,” he said. “I think her challenges there are completely meritless.”

Questions about dates associated with petitions from a third district were being addressed Thursday by collecting new signatures, “so everything there should be moot,” Hampton said.

As this is for a primary election, TDP Chair Boyd Ritchie gets to rule on the validity of the challenge, which can then be appealed to state district court. We’ll see what happens.

– Nick Lampson picked up a primary opponent for CD14, a woman from Galveston named Linda Dailey.

– Two people filed for the Democratic nomination in CD10 after Dan Grant dropped out, William E. Miller, Jr, of Austin, and Tawana Cadien of Cypress in Harris County.

– Jim Dougherty, who was the Democratic nominee for District Attorney in 2000 and for HD134 in 2004, filed to run against Rep. Ted Poe in CD02. Here’s a press release he sent out on Saturday.

– I don’t see a Democratic challenger listed for Republican Judge Tad Halbach, who presides over the 333rd Criminal District Court.

– Republicans Gilbert Pena and David Pineda filed to replace State Rep. Ken Legler on the ballot in HD144.

Here’s the Chron story about the re-filing deadline, which didn’t have any of that in it. Looking elsewhere, here’s the Statesman.

The once-a-decade redistricting process has created an unusually high number of contested races for the U.S. House. For example, former Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald, a Democrat, said Friday that he will challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold for a GOP-leaning district that cuts through Bastrop but is based in Corpus Christi, which is Farenthold’s hometown. At least three other Democrats, all from the southern end of the district, also hope to take on Farenthold.

Travis County voters will see highly contested primaries for two other congressional seats. Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin will face three candidates from San Antonio in District 35, which extends from eastern Travis County to Bexar County. Doggett’s toughest fight is likely to come from Sylvia Romo, the Bexar County tax assessor-collector. More residents of that district live on the San Antonio end than the Austin end. Three Republicans filed for the seat, but it is heavily Democratic.

Meanwhile, 11 Republicans filed to run in Congressional District 25, which includes much of western Travis County and runs up to Fort Worth. Those filing include former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams and former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams.

Republican U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul of Austin, Lamar Smith of San Antonio and John Carter of Round Rock each drew GOP primary opposition.

I personally think McDonald would have had a better shot at HD17, but I wish him well in his efforts. A fellow named Colin Guerra filed in HD17.

Express News:

In 2011, it appeared Doggett, D-Austin, would face Castro, D-San Antonio, in the 35th, but after Rep. Charlie Gonzalez announced his retirement, Castro switched to the 20th, where he faced local attorney Ezra Johnson.

Johnson, a former Congressional page appointed by the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez, dropped out Friday. The new maps, he said, “cut the heart out of the 20th District.”

That left Tax Assessor-Collector Sylvia Romo, real estate broker Patrick Shearer, and former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez to duke it out for the 35th in the Democratic primary.

The latest maps, however, put Rodriguez back into the 23rd Congressional District, and chopped up Doggett’s old district.

Rodriguez filed for the 23rd this week, and will face state Rep. Pete Gallego and attorney John Bustamante for the chance to challenge Republican incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco.
Shearer announced Friday he would withdraw from the 35th and endorse Doggett.

Maria Luisa Alvarado, a veteran who ran as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2006, is now the third Democrat on the ballot.

On the Republican ticket, John Yoggerst also filed for the 35th this week. He’ll square off against Susan Narvaiz and Rob Roark, both of San Marcos.


In South Texas, Brownsville lawyer Filemón Vela Jr. is seeking the Democratic nomination in the newly drawn 34th Congressional District, changing the dynamics in that crowded race.

More than a half dozen Democrats are running in that primary, including former Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Denise Saenz Blanchard of Brownsville and Ramiro Garza Jr. of South Padre Island.

Harlingen lawyer Salomon Torres, a former staffer to Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, is running for the new seat, as is Iraq war veteran Elmo Aycock , lawyer Anthony Troiani and District Attorney Armando Villalobos, all of Brownsville.

In the 27th Congressional District, Ronnie McDonald, a former Bastrop County judge, announced he will run for the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Republican freshman Rep. Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination in that race is Rose Meza Harrison, the Nueces County Democratic Party chairwoman and Murphy Alade Junaid of Corpus Christi.

Farenthold has GOP opposition in Don Al Middlebrook of Louise and Trey Roberts of Rockport.

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do on my Texas primary page.


In the 33rd District, 11 Democrats have filed for the primary. Three Republicans are also running.

The race is a rare matchup between Dallas and Fort Worth politicos. It also will pit blacks and Hispanics against each other in a battle that could test minority voting strength in the district.

According to the Texas Legislative Council, the district’s Hispanic voting age population is 39 percent. The black voting population is 25 percent. But black voters cast ballots at a higher percentage than Hispanic voters, so the contest is expected to be close, and all of the candidates hope to cross ethnic boundaries.

Front-runners have already emerged.

In Dallas County, former state Rep. Domingo Garcia kicked off his campaign Thursday. His supporters are already registering and mobilizing Hispanic voters on both sides of the county line. Former Dallas City Council member Steve Salazar is also a candidate. And David Alameel, a deep-pocketed dentist who controls a political action committee, entered the race just before the filing deadline.

“It will be interesting to see where all the money lands,” Minchillo said.

In Tarrant County, state Rep. Marc Veasey is running, along with Fort Worth City Council member Kathleen Hicks and others.

Veasey has the most money and is counting on the support of former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas.


State House races in Dallas County are less competitive than four years ago. No Republican or Democrat incumbent received a major challenge.

The most competitive races were in the districts represented by retiring Republicans Will Hartnett and Jim Jackson.

In Hartnett’s District 114, business consultant David Boone, former state Rep. Bill Keffer and Dallas lawyer Jason Villalba are in the GOP primary.

In District 115, the crowded Republican field includes optometrist Steve Nguyen, lawyer Andy Olivo, businessman Bennett Ratliff, attorney Matt Rinaldi and Lib Grimmett.

“We’ve got some good races for the open seats,” Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert said. “In many cases our incumbents were able to fend off primary challengers.”

The hottest Democratic Party statehouse race is the primary to replace Caraway, who is running for Congress.

That field includes former Balch Springs Mayor Cedric Davis, mental health professional Toni Rose and prosecutor Larry Taylor.

A pair of former state representatives are trying to make comebacks. Carol Kent is running in the District 114 Democratic primary. Robert Miklos is unchallenged in the District 107 Democratic primary.

Alameel had previously filed for CD06, against Smokey Joe Barton. He loaned himself some money for that race, and I daresay he’ll spend a few bucks on this one.


District 33, the state’s newest district. Democrats: David Alameel, Domingo Garcia, Kathleen Hicks, J.R. Molina, Jason Roberts, Steve Salazar, Kyev Tatum, Manuel Valdez and Marc Veasey. Republicans: Chuck Bradley, Charles King and Bill Lawrence.

District 25, a revamped congressional district. Republicans: Ernie Beltz Jr., Bill Burch, Dianne Costa, James Dillon, Dave Garrison, Justin Hewlett, Brian Matthews, Wes Riddle, Chad Wilbanks, Michael Williams and Roger Williams.

District 6. Republicans: Rep. Joe Barton (i), Joe Chow, Itamar Gelbman and Frank Kuchar. Democrats: Brianna Hinojosa-Flores, Donald Jaquess and Kenneth Sanders.

District 12. Republican: Kay Granger (i). Democrat: Dave Robinson.

District 24. Republicans: Kenny Marchant (i), Grant Stinchfield. Democrat: Patrick McGehearty.

District 26. Republican: Michael Burgess (i). Democrat: David Sanchez.

State Senate District 9. Republican: Kelly Hancock and Todd Smith. No Democrat filed.

State Senate District 10. Wendy Davis (i). Republicans: Derek Cooper and Mark Shelton.

State Senate District 12. Republican: Jane Nelson (i). No Democrat filed.

State House District 90. Democrats: Lon Burnam (i) and Carlos Vasquez.

State House District 91. Republicans: Stephanie Klick, Kenneth M. “Ken” Sapp, Charles Scoma and Lady Theresa Thombs.

State House District 92. Republicans: Jonathan Stickland and Roger Fisher.

State House District 93. Republicans: Matt Krause, Patricia “Pat” Carlson and Barbara Nash (i).

State House District 94. Republicans: Diane Patrick (i) and Trina Lanza.

State House District 95. Republican: Monte Mitchell. Democrats: Duliani “Jamal” Masimini, Nicole Collier and Jesse Gaines.

State House District 96. Republicans: Mike Leyman and Bill Zedler (i).

State House District 97. Republicans: Craig Goldman, Susan Todd and Chris Hatch. Democrat: Gary Grassia.

