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TJ Huntley

HOPE/SEIU poll of the Mayor’s race

Here’s another poll result, this time from Houston Justice for Janitors.

Annise Parker leads her closest opponent by a 2-to-1 advantage in an initial vote preference for mayor. Parker holds a solid lead in the election for Houston mayor (28% Parker – 14% Locke – 13% Brown – 5% Morales — <1% Huntley – 40% undecided), though the plurality of voters are still undecided. After hearing completely positive introductions of each candidate, Annise Parker maintains her significant double–digit lead over the rest of the field. In an informed vote preference where positive bios of each candidate were read, Parker is still in control of the race (33% Parker – 19% Locke – 18% Brown – 5% Morales – 12% Huntley – 13% undecided).

You may be wondering, as I was, why they bothered to include TJ Huntley in this poll, given that he dropped out of the race (and endorsed Morales) back in August. The answer comes from the poll summary:

The poll, conducted by national research firm Hamilton Campaigns, is based on a survey of 400 registered voters who are likely to vote in the November 2009 mayoral election in Houston. Voters were interviewed by telephone in the period July 17-20, 2009. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ±4.9 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. The racial composition of the sample was 49% White, 33% Black, 15% Hispanic, 3% Other.

Which leads to the next question: Why is a poll from July just being released now? I can’t answer this question, but I do have to wonder how accurate the result is two months later, given the TV exposure Brown has had, among other things. This poll has far fewer undecideds than the more recent KHOU poll, which seems counterintuitive, though it could be a function of the likely voter screen each pollster used.

Beyond that, the main point I want to bring up is with the “informed voter” sample, in which Morales and Huntley were described as follows:

Roy Morales is a 51 year-old Hispanic and serves as Harris County School Trustee. Morales is passionate about our children receiving a proper education, staying in school, and staying off the streets. Morales understands that when our children grow up they are not only going to be competing for jobs with people here, but also with people in other countries like China and India. Morales is running for mayor to help move our children up the ladder of success — not with welfare or handouts — but with education and hard work.

T.J. Huntley is a 37 year-old Anglo successful businessman who is pro-life, believes marriage should be between a man and woman, and supports the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment.

Now which one of those descriptions screams “Republican!” to you, and which one doesn’t? It’s no wonder that Morales’ total remained the same in each, while Huntley went from a complete non-entity to 12% of the vote. That basically tracks the boost Morales got from the “informed voter” sample in the KHOU poll, which unlike this one specified party identification. About ten percent of the vote is undecided Republicans. If they figure out who Roy is, he’ll easily crack double figures, and could affect who makes it to the runoff. If not, who knows what those folks will do – stay home, undervote, spread their support around, some combination. Roy has no money, but the Harris County GOP could try to whip up some support for him. We’ll see if they bother, or if they can afford it.

Anyway. This is an interesting result, but I’m not sure I know all that much more about the race than I did before I saw it. Houston Politics has more.

Roy ‘n’ TJ

Together at last, as Huntley says on Facebook.

To all of my loyal supporters, I want to say thank you. Thanks for being behind me and standing in the gap for the things this city lacks. We all know that this race isn’t about me nor any one particular person. To many of us, it is about restoring the morals back into Houston and about having a Godly leadership that promotes Godly morals and principles. Houston is a city that has an abundance of liberal morals and liberal spending. Having two conservatives running in the same race gets very crowded and often when this happens, the two will split the vote when it’s time for the elections. My intent through this whole election has been to do what is right and what is best for the City of Houston. I have been in talks with Roy Morales concerning this and we both agree on a lot of key issues including immigration, pro-life, spending, economy, crime and many other issues. As much as I would like to stay in the race, I know at this point Mr. Morales and I would be splitting a lot of key votes. This hasn’t been a defeat nor a loss but a victory for all of you that diligently served. The campaign team has registered a lot of young voters, created a lot of awareness, you have given hope to an election that belonged to the enemy. With this strategic merging of Republican forces, we have a strong army of voters that can take this city back. All the conservatives and Republicans are now combined onto one ticket along with the Christian and the young voters. That is enough votes to more than win this election. I urge all of you to follow my support of Roy Morales. Even though I will not be on the ballot this November I will still be playing a key roll with the city after the elections are over.

