July 2023 campaign finance reports: City of Houston, part 2

City of Houston, part 1
Harris County

January finance reports for city of Houston candidates are here. This post will look at the various At Large candidates. I’ll do the district races and the Controller’s race later. Let’s dive in.

Dist Candidate     Raised      Spent     Loan     On Hand
AL1  Miles        189,366     28,313   50,000     161,052
AL1  Baker          3,795      2,725        0       1,070
AL1  Ramirez       34,301     21,079   20,000      40,892
AL1  Reyes         96,586     46,735        0      30,577
AL1  Wolfthal      57,025     31,454        0      44,892
AL1  Dolcefino

AL2  Nwabara       20,316     10,513   20,000      30,720
AL2  Hellyar      131,528     25,209        0     135,248
AL2  Vilaseca     109,182     23,792        0      89,585
AL2  Davis          9,500          0        0       9,500
AL2  Bess         146,587     26,024        0     109,525
AL2  Coryat        12,050      3,635        0       9,914

AL3  McCrutcheon    2,725      1,905        0         920
AL3  Carter       160,485     50,965    4,000     190,096
AL3  Cantu         43,623     13,586   10,000      30,038
AL3  Curry         17,812      2,148        0      15,670
AL3  Joseph        10,060     37,675  102,755      82,351
AL3  Cooper
AL3  Amadi
AL3  Nguyen
AL3  Ganz

AL4  Plummer       93,392     11,870    7,000     100,392
AL4  Morales       19,852     12,854      205      25,219
AL4  Branch         4,358      3,605        0         752

AL5  Alcorn       166,625     61,043        0     406,170
AL5  Cossey

As a reminder, the Erik Manning spreadsheet has your candidate listings. All of the files I’ve reviewed can be found in this Google folder.

We have a couple of oddball filings here. James Joseph listed $10,060 in unitemized contributions on his summary page, with $112,815 for his total raised. On his Subtotals page, which comes next, the $10,060 was listed as the total of his contributions, with $102,755 in loans. He also filed a correction report, which was signed by his treasurer instead of by him, but didn’t actually detail the correction he intended to make. I can infer what he intended, but he needs to file a correction to the correction.

Incumbent CM Letitia Plummer did something similar, listing an virtually impossible sum of $57,814 in unitemized contributions, with $93,392 as the total raised, and then put the $57,814 figure on the Subtotals page for her actual total contributions. That $93,392 plus the $7,000 loan she listed adds up to her $100,392 cash on hand total, which is also completely implausible. I looked back at the January reports to see if her cash on hand from there could be reconciled with these numbers, but it just can’t. I have no idea what her true numbers are; as of Thursday she had not filed a correction report.

Willie Davis, who has run a few times before, listed $1,272 in expenses from personal funds, which he intends to refund from contributions, which means his cash on hand number is really $8,228. I assume one does things this way because one needs to spend money before one has the ability to raise it, but all of his contributions are dated April 20 and all of his expenses came at or after that date. Go figure.

The two incumbents with challengers both look to be in good shape. CM Sallie Alcorn, who by all accounts has been a stellar member of Council, had another strong report and a well-stocked treasury against a no-name opponent who didn’t file a finance report. CM Letita Plummer has a reasonably well-known opponent in Roy Morales, who always seems to do better than I think he will. I could see him forcing this race to a runoff, but I feel confident CM Plummer will prevail in the end.

In At Large #1, going by the Manning spreadsheet, three of the six candidates are Dems and three are Republicans, but the three Dems were by far the biggest fundraisers, with Melanie Miles putting in the best numbers. Anthony Dolcefino ran in 2019 and has some name recognition thanks to his dad, but you don’t file a finance report, you don’t get any respect from me.

At Large #2 is all Dems except for the aforementioned Willie Davis, who made it to a runoff twice against outgoing incumbent David Robinson but never came close to beating him. Honestly, if I were the king of the smoke-filled back room, I’d consider moving one of Nick Hellyar, Holly Vilaseca, or Danielle Bess over to At Large #3. Only two of them can make the runoff here, so why not spread the strength around a bit?