State House District 98. Republicans: Giovanni Capriglione and Vicki Truitt (i). Democrat: Shane Hardin.

State House District 99: Republican: Charlie Geren (i). Democrat: Michael McClure.

State House District 101. Democrats: Vickie Barnett, Paula Pierson and Chris Turner.

The TDP page lists a Pete Martinez for SD09, and a Gilbert Zamora for HD93.

El Paso Times:

Democratic candidate Art Fierro announced he will not run for representative of District 75, the post now held by Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla.

Quintanilla is running for El Paso County Commissioners Court Precinct 3, the seat representing most of the Lower Valley recently vacated by Willie Gandara Jr., who resigned after being indicted on federal drug-trafficking charges.

In a news release, Fierro said he no longer lives within the district’s new boundaries, which were announced last week, and no waivers or extensions of residency requirements have been provided.

“My family has prepared to move twice since December during the time of uncertainty caused by the redistricting litigation,” Fierro stated in the release. “At this point it has become difficult for my family to sacrifice the expense and time to move back into the district. I am greatly disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to represent District 75, which has been our home for over a decade.”

Fierro, whose wife is County Commissioner Anna Perez, is chairman of the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees.

Fierro is the second candidate to drop out of the race for House District 75. Gandara was running for the seat but quit after his arrest by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

On Friday, businessman Antonio “Tony” San Roman jumped into the race for House District 75, party officials said. The race also includes Hector Enriquez and Mary Gonzalez.

The Lion Star Blog has been my go-to source for El Paso political information.

I think that’s all I’ve got. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed, let me know. Robert Miller has been summarizing the legislative races in the big counties, and his information differs a bit from what I’ve seen elsewhere, but I expect these discrepancies will sort themselves out in the next day or two. It’s always a little confusing right after the deadline, especially on a weekend.

UPDATE: I have been informed that there was a typo in that Harris County spreadsheet and that Tracy Good has filed for the 33rd Civil District Court and not the 339th Criminal District Court. So there are no unchallenged judicial seats after all.

May 29 election date and re-filing period officially set

Here’s the court order, and here’s the revised election calendar. The main things you need to know are that candidates who had filed for office in the prior period are automatically in unless they withdraw. The new filing period runs from tomorrow, March 2, through 6 PM next Friday, March 9. Candidates also have until April 9 to move into their district of choice if they were drawn out of it, as Joe Moody was in HD78. I presume the Harris County Republicans who filed for HD136 are not planning to move to Williamson County, so at the very least expect them to un-file. Also un-filing, per an email to Carl Whitmarsh’s list yesterday, was CD22 candidate Doug Blatt, who withdrew and endorsed KP George in what is now a straight up race against LaRouchie wingnut Kesha Rogers. I’ll update my primary pages as we go. Robert Miller promises there will be a few surprises between now and the 9th. We’ll see.

If there’s one possible wrench in the works, it’s that the non-MALDEF plaintiffs have filed an advisory with the DC Court saying that the interim Congressional and Legislative maps still contain many Section 5 violations for which evidence, including evidence of discrimination, were “established by the evidentiary record before the Court”. They ask the DC Court to make its preclearance ruling ASAP in the hope that something could still be done for this year, in a June primary. I wish them well, and I think they will ultimately get the rulings they seek, but I seriously doubt anything will change before 2014, assuming there is still a Voting Rights Act to speak of. Still, if nothing else a ringing denial of preclearance could invite another appeal for a stay from SCOTUS. If you think things were screwy before, that would be off the charts. Keep an eye on it in any event.

When is a filing deadline not a filing deadline?

Answer: When there will be another filing period after the filing deadline, as will be the case in Texas, according to the Secretary of State.

“Based on the federal court’s order handed down December 16, candidates will be permitted to file when the filing period reopens on a date yet to be determined and set to close, again by the federal court’s order, on February 1, 2012,” said Secretary of State spokesman Rich Parsons.

I presume this only applies to the offices without districts, i.e., Congress, State Senate, and State House. Those of you looking to file for County Commissioner or some such, it’s now too late.

I have been informed that the second filing period, to begin on a date to be determined but to end no later than February 1, will be for all offices, not just those affected by the redistricting litigation. My apologies for the error.

The big news of the day is that Nick Lampson will saddle up again.

Nick’s back.

“I am. I have sent in the filing papers, so that means I am in the race (for the 14th Congressional District),” said Former Rep. Nick Lampson, 66, who held the Ninth Congressional District for eight years before redistricting split it up, putting Jefferson County and part of Orange County into the Second District along with a substantial chunk of Houston’s northern suburbs. Republican Ted Poe won the reconfigured Second District in 2004.

Also in the race are Beaumont attorneys Michael Truncale, 53, and Jay Old, 48, who both are running as Republicans, as well as a handful of other GOP contenders.

The latest round of redistricting hasn’t quite played out yet, but Lampson, a Democrat, was confident enough that the newly drawn 14th District will remain relatively stable, containing somewhere between 80-85 percent of the former Ninth District, that he was willing to throw his hat in the ring.

Expect there to be a lot of money in that race. It’s winnable for a Democrat, and Lampson is the best person for that job. Welcome back, Rep. Lampson.

Meanwhile, Democrats also now have a candidate for Senate who can claim to be someone some people might have heard of, former State Rep. Paul Sadler.

Sadler served as chairman of the House Public Education Committee and played a major role in passage of several key education laws from 1995 through 2001.

“I decided to run because Texas needs an advocate who can put the good of the state ahead of all else,” said Sadler, an attorney and current executive director of The Wind Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes use of wind as an energy source. “Like all Texans I am disgusted by the gridlock in Washington. I have a solid record of working with members of both parties to accomplish legislation that improves the lives and education of our children and all Texans.” Sadler represented an East Texas House district.

Best I recall he was a pretty decent fellow. He ran for SD01 in a special election to replace the retiring Bill Ratliff in 2003 and lost 52-48 in the runoff to Sen. Kevin Eltife. I doubt he has any more potential to win than Gen. Sanchez did, but he’s someone who has successfully run for public office before. He’s the frontrunner for my vote in the primary.

There were three new filings for the Lege in Harris County yesterday: Cody Pogue in HD127, Paul Morgan in HD135, and Sarah Winkler in HC137. Someone had left a comment recently asking where all the longshot candidacies were, well, those first two would qualify for that. As for Winkler, she’s a trustee in Alief ISD – I interviewed her in 2009 when she last ran for re-election. Her entrance makes HD137 a four-candidate race, with all four being good quality.

Unfortunately, there are also a couple of lemons on the ballot as well. A perennial candidate who has mostly filed as a Republican in races past is in for SD07; I’m not naming him because he has a history of harassing behavior. Popping up like a pimple in Precinct 4 is hatemeister Dave Wilson, filing for the second election in a row for County Commissioner. He was booted from the ballot last time for having an invalid residential address; I’m not sure where the ensuing litigation now stands, but with any luck he’ll be thrown off again. Even if he isn’t, the good news is that this time he’s not alone – in a deliciously ironic twist, former HGLBT Political Caucus Chair Sean Carter Hemmerle filed to run as well. Don’t let me down here, Precinct 4 voters.

I mostly haven’t paid much attention to the GOP filings in Harris County, as I’m not that interested in them, but with the “deadline” having passed I thought I’d take a peek and see who’s doing what to whom. Here are the highlights:

Senate: With the addition of the gentleman from ESPN, there are now ten candidates for KBH’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, a few of whom you’re familiar with. One recent entrant is 2008 HD134 candidate Joe Agris, who has apparently decided to go the Grandma Strayhorn route and call himself “Doc Joe” Agris. My guess is the end result will be approximately the same.

Congress: Kevin Brady, Mike McCaul, and Pete Olsen have primary challengers. Two-time loser John Faulk has not filed for CD18, with Sean Siebert taking his place as the designated sacrificial lamb. State Sen. Mike Jackson has six opponents for CD36, while three people I’ve never heard of are running for CD34. My guess is that the A-listers are waiting to see what SCOTUS does before hopping in.

Judiciary: A couple of old familiar names pop up on the Supreme Court ballot: Steven Wayne Smith, who ousted Xavier Rodriguez in 2002, was ousted by Paul Green in 2004, and lost to Don Willett in 2006, is back to challenge Willett again. Rodriguez, of course, went on to a federal bench, and was one of the three judges in the San Antonio redistricting case, who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. (I’m assuming this is Steven Wayne Smith – the Harris GOP website simply says “Steve Smith”.) Also making like a zombie is John Devine, wingnut former occupant of a Harris County bench who went on to lose races for County Attorney and CD10. He’s one of two people running against Justice David Medina. Ken Law gets to be the 2012 test of “Can a guy with a nice, easy, Anglo name knock off an incumbent Latino Republican in a primary even if the entire GOP establishment is against him” as he goes against Perry-appointed Judge Elsa Alcala on the Court of Criminal Appeals. CCA Judge Larry Meyers is also taking another crack at Presiding Judge Sharon Keller. In Harris County, several judges who lost in 2008 are seeking rematches, including Jeff Hastings, John Coselli, Lamar McCorkle, Roger Bridgwater, Tad Halbach, and Brock Thomas.