God bless you and keep you through all things,

TJ Huntley

Here’s a Youtube video of the two of them joining forces. Miya, who says this is basically the fifth guy in a three-person race teaming up with the fourth, puts it best. All I can say is that the race is now less colorful than it was before, but I suppose we can always hold out hope for an Outlaw Josey Wales appearance.

Intown Q&A with Mayoral candidates

Houston Intown magazine is one of those freebie publications you’ll find at your coffee shop and whatnot. The current issue has a Q&A with the five Mayoral candidates that’s worth a look. For whatever the reason, their website isn’t set up with links to articles – it’s this annoying “virtual magazine” format where you see the page layout as if you were staring at the dead-tree edition, and you have to click on controls to “turn” the pages. Fortunately, the Q&A starts on page 6, so you don’t have to go far to find it. I have no idea why some of these little local pubs do it this way – 002 Magazine does as well – I find it really off-putting. It’s like they don’t want anyone to bother linking to them. Well, it didn’t work this time, but I doubt I’ll repeat the experience any time soon.

UPDATE: Here’s the magazine in PDF format. Thanks to Greg for sending it to me.

City campaign finance reports come rolling in

As the campaign finance reports for City of Houston races come online, I’ve been collecting all the reports and putting them together into an easier-to-read format. I’ve also received a bunch of press releases, which I’ll be reproducing beneath the fold. Here are some quick hits.

– According to his press release, Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke raised $1.15 million for the six-month reporting period that just ended. That’s about $200K more than Annise Parker raised, and is a very strong showing, especially for a first time candidate.

Peter Brown‘s press release reports $477,000 raised and over $1.7 million cash on hand. He also reported a loan of $765,000. Even without that, he’d have a sizable lead in COH, as Locke has $574K and Parker $602K.

– All of the Mayoral candidates can claim success, and indeed all of them have – Parker put out another release later in the day today comparing her achievements with those of Locke and Brown. I think they all did pretty well in a tough environment, and I feel confident you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from all three of them starting real soon.

– By the way, in case you’re curious, Roy Morales raised $18,720 and has a smidge under $10K on hand. He’s not going to be a factor. I could not find a report for TJ Huntley as yet.

– On the Controller side, Pam Holm raised $292K, with $348K on hand; MJ Khan raised $87,350 and has $312K $353K on hand. Ronald Green had not yet filed a report. As I said before, he’s got his work cut out for him.

(UPDATE: Fixed MJ Khan’s cash on hand number. My thanks to Andre Castro from his campaign for the correction.)

– For the At Large races, there are several reports missing. The biggest money-raiser so far is Stephen Costello in #1, who hauled in a fairly impressive $156K, with $106K on hand. The only other report I’ve seen so far is for Rick Rodriguez, who raised very little. In At Large #4, Noel Freeman sent out a release claiming $35,985.75 from nearly 175 donors, which edged out Brad Bradford’s $31,285.

– At Large incumbents Sue Lovell and Melissa Noriega each raised over $100K, with Jolanda Jones pulling in $64K. Roslyn Shorter, who is an announced candidate against Lovell, raised no money; Carlos Obando, running against Jones, had not yet filed his report.

– Finally, among the open district seats, the leading fundraisers were Lane Lewis in District A with $34,858 raised and $13,066 cash on hand; Mike Laster in F with $38,629 raised and $31,608 on hand; and Oliver Pennington in G with an impressive $182K raised and $101K on hand. Not everyone in those races has reported yet, so there could wind up being a reshuffling. I’ve put what I’ve got so far in this Google spreadsheet, so check that for further updates.

Beneath the fold are all of the press releases I got. If I get any more, I’ll add them as well. Let me know what you think about how the candidates have done.

UPDATE: Nancy Sims and Greg Wythe weigh in.

