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.