I’m glad to see this.
Houston City Councilman Steve Costello endorsed Sylvester Turner for mayor Wednesday, dealing a potential financial blow to fellow conservative Bill King as he looks to expand his donor base in the runoff.
An engineer who finished sixth on Election Day with 7 percent of the vote, Costello is not likely to sway a large share of the electorate, but his endorsement could bolster Turner’s fundraising efforts, particularly among local engineers and contractors, who are consistent donors in municipal races.
Last week, former mayoral candidate Adrian Garcia also endorsed Turner.
“The real blow here is for fundraising,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said. “I think one of the goals for Turner in this runoff is to create an aura of inevitability behind his candidacy, and this, along with the Garcia endorsement, certainly aids that effort.”
In a statement announcing his endorsement, Costello cited ReBuild, public safety and transportation as reasons for backing Turner, a Democrat.
He said Turner agrees that ReBuild is a good baseline program from which to improve and that the Houston Police Department should be expanded with a focus on community policing.
Costello, who is term-limited, added that he will focus on improving Houston’s mass transit after leaving office.
“Sylvester Turner is the best candidate to connect all of Houston through multi-modal transportation, and I look forward to working with him on critical transportation issues like commuter rail,” Costello said.
A copy of the statement is beneath the fold. All due respect to Prof. Jones, but I’d put fundraising lower on the list of reasons why this is good for Turner. For one thing, while Costello didn’t get a large number of votes, I get the impression that his voters are the kind of people who are likely to show up for a runoff. As such, his endorsement ought to move some actual voters to Turner, since this endorsement could have gone either way. It also obviously makes Turner’s coalition a little broader, and it narrows the pool of voters that King will be fishing in. And while endorsements are often about supporting the person you want to win, they are also often about supporting the person you think actually will win. It’s not unreasonable to see Costello’s endorsement as a signal of which way the wind is perceived to be blowing.
Or maybe it’s much ado about nothing. Nobody really knows what any single endorsement is worth – we’re all just guessing. Maybe no one who wasn’t already voting for Turner cares. Maybe as many Costello voters think he’s nuts to endorse Turner as those who applaud it. We just don’t know. Be that as it may, campaigns love endorsements, and everybody reacts to them as if they mean something. Turner also received endorsements from multiple Latino elected officials, while King touted a few of his own, from former electeds and business leaders. I’m sure when more endorsements are made, we will all hear about them.
Former Houston mayoral candidate Steve Costello today officially endorsed State Representative Sylvester Turner in the 2015 Houston mayoral runoff election.
“Although Election Day did not go as hoped for our team, I’ve always maintained that the issues and challenges facing our great city must come before personal politics,” said Costello. “In the course of the campaign, and through dozens of forums, I had ample opportunity to examine each candidate’s position relating to improving the state of city finances, prioritizing public safety and getting to work to fix our roads.”
“Sylvester and I agree that ReBuild Houston is a good baseline infrastructure program that can and must be improved to meet the needs and expectations of Houstonians,” said Costello. “We agree that our police force needs to be increased to match the city’s growth and growing needs, and that we must get back to community-based policing so officers are connected to our neighborhoods’ challenges and successes.”
“After leaving office in January, my focus will be on finding a path forward to position Houston for its next steps in mass transportation,” said Costello. “Sylvester Turner is the best candidate to connect all of Houston through multi-modal transportation, and I look forward to working with him on critical transportation issues like commuter rail.”
In addition to serving as chairman of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council through December, Costello will also continue his service as a member of the Memorial Park Conservancy board of directors and as a member of the Marathon Kids national board of directors.
“I am very grateful to have the support of Steve Costello,” said Turner. “His service to this city for six years as a City Council Member, his advocacy for a pay-as-you-go funding policy to repair our streets and lower our debt, and as chairman of the region’s transportation policy council will have a lasting and positive impact on our city’s traffic and street improvements. As an engineer, Steve knows that the foundation of a building is not a visible part of the structure but it’s makes the building stable. Steve’s work on the city’s finances and infrastructure have laid the foundation for Houston’s future success. I look forward to working with Steve as we unite Democrats and Republicans, business and labor and thousands of Houstonians to bring our city together and move forward.”