Council results

With one race still up in the air as I draft this:

With early voting tallies and most of Saturday’s Election Day results posted, Houston’s three incumbent at-large council members facing runoffs had won, while District H incumbent Karla Cisneros held the slimmest of leads over challenger Isabel Longoria. Four other incumbents already have reclaimed their seats, having won outright on Nov. 5: Dave Martin (District E), Greg Travis (District G), Robert Gallegos (District I) and Martha Castex-Tatum (District K).

At least half of the 16-member council will be new — five current members are term-limited and three vacated their seats: Dwight Boykins (District D) made a failed bid for mayor, Amanda Edwards (At-Large 4) is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, and Steve Le (District F) decided not to seek re-election.

One council race will not be decided Saturday: The third-place finisher in District B has filed lawsuits contesting the election and challenging the second-place finisher’s eligibility, citing her 2007 felony theft conviction and a state law that appears to bar candidates with such convictions from running for office. No election date has been set.

The simplest way to summarize what happened is this tweet:

With 367 of 385 voting centers reporting, Karla Cisneros had a 25-vote lead over Isabel Longoria. It had been a 14-vote lead with 323 centers reporting. Longoria had chipped away at Cisneros’ lead all evening. I have to think this one is going to get recounted, so whatever the final numbers are, expect this to remain an unsettled question for a little longer.

The At Large results could have been better, but they were sufficiently close in #4 and #5 that they also could have been a lot worse. When Mayor Turner puts forward a new version of HERO, he should have ten of sixteen Council votes in his favor. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, congratulations to all the winners.

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4 Responses to Council results

  1. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    A few lessons learned yesterday:

    1) If you can tie a candidate to Trump, he loses a lot of Urban Anglo votes.

    2) Transbaiting was at best neutral, and may have been counterproductive.

    3) Incumbency matters more than money. Two conservative Republicans, Knox and Kubosh, beat well funded and unfunded challengers by basically the same margin. It might have been different had Raj or Janaeya been able or willing to link Kubosh and Knox to the state and national GOP/Trump.

    4) Turnout was abysmally low. Is there any reason why Houston cant move municipal elections to even years? Or to coincide with partisan primaries in even years?

    5) HCDP should consider allowing candidates to apply for their approval as “qualified” if they are sustaining members for 4 years prior to the election, they are willing to endorse and have a record of supporting the state platform (including LGBT rights – sorry Kubosh), etc. HCDP should do more in municipal races. They should also issue “unqualified” labels to persons pretending to be Democrats.

    6) The firefighters were shown to be ineffective across the board. I dont see any race where their support moved the needle much.

    7) The Republicans have a big problem. Turner was vulnerable, he had a lot of money against him, his support was soft, the electorate was small enough for the GOP to win it, he had a lot of organization against him and he still won in a romp. Turner didnt run on his record, he ran against Trump and the GOP. And that was more than enough.

    8) Kubosh may run for mayor in 4 years. He has never faced a strongly funded opponent. He will face at least one in that race. He will face scrutiny from here onward. Dont be surprised if Council votes are engineered to force wedges between him and his base of Trumpers and “Democrats” that support demonization and discrimination/cruelty against LGBTQ persons.

    9) King might have done better against Turner, but its doubtful he would have won. He is still a Republican.

    10) So long as theres not a major increase in the electorate, its probably pointless to run against an incumbent at large.

  2. Mainstream says:

    My additions to Tom’s thoughts:

    1. See also Schofield, Elkins, Bohac
    2. Dr. Hotze had a bad year, but his brother did win a council seat in Bellaire yesterday. Candidates like Knox and Kubosh and Travis who refused to be bullied by Dr. Hotze won nonetheless. The last minute revival of the HERO/bathroom debate did not help Buzbee at all.
    3. The victories of Knox and Kubosh also derive from higher name ID, support from establishment business sources and the Houston Chronicle, and the unfamiliar ethnic names of Raj Salhotra and Janaeya Carmouche.
    6. Firefighters showed they are a paper tiger. This election burst the illusion that they are a dominant force in local politics.
    7. A greater concern is the inability to fill countywide ballot positions for the upcoming 2020 general election, in a county that 8 years ago had no or few countywide Democrat officeholders.
    8. Kubosh has an unusual populist appeal into a variety of racial and geographic communities. Just go to his family’s Christmas party.
    9. King would have done better. I wonder if Orlando Sanchez might have been the strongest candidate the GOP could have put up. He did well in a short time of campaigning against Brown. Turner’s strategy of painting Buzbee as a Trump supporter had the dual effect of weakening Buzbee, but also making him stronger than King among conservative voters.
    10. Agreed. The City is just so big for a first time challenger to an incumbent to build name ID and fundraising.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    Not sure why being tied to Trump would cost you votes. He is the first president to issue an executive order about dealing with an EMP event.

  4. Steve Houston says:

    82% of registered voters picked “none of the above” by refusing to participate. You can blame the way elections are set up but voting is easier than ever now that you can vote at any place in the county. I’d prefer to believe that voters want better candidates, those with a better grasp on municipal governance, city finances, and realistic promises than what we’ve seen in decades.

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