SBOE: As noted before, Terri Leo is stepping down in District 6. Donna Bahorich is unopposed for the nomination to succeed her. Barbara Cargill has a challenger in District 8.

The Lege: State Rep. Larry Taylor has two opponents for SD11, which is being vacated by Sen. Jackson. Five Republican incumbent House members have primary opponents – Dan Huberty (HD127), John Davis (HD129), Bill Callegari (HD132), Jim Murphy (HD133), and Debbie Riddle (HD150). I can only shudder to think what a challenge from Riddle’s right might look like. There are still four people listed for HD136, including former Council Member Pam Holm, even though that district was eliminated by the San Antonio court. You never know what SCOTUS will do, of course. The most interesting name for a Democratic-held seat is another former Council member, MJ Khan, who is vying for the open HD137. Seems unlikely to me that the court will rule in a way to make both of these candidacies valid, but again, you never know.

County: We already knew that DA Pat Lykos and Tax Assessor Don Sumners had company. So do looney-tunes HCDE Trustee Michael Wolfe and newly-appointed County Commissioner Jack Cagle, who has two opponents in his primary. There are three candidates for the open HCDE Precinct 3 seat, with two others running to be the candidate who gets crushed in Precinct 1 in Roy Morales’ place. Finally, there are eight candidates for Sheriff, including 2004 Democratic nominee for Sheriff Guy Robert Clark, who also lost in the 2008 Dem primary to Sheriff Adrian Garcia. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess.

Finally, both the HCDP and the Harris County GOP will have contested elections for Party Chair, as Lane Lewis and current GOP Chair Jared Woodfill drew last-day opponents. Keryl Douglas, the subject of that “draft” movement I mentioned before, will oppose Lewis, while Woodfill will face someone named Paul Simpson. I know basically nothing about either person, but I do know I’ll be voting for Lewis to be interim Chair at tonight’s CEC meeting.

That’s all I’ve got. Let me know what I missed. PDiddie and Texas Politics have more, and be sure to see the Texas Tribune and TDP pages for any other blanks to be filled.

Sanchez ends his Senate campaign

This news broke late Friday.

Leading Democratic U.S. senatorial candidate Ricardo Sanchez announced Friday that he’s ending his campaign to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

In a statement issued by his campaign to supporters, Sanchez said anemic fundraising and the loss of his house to a fire had led him to conclude that a statewide campaign was “impractical for me at this time.”

“After extensive consultation with my family … I have decided to put family first and I will therefore end my campaign for the 2012 U.S. Senate seat as of today,” he said.

Well, that answers my question. Sanchez’s campaign never really got off the ground, and a month ago his house burned down, which is a tough thing for anyone to overcome. As we know, a lot of people were unhappy with his candidacy in the first place. This isn’t really a surprise.

“Politics abhors a vacuum. Someone will step forward,” said Jeff Crosby, a longtime Democratic consultant. “Someone will step in; who, I don’t know.”

Southern Methodist University political science Professor Cal Jillson said the situation Texas Democrats find themselves in is indicative of the party’s decade of electoral futility in statewide races.

“It is another sign of what people have been talking about for a decade, a very thin bench,” Jillson said. “You have some attractive young people in the Legislature and in city government … but they don’t have statewide name recognition.”

There’s always John Sharp, isn’t there? Surely he’s tanned, rested, and ready by now. I have no idea if anyone else will run. I don’t know how much it matters at this point. As to what Professor Jillson says, this is why I have been talking about making way for new blood. I disagree with him about the need for statewide name recognition, however, because almost no one currently serving at the state level had it beforehand. Rick Perry, Susan Combs, Todd Staples, and Jerry Patterson all came from the Lege. David Dewhurst was just some rich guy with no prior electoral experience before he ran for Land Commissioner. Most of the Railroad Commissioners we have had in the past decade or more were appointed to the position by the Governor before they won an election for the office. Only Greg Abbott, who was a Supreme Court justice before he was AG, had statewide experience. The fact is that when the state is ready to elect Democrats, it won’t matter much where those Democrats come from. What might speed that up is getting some Democrats who might like to run statewide into Congress and the State Senate, where their fundraising bases can be maximized. No matter how you slice it, though, the path to a statewide office involves a really big last step.

In other primary-related news, there were a few more filings in Harris County on Friday, with two races now having third candidates in them. In HD137, the seat being vacated by State Rep. Scott Hochberg, attorney Gene Wu has made his entry into the race. I’ve met Wu but don’t know a whole lot about him. I do know that the court-drawn HD137 has an Asian CVAP of 12.0%, which is third highest in the state behind HDs 26 (23.8%) and 149 (13.8%), wihch may add an interesting wrinkle to the race. All data is taken from here. In case you’re curious, the top ten districts in Plan H302 by Asian CVAP are as follows:

Dist County Incumbent Asian CVAP ========================================== 26 Fort Bend Open 23.8% 149 Harris Vo 13.8% 137 Harris Open 12.0% 66 Collin V Taylor 9.7% 112 Dallas Chen Button 8.4% 135 Harris Elkins 8.2% 115 Dallas Open 7.9% 27 Fort Bend Reynolds 7.8% 67 Collin Open 7.8% 129 Harris J Davis 7.3%

Obviously, that is subject to change. The other race with a third candidate now in it is HCDE Board of Trustees, Precinct 1, Position 6, the post now held by Roy Morales. This is not surprising when you consider that the Democratic primary will decide the outcome. The third candidate is Dr. Reagan Flowers, who according to her press release is “Founder and CEO of CSTEM (Communications-Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) a non-profit focused on improving education for underserved and underrepresented children.” You can read some of her writings here. I look forward to interviewing all the candidates in this race so I can figure out which one to vote for.

Otherwise in Harris County, things are pretty well covered. It looks like all of the 1st and 14th District Court of Appeals seats have challengers. The main down note is that other than Keith Hampton’s challenge to Sharon Keller, there are no Democratic candidates for Supreme Court or CCA. I suppose we could get a late filing or two tomorrow, but that’s not terribly encouraging.

Finally, here’s a list of Democratic filings in Fort Bend. I don’t know offhand if they have any races unfilled or not – I’m not sure when their District Attorney position is up, for instance. Again, the legislative seats are subject to change at the whim of the court. As, of course, is the whole unified primary itself, as it requires fairly swift SCOTUS action to not be scuttled by the calendar. For now, we’ll all just pretend that won’t happen.

UPDATE The District Attorney office in Fort Bend is not up until 2014. All offices except Tax Assessor have Democratic candidates filed for them so far.

The filings keep coming

Prior to the SCOTUS stay, yesterday was the filing deadline for the 2012 primaries. That has now been pushed back to Monday, with the likelihood of another window after we get some kind of ruling about what the maps will look like, but a flock of hopefuls acted like yesterday was the drop dead day anyway. Here, taken from an email Carl Whitmarsh sent out with all of the Democratic filings so far, is a sample of local races of interest.

United States Senator – Daniel Boone, Sean Hubbard

Anybody have any idea where Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is? Even with the delayed deadline, you’d think someone would have heard something by now.

United States Representative, District 7 – Phillip Andrews, Jim Cargas

See Stace for info about Cargas. 2010 write in candidate Lissa Squiers has been collecting petition signatures for this race, but I have no idea where she is with that. Seems like a dicey year to be collecting sigs, as no one knows which ones will be ultimately valid.

United States Representative, District 10 – Dan Grant

See BOR for the official announcement.

United States Representative, District 22 – Kesha Rogers, Doug Blatt

Rogers is the LaRouchie candidate who won the nomination in 2010. Let’s not make that mistake again, shall we? A third candidate, KP George of Fort Bend, has also filed, but since he did so in FBC he’s not in this report.

State Board of Education, District 6 – Patricia Q. Nilsson, Traci Jensen, David Scott
State Board of Education, District 7 – Dexter Smith

And to think I had been worried about getting one candidate for this race. Whoever wins will not be facing incumbent Terri Leo, as she has reportedly decided to step down, according to Ross Ramsey. District 7 is David Bradley’s, and I’m glad to see someone file against him even if I know nothing about him.

House District 131 – Alma Allen (I), Wanda Adams

We now have three current Council members looking for office elsewhere. The first was Mike Sullivan, who is running against Tax Assessor Don Sumners for the GOP nomination. The third…we’ll get to that in a minute. Adams defeated Lawrence Allen, the SBOE member in District 4 (who won the seat after Allen knocked off Ron Wilson in the 2004 primary), in a runoff in 2007 for Council District D, so this is sort of a rematch by proxy. And it’s not the only one, but once again I’m getting ahead of myself.