As for At Large #3, Richard Cantu is a current HCDE Trustee, so he’s won elections before, but that’s not a high profile office and he doesn’t have much money. James Joseph has some money but it’s all loans and you really need more than $100K to get your name out there to the citywide electorate. That is the same Richard Nguyen who had previously served in District F, but without a finance report (and he wasn’t great at filing them as a Council member), what are you gonna do? I get a lot of campaign emails from Donnell Cooper, but (say it with me now), no campaign finance report, no respect. Twila Carter is the Republican candidate (well, Ericka McCrutcheon is also a Republican, but with 99% less juice) with support from the business community (her campaign contributors include Tilman Fertitta and Jim Crane) as well as endorsements from HPOU and HOME-PAC, the builders’ association. She’s the one to watch, but Houston’s a Democratic town and with a Mayoral runoff between two Democratic candidates she’s got a needle to thread in order to win. I don’t know which Dem currently in this race is best positioned to beat her.

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12 Responses to July 2023 campaign finance reports: City of Houston, part 2

  1. D.R. says:

    Looks like Hispanics will be shut out of the at-large seats again. So best case scenario two districts on council … DOJ needs to intervene and overturn this racist system that allows for just two Hispanic seats on the whole council in a city that is majority Hispanic

  2. Manny says:

    Why will they be shut out, D.R.?

  3. D.R. says:

    Look at the money, Manny.

    Odd/off year election with low turnout and $$$ already being pumped in to white candidates in 1-3 and 5 and the at-large seat already reserved for a black candidate in 4 per gentleman’s agreement.

    You know how this will end.

  4. Mainstream says:

    D.R.–first, the city of Houston is not majority Hispanic. July 1, 2022 Census data shows 46.8% identify as White, 44.5% identify as Hispanic (which can be of any race), and 24.1% report they are non-Hispanic whites. But those numbers include citizens and children under the age of 18 and ineligible to vote. Since roughly half of Houston Hispanics are not US citizens, the true data is more muddled. Second, Hispanics may choose to vote for non-Hispanic candidates sometimes, and may control which of the other candidates wins, so I would not agree that any voter is shut out of the system. Third, we don’t have proportional representation in our electoral system. Just because 20% of the City is pro-life or vegetarian or Muslim or Hispanic does not mean that the City Council will reserve seats on a proportional basis for those interests or groups. Usually a 20% group will lose every election by a vote of 80-20, and so be zero percent of the elected body, assuming folks care to vote along those lines.

  5. Mainstream says:

    D.R.–Of course you could donate and work for Roy Morales. 🙂

  6. C.L. says:

    I don’t care if you’re white, yellow, brown, black, green, or from Proxima Centauri b – if your interests and visions for the future align with mine, in all likelihood you’re gonna get my vote….unless you’re that Adrian Garcia cat. I can’t vote for someone with a laquered coiffure adorning the noodle.

    [That was for you, Manny.)

  7. D.R. says:

    That census done during COVID was incredibly rigged and designed to undercount Hispanics. DOJ needs to take over this mess and do single member districts all around

  8. Manny says:

    D.R., the only at-large that even comes close to having enough money to run a city-wide campaign is Alcorn.

    Ramirez may get into the run-off some Spanish surname votes and a lot of Republican votes. So could Morales and Sanchez (Controller). They are all Republicans.

    Single-member districts could produce two Spanish Surnamed candidates. A white woman with a Spanish last name through marriage could win for a possible third.

    We have three in the County, Hidalgo, Briones, and Garcia.

    I don’t understand why a Spanish surname person is not running in the at-large 5.

  9. Pingback: July 2023 campaign finance reports: City of Houston, part 3 – Off the Kuff

  10. Pingback: July 2023 campaign finance reports: City of Houston, part 4 – Off the Kuff

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