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Parker reports $800K raised for Mayoral race

Tomorrow is the deadline for filing campaign finance reports for City of Houston elections. In the meantime, expect campaigns that did well in that department to announce their results ahead of time. One such announcement comes from the Annise Parker campaign, which proclaims over $800,000 raised for the six-month reporting period. From their press release:

The Annise Parker for Mayor Campaign released its fundraising totals through June 30 today, raising $810,114.92 from 2,254 donors.

“We’re building a grassroots campaign like Houston has never seen before,” said Parker. “It will take all of us to keep Houston moving through these tough times to a strong economic recovery – and that’s why there is a place in our campaign for everyone to make a difference.”

The full release, which goes into detail about the numbers, is beneath the fold. According to the PDF report from January 15 that I can find via the simple campaign finance report search form but annoyingly cannot link to, Parker had about $238K cash on hand six months ago. That will give her a pretty good total, though it should be noted that Council Member Peter Brown started the year with $897K on hand. Gene Locke, who didn’t formally announce his candidacy until March (he filed his Treasurer’s report in February), doesn’t have a January finance report. Roy Morales does have one, with no money shown in it.

The one other announcement of which I am currently aware comes from City Council Member Pam Holm, who is running to replace Parker as Controller. She announced on Twitter raising $300K for the period. Add that to the $241K she started the year with, and she’s in strong financial shape. As for her opponents, At Large #4 Council Member Ronald Green began the year with $32K, and District F Council Member MJ Khan had $300K. I know Green has been busy fundraising these past few months; he’ll need to have been quite successful to catch up to these two.

By the way, since Parker touts her Facebook and Twitter followings in her release, and since I found out about Holm’s numbers via Twitter, I realized as I was writing this that while I was following all of the Mayoral candidates’ feeds (Parker, Locke, Brown, Morales) as well as CM Holm’s feed, I didn’t even know if Green and Khan had them. Turns out that they do – Khan, Green – and so now I’m following them as well. Oh, and if you’re wondering about Mayoral candidate TJ Huntley, well, here’s his Twitter feed. Go ahead, click it. I got nothin’.

If I receive or hear of any other announcements, I’ll add them to this post. There ought to be a boatload of announcements from state and federal candidates as well – for example, I’ve just seen (via Twitter, of course) that Kirk Watson has reported over $1.4 million on hand. Not as much as the Republicans, but then he’s not actually running for Governor yet. Anyway, and in the meantime, here’s Parker’s press release. Muse has more.

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Turner not running for Mayor

The Mayoral field for this November should now be set.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner announced today he would not attempt a run for mayor of Houston.

The 11-term Democrat representative’s announcement comes a little more than three weeks after he publicly acknowledged he was weighing a third run for mayor. Turner said he was considering a campaign after being asked by community supporters to get in the race.

“Although I believe the race is eminently winnable, a late entry into the campaign would have required that I drop every other project in which I am involved, community endeavors such as the Houston Astros Urban Youth Baseball Academy in Acres Homes and continuing my work in the Texas Legislature, to which I am deeply committed and thoroughly enjoy,” Turner said in a statement issued this morning.

Had he opted to run, Turner would have joined an already crowded field. Announced candidates include former city attorney Gene Locke, Councilman Peter Brown, City Controller Annise Parker, Harris County Department of Education Trustee Roy Morales and businessman T.J. Huntley. The filing deadline is in late September.

Earlier this month, Turner said he promised potential supporters he would consider a run after the legislative session concluded earlier this month.

I’ve got Turner’s full statement beneath the fold. I’d heard a couple of weeks ago that he was making calls to potential campaign contributors, as nobody serious gets into a race like this without some assurance that the resources needed to run a campaign will be there. Maybe he wasn’t getting the response he thought he’d need, or maybe he really just didn’t think he could commit to the race. I was somewhat skeptical that he’d jump in, so I can’t say that this surprises me. Greg has more, including some possible candidates in other races:

African Americans Rozy Shorter and Andrew Burks are considering contesting Sue Lovell for at large 2.

Green Party gay activist Alfred Molison has filed his treasurer designation to oppose District C City Council Member Anne Clutterbuck.

