Bell makes his announcement tomorrow

Making official what we had long known.

Chris Bell

Chris Bell

Former Democratic congressman Chris Bell will announce his mayoral bid this Sunday afternoon in Sam Houston Park, becoming the first candidate in a crowded field to officially kick off a run to lead City Hall.


In recent weeks, Bell has hired finance and policy staff, and he has been working with Bill Hyers, who mostly recently advised Bill de Blasio’s come-from-behind campaign for mayor in New York, to plot his campaign moves.

Bell’s most aggressive step toward a mayoral run has been his lawsuit against the city charging that Rep. Sylvester Turner should not be allowed to transfer much of his $1 million in his officeholder account to Turner’s mayoral run. That suit, heard in state district court earlier this month, will likely move to federal court.

Bell will host his first fundraiser on Feb. 12.

Here’s the event information, on his newly-created campaign page. As previously noted, Bell starts from scratch in the fundraising department, so I expect him to hit that hard in the coming weeks. Being unable to raise a sufficient amount of funds to run a viable campaign and get one’s message out is going to be the grim reaper for some number of Mayoral candidates this year. With the now-expected entry of Adrian Garcia into the race, everyone’s task there just got harder. I am very interested to hear what all candidates will have to say about policy and issues, because in times of non-crisis, one’s campaign says a lot about who that candidate really is. PDiddie has more, including a fairly in depth look at who Bell will have on his campaign team.

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8 Responses to Bell makes his announcement tomorrow

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    O.K. Bell hires an out of town consultant. He can’t win. He will be out before he starts. That is my prediction. In my opinion one of the things that hurt Ben Hall so bad is all the people he had around him. It appeared they were real good at spending his money and not so good at giving advice. One thing to note, with all the people running for Mayor I didn’t see one of them at the Cowboy parade on MLK day. I know they all attended all the downtown parades but not one of them were marching in the parade that the grass roots come out to attend. You know the parade that runs through the neighborhood.

  2. joshua ben bullard says:

    its a tough call on chris bell this early,hes lost enough races to know what not to do,i will disent from paul kubosh’s opinion and say that i dont think you can call chris out of the race at this point.He was elected to council 3 seperate times and elected to congress once,if he gets his hands on the right piece of money and catches the right momentum,i would at that point put some money on him making the run-off.He would have to bluff succesfully twice and then lay down a full boat on a call,highly unlikely,but still possible this early…

    warmly joshua ben bullard

  3. Mainstream says:

    I don’t see a path for Chris Bell, or for Bill King, but with a fractured contest, the runoff might be between a candidate with 18% and one with 16%.

  4. Steven Houston says:

    PK, given the failed ideas some local consultants continue to rely on (and lose with), I’m not so sure that an outside is the kiss of death. It might mean a local candidate has to step up their own knowledge of cultural opportunities to campaign at (Rodeo, International Fest, Art Car Parade, etc.) but shouldn’t the candidates be making those calls in the first place? Isn’t relying on “someone else” what loses campaigns that are close?

    I still think King is a one trick pony without a big chance of winning much given his extensive political and personal baggage no matter how many friends he has on the GHP. The Chronicle dropped him months ago and took down his columns so he’s back to fading into the sunset with name recognition but his stances on public pensions would certainly elicit mail outs from HFD and others about some of his choices of the past that will cause voters to run from him in droves.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    I base my opinion on our limited experiences. During Mike’s first Race we were at the Cowboy Parade on MLK day. This parade is by far the largest parade on MLK day. We were the only candidate there. On that day I sent a text to one Mayoral candidate asking about there whereabouts. He responded with “I am in D.C. enjoying the inauguration festivities.” If he didn’t know about the importance of the Cowboy parade then how would an out of state consultant know? I used to take great pride in knowing my City. During the Red Light Camera Campaign Ron Jackson put me in place that I didn’t even know existed. He was always a step a head. I just don’t see how an out of State consultant can do those things.

    Finally when it comes to the all important endorsements I just believe you will have more pull with locals if you come into their office with someone they know.

    Bill King might be the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to pensions but I just don’t see how he can pull it off.

  6. Steven Houston says:

    PK, I generally agree with you but come from a different angle. We both think someone running for office should know the lay of the land, too many move here and want to govern or don’t care enough about what the average person cares for. My take is that even a great local campaign person should not replace the candidate’s personal knowledge of such things, the result of which is a flawed candidate unless the consultant is his Siamese Twin.

    As far as King being the “sharpest tool”, I’ll admit he is a tool but his knowledge of local public pensions has been proven lacking dozens of times in his own columns by those on pension boards or those impacted by them. One of his champions, an academic with the Arnold Foundation, went on talk radio locally to discuss the horrors of local pensions a few years back. The host asked a question I sent in that led to Arnold’s designated “expert” admitting that he had not read a single annual report for a local pension yet he was bandying about all sorts of figures based on pensions that are far, far more lucrative from up north and on the west coast. Some expert, huh?

    King was nearly as bad in his slew of columns using selective statistics, probably the kind that landed him in such hot water during the 1980’s Savings and Loan crisis, the man spinning things wildly out of proportion even after most city workers gave up billions in benefits to help protect the long term viability of their pension systems. The firemen who he originally convinced to support him quickly found out that a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

  7. Paul Kubosh says:

    Steven, I must admit I have not dug that deeply into King’s knowledge of Pensions. That one class of governmental accounting I took years ago is proving to woefully lacking. I must admit that my first impression was that he spent a lot of time looking into the issue. Nice post, clearly I have some homework to do.

  8. Steven Houston says:

    PK, while that one class you took back in the 80’s might not sound like much, it would suffice to provide you with the basic information needed to understand the situation and likely outcomes. All the classes in the world wouldn’t make a person an expert overnight but neither would slanted statistics or biased reports generated by the city. That said, Todd Clark or Dwayne Ready could bring you and your brother up to speed in an hour or less.

    King’s big obsession with pensions is to take worst case scenarios and project them out decades in advance. If he looked at true life cycle costs and total compensation models, he’d see that locally at least, pension reform is just another term for cutting employee benefits while giving nothing in return, in order for the city to spend more on other things. Given HPD pay starts off over $18k/year lower than Austin and offers weaker benefits, other major cities also well ahead of Houston, and HFD even worse off, more cuts seems a sure way to disaster.

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