House District 134 – Ann Johnson

I am aware of at least two other people who were looking at this race, but as of the deadline-that-wasn’t, the field still belongs to Ann Johnson.

House District 137 – Jamaal Smith, Joseph Carlos Madden

Both Smith and Madden announced their intent to run shortly after Rep. Scott Hochberg bowed out. Brandon Dudley, a 2010 judicial candidate and Chief of Staff to State Sen. Rodney Ellis, has also expressed interest in this seat.

House District 144 – Kevin J. Risner, Ornaldo Ybarra, Mary Ann Perez

Perez is the HCC Trustee in District III, who knocked off incumbent Diane Guzman by a razor-thin 44 vote margin in 2009. Risner and Ybarra had filed earlier; there was yet another person announcing himself as a potential candidate at that time, but I have not heard anything further from him since then.

House District 146 – Borris Miles (I), Al Edwards
House District 147 – Garnet Coleman (I), Ray Hill

Yes, this is now four consecutive elections featuring Miles v Edwards. All I can say is that I hope the pattern is broken this time. If you’re wondering why Ray Hill is running against Rep. Coleman, see here for the reason. I respect Ray Hill, but Rep. Coleman has my full support.

Civil District Court 215 – Steve Kirkland (I), Elaine H. Palmer

Judge Kirkland is the only sitting Democratic jurist to draw a challenge so far. He’s also the only openly gay member of the bench. I have no idea if these two facts are related or not.

County School Board Trustee, Position 6, Precinct 1 – Erica S. Lee, Jarvis Johnson

And here we have our third Council member seeking another office, as well as our second parent/child rematch; Johnson unsuccessfully challenged Erica Lee’s mother, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, in the 2010 primary for CD18. And like that one, this one is on my ballot as well. Meanwhile, over in Precinct 3, 2010 candidate for HD132 Silvia Mintz has announced her candidacy for that precinct’s HCDE seat.

County Commissioner Precinct 3 – A. Robert Hassan, Glorice McPherson

Hassan ran for the Democratic nomination for County Judge in 2010 against Gordon Quan and in 2008 against David Mincberg, and ran as a Republican for CD18 in 2006. I know nothing about Glorice McPherson.

Constable, Precinct 1 – Jack Abercia (I), Cindy Vara-Leija, Quincy Whitaker, Alan Rosen, Grady Castleberry
Constable, Precinct 2 – Zerick Guinn, Lee Hernandez, Christopher Diaz, Joe Martinez, Jeffrey Freeman, Harry Zamora, Ruben Loreto, Daniel Vela, Danny Avalos
Constable, Precinct 3 – Ken Jones (I), Eric Reed,Kenneth Perkins
Constable, Precinct 6 – Victor Trevino (I)
Constable, Precinct 7 – May Walker (I), Samuel Hayes, Jr., Michael Coleman, Leon Hubbard

I have no idea why Constable is such a popular office. I do know that Constables Abercia and Walker are having some troubles, so maybe that’s part of it. Then again, so is Constable Trevino and he’s the only one unopposed, so who knows.

Harris County Democratic Party Chair – Lane Lewis

Last but certainly not least, another race in which there have been rumors of other candidates but no other filings as yet. One person sent out an email announcing his intent to run, then sent another saying he’d changed his mind. A second has a “draft” movement going on. Prior to either of these there was some unknown entity sending out emails to Lewis, on which a bunch of others were bcc’ed, asking a bunch of obnoxious questions. The originating addresses were bogus, and they had the feel of groundwork for a challenge to Lewis, but so far that has not materialized. We’ll see what happens at the CEC meeting on the 20th.

Monday is the official filing deadline, until and unless one or more court decrees otherwise. Expect another late flurry of filings at that time.

Sizing up the opportunities

This Chron story about the new Congressional map and who’s looking at what (which ran in the Express News last week) has a lot of things we’ve been discussing, and a couple of things to point out. First, a theme that I’ve harped on more than once:

The 33rd District in North Texas was transformed from an Anglo-majority, heavily Republican district into one with a 66 percent minority population that cast more than 62 percent of its votes for President Barack Obama in 2008.

The 35th District, as drawn by Republicans, would have forced Austin Rep. Lloyd Doggett into a potentially messy Democratic primary battle. But the courts created a safe 25th District for Doggett anchored in Travis County by eviscerating the Legislature’s heavily Republican 25th District. Meanwhile, the revised San Antonio-based 35th District almost certainly will elect a Latino Democrat.

The 27th District, currently represented by Republican freshman Blake Farenthold, has been redrawn to become more heavily Hispanic and strongly Democratic. Farenthold’s home is in the new 34th District, where he is likely to run.

But even with those three gains, some Democratic partisans worry that they may not be able to maximize their opportunities in a year when Obama is likely to lose the state by a wide margin.

First, of those three districts, only the 35th is reasonably competitive, and with Rep. Joaquin Castro having announced for it, I’m not terribly worried about Democratic prospects there. Second, Obama lost Texas in 2008 by a “wide margin” as well, and the limited polling data we have so far indicates that 2012 looks a lot like 2008. Things can certainly change, and there’s hardly any guarantee that the models pollsters are currently using will be reflective of reality next November, but unless you’re arguing that Obama will lose significant ground from 2008, let’s keep things in perspective.

Among the races Democrats are eyeing:

The 23rd District, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso, became more Democratic in the court-ordered plan, endangering the re-election of freshman Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R-San Antonio. Democrats have recruited a well-known challenger in state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine.

The 14th District, currently represented by retiring Republican Ron Paul, will shift eastward into Jefferson County and has a minority population of about 35 percent. Former Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Beaumont, who has represented much of the district over the past two decades, is considering another run. The early favorite on the GOP side is state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland.

The 10th District, which rambles from Austin to the outskirts of Houston, loses three-fourths of its heavily Republican Harris County population and becomes a swing district. While Republican Rep. Michael McCaul has turned back expensive challenges in the past, Democrats being mentioned include previous congressional hopefuls Larry Joe Doherty and Michael Skelly of Houston, and Dan Grant of Austin.

The 6th District, long represented by Joe Barton, R-Ennis, has been shifted into heavily minority sections of Dallas County. Democrats think they have a chance to unseat the 14-term incumbent if they can recruit a strong challenger such as former Rep. Chet Edwards, former state Rep. Chris Turner, a longtime Edwards aide, or former state Rep. Allen Vaught, a Purple Heart recipient.

Rep. Gallego has filed for the 23rd. Nick Lampson is still being drafted, though I hear there are other potential candidates out there as well. I have no idea where they got Mike Skelly’s name for CD10. He doesn’t live in the district, not that one is required to do so, and I at least have not heard any chatter about him being interested in a campaign. Dan Grant is known to be interested, I do not know about anyone else, though David Nir wonders about one-time 2010 candidate Jack McDonald. As for CD06, Chet Edwards would indeed be a coup, but again as yet I have not heard anything to that effect. Chris Turner is running for the new State House seat in Tarrant County, so he’s off the list. Oh, and as far as I know John Sharp is not running for any of these seats. I don’t feel whole until he gets mentioned.

Anyway. There are always last minute surprises at filing time, and I daresay this year that will be even more so than usual. Don’t believe anything until it’s official. Oh, and as of last night there was still no word from SCOTUS on the stay request. We’re almost halfway through the filing period.

Filing deadline today

Today is the last day to file for the November 2011 election, which means that today is the day we separate the contenders from the pretenders and see which perennials will bloom on the ballot. There are no surprises so far, but as always it ain’t over till it’s over. As of the close of business yesterday, the following announced candidates had not yet officially filed their paperwork:

Jerry Davis, District B

Randy Locke, District C

Alexander Gonik, District K

Chris Carmona, At Large #3

Louis Molnar, At Large #4

Jack O’Connor, At Large #5

I expect most if not all of them will submit their applications by the end of the day today, but you never know. At times like this, it’s best to remember Ray Jones and ask yourself whether it was really necessary to wait till the last minute.

Anyway. I’ve been making updates to the 2011 Election page to match the City Secretary’s list of candidates. Not too surprisingly, most of the late entrants do not have webpages that I can find; if you know better about any of them, please let me know. I’ll be back to discuss the lineup once it becomes official. In the meantime, what you see is what we’ve got.

UPDATE: The 7 AM update of the City Secretary’s list of candidates shows that Randy Locke, Louis Molnar, and Alex Gonik are officially in. In addition, CM Al Hoang has drawn two opponents, and there’s a third entrant for District K.

