The Chron did the first of three promised candidate overviews yesterday with this entry on Orlando Sanchez. It's a decent enough effort, and struck me as being reasonably fair to its subject. I thought this was pretty damning, though:
"If it was controversial and/or not his idea, he was reticent to get involved in any sort of leadership role," said Rob Todd, who served on City Council with Sanchez for six years. "He's one who likes the tea-party aspect of politics, but he's not one to clean up the dishes afterwards."
Todd, a Republican, is supporting White, a Democrat, in the mayor's race, which is officially nonpartisan.
Sanchez sometimes missed meetings in Houston while on international trade missions for the city.
"He was sort of the secretary of state for City Council," Todd joked.
The city does not track attendance at regular City Council meetings, but Sanchez's scanty attendance at budget workshops -- where council members have an opportunity to give their input on the city's $1.4 billion budget -- is on record. In 2001, after declaring his candidacy for mayor, Sanchez attended eight of 18 budget workshops. He attended one meeting out of 20 in 2000 and one of 23 in 1999.
In any profile of Orlando Sanchez, there are two items that one is legally required to mention. One is his ethnicity and his ability to attract Hispanic voters.
In 2001, Sanchez received overwhelming support in the Hispanic community, in spite of active opposition from many of the city's other Hispanic elected officials, mostly Mexican-American Democrats.
"These races have become partisan," said Democratic political consultant Marc Campos, who is working for Turner this year. "I just cannot be supporting a Republican. He's a nice guy and everything, but he's a card-carrying Republican."
As Democrats and Republicans vie for Hispanic votes, though, Sanchez has won national Republican support. President Bush and former President Bush both endorsed him in the last election.
"It's not just because he's Hispanic," said City Councilman Gabriel Vasquez, who recently switched to the Republican party and is running for city controller. "It's also because he's qualified, he's educated and he's someone we can be proud of."
Whether Sanchez shares the political leanings of Houston's Hispanic voters or not, many believe he will get their support.
"Anybody with an S, a Z or a vowel on the end of their name is likely to pick up a majority of the Hispanic vote," said former Port Commissioner Vidal Martinez, who is supporting Sanchez.
The other item is, of course, Sanchez's looks.
Additionally, Sanchez is well-spoken and good-looking, with dark hair, a chiseled chin and piercing blue eyes.
"God, he's gorgeous!" exclaimed one woman after watching him walk out of a downtown office building.