It’s all about Roy

This article is supposedly about how Annise Parker and Gene Locke have started to get their campaigns back on track for the runoff, but the vast majority of it is about Roy Morales, who is apparently the most famous fourth-place finisher ever.

Annise Parker and Gene Locke, contenders in a Dec. 12 runoff, were favorites from the beginning, while Roy Morales, the only Republican in the race, had little money, minuscule name recognition and single-digit poll numbers just a few days before the election. In the end, though, the retired Air Force lieutenant colonel placed only a few percentage points behind Peter Brown, a city councilman who blanketed the airwaves with his “blueprint” for Houston and poured nearly $4 million of his family fortune into the race. The Morales surge probably knocked Brown out of the runoff.

“I didn’t take votes from Brown,” Morales said in an interview Wednesday. “I recaptured my votes from him. Mr. Brown was trying to portray himself as a conservative. Peter is a liberal.”

Analysts said Morales took advantage of media opportunities that put him on the same stage as his opponents to send a clear message.

In every campaign appearance — and there were more than 40 with all four major candidates — Morales beat the drum of Republican Party orthodoxy. His message was a one-note sonata: I’m conservative, these other people aren’t. I’ll cut your taxes, these other people won’t.

I’ll stipulate that this was Roy’s vote-maximizing strategy, and that he got a good bang for his buck. And in the end, that strategy was good for 20% of the vote and a fourth-place finish. Doesn’t seem like a productive path towards actually winning an election and doing all that tax-cutting you want to do, but maybe I just don’t understand the nature of conservative victory.

Putting this another way, this strategy netted Roy 35,802 votes. In 2007, with an electorate that was 2/3 the size of this one, Roy got 34,235 votes. At this rate, he’ll be poised to break through in 2035 or so. Run, Roy, run!

Anyway. Martha deals with the extremely spurious claim that GOP volunteers made 200,000 calls on Roy’s behalf on Election Day. (Did anyone get one of these? Seems to me if they did do all that dialing, a fair number of my readers were probably on the receiving end. Leave a comment and let me know.) Let’s take them at their word for a minute, and assume that had there not been this massive GOTV effort on Roy’s part, he’d have done as well on Election Day as he had in early voting. He got 15.37% of the early vote, compared to 22.86% on Tuesday. Plug the numbers in, and he’d have gotten 17,499 votes instead of the 26,030 he did get, for a difference of 8,531. That’s actually a pretty decent return – in fact, if you add another 8,531 votes to Roy’s final total, he’d have edged past Gene Locke and would be in the runoff with Annise Parker. Kind of makes you wonder why they weren’t doing all this for him from the beginning, doesn’t it? If you believe they really did it for him in the end, that is.

Where was I? Oh, yes, what the headline of this story says it’s about, which is the restart of the Parker and Locke campaigns.

Parker and Locke jumped right back into campaign mode Wednesday. After an early TV appearance, Parker went to City Hall to present her monthly financial report to City Council. Locke also was on early-morning TV.

Both worked the phones to woo potential newcomers to their campaigns, thank supporters and raise money for what many expect will be a hard-fought contest.

In an e-mail to supporters, Parker was blunt about her financial requirements.

“I need to raise more than one million dollars in the next four weeks to compete with the projected spending of my opponent,” she said.

As noted, Annie’s List is already beating the drum for Parker, and there’s a fundraiser hosted by Roland Garcia, who resigned from the Sports Authority to back Parker, on Tuesday. I’m sure Locke will have similar stuff going on, though word of it has not hit my Inbox as yet. Much more to come, I’m sure.

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10 Responses to It’s all about Roy

  1. Mainstream says:

    I suspect the 200,000 is mild hyperbole, but as a regular R voter, I can report receiving 2 very similar robocalls from Harris County GOP leaders urging a vote for Roy and a look at their website for positions of the other candidates on the issues. More significantly, almost all regular R voters received the 2 mailers from Texas Conservative Review and the county party with an effective contrast ad pointing out the liberal connections of the 3 other candidates. The mentality of the R voter was that they would go with their heart for the first round, and that there was not any great ideological difference between the 3 liberal Democrats. One problem with the R phone call effort is that some of the calls went to folks outside city limits, but then many of the Morales volunteers did not live in the city either. Like Eric Story.