Who has filed so far

Today is the first day of the filing season for Houston Mayor, Controller, and City Council. The filing period runs through September 7. You can see the list of official filers here; as of this moment, it’s Ellen Cohen in C, Mike Sullivan in E, and Larry Green in K. You can be sure that plenty more will follow, including a few you’ve not heard of before, and a few that you might have expected to file will not do so. Nothing is set in stone until September 7, possibly later if there are any disputes over someone’s filing, which is something we’ve seen before in recent elections.

I can add news about two other candidates as well. I have been informed that Joe Edmonds, who had announced his candidacy for At Large #5 but had not been heard from since, will not be a candidate; I will remove his name from the 2011 Election page. Balancing out his departure is the entry of Green Party candidate Amy Price into At Large #4. I should say that Amy is a longtime friend of mine – I’ve known her since my first year in Houston, more than 20 years ago – but I only heard about her candidacy recently and have not as yet discussed it with her. As I said, I’m sure we’ll hear some more new names in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on that filings page and we’ll see who does and does not show up.

Still for Kip

State Sen. Kip Averitt may not want to run for re-election, but there’s still some folks who want to vote for him anyway.

Chris DeCluitt, a Waco lawyer who sits on the State Republican Executive Committee, said a movement was afoot to re-elect Averitt, which, according to the Secretary of State’s office, would open the door for Republican and Democratic candidates to later vie for the seat.

“There are already quite a few people who are not in favor of Mr. Yancy who are talking about, ‘We’ve got to elect Kip,’ ” DeCluitt said. “I’m one of those people. We’ve got to elect Kip.”

An Averitt primary victory would trigger one of two scenarios:

* If the senator were to withdraw right after the March primary, Republican and Democratic committees consisting of the party chairs from the 10 counties in the Senate district — McLennan, Bosque, Coryell, Ellis, Falls, Hill, Hood, Johnson, Navarro and Somervell — would each name a replacement candidate to compete in November’s general election.

* If he were to stay on through the general election (where he would have to defeat a Libertarian candidate) and then step down, there would be a special election to fill the seat, in which candidates of any political stripe could compete.

With an Averitt win, DeCluitt said, “I think people of the district — whether through special election or through the selection process with the county chairs — would have more input on who’s going to be our senator.”

I agree that either of these represents a more democratic solution than essentially handing an open seat to some guy nobody knows. Better still would have been for Sen. Averitt to come to terms with his health issues before the filing deadline, in time for any interested party to file for the primary, including those who are now running for something else. Maybe that wasn’t possible, and if so then one of DeCluitt’s scenarios will have to do, assuming Averitt wins the primary. Feels like there ought to be a better way, but right offhand I can’t say what that would be.

David Sibley, the man Averitt replaced in the Senate, brings up another point.

“I’m going to appeal to him and say, ‘Please don’t do this,’ ” said Sibley on Monday, arguing the consequences for McLennan County and Waco could be dire if there’s not local representation in the Senate when lawmakers start carving up new legislative and congressional districts.

“I’m afraid we’re going to get cut up like boardinghouse pie,” said Sibley, a former Waco mayor and county prosecutor who left the Senate in 2002 and now works as a lobbyist. “I’ve seen it happen before, and it can take decades for counties to recover from that.”


Sibley said that during redistricting, legislators place their own electoral self-interest high, working to draw themselves into winnable districts.

He said Yancy naturally would want to shore up his support to get re-elected in the district, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Coryell, Ellis, Falls, Hill, Hood, Johnson, Navarro and Somervell counties. And keeping McLennan, the population center of the district, whole might not fit with that goal.

“I’ve been through it twice, and it’s the most personal thing out there,” Sibley said. “People talk about doing this or that, but he’s not going to want to work with us.”

Of course, Averitt was there in 2003 when the Tom DeLay re-redistricting scheme split McLennan and Coryell Counties into separate Congressional districts, over the objections of local interests. So having local representation can only do so much if there’s a bigger power out there.

How Dave Wilson snuck into the race against Eversole

Right wing hatemonger Dave Wilson’s last minute filing in the Democratic Party against County Commissioner Jerry Eversole caused a lot of confusion yesterday as people tried to figure out just who it was that filed. Wilson himself didn’t show his face at HCDP headquarters, as people there would have recognized him. Instead, he sent his campaign treasurer there, and once he felt certain that no Republican was going to file against Eversole, he had his treasurer file the papers. All that is discussed in this Chron story about his filing.

Wilson — who once hosted a fund-raiser for Republican incumbent Jerry Eversole — believes Eversole will resign his seat as a result of a corruption investigation by the FBI, and he wants voters, not the county Republican Party or county judge, to pick his successor.

County election records indicate that Wilson, 63, has voted in eight GOP primary and runoff elections since 1995, but never in a Democratic election.

Harris County Democratic Party Gerry Birnberg accused Wilson and the Republican Party of fraud. Not only is Wilson not a Democrat, Birnberg said, but the candidate sent a representative who signed in as Wilson and allowed himself to be introduced as Wilson to a roomful of applauding Democrats.

Birnberg said he did not realize when Wilson’s representative filed his candidacy papers that it was the same Wilson who sent out 35,000 fliers in November opposing Annise Parker for mayor, in part, because of her sexual orientation.

“We would have recruited a placeholder so we could keep this charlatan out of the race,” Birnberg said.

He said local Republicans should be ashamed to “stoop to such fraudulent chicanery.”

Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill said, “We had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

I actually believe Woodfill on this. Other than a few giggles, the HCRP doesn’t really gain anything by Wilson’s candidacy. Of course, as Coby points out, if the Republican establishment had ever bothered to lean on Eversole to ride off into the sunset and let someone a little less corrupt than him run instead, this never would have happened. But once Eversole decided he was in the clear with the FBI, potential contenders for his seat melted away. Instead, what we have is a “choice” between two unacceptable candidates.

I feel terrible for the people who live in Eversole’s precinct and are thus faced with this stinker on their ballot. Unless a Libertarian or other third-party alternative gets in (memo to the Libs and the Greens: this is a Golden Opportunity for you), the only sensible thing to do is to skip this race. You can still vote a straight party ticket if you’d like. Just be sure to de-select the candidate of your party in this race after you hit the “straight party” button. I did this in 2008 for a Democratic candidate I didn’t want to support, and it worked exactly as I expected it to. Vote straight party, review your choices, uncheck the candidate from this race (if a third party candidate has entered, you can then choose that person if you want to), and cast your vote. It’s easy, and it’s the right thing to do, regardless of which party you otherwise support.

Filing deadline overview, Harris County

You can see Democratic candidates here, and Republican candidates here. My comments:

– As noted, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has two primary challengers, while three Republicans including 2008 opponent John Faulk vie to oppose whoever emerges from her race. Two Democrats – Kesha Rogers and Doug Blatt, neither of whom I know anything about – are running in CD22. Five (!) Republicans are lining up to challenge Rep. Gene Green, including 2008 loser Eric Story and that man for all races, Roy Morales. All this to oppose the best performing candidate in the county from ’08. Rep. Mike McCaul has a primary opponent, and at the last minute, a November opponent as well, in 2006 challenger Ted Ankrum.

– No Democratic filing for Comptroller, but four contested statewide primaries. If Rick Perry survives his race, every candidate on the GOP side will be running for re-election, quite the comedown from the various falling domino scenarios. If 2010 is an anti-incumbent year, as the TDP is spinning it, that may have an effect.

– At the last minute, the Dems have a full slate of State Supreme Court contenders, including Houston’s Jim Sharp, who was elected to the 14th Court of Appeals in 2008, and El Paso’s Bill Moody, who was the Dems’ top performer in 2006. The bench Sharp is running for is open, with three Republicans in the primary. Another is held by appointee Eva Guzman, who has a primary challenger in appellate court judge Rose Vela. Sadly, only one of three Court of Criminal Appeals slots was filled, by Keith Hampton against Mike Keasler.

– No Democratic State Senate challenges. In recent days, I heard several hope someone would file in SD07, as that would have required Sen. Dan Patrick to get off the air till November. No such luck, apparently. The Rs have a challenger for Sen. John Whitmire in SD15.

– Dems have challengers to Republican incumbent State Reps. in HDs 127 (Joe Montemayor, who ran in 2008); 132 (Silvia Mintz); 138 (Kendra Yarbrough Camarena); 144 (Rick Molina); and 150 (Brad Neal, another 2008 candidate). Republicans have three contenders for HD149, two each for HDs 134 and 148, and single opponents in HDs 133 (Jim Murphy), 137 (Sylvia Spivey, who ran in 2006), 141, and 143. They also have four candidates for HD127, the only open seat this cycle. Only two incumbents drew primary opponents, Democrat Al Edwards in HD146, who has a rubber match against Borris Miles, and Republican John Davis in HD129. I suspect that’s because there’s no (deep-pocketed) Speaker Craddick around to stir up sludge. There’s a lot more action at the State House level in Dallas and Tarrant Counties have a lot more action.

