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Will there be a rail effect in CD07?

Take a look at this last mailer that Jim Henley is sending out to district residents this week. The top bullet point for Henley is his promise to “secure funding for Houston’s light rail”, while the top point for John Culberson is taken from the recent Chron non-endorsement lecture which notes Culberson’s opposition to Metro’s proposed routes and his unwillingness to help fund the Universities line. I believe that given the high profile Culberson has had on this issue, the two candidates’ stances on rail will be a factor in the election. What I don’t know is in what fashion it will be a factor, and by how much.

I drive around the Inner Loop portion of CD07 almost every day. There’s an incredible number of Henley signs in that area – more than for any other campaign, as far as I can tell. The one place where you don’t see a bunch of Henley signs, in fact where you see visible support for John Culberson, is on Richmond, especially east of Kirby and west of Weslayan (which is to say in Afton Oaks). I got to wondering recently how these folks voted in the past, and whether we may see a difference this year.

With an assist from Greg Wythe, who figured out which precincts I needed to check, I can answer that first question, and be prepared for the second. Here’s the relevant data for the 2004 election, and for the 2003 Metro referendum:

Pcnct Culberson Turnout Pct Metro Yes Metro No No Pct =========================================================== 39 473 1809 26.15 740 243 24.72 60 422 1625 25.97 612 201 24.72 123 236 866 27.25 333 117 26.00 139 773 1688 45.79 556 322 36.67 177 635 1024 62.01 291 254 46.61 178 905 1346 67.24 346 412 54.35 233 837 1597 52.41 448 303 40.35 802 46 237 19.41 59 11 15.71 Total 4327 10192 42.45 3385 1863 35.50

You can see a map of the precincts here. Basically, precincts 39, 60, 123, and 802 are east of Kirby. Precincts 139 and 233 are the Greenway Plaza area, and numbers 177 and 178 are Afton Oaks. Obviously, this covers more than just Richmond itself, but this is as fine as I can slice it.

Not too surprisingly, Culberson was unpopular in the Montrose-y areas east of Kirby, and well liked in Afton Oaks. Also not too surprising to me was the fact that Culberson was more popular than the anti-rail vote in Greenway Plaza. The relative level of support for the rail referendum in Afton Oaks was interesting, but one could take that as their belief in the line being on Westpark if one wants to.

Bottom line is that overall, more people liked the rail proposal in 2003 than Culberson in 2004. Note that Culberson’s percentages are measured against total ballots cast, not just ballots cast in his race, so his actual level of support is slightly higher than that. I did it that way to give a comparison to the other Republicans on the CD07 ballot. I’ve got a spreadsheet with the full details here.

As for part two of my questions, give me a couple of weeks and I’ll let you know. For now, at least, we can ponder about whose stance will resonate more among the people in the area. I look forward to seeing what the precinct data ultimately says.

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One Comment

  1. Whoever is against Culbertson and Wong, I’m for.

    Any plan to run rail along the Westpark Wasteland is downright wasteful and idiotic.