African American former assistant Texas Attorney General Lewis Cook has designated his treasurer to run for the District F seat MJ Khan is leaving and Richard Sedita has designated his treasurer for District G, the seat Pam Holm is leaving.

Shorter has been out there for awhile. Burks is a perennial candidate; his last race was for HCDE Trustee against Roy Morales in 2006. Molison ran twice in 2007, once in the May special election for At Large #3, where he finished tenth, and again in November where he was one of two candidates who ran against Clutterbuck, getting a shade under 6% of the vote. Cook has been in the race for awhile, but I don’t know much about him. Sedita makes five in District G, joining Mills Worsham, Oliver Pennington, Dexter Handy, and George Foulard.

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More candidates

I was just saying to someone the other day that while I thought the fields for the upcoming city races were largely set, there would certainly be a few more candidates appearing between now and the filing deadline. Lo and behold, here are three of which I’m recently aware. Two of them are running for At Large #4: Jay Green, president of the Shady Acres Civic Club, and Sandra Dahlke, whose “Issues” and “Supporters” links open in a new window and give you a 404 error. Probably better to get that sort of thing ironed out before you go live, but there you have it.

Also on the scene is a new Mayoral candidate, TJ Huntley (warning: auto-starting video), who got a mention on the Chron’s Houston Politics blog.

“Like Bill White, I am good in business,” he told us.

But unlike White, Lanier and this year’s crop of better known candidates, Huntley lacks a college degree and says he has never been to a City Council meeting. His real estate business, which he frequently manages via laptop computer from various Starbucks stores in Houston, is in Missouri, he says. He has lived here for about 8 years, he says, because he likes the place. He does not own a home in Houston.

Yeah, I’m thinking that might not go over so well.

Huntley’s entry into the race was too late to get an invitation to the Mayoral forum on the arts on Tuesday; more on that is here. Which, honestly, is fine by me. I’d rather these events were limited to the candidates who have some remote hope of winning. Your mileage may vary.

Finally, this seems as good a place as any to pass along the information that there will be another Mayoral forum, this one hosted by the Texas Business Alliance and focusing on small business development, on Thursday, May 21, at 6 PM at Texas Southern University. A press release from the TBA with details is beneath the fold.

UPDATE: I’ve received some feedback that despite her campaign website, Sandra Dahlke is no longer a candidate for Council.

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More candidates

I was just saying to someone the other day that while I thought the fields for the upcoming city races were largely set, there would certainly be a few more candidates appearing between now and the filing deadline. Lo and behold, here are three of which I’m recently aware. Two of them are running for At Large #4: Jay Green, president of the Shady Acres Civic Club, and Sandra Dahlke, whose “Issues” and “Supporters” links open in a new window and give you a 404 error. Probably better to get that sort of thing ironed out before you go live, but there you have it.

Also on the scene is a new Mayoral candidate, TJ Huntley (warning: auto-starting video), who got a mention on the Chron’s Houston Politics blog.

“Like Bill White, I am good in business,” he told us.

But unlike White, Lanier and this year’s crop of better known candidates, Huntley lacks a college degree and says he has never been to a City Council meeting. His real estate business, which he frequently manages via laptop computer from various Starbucks stores in Houston, is in Missouri, he says. He has lived here for about 8 years, he says, because he likes the place. He does not own a home in Houston.

Yeah, I’m thinking that might not go over so well.

Huntley’s entry into the race was too late to get an invitation to the Mayoral forum on the arts on Tuesday; more on that is here. Which, honestly, is fine by me. I’d rather these events were limited to the candidates who have some remote hope of winning. Your mileage may vary.

Finally, this seems as good a place as any to pass along the information that there will be another Mayoral forum, this one hosted by the Texas Business Alliance and focusing on small business development, on Thursday, May 21, at 6 PM at Texas Southern University. A press release from the TBA with details is beneath the fold.

UPDATE: I’ve received some feedback that despite her campaign website, Sandra Dahlke is no longer a candidate for Council.

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