– Chad Khan told me last night that he was dropping out of the Harris County Treasurer race, leaving Billy Briscoe as the sole candidate; the County Judge and County Clerk primaries remain contested. Three Republicans are lined up to take on District Clerk Loren Jackson, and two others are running for the open County Clerk seat. Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez has a Republican opponent, former Treasurer Don Sumners, who lost a 2006 primary race against incumbent Treasurer Orlando Sanchez. Two Democrats will run for the open HCDE Trustee in Precinct 2; the winner will face Republican Marvin Morris.

– Two Republicans are competing to oppose County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia in Precinct 2. Commissioner Jerry Eversole now has a Democratic opponent, Dave Wilson. Yes, that Dave Wilson. I think I’m going to be sick.

– Lots of races overall, though there are a number of omissions, mostly on the Democratic side, as well. Other than Jarvis Johnson, no real surprises, and even that doesn’t really qualify. All I know is there’s a lot of interviews I’d like to get done, and there isn’t much time. Are you sitting down? Early voting for the primaries starts on February 16, which is to say six weeks (!!) from today. These days, it’s never not election season.

– Newspaper coverage of the filings:

The Chron.
The DMN on Dallas County and Collin County. They also have a handy guide to the statewide candidates.
The Statesman.
The Star Telegram, which also has a handy guide to the Tarrant County ballot.
The Waco Trib.
The El Paso Times, and its handy guide to the El Paso ballot.
Finally, the Express News’s Jan Jarboe shows why it can be dangerous to make sweeping pronouncements about the ballot before the filing deadline.

– Blog and online coverage:

The Texas Trib.
The Walker Report has a lot of photos of San Antonio Democratic candidates.
PDiddie on HD134.
EoW has the Williamson County Democratic lineup.
Mary Benton on Sheila Jackson Lee and her primary opponents.
Big Jolly on the Harris County Republican primaries.

Today is the filing deadline

In addition to all of the inauguration activities today, the filing deadline for the 2010 Democratic and Republican primaries is today at 6 PM. You can see Democratic candidates on the Harris County ballot, including statewides, here, and Republican candidates here.

Democrats still have a bunch of holes to fill. No one is running for Comptroller yet. (Carole? Nick? Anyone?) CDs 07 and 10 are uncontested. Freshman State Sen. Joan Huffman in SD17 appears to be getting a pass, as I figured she would. So far, the only Republican-held State Rep seats that have Democrats running are HDs 127, where Joe Montemayor will take a second shot at this now-open office, and 138, where Kendra Yarbrough Camarena will take on Rep. Dwayne Bohac in one of maybe two interesting local district races; the other will be HD133, where Jim Murphy challenges Rep. Kristi Thibaut in the rubber match. No Democrat has filed as yet in HD144, which would be a major fail and might render Democratic chances of retaking the House null. At least we have the three contested statewide primaries, which will help generate interest early on.

On the GOP side, their slate is about as full as it ought to be. They’re running against a number of Democratic incumbents that they have no real chance of beating, but that’s okay. The one place they might take a shot at but so far aren’t is HD137. They do have by my count about a dozen sitting judges who are not running for re-election, plus Don Jackson’s open bench, and of course a contested and contentious race for County Party Chair to deal with.

Anyway. Deadline Day is usually when the big surprises get sprung, if there are to be any. What races are you keeping an eye on? The Chron and the Trib have more.

Filing season opens for 2010

Today is the first day to file for the March 2010 primaries. BOR is following the action from Travis County. No surprises yet – those usually happen later in the period – so far it’s mostly incumbents filing for re-election. I’ve received a bunch of press releases related to that today. Of interest is one from Jeff Weems, who is running for Railroad Commissioner – I’m going to keep track of all the downballot statewide offices, since there are a few that don’t have a known candidate yet – and State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon. The big one to watch for will be Lieutenant Governor. We’ll know a lot more about the state of the slate once that piece is in place. The state and county parties usually maintain spreadsheets of the filings as they come in, so I’ll peek in on those periodically to see where the action is. The deadline is Monday, January 4, so stay tuned.

What happens now in HCC District 8?

As we know, after the filing-deadline shenanigans in the HCC Trustee District 8 race, brother-in-law candidate Arturo Aguilar said he was withdrawing from the ballot. As I noted at the time, that meant there were no other candidates who had filed before the deadline for that office. The question is what happens in that race?

First, are we sure that Aguilar can withdraw? If this were an even-numbered year and a partisan race, the answer would be No, as that deadline would be 74 days before the election. However, in this kind of race, Section 145.092 of the Elections Code applies:

Sec. 145.092. DEADLINE FOR WITHDRAWAL. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, a candidate may not withdraw from an election after 5 p.m. of the second day before the beginning of early voting by personal appearance.

(b) A candidate in an election for which the filing deadline for an application for a place on the ballot is not later than 5 p.m. of the 62nd day before election day may not withdraw from the election after 5 p.m. of the 53rd day before election day.

That makes the deadline to withdraw this Friday, September 11. Let’s assume Aguilar does so, if he hasn’t already.

Now again, if this were a general election for state or county office, and given that Aguilar’s was the only name on the ballot, there would be a prescribed procedure for replacing him; basically, the chairs of the county Republican and Democratic Parties would choose a replacement nominee by whatever internal process they have. Note that this only applies in the event of an otherwise uncontested race – had there been more than one candidate, then no replacements are chosen and whoever else was nominated from the other parties would duke it out. This was the Tom DeLay story in 2006.

But this isn’t that kind of an election. Here’s what the law says about Aguilar’s withdrawal, in Section 145.094:

Sec. 145.094. WITHDRAWN, DECEASED, OR INELIGIBLE CANDIDATE’S NAME OMITTED FROM BALLOT. (a) The name of a candidate shall be omitted from the ballot if the candidate:

(1) dies before the second day before the date of the deadline for filing the candidate’s application for a place on the ballot;

(2) withdraws or is declared ineligible before 5 p.m. of the second day before the beginning of early voting by personal appearance, in an election subject to Section 145.092(a);

(3) withdraws or is declared ineligible before 5 p.m. of the 53rd day before election day, in an election subject to Section 145.092(b); or

(4) withdraws or is declared ineligible before 5 p.m. of the 67th day before election day, in an election subject to Section 145.092(f).

145.092(b) is what applies here, so Aguilar’s name will not appear on the ballot. So far, so good, but that’s only half of the question. I do not see any statute that specifies a replacement procedure in the event that a candidate’s withdrawal leaves nobody on the ballot. So, given that Aguilar was the only candidate that filed on time, what happens if he withdraws? I can think of two possible explanations, assuming my interpretation of the law is correct up to this point:

1. There is no election for HCC Trustee in District 8, because there are no candidates on the ballot. In this case, I presume that once Abel Davila’s term expires, a vacancy will then be declared and a special election will be set, presumably for the next uniform election date in May of 2010. Which, given the possibility a special election to fill KBH’s Senate seat at the same time, could make that one of the more interesting special elections for an otherwise obscure office ever held. You know that I think that possibility is highly unlikely, but it could happen, so I mention it here.

2. The election takes place with no candidates appearing on the ballot, but with the option to write in a candidate’s name. According to Section 146.054, the deadline to file a declaration of write-in candidacy is “not later than 5 p.m. of the fifth day after the date an application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed”. I asked Hector DeLeon in the County Clerk’s office about this, and he confirmed my assumption that this means the fifth business day, and not fifth calendar day (which would have made the deadline 5 PM on Labor Day), in which case the deadline is 5 PM tomorrow, September 10. I presume Eva Loredo has filed her declaration of intent; I wonder if anyone else has.

I strongly suspect that option #2 is what will actually happen. I have a call in to the Secretary of State’s office to inquire about it. I’ll post an update when I get a response. Frankly, I don’t find either of these alternatives to be particularly appealing. The former allows for a real election, at the cost of up to six months’ vacancy of the office plus the financial cost of running the election, while the latter is basically a freak occurrence that will allow someone to be elected with a tiny minority of the total votes cast, but at least fills the seat in a timely fashion and saves the expense of a special election. Note here that since the deadline to file a declaration of intent to run as a write-in is Thursday, and the deadline to withdraw is Friday, we could theoretically wind up with a situation where there’s no candidate on the ballot and no write-in option. The only way out of that, as far as I can see, is scenario #1 above. There has to be a better way. Clearly, when Sen. Gallegos and his colleagues return to Austin in 2011, they’ll need to address this situation as well when they tweak the law to allow for an extension of the filing deadline when a to-be-unopposed candidate decides on the last day to not run.

