Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Endorsement watch: ABCDEFG

I’ve been hard on the Chron lately for being so lackadaisical about getting to some of their endorsements. In my opinion, they should all be done before Early Voting begins, or else their value erodes. So I’m pleased to see that they have made their endorsements for all contested District Council races today. This means they could get them all done in time, say with At Large races tomorrow, the Mayor’s race on Sunday, and HISD/HCC Trustee races on Monday. So kudos – tentatively, and conditionally on that schedule – to them for their punctuality. May it herald a new trend.

And here are the endorsements themselves. They skipped Districts H and I, where incumbent Council Members Ed Gonzalez and James Rodriguez are unopposed. In addition to recommending the incumbents who do have opponents – Jarvis Johnson in B, Anne Clutterbuck in C, Wanda Adams in D, and Mike Sullivan in E – they gave the following nods in the open seat races:

District A

• In the race to replace outgoing Councilwoman Toni Lawrence in this northwest Houston district beset with high crime and flooding concerns, the Chronicle endorses social worker and educator Lane Lewis.

Lewis has served as a mayoral appointee on police oversight committees and promises to concentrate on projects to revitalize blighted areas in the district. He is a proponent of the city acquiring an abandoned golf course in the Inwood Forest area and converting it to park space and retention ponds to help control area flooding. He believes it could become the nucleus of a redevelopment zone that would improve land values and decrease crime. “We would have a whole new area ripe for redevelopment,” says Lewis. “That is a solution that is affordable, accessible, and accountable to the needs of the people.”

District F

• In this open far Southwest district seat being vacated by term-limited incumbent and controller candidate M.J. Khan, the Chronicle endorses lawyer Mike Laster.

A former senior assistant city attorney, Laster has had extensive community involvement and serves as chairman of the Sharpstown TIRZ that provides more than $50 million for infrastructure and development in the area. If elected, Laster promises to make public safety, business and commercial development, and constituent services his primary focus. He has an impressive roster of endorsements, including firefighter and police groups, as well as labor and business associations.

District G

• In the five-candidate contest to replace outgoing incumbent and controller candidate Pam Holm, the Chronicle endorses attorney Oliver Pennington, a retired partner for Fulbright & Jaworski and a former chairman of the city’s Civil Service Commission.

Pennington cites his legal experience in municipal finance and law as an asset in being an effective member of council. “I’m accustomed to hard work, going to nightly meetings, getting engaged and getting things done,” says Pennington. “My record shows I can deliver.” If elected, Pennington promises to work to put more police patrols in the district while concentrating on improving infrastructure and drainage. A former board member of the Memorial Park Conservancy, he wants to encourage increased public-private sector support for parks and recreational areas.

All of these endorsements make sense to me. From where I sit, Lewis has worked the hardest in his race. He’s run an impressive campaign, he’s raised more money than anyone else, and he’s collected a ton of endorsements, including a bunch from nonpartisan groups. He’ll still have a hard time winning a runoff, but it won’t be for lack of effort.

It was hard to imagine the Chron picking anyone else in District F. Laster is the strongest candidate, and like Lewis has done very well with fundraising and group endorsements. He also has an easier path to winning, as District F is much more Democratic than A is, though you never know what can happen in a runoff.

District G could have gone a number of ways, though again the choice they made is not surprising to me. Basically, Pennington is the kind of candidate they like. He’s a Republican in a Republican district, and he’s more of a moderate, “let’s work together to get things done” type than Mills Worsham is. At least, that was the impression I got from their interviews. He too has had the most success in fundraising – yeah, that may be a pattern – and has gathered a lot of endorsements as well.

So there you have it. Anyone want to predict who they’ll go for in the At Large and Mayoral races? My guesses, and I’m totally pulling these out of my ear, are Costello, Lovell, Noriega (if they make an endorsement in the uncontested At Large #3), Freeman, and Jones for Council, and Parker for Mayor. Of those, I feel the least confident about At Large #1 and Mayor. What do you think?

UPDATE: Made some edits to shorten the original post.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.