The Chronicle runs a story on Carol Alvarado today that’s one part biography/career retrospective and one part political obituary. The big question: Will she ever be able to run for political office successfully again?
“Even taking the best case, that she’s telling the truth and didn’t know what was going on, it’s still a huge political misstep and probably ends any possibility that she could be elected citywide to any seat like controller or mayor. That’s probably unrealistic,” says University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray, who taught Alvarado when she attended UH.
“Very likely she would have to go for a district seat, maybe congressional down the line, but more likely a state representative or Senate seat based substantially in the community that she grew up in, where voters would be more forgiving.”
I figure Alvarado would have been a strong contender in a wide-open Mayoral race in 2009. She had a pretty nice resume prior to the recent unpleasantness, but it obviously doesn’t look quite as good now. So, I think that ship has sailed.
As for the other possibilities, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that she’s in a soldidly Democratic part of town, so assuming she can make it to the general election for whatever seat she wants, she’ll win. The bad news is that she’s in a solidly Democratic part of town, so she’ll either need to knock off an incumbent in what would surely be a nasty and bloody primary fight, or wait till someone steps down and win a slightly less nasty and bloody primary fight for the open seat.
Looking at a map of District I and comparing it to the various maps on the redistricting resources page, Alvarado currently represents parts of State House Districts 142 (Harold Dutton), 143 (Ana Hernandez), 145 (Rick Noriega), and 147 (Garnet Coleman). Dutton and Coleman aren’t going anywhere; Hernandez is in her freshman term, so even if she has her sights on higher office, she’ll likely stay where she is for awhile first. I’d say her best bet here is to hope that Rick Noriega decides to make a statewide run in 2008.
Much of City Council District I is also within State Senate DIstrict 6. Mario Gallegos might be vulnerable to a primary challenge, and he might decide to hang up his hat when this term expires in 2008. This is also a possibility to watch for. As for Congress, I can’t see her attempting to take out Gene Green in CD29, and I don’t see any reason why Green might retire soon. Barring a surpise there, I’d say it’s not on the table.
One last thing to keep in mind: Carol Alvarado is only 38 years old. She has plenty of time to go off and do something else for awhile to rebuild that resume of hers and let this scandal fade from the public memory. Who knows what the political landscape will be like in 2014 or 2016? What she’s going through now is bad, but unless she actually gets convicted of something, or perhaps just arrested, it’s way too early to say she’s forevermore unelectable to anything outside her neighborhood.
UPDATE: Stace adds his thoughts.