So that’s my reading of this situation. If I’m incorrect about any of this, I hope someone will leave a comment and set me straight. As I said, when I hear back from the SOS, I’ll post an update.

More on the HISD candidates

The Bellaire Examiner looks at the contested HISD Trustee races, two of which weren’t hadn’t been contested before the day of the filing deadline.

HISD Board President Lawrence Marshall appeared to be one of three incumbent trustees unopposed in the upcoming board election. Instead, three last-minute entries will make Marshall’s attempt to retain his District IX seat more difficult than he expected.

George Davis, Adrian Collins and Michael Williams filed for candidacy Wednesday, the last day for election filing.

Marshall, who has been at the center of the superintendent transition and who has recently been target of some internal board unrest, expected late challengers.

“It’s amazing how certain communities of interest work,” said Marshall. “Some communities of interest see incumbency as an asset, that it represents leadership that they don’t want to replace. Other communities sometimes respond differently.”

“I run year-round,” added Marshall. “That’s the way I’ve been doing it for twelve years. I wasn’t worried about any element of surprise, because we’ve already geared up our campaign.”


Davis has received backing from the advocacy group HISD Parent Visionaries. Davis, who oversees business programs for continuing education at Houston Community College, is a Lanier High School graduate who has extensive experience with Workforce Solutions.

“I just think it’s time for a new generation of leadership,” said Davis. “People have shared with me their desire for a need for new leadership and a fresh perspective.”

Collins, a community liaison for State Sen. Rodney Ellis, has also been a consultant to the White House and President Barack Obama on community and education issues.

“Over the last decade we have seen a decline in the quality of education the students of District IX have received compared to other parts of the districts,” Collins wrote in a prepared statement.

Williams, a 1980 graduate of Worthing High School, is a businessman in auto sales. Williams has a fourth-grader in private school, though he has been a member of the Worthing PTO.

“There’s no school in our area I can think of sending my kids to,” said Williams, who is a resident of Sunnyside.

“As of late we haven’t seen any changes in our area.” said Williams. “Money seems to come up missing in our area and nobody can tell us where it is. I just think it’s time for a change.”

That’s some pretty serious competition for Marshall, who has certainly drawn the ire of the HISD Parent Visionaries group. Marshall is no stranger to tough races – he was forced into a runoff in 2005, and won a runoff in 1997 after finishing second on Election Day. In other words, don’t count him out. Just so we’re clear, I’m a member of the HISD Visionaries group, though all I’ve done is receive their messages. (I don’t remember who invited me to join the group, for what it’s worth.) I don’t know George Davis, but I do know Adrian Collins.

Moving over to the open District V race, in which Mike Lunceford picked up an opponent, Ray Reiner:

The race between Lunceford and Reiner represents a surprising and intriguing challenge. Lunceford submitted his candidate paperwork with the district immediately when the filing period opened; Reiner declared his candidacy Wednesday.

Reiner, highly regarded for his 40-year tenure as an administrator with the district, retired in 2005 and has remained active in various consultancy and mediation roles. Reiner was mentioned by various HISD sources when the school board began the search to replace former superintendent Dr. Abelardo Saavedra.

“I look at this as a really golden opportunity to come back into communities and help students, help parents, and help their communities,” said Reiner. “Over the last four or five years there’s been a lack of sensitivity in various communities within the larger community itself. I think I can not only address those concerns but also be an advocate for change.”

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve,” added Reiner.

Lunceford, a petroleum engineer, has had longtime committee involvement in District V under former trustee Don McAdams, and has served on HISD bond committees. Lunceford has drawn praise from Johnson and his candidacy has been backed by various HISD parent groups.

“Everybody’s been very supportive,” said Lunceford. “It’s a very interesting time with a new superintendent coming in, with the views that he has.”

Lunceford added: “If you look at the history of District V, people who run for the board or become trustees rarely have any aspirations of higher office, and that’s kind of what I’ve focused on. I have no further aspirations after this—my goal is to get our schools going.”

According to HISD Parent Visionaries founder Mary Nesbitt, that group is supporting Davis, Lunceford, and Anna Eastman in District I. Should be interesting to see what kind of an effect they can have, especially in what may be a low-turnout election. I will have interviews from all three District I candidates on the blog the week after Labor Day.

Aguilar drops out of HCC Trustee race

I’m guessing the backlash for being a last minute candidate who also happens to be the brother-in-law of the suddenly-stepping-down incumbent must have been pretty strong, because Arturo Aguilar has decided to withdraw from the HCC Trustee race in District 8.

For all everyone knew, Abel Davila was planning to run for re-election to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, which he serves as chairman.

That’s what he had told supporters and fellow officeholders, and that seemed to explain why he paid $30,000 for five prominent billboards featuring a photo of him and his wife, a Houston ISD trustee, along with the slogan “Partnering for Success.”

He had more than $50,000 in his campaign account as of the latest July accounting — a significant amount for a non-partisan, down-ballot race — and he had the support of other elected and community leaders.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot. Davila never signed up. So when the deadline passed on Wednesday afternoon, the only candidate in the race for the District 8 spot was Arturo Aguilar, who submitted his ballot application 19 minutes before the cutoff.

Aguilar is the brother of Diana Davila, Abel’s wife. But Friday afternoon, the 34-year-old police officer said he is going to withdraw from the race. He did not explain why.

“It’s not in my best interest for me to run,” Aguilar said. “I don’t really want to say more than that. I will leave it as an open seat for those who are more interested.”

Oh, I think we know why Aguilar changed his mind. The rest of the story is quotes from State Sen. Mario Gallegos and the revelation of Eva Loredo as a write-in candidate, both of which I reported yesterday. What is not answered in this story is 1) does this mean Aguilar will not appear on the ballot; and 2) if so, can someone else be added, and under what procedures? I presume that if Aguilar’s name cannot be removed from the ballot that he intends to not take office, in which case there would be a special election to fill the seat. Perhaps some of Abel Davila’s no-longer-needed campaign funds can be used to help pay for that special election if that happens. Does anybody know what the relevant law is regarding who can be on the ballot for this situation?

The lineup, slightly revised

Here is the slightly revised final lineup for the City of Houston ballot this November. Note that a couple of candidates dropped off, including Donald Cook in At Large #1 and Alfred Molison in District C. I do not know what happened with Cook, but I have been told that Molison filed by petition rather than filing fee, and did not have the required number of petition signatures. Which was 65, by the way, not exactly an insurmountable task. Martha has more names of those who filed but didn’t qualify.

Beyond that, I’ll be very interested to see what happens in the HCC Trustee District 8 situation – in particular, if Eva Loredo get any traction as a write-in, which will require a visible and sustained push by elected officials and other leaders. I’m also wondering what will happen when Diana Davila is next up for re-election in HISD in 2011.

Finally, in case you haven’t seen it, take a look at Martha’s open letter to Isiah Carey of Fox 26 News. Carey copied Martha’s ballot list report from Wednesday night, right down to the formatting and introduction, without any attribution, thus passing it off as his work when it most clearly was not. John Coby and I called him out on this – I did so in Carey’s comments, first simply pointing out Martha’s post, then noting that the proper word for what he’d done is “plagiarism” after he’d decided that we were making a big deal out of nothing – but for whatever the reason, it’s clear he doesn’t get it, doesn’t care, or both. He even (before he deleted the post and tried to pretend it all never happened) claimed he’d actually gotten the information from Carl Whitmarsh’s list, conveniently overlooking the fact that 1) Whitmarsh had specifically credited Martha in the email he sent, and 2) it’s still stealing someone else’s work. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I do know it was a lousy thing to do. All he had to do was say “Thanks to Muse Musings for the information” and provide a link. How damn hard is that? Coby has more.

All in the family, HCC-style

I noted last night and this morning that the HCC Trustee seat in District 8, which was left open at the last minute by Abel Davila, will be filled by his brother-in-law Arturo Aguilar. (Davila is married to HISD Trustee Diana Davila.) It turns out that Aguilar is not the only family member of an elected official who will be inheriting an open HCC Trustee seat. The candidate in District 6 is Sandra Meyers. Like Aguilar, a Google search for her yields basically nothing, but when I looked at her name this morning, I realized it rang a bell. Turns out, if you check the “About” page of HISD Trustee Greg Meyers, his wife’s name is “Sandie”. I have since confirmed that Sandie-wife-of-Greg Meyers and Sandra-soon-to-be-HCC-Trustee Meyers are one and the same. (Campos notes this as well; I figured this out before I saw his post.) And so she, like Aguilar, will walk into an elected position that has a six year term without being vetted by the public. Neither Meyers nor Aguilar has a campaign website I could find, and the Chronicle story that mentioned them was devoid of information beyond their names.

