Let’s continue our survey of campaign finance reports with reports from the city of Houston.
Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Turner 520,430 138,068 0 1,643,519 Stardig 59,470 36,402 0 102,289 Davis 5,500 13,231 0 147,050 Cohen 5,000 8,382 0 63,120 Boykins 93,839 40,547 0 57,358 Martin 20,092 8,221 0 106,427 Le 12,250 1,788 31,823 1,951 Travis 51,751 25,051 76,000 51,109 Cisneros 24,043 5,203 0 25,336 Gallegos 30,600 7,048 0 50,366 Laster 31,650 8,104 0 170,714 Green 17,150 39,770 0 84,627 Knox 21,185 13,373 0 23,149 Robinson 63,850 14,932 0 92,520 Kubosh 26,725 17,388 276,000 30,557 Edwards 73,843 31,295 0 144,198 Christie 33,090 20,323 0 31,458 Brown 59,220 19,494 0 79,101 HHRC 55,000 47,500 0 23,250 HTPR 3,625 1,652 0 3,624
As we now know, there will be no city elections of the non-referendum kind on the ballot this November. That would be one reason why there are no reports from anyone who has not already been a candidate. Only a couple of the reports belong to people who are not current or term-limited officeholders. These are folks like Bill Frazer, and none of them have any cash on hand worth mentioning. Actually, there is one person who may be of interest here, and that’s Helena Brown, who could run again in District A to succeed Brenda Stardig. Brown has $18,911.19 on hand, which would not be a bad start if she were so inclined.
I don’t want to dwell too much on this, but had the State Supreme Court dropped an election on us out of the blue, there was basically nobody outside of the current incumbents who have any resources for it. Usually, at this time of an odd numbered year, there are a lot of non-incumbent candidates, mostly circling around the offices that will be vacant. Whether people didn’t think the Supreme Court would take action, or if we were all just in denial about it, there were no candidates out there raising money. In a world where the Supremes had intervened, incumbents and people who can provide at least startup capital for themselves would have had a sizable advantage.
Now for those incumbents. We all knew Mayor Turner could raise money, right? All Houston Mayors can, it kind of comes with the office. Don’t underestimate the resources he could bring to a campaign over the firefighters’ pay parity proposal.
Despite the advantages for incumbents I talked about, four of the seven biggest cash on hand balances belong to those who can’t run – term-limited CMs Starding, Davis, Laster, and Green. Starding in particular makes me wonder what she was up to, raising all that cash this year. Usually, that makes one think maybe she’s looking at her next opportunity to run for something. I have no idea what that might be, but feel free to speculate wildly in the comments. Mike Laster has been mentioned as a county candidate once his time on Council ends. Maybe County Commissioner in Precinct 3 in 2020? I can speculate wildly too, you know.
I have a couple of PAC reports in there. HHRC is the Houston Heights Restaurant Coalition, gearing up for the next Heights alcohol referendum. HTPR is the Houston Taxpayers for Pension Reform, with Bill King as its Treasurer. Maybe that was for a vote on forcing a switch to defined-contribution system that is not in the works? They didn’t have much activity, and most of their expenditures went to an outfit called PinkCilantro for advertising. Other PACs of note with reports are Campaign for Houston, which I believe was an anti-HERO group from 2015 and have a $50,000 outstanding loan, and Citizens to Keep Houston Strong, which belongs to Bill White and which has $56,734.11 on hand.
Finally, two reports from former officeholders. Anne Clutterbuck, who was last a candidate in 2009, filed a final report, to dispose of the remaining funds in her account. She donated the balance – $5,094.55 – to the Hermann Park Conservancy. Last but not least is former Mayor Annise Parker, whose account still has $126,013.31 on hand. She may or may not run for County Judge next year – she has talked about it but so far has taken no action – and if she does that’s her starter’s kit. I’ll have more reports in the coming days.