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An early assessment of the Mayor’s race

Marc Campos writes:

H-Town’s Mayoral candidates still do not want to SHOW ME THE TV so I have to give the advantage at this time to Annise Parker. The later the ad wars get going, the better for Annise. Let’s not forget that she has been on a citywide ballot half a dozen times now. She has also served in a high profile position – City Controller – for over five and a half years. She has better name ID on August 18, 2009.

I was discussing the race with one of the best in the business yesterday and he said a lower voter turnout in November benefits Annise. I have to agree because I think she has the most passionate supporters. The way Commentary sees it today I don’t think H-Town voters will be overwhelmed by TV ads this campaign season so that could contribute to one of the lowest turnouts in a while. Stay tuned!

I agree that Parker starts out with the highest level of name recognition, and as a result would likely be the top votegetter if the election were held today. I’m not sure I agree about the level of TV ads we’re in for. It’s still not yet September, and Peter Brown at least has the capability of saturating the airwaves. I’ve no idea offhand if Parker or Gene Locke have taken in enough money to reasonably counter that, but I’m sure they will be a presence on the air. Campos has been on a “show me the TV” kick for a few weeks, and while I don’t think he’s wrong, I do think he’s jumping the gun a bit. Not everyone can run Bill White’s 2003 campaign.

It’s also worth noting that being the top votegetter won’t mean anything other than a spot in the runoff. My sense is that Locke has put himself in a strong position to win the runoff if he makes it there. He’s courted the Republican vote more heavily than the other two from what I’ve seen, which is a sound strategy in a year when the downballot runoffs will be in Districts A and G, and maybe F. He’s done well in getting endorsements – the nod from the realtors was a nice coup for him. I think there’s a chance he doesn’t make the runoff, especially if Brown goes on a media-buying blitz, but if he does I think he’ll be tough to beat. Not impossible, by any means, but tough. If Brown supports Parker in a Parker-Locke runoff, or Parker supports Brown in a Brown-Locke runoff, that would make for a very interesting race to the finish.

On a related note, filing for office has been going on since August 3, with the deadline being 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2, 2009; I trust every campaign has this written in blood somewhere prominent. Martha has been keeping track of who has and has not yet filed. A couple of new names in there, including yet another candidate in At Large #1 (Brad Batteau, who got about 7.5% in District I in 2007), but no surprises yet.

By the way, and for what it’s worth, both Brown and Parker got about 86,000 votes running unopposed in a very low turnout election (about 126,000 ballots; Mayor White got over 101,000) in 2007. Parker got 134,000 votes in 2005 running for re-election as Controller for the first time (Mayor White got 165,000 votes, out of 189,000 cast), also unopposed; Brown won his first term with about 78,000 votes, or 51%. She got 109,000 votes in the first round of voting in 2003, compared to Mayor White’s 113,000. I’ve no idea what the turnout models are for this year, or how many people have voted for her or for Brown multiple times – one presumes nearly all who voted for one in 2007 also voted for the other – so maybe none of this means anything. Just thought it was worth mentioning.

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  1. Baby Snooks says:

    All the pundits obviously love Annise Parker. Not everyone else does. And if the African-American community gets everyone out, there will be no run-off and Gene Locke will be mayor. That is what is going to determine the outcome. Not the Republicans. Not the “liberal Inner Loop” Democrats who are torn between Annise Parker and Peter Brown. And not the “not-so-liberal” Democrats who believe everyone has a place but the mayor’s office is not one of them.

    Plus Greater Houston Partnership likes him. And what Greater Houston Partnership likes, Greater Houston Partnership gets.

  2. […] post that assessed the state of the Mayoral race, and he hits on a lot of the same points that I did, with some more detail. And just in time, as it turns out that Peter Brown is fixing to go on the […]

  3. Carol Woller says:

    Annise Parker has worked with many Houstonians as an elected official for 12 years. She is highly respected across the spectrum = no one can match her government experience and record of achievement in government. She’ll make a great mayor.