I’m sorry, but this stinks. Meyers, at least, was known to be a candidate before deadline day, and the seat she will occupy was known to be open for longer than that. I don’t know why no one else filed, but at least someone else had the chance. Aguilar got in under the wire when Davila pulled his last-minute retirement act. I have a problem with uncontested open seats, never mind ones that will be handed to the family members of current elected officials. That doesn’t serve democracy, or the interests of the constituents of those districts. And let’s not forget, the position of HCC Trustee has often been a stepping stone to candidacy for other offices. City Council candidates Mills Worsham (whose seat Meyers is getting) and Herman Litt are or were HCC Trustees. Yolanda Navarros Flores, who ran in the special election for District H, is a trustee. Jay Aiyer was a trustee before running for Council in 2005. Jim Murphy, who was succeeded on the Board by Worsham, won election as State Representative in 2006. With a six-year term and no resign-to-run requirement (something that State Sen. Mario Gallegos attempted to address this year), HCC Trustees get numerous opportunities to run for other offices without having to give up their existing gig.

I had a chat with Sen. Gallegos about this today. He was the one I’d heard talking about what had happened in District 8 last night, and to say the least he wasn’t happy about it. To sum up what Sen. Gallegos told me, he said he thought Davila had deceived his constituents and denied them the right to choose the trustee for themselves. He informed me he had no idea who Aguilar was – “I wouldn’t recognize him if he walked into my office right now, or anyone else’s,” he told me – even if Aguilar was Diana Davila’s brother (he is, I learned from another source) or Abel Davila’s sister’s husband. He noted that at least two other people had expressed an interest in filing for the seat, but decided not to run because everyone was supporting Davila. That support is now gone, and I can report that one of those people, a retired HISD principal and lifelong resident of Magnolia Park by the name of Eva Loredo, will file to run as a write-in candidate. I confirmed this with Ms. Loredo, so at least the people who are aware of her will have an option besides skipping the race. It’s better than nothing.

Finally, Campos and commenter JJMB in my earlier post note that something similar happened in HD132 back in 1992, when then-Rep. Paul Colbert stepped down on the day of the filing deadline, and now-Rep. Scott Hochberg, who worked for Colbert, filed in his stead. That was wrong, too, though at least Colbert and Hochberg weren’t related to each other, and the voters had to wait only two years to rectify the situation if they thought it warranted it. Hochberg, of course, is an outstanding State Rep, so the outcome was a good one. Maybe that’ll happen here, who knows? It just would have been nice for the voters to have a say in it, that’s all.

UPDATE: Just got a call from State Sen. Gallegos, who added that he has had a conversation with State Sen. Rodney Ellis, who is equally upset about what happened, and that the two of them plan to prefile legislation next November to allow for an automatic 24 to 48 hour extension of the filing deadline in the case of a non-partisan/non-primary election where an incumbent drops out or announces his or her retirement within 24 hours of the deadline. In other words, the next time this happens, filing for the office would be kept open for another day to allow other candidates to enter. He said a law like this already existed for primaries (Greg alluded to it in response to JJMB’s comment), and this would simply extend the concept to other elections. He said State Sen. John Whitmire was in Austin but he and Sen. Ellis would consult with him and get him on board as well. I think this is a great idea, and support its passage in the next legislative session.

UPDATE: Sandra Meyers’ website is

More on the lineups

Here’s the Chron story about the final filings to be on the ballot for city elections. As noted before, not a whole lot of surprises, but there are a couple of things worth mentioning:

Otis Jordan, president of the Houston Black Firefighters Association, who has been a frequent critic of the Houston Fire Department’s handling of allegations of racism and sexism among firefighters in recent months, filed to run against District D Councilwoman Wanda Adams, who also will face Larry McKinzie.

Interesting. I’m not sure if this is because HBFA has a beef against CM Adams, or if it’s just because that’s the district he lives in. More on Otis Jordan here and here.

In the Houston Community College System board, only one seat is contested: District 3, where incumbent Diane Olmos Guzman will face a challenge from Mary Ann Perez.

In District 6, the only candidate to file was Sandra Meyers. The lone candidate for District 8 is Arturo Aguilar.

As I said before, District 8 is currently held by Abel Davila, who apparently decided not to run for re-election. I hope there will be some kind of followup to give us more information about Arturo Aguilar (a Google search didn’t tell me anything), especially given how his name appeared on the last day for a seat for which it looked like Davila was going to run for re-election. I reported last night that I’d heard that Aguilar (whose name I hadn’t heard) was Davila’s brother-in-law. If that’s true, and he basically inherited this seat for free, that stinks. Does anyone know any more about this?

Here’s your lineup

Martha has your final filings for City of Houston elections. Executive summary: No surprise last minute entrants, but everyone except for Council Members Melissa Noriega (At Large #3), Ed Gonzalez (H), and James Rodriguez (I) has at least one opponent. Time to start handicapping the races and guessing who makes it to what runoff.

Meanwhile, the HISD Board of Trustee elections got more competitive as Mike Lunceford drew Ray Reiner, retired HISD principal and executive director of the Houston Association of School Administrators, for the open District V seat, and Board President Larry Marshall wound up with three opponents for District IX. District I remained a three-candidate race, while incumbents Harvin Moore and Greg Meyers went unopposed.

Finally, the one strange turn occurred in the HCC Board of Trustees universe, where Trustee Abel Davila reportedly did not file for re-election. If I heard correctly, it sounds like his brother-in-law (!) filed at the last minute and will have the field to himself. I gather some people are not happy about this, and I expect there will be some fallout as a result. Stay tuned.

Filing deadline

Today at 5 PM is the filing deadline for city elections. Martha has her usual roundup of who has filed. So far, the only bit of suspense is in the Mayor’s race, where Roy Morales has yet to do his paperwork. I presume he’s just taking his time, but you never know what can happen. And whatever does happen, be sure to come by Cafe Adobe at 5:30 to have a drink and talk about it.

Meanwhile, the only contested HISD Trustee race is in the District I seat that Natasha Kamrani is leaving open. Oddly, the open District V still has only one candidate. Mike Lunceford may be the luckiest guy of the cycle. We’ll know soon enough. Of interest to me since I brought it up yesterday is this:

On Monday, in his last day on the job, now-retired HISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra suggested in an interview that the structure of the Houston school board be changed so that four of the nine members are elected at-large by the entire community — rather than by a smaller geographic district.

In most Texas school districts, the board members are elected at-large, said Thompson and Kelly Frels, another longtime school attorney.

HISD’s system of single-member districts is the result of a 1975 state statute designed to increase minority representation specifically on the Houston school board, the attorneys said.

If Houston wanted to change to at-large board members, the Legislature would have to act and the Justice Department would have to sign off, Frels said.

The Dallas school board is set up similar to Houston’s, while Austin has a hybrid board, with two of the nine trustees elected at-large.

Laurie Bricker, a former HISD board member, said she agrees with Saavedra’s suggestion of a hybrid board.

“I think it would bring a nice blend,” Bricker said. “This is not a criticism of single-member district board members. But they have to be mindful. There is a group that elected them. They have special interests.”

I guess I figured that there would be a Justice Department issue. I’m still not sure what the allure of a hybrid system is, though.

One more thing: According to a sidebar on the story, this is the filing situation for the Houston Community College Board of Trustees:


Like HISD, the Houston Community College board election has drawn few candidates so far. The filing deadline is today. HCC board candidates as of Tuesday:

• District 3: Diane Olmos Guzman (incumbent), Mary Ann Perez

• District 6: Sandra Meyers

• District 8: No candidates

The District 6 incumbent is Mills Worsham, who as we know is running for City Council. The District 8 incumbent is Abel Davila, who I presume is running for re-election. I’m just curious, though: What happens if Davila somehow manages to screw up his filing (think Ray Jones), and no one else files? Anybody know the answer offhand?

Filings and endorsements

I’ve added several updates to my recent endorsements list. It’s not comprehensive, as it doesn’t include earlier endorsements, but it’s what I know of the recent activities. Endorsement lists added today were the Spring Branch Democrats and the Greater Houston Restaurant Association. I’ll keep adding to this post as I get more.

The filing deadline is this coming Wednesday, September 2, at 5 PM, and it will be followed by Council Member Melissa Noriega’s Let The Games Begin event. Martha continues to keep track of who has filed and who hasn’t done so yet. Council Member Ronald Green announced his filing for City Controller today (see press release beneath the fold), and I ran into Lane Lewis at City Hall Annex as he was on his way to file. Annise Parker did hers yesterday for Mayor – see Martha’s liveblog coverage for more. Gene Locke filed early, Peter Brown and Roy Morales haven’t done theirs yet. There’s always the potential for a surprise or two, so we’ll keep an eye on it right up till the last minute.