I’m hearing rumors that two-time Congressional candidate Tom Reiser will be throwing his hat into the ring to replace Shelley Sekula Gibbs on City Council. Reiser spent big bucks in losing a 2000 primary for what was then CD25 to Phil Sudan and a 2002 general election to Chris Bell, in which there was a lot of nastiness. He also underperformed in 2002, getting 43% of the vote in a district whose statewide Republican index was 49%, according to the Texas Legislative Council. Eyeballing the demographics of CD25 as it was back then, I’d say it’s not far from what Houston looks like today – CD25 was about 54% black and Hispanic, 39% Anglo, and 7% other, while Houston is about 62% black and Hispanic, 32% Anglo, and 6% other.
Suffice it to say that I’m not terribly impressed, if this turns out to be true. There are two known candidates in the race now, Melissa Noriega (website forthcoming) and Noel Freeman. There’s also still a lot of potential questions about whether or not the city really will call for the special election or not, which is a topic I’ve explored at Kuff’s World here and here. One more item in favor of the no-election theory is that there’s no constituency that would claim to be unrepresented if Shelley’s seat were left unfilled. It would be different if this were a district seat, but she was at large. That doesn’t change any of the legal equations, of course, but I daresay it’s still a factor. We’ll see.
UPDATE: Two commenters have mentioned Roy Morales, who ran unsuccessfully for At Large #1 last November, losing to Peter Brown. Morales’ name has come up before, so I don’t think of him as a new contender. If he’s made a formal announcement, however, that is new. If it turns out I was confusing him for Reiser, well, that’s why it’s called a rumor. We’ll know soon enough.