It’s not really a campaign until there are attack ads

I have three things to say about this.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor Sylvester Turner launched a television ad Monday attacking Tony Buzbee for donating to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee, marking the mayor’s first major attempt to link his political opponent to the president.

Buzbee, a millionaire businessman and lawyer, is one of 11 candidates running for mayor against Turner, who is seeking a second four-year term in November.

In the summer of 2016, Buzbee hosted a fundraiser for Trump — who was then the presumptive Republican nominee — at his mansion in River Oaks.

In October 2016, after a video surfaced in which Trump is heard bragging about groping women, Buzbee disavowed Trump, posting on social media, “Sorry Donald. I’m done with you. Completely.”

He later contributed $500,000 to Trump’s inauguration committee.

Turner’s ad opens with a clip of Trump calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” at his 2015 campaign launch speech, when Trump also accused immigrants of bringing drugs and crime across the border.

“Noise, and more noise, from Donald Trump and his imitator, Tony Buzbee,” a narrator’s voice says.

1. Ideally, incumbents prefer to be able to run campaigns that don’t acknowledge their opposition. Even the most devastating negative ad still has the effect of raising the opponent’s name ID. Attacking Buzbee means there’s more value in trying to take him down than the downside of introducing him to a wider audience.

2. Buzbee is of course a target-rich environment, with his ties to Donald Trump and Rick Perry, his general douche-bro profile, his loose relationship with accurate information, and the fact that he’s basically a loudmouth know-it-all with no experience in government. You know, kind of like some other guy who was also a very bad idea to vote for.

3. The thing about running attack ads in a multi-candidate race is that it can have the side effect of improving the position of the candidate or candidates who are neither the target nor the instigator of the ad. Is Turner attacking Buzbee in hope of softening him up for the runoff, or in hope of knocking him out so he’ll face someone else in the runoff? Hard to say. If he keeps this up for weeks, or if he goes on to attack other candidates, we’ll have a better idea.

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16 Responses to It’s not really a campaign until there are attack ads

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    After seeing Turner’s ad on Buzbee, I’m leaning towards Buzbee now. There’s something to be said for a guy who doesn’t need to be bought. I actually thought Sly was doing a decent job for a while, but Avecedo is a train wreck that Turner won’t correct, and then there’s all the “FoT (Friends of Turner)” stuff going on with city contracting. Darian Ward didn’t help things out, but I don’t blame Turner for that.

    The best thing Turner could do to ensure reelection would be to fire Acevedo, and hopefully promote from within this time, and on merit, not on oppression points.

  2. brad says:

    I like your thinking Bill. You are right…there is just something to be said for a guy who doesn’t need to be bought.

    My vote was going to go to rich guy Jeffrey Epstein because he couldn’t be bought.

  3. C.L. says:

    Guilty by association… the lowering tide drops all boats.

  4. C.L. says:

    The outgoing tide lowers all boats. There, that sounds better.

  5. Manny says:

    Bill, Buzee ain’t taking money and you don’t live in Houston, so how does leaning toward Buzee help him? You going block walking for him?

    Me, going with Turner, he actually has not been a bad Mayor. He inherited a lot of problems and he is slowly working them out.

  6. Andrew Lynch says:

    Turner is a train wreck. Turner’s fight with the fire department will be his downfall.

  7. C.L. says:

    Andrew, that’s pretty unlikely as I suspect the majority of Houston voters weren’t really all that interested in cutting a litany of other Houston city services in order to pay for HFD raises….especially after it was determined the passed legislation was deemed to be unconstitutional to begin with.

    Fan or not of Sly, he telegraphed what was going to happen if the Prop passed – the Prop passed and he did exactly what he said he was going to go. At the end of the day, he was saved by the bell when it got thrown out in toto, anyway… but props to him for staying true to his word and not backing down.

  8. -e says:

    I don’t disagree with you. If I was advising Turner, I’d tell him to take a minute and do an “internal analysis” and make some bold personnel changes and some public contract reviews and find fault with the contract or vendor. Proactive bold leadership may get him re-elected. But, I bet his ego won’t allow it. ‍♀️

  9. Bill Daniels says:


    That’s a pretty fair assessment, particularly with the firefighter drama. I agree with what Turner did there.

