White with big lead

The latest poll gives Bill White a failry comfortable lead going into tomorrow’s runoff election.

White narrowly led Sanchez in the Nov. 4 voting, 38 percent to 33 percent. Going into the runoff, White has a 53 percent to 35 percent lead, the poll shows, with 12 percent undecided.


The story of the 2003 campaign is White’s ability to bring together various factions of the city, said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein, who conducted the poll with [University of Houston pollster and political scientist Richard] Murray.

He splits the white vote with Sanchez, the poll shows, and gets 75 percent of the black vote compared with 6 percent for Sanchez.

Sanchez has support from 55 percent of Hispanic poll respondents and 71 percent of Republicans.

But in 2001, Sanchez drew 72 percent of the Hispanic vote and more than 90 percent of the Republican vote when he lost to Lee Brown with 48 percent of the total vote.

“What this means is that if he wins, as he should, Bill White will have support from all groups, which should minimize attacks at the council table,” Stein said. “This should help him govern.”

Murray said that White’s support among African-Americans swings the race strongly to his favor. Of those who voted for Turner Nov. 4, 76 percent now say they support White, compared with 4 percent for Sanchez.

These numbers jibe pretty well with an earlier Survey USA poll, which gave White a 58-40 lead (I’m guessing that “undecided” was not an option in the SUSA poll). Different totals, but same 18-point spread.

As for the other races:

City Councilwoman Annise Parker has a big lead over Councilman Bruce Tatro for city controller.

Too close to call are runoffs for two at-large City Council seats — between architect Peter Brown and incumbent Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs and between lawyer Ronald Green and district Councilman Bert Keller.


In the controller race, Parker, who is term-limited in her at-large council seat, has a 46 percent to 26 percent lead over Tatro, a term-limited district council member from northwest Houston.

The winner will replace Judy Gray Johnson, appointed by the City Council to fill the unexpired term of Sylvia Garcia when Garcia was elected a Harris County commissioner. Gray did not seek election to the office, which oversees city finances.

Parker leads among all ethnic groups, Democrats and independents. She picked up most of those who supported four other candidates she and Tatro eliminated Nov. 4.

Tatro holds a 2-1 lead among Republicans.

In the race for City Council At-large Position 3, Sekula-Gibbs has 32 percent and Peter Brown 31 percent, a statistical tie since the poll’s margin of error is 4.2 percentage points.

Sekula-Gibbs drew strong Hispanic support when she won the seat in 2001 under the name Sekula-Rodriguez, using the name of her late husband, television anchor Sylvan Rodriguez. She has since remarried. This year, she trails Brown among Hispanics, 36 percent to 29 percent.

Brown has substantial support among Democrats and blacks after getting the endorsement of Jolanda Jones, a black lawyer eliminated from the race Nov. 4. Sekula-Gibbs leads among whites and Republicans.

The race for At-large Position 4 also is statistically tied, at 31 percent for Green and 28 percent for Keller, who is completing his second term as councilman in west Houston District G.

Position 4 became open when Councilman Michael Berry shifted to At-large Position 5 after dropping out of the mayor’s race at the filing deadline. Berry, in his first term, ran for Position 5 because he had promised Keller he would vacate Position 4.

Keller, a Republican, drew harsh criticism from Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt and other Republicans when he broke ranks to oppose a proposed city property tax rollback earlier this year. According to the poll, he has support from 47 percent of Republicans compared to 16 percent for Green.

Green leads among blacks and Democrats. The two have about the same support from Hispanics.

A couple of bullet points:

– I know I’m not the only person to speculate that Shelley Sekula Walker Bush Joyner Kersee Cougar Mellencamp Rodriguez Gibbs’ name change might adversely affect her reelection chances, especially among Hispanics, but I’m glad to see that there’s truth to it.

– Good turnout from black voters would help all of the Democratic candidates. Ron Green and Bill White are the movers here.

– Man, Bert Keller really screwed himself with that tax vote. Forty-seven percent support among Republicans? He’s smelling like toast to me.

Other items of interest: As noted yesterday, Diana Davila Martinez picked up endorsements from Gabe Vasquez, and Hector Longoria. You can add Vasquez’ predecessor on City Council Felix Fraga, plus other non-runoff candidates Gonzalo Camacho and Joe Carlson. Richard Cantu endorsed Adrian Garcia. I was going to say that the Longoria and Vasquez endorsements might be a mixed blessing to Davila Martinez, but anyone who can get both Vasquez and Fraga to endorse them must be doing something right, given how vocally Fraga opposed Vasquez’ candidacy in 1999.

Finally, the mud is being slung in District F. Greg has some commentary and visuals here and here.

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One Response to White with big lead

  1. Coach says:

    This “election” is just another example of the fact that “non partisan” really means its either this democrat or that one. I’m still amazed that the rats here in NYC where stupid enough to vote against this ‘non partisan’ crap for Gotham. If you know of any big city in America that has this system that does NOT have a rat mayor, you’re one up on me. Think about it. NYC is as rat infested as every other big yet we have elected a Republican 3 consecutive times.

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