February 02, 2003
Mayoral race roundup

Some new developments in the 2003 Mayoral Race Sweepstakes this week. First was the announcement that Ed Wulfe is not a candidate.

Wulfe, an adviser to Mayor Lee Brown who has helped develop a Main Street revitalization program, was considered a long shot in the November race because he lacks political experience.

He also appeared unable to peel away enough monied supporters from other candidates to compete in a mayor's race that may break campaign spending records.

No big surprise there. The article notes that Wulfe's departure helps Bill White, who would have competed with Wulfe for the moderate white vote. White has scheduled a formal announcement of his candidacy for later this week. White, who has a Democratic resume and a strong background in finance, is a very attractive candidate to me:

Two years ago, Bill White saw a serious problem brewing for his town.

Houston city officials were running short of money at a time White believed neighborhoods desperately needed more parks and libraries to cope with a population boom.

But instead of complaining to City Hall, White volunteered his time, effort and business acumen.

Within several months, White had helped Mayor Lee Brown's administration squeeze an additional $120 million from the city's bond program by restructuring the repayment schedules.

As a result, Houston has $80 million more for parks and $40 million more for libraries, with no tax increase.

That's my kinda guy. I have serious concerns that he'll get squeezed out between the Hispanic/conservative white bloc that will likely support Orlando Sanchez and the black/liberal white bloc that will likely back Sylvester Turner (does the name George Greanias ring a bell, Houstonians?), but he's my man right now.

One possible wild card was mentioned at the end of the Houston Press article on the Bradford trial:

While [District Attorney Chuck] Rosenthal's troops left muttering about Judge Rains's knuckling under to public pressure, Chief Bradford finds himself at the center of a boomlet as a candidate for next year's wide-open mayoral race. There's talk his defense fund supporters may reconstitute themselves into a campaign exploratory committee.

"I'm going to relax for a few days," the smiling chief said as he and wife Dee faced the media. Asked whether he would consider running for mayor, Bradford deferred to "God's guidance," adding, "At this point I haven't made those decisions."

If the exonerated Bradford does decide to run, he can thank Rosenthal for providing the campaign springboard.

I don't know if anything will come of this, but if Bradford decides to run it will be ugly for Sylvester Turner, who will need the full force of the Lee Brown machine behind him to win. If Bradford does run, either Turner will have to find a face-saving way to drop out, or the two will risk splitting their base and letting someone else (Bill White?) slip in to a runoff with Sanchez.

In a sense, this is the best time for Bradford to run, as his name recognition and public empathy levels will never be higher. On the other hand, it might be wise for him to lay low, hope for a Sanchez victory, then challenge him straight up in 2005 when the field will likely be otherwise empty. I'm not sure which is the better choice - I'm just a blogger, not a highly-paid political consultant - but it will be interesting to see which way he goes.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2003 to Election 2003 | TrackBack


I'm trying really hard to ignore the Democrat manouvering for the Presidential spot. Now I have to ignore the folks bobbing and swaying trying to become Mayor of Our Fair City.

Save me!

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on February 2, 2003 8:33 PM