  10. Bill Daniels says:


    Busbee is an ambulance chasing trial lawyer, meaning he is a liberal. So what if he is a pedo? It is just fine as long as he stays liberal. Notice how “some our favorites” just slipped away quietly after the Epstein murder?

    I only care about crimes if a conservative did them.

  11. Julian Deleon says:

    Buzbee has had a lot to say about Turner. Only fair for Turner to swing back. And, that he did! The ad is very effective. Turner will win re-election.

  12. Jason Hochman says:

    I can’t believe that people are supporting Turner, and that none of his opponents have attacked the fact that HUD has chastised him for promoting segregation. Are the other candidates also racists? And has Turner ever released his tax returns? He is like a less effective Trump. Are the council members who have not impeached him also racists and segregationists?

    King and Buzz have attacked Turner for his pay to play, and they both accurately point out that the city has enough money to pay the firefighters, if it didn’t spend all of the money on pet projects and contracts that aren’t approved by council, that go to friends of Turner. Also the story about the 126 Kelsey doctors who all donated to Turner on the same day when he told them that their contract with the city wouldn’t be renewed if they didn’t pony up. Some of the press say that this is just how politics works. There used to be a time when a career politician was a bad thing, because they had such a huge trough to feed. Now, it’s a good thing. The more favors you owe, the more tax dollars you have to dole out to friends, the better.

    I have noticed that in late summer, a lot of roads have been getting fixed. And, the police chief stopped a speeder, and conveniently got it in the news. Then, the police actually arrested someone who almost hit a child getting off a school bus. This is unprecedented. Usually HPD is going to say that such things are civil matters, and please don’t interrupt their nap time with your stupid concerns. HPD needs to be repealed and replaced. But do you really think that if Turner is re-elected that the roads are going to continue to be fixed and that the police will actually work? Like Trump, he uses every little twist to aggrandize himself.

    IN addition to Buzz and King, you’ve got to consider Houjami, who seems very genuine and would have a city manager. Kendall Baker is also a good candidate. But a vote for Turner is a vote for segregation.

  13. Ross says:

    Jason, you are full of shit on the City having money to pay firefighters more, especially Prop B money. Quit being a shill for the rent seeking bastards at HFD and learn how budgets work. The alleged unapproved contracts are bullshit as well, since contracts less than $50k that are part of an approved budget do not require Council approval. Quit shilling for King and Buzbee, neither of whom has a clue on how to run a City the size of Houston. Buzbee might manage to do it, King will roll up into a ball and cry if he manages to get elected.

    Turner didn’t segregate, he was shut down by neighborhood opposition.

  14. Jason Hochman says:

    Hi Ross, well other than saying that I am “shill” and “full of shill” you don’t seem to present any data that shows what you state. The HFD is not “rent seeking bastards,” they are one of the few city departments that works hard, (along with the library and most of the 311 operators), and Houston has seemingly a high number of structure fires, as well as water rescues and car crashes. I read the other day that they went to a fire with a special response due to not enough staff and equipment available and they were fortunate that the rain helped. Houston is a giant fire trap, with all of the new construction, made from light (stick) construction, tall vertical space, and modern materials that burn with fumes much more toxic to trapped victims and rescuing fire fighters. Maybe if you catch on fire you can call Turner or do a rain dance.

    The segregation has been in the news enough. Would Turner really allow neighborhood opposition to stop his power hungry plans? I believe Texas Low Income Housing sued HUD for not doing enough about the segregation.

  15. C.L. says:

    Jason, you may well be the least informed voter and poster on this website. Buzbee is an ambulance chasing lawyer, and King ruled over….Kemah, FFS. Either one of those two clowns unseating Turner is unlikely. Boykin has already faded into obscurity. No one in Houston cares a whole lot about what HUD thinks – hell, we barely care that the State TEA wants to take over the train-wrecked HISD.

    Acevedo may be the best CoP the City has had in a very, very long time. Dogging him out for making an arrest is a tad misguided.

  16. Souperman says:

    Whoever’s running Buzbee’s campaign apparently doesn’t know how to check to see if their direct mail actually goes to someone who can vote in the election. I moved outside city limits a few months ago and received a glossy from them this week. Very much doubt I would vote for him even if I could, but I would think they would be better served by targeting eligible voters.

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