Yolanda Navarro Flores, who finished third in the District H special election on May 9, has endorsed Maverick Welsh for the runoff. From the email the Welsh campaign sent out:
“Maverick Welsh will be a great city council member. He is sensitive to our Latino needs and issues…his door will be open to black, brown, and white. Maverick will not put the personal political agenda of others before the interests of the people.”
Yolanda is a distinguished resident of District H, serving on the HCC Board and having served in the Texas House of Representatives. She and her family have a proud history of standing for the people of our community.
“Today, I offer my endorsement to Maverick Welsh,” Yolanda said Tuesday. “My endorsement is for change and responsiveness for our District, not the same politics of the “patron/patrona” hand-picking the candidate for the people. No more status quo politics. My endorsement is for Maverick Welsh–he represents hope for a new and better future for all people in District H and our great city.”
That seems like a big deal to me. The question for the runoff, as noted by folks like Miya and Greg, is whether the Hispanic majority in the district will turn out in enough numbers for Ed Gonzalez to overcome Welsh’s advantage in the Heights. If Flores’ endorsement gets some of her supporters to vote for Welsh, that could be the difference-maker. I’m going to guess that Gonzalez will counter with a push from the elected officials that support him. We’ll see how it goes.
Having said this, it’s not that big a surprise that Flores would back Welsh. We know that there’s no love lost between Flores and Gonzalez. For her to endorse him would have been the bigger surprise.
The runoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 13. Early voting begins on Monday, June 1, and runs through Tuesday, June 9, at the same locations as for the May election. You can see the times and places here (PDF). If you voted in the May 9 election, expect to have your door knocked sometime between now and then.
Even fewer voters are expected at the polls for the runoff than the initial contest, when about 4,200 out of 93,000 cast ballots among nine candidates. That, political analysts say, and the already slim 183-vote difference between Welsh and Gonzalez, is expected to transform the next three weeks into a campaign blitz between two highly-motivated candidates with vocal and ardent supporters.
“It’s all about turnout and who has the organization and can deliver their voters to the polls,” said Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University.
Anyone want to take a guess at the turnout figure for this race? In 2007, Melissa Noriega and Roy Morales combined for 22,306 votes in the first go-round, out of 34,274 ballots cast (65.1% of the total), and 24,954 votes in the runoff. Here, Gonzalez and Welsh accounted for 2,413 votes out of 4,141 cast (58.3% of the total). I’ll place my chips on 2,000 to 2,500 total ballots on June 13. What do you think?