  2. Robocalls I believe, and I do agree that the TCR mailer had an effect. The story said “volunteers made more than 200,000 calls on his behalf on Election Day”, though, and I feel confident that’s a bunch of hooey. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Baby Snooks says:

    Roland Garcia is hoping to hit up the Brown supporters which he may or may not be successful at but in any case both campaigns are going to go for that money and that is where the race is going to get real nasty. You have a lot of people who gave to Brown and were forgiven by those who gave to Locke. Mainly because none of them believed Brown would win. At this point, however, they may not be so forgiving it they give to Parker instead of Locke. Some will be committing social suicide. The Menil crowd is one thing. The MFA crowd is another. And the MFA crowd is firmly behind Gene Locke. Where Lanier goes, so goes their money. And so everyone else’s money is expected to go.

  4. Bill says:

    BS, have you ever met Roland Garcia?

  5. Don Large says:

    My party did a poor job for Roy. It failed to endorse him earlier in the year. It failed to help out with his fundraising earlier in the process. I can only imagine where Roy would have been in the final vote totals had the mailouts started going out in September. I can only imagine where Roy would have been in the final vote totals had he been able to go on television in early October or late September, especially with that fantastic ad featuring the motorcycle riders.

    There was a meeting of the Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee that was scheduled for Monday, September 14, 2009. As a precinct chairman, I intended to make an omnibus endorsing motion that evening, coupled with a motion authorizing a coordinated campaign.

    For reasons unknown to me, that meeting was moved to Monday, October 19, 2009. (Actually, the meeting was moved so that precinct chairs could have an easier time to refile for their positions). The problem with a meeting at that late date in the campaign season is that it guaranteed that any efforts on Roy’s behalf would be doomed to ultimate failure. That simply shows how out of touch the current leadership of the Harris County Republican Party is with respect to elections in the City of Houston.

    Republican numbers inside the City of Houston are being frittered away. Orlando Sanchez took 47% in the 2001 runoff. Orlando then fell to 40% in the 2003 runoff. Our top candidate, Dr. Jack Christie, got 34% in At Large, Position Five, followed by Stephen Costello and Roy Morales in the low twenties. This is an unmitigated disaster. If we cannot get more than 34% inside the City of Houston (which I strongly believe is a low figure), then we simply cannot win our county-wide races in 2010.

    I cannot guarantee that my Party will win its county-wide races in 2010 when I am elected its Chairman next March. However, I can guarantee, that if we keep doing the same tired things with respect to message, mobilization, and technology, we will lose all of our county-wide races. This simply cannot stand.

    Warmly yours,

    Chairman, Harris County Republican Party
    [email protected]

  6. Baby Snooks says:

    BS, have you ever met Roland Garcia?

    Yes, why?

  7. Baby Snooks says:

    Even if Morales endorses someone, the only Morales supporters who may vote will be Stephen Hotze who along with his 20 supporters will pretend that Gene Locke is a Republican and vote for him to make sure we do not turn into Sodom and Gomorrah. The rest of the Republicans, well, they will not vote for an African-American or a lesbian and so they won’t vote and use whatever disaster results as fodder for the 2010 and 2011 and 2012 elections. All the better if they can use a “lifestyle” to blame for Houston turning into Detroit. Which they will be able to because the majority of the Brown supporters probably won’t want to vote for an African-American or a lesbian either which is why they supported Brown in the first place.

    As for Don Large one has to wonder if he’s using Off the Kuff to campaign for chair of the Harris County Republican Party. If so, someone might point out this is not exactly the number one blog for Republicans with the exception of those who will never vote for another Republican again as long as they live.

  8. JJ says:

    I got a personal phone call reminding me to vote for Morales on Saturday or Sunday. 200,000 seems like a lot of personal calls but they did get out there at the last minute.

    It only makes you wonder what would have happened with some more money and effort – 3rd place, outside shot at 2nd (assuming a 4-way race).

  9. Baby Snooks says:

    It only makes you wonder what would have happened with some more money and effort – 3rd place, outside shot at 2nd (assuming a 4-way race).

    We probably will find out in 2011 when we will see the Republicans elect a mayor after two years of Annise Parker.

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