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Christie’s back

Jack Christie, who had dropped out of the race for City Council At Large #5 a few weeks ago after questions about his residency and homestead exemptions came up, has now dropped back in to the race.

Christie announced his withdrawal from the At-Large Position 5 race last week amid questions about his residency. Monday night, however, he told a small crowd at a candidate forum in Willow Meadows that he plans to campaign.

“I thought he was out of the race,” said Tom Nixon, another member of the now eight-candidate field who attended the forum at Willow Meadows Baptist Church. “I was surprised that he was there.”

Attempts to reach Christie on Tuesday were unsuccessful, and his campaign manager declined to discuss the issue.

His decision to re-enter the race is the latest twist in his campaign since the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this month that Christie and another candidate, Zafar Tahir, signed leases at properties inside the city to comply with Houston’s residency requirements.


Christie told the crowd Monday night that he still was a candidate, proclaiming that he pays property taxes in Houston, people at the event said.

His name would have appeared on the ballot, anyway, because he missed a Sept. 14 deadline for withdrawing formally, in accordance with state law, said Larry Schenk, a senior assistant city attorney who handles election issues.

I don’t think I’d realized that such a deadline had passed. Makes you wonder what would have happened had he qualified for the runoff anyway. Given that he’ll still be there for voters to choose, he may as well ask for their votes. What’s the worst that can happen to him? You almost have to feel a little sympathy for Tom Nixon, whose chance at garnering a unified Republican vote is slipping away.

You all know how I feel about the residency question. While I was highly unlikely to vote for Christie in the first place, I wouldn’t tell anyone not to vote for him based on where he lives. (The homestead exemption thing is a different matter, but never mind that for now.) I would tell you, however, that if this issue is important to you, that you ask your candidate of choice to Do Something about it when elected. I don’t know what the best way to tighten residency requirements might be – it’s not something I’ve given much thought to – but I’m sure there’s some way to improve the process. The point I’m making is that if this matters to you, there’s never been a better time to make it better. Don’t waste the opportunity.

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, who isn’t supporting a candidate in the race, has been critical of both Tahir and Christie, calling a potential runoff between them a “clash of carpetbaggers.”

He slightly modified his critique Tuesday. “It’s the clash of the carpetbaggers, Number 2,” he said of Christie’s return. “It’s back on.”

And the reason Paul Bettencourt once again plays a prominent role in this story is…what, exactly? We already had a quote concerning the property tax issue. I’m not sure what role Bettercourt is playing here, other than “guy who was quoted in the first story for some reason”. Am I missing something?

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  1. Charles Hixon says:

    A carpetbagger is a: “nonresident or new resident who seeks private gain from an area often by meddling in its business or politics”. Since Bettencourt labels Christie a carpetbagger, perhaps Bettencourt could enlighten us on the facts. If he doesn’t, Bettencourt is an accessory to the crime.

  2. Dennis says:

    I think it’s just lazy reporting by the Chron. Bettencourt gets quoted quite often on things he has nothing to do with. Reporters evidently know he has an ego and is always anxious to see his name in print and be regarding as an important person.