This story about Sylvia Garcia’s last Commissioners Court meeting leads to the obvious question of what she might do next.
A former Houston city controller and an attorney who hasn’t practiced for more than 25 years, she’s still interested in seeking public office, perhaps trying to win back her courthouse job in 2014 or running for what is expected to be a newly drawn, Hispanic-majority congressional seat. (She ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 1992.)
She leaves office with close to $1 million in her campaign account, although most of that money can’t be spent on a race for Congress.
“I’m not ruling anything in, and I’m not ruling anything out,” she said. “In politics it’s all about window of opportunity. Sometimes some unusual or unforeseen turn of events changes things just overnight, so I’m just going to have to look at every opportunity that comes available and look at it closely and see if it’s a good fit.”
Would she consider running for mayor?
“I wouldn’t rule it out, but it has to be the right opportunity,” she said. “I support Mayor Parker and certainly wouldn’t even consider running against her, so that would require waiting five years, because I feel confident she’s going to get reelected two more terms. So again, I’ve made no decision; this was such an unexpected turn of events that I’ve not had time, quite frankly, to even focus on where I’m going to be even in the next 60 days.”
Greg deals with the “newly drawn, Hispanic-majority congressional seat” possibility, which to make a long story short is almost certainly an illusion. If Commissioner Garcia wants to run for Congress, it’ll almost certainly be either via a rematch against Rep. Gene Green, or waiting for Green to retire. I don’t know that I’d bet on that being any sooner than 2014.
Given that basically no one runs for a less prestigious office than the last one they held, which in this case would eliminate City Council, school board, and the Lege as possibilities, Garcia’s options if she really does want to run for something are somewhat limited. Running for her old seat means waiting four years, which is forever in political terms, and may mean gunning for something that has been made less Dem-friendly in the upcoming redistricting. It occurs to me, though, that there is an office available sooner than that which is of equivalent prestige and well suited to Garcia’s past experiences. I’m referring of course to Harris County Tax Assessor, which will be up for its normal four-year term in 2012. I feel confident that the field would be cleared for her if she chose to run for Tax Assessor – I love Diane Trautman, and in a just universe she’d be our Tax Assessor now, but I think it’s fair to say that after two tries, it’s time to consider other options – and with her campaign cash reserves, her presence on the countywide ticket would be a boon for the rest of the Democratic slate as well. Finally, Lord knows that Garcia will present a contrast sharp enough to cut diamonds against the clown that currently inhabits that office. This is such a no-brainer I’m surprised there isn’t already a movement for it. Who’s with me on this?
On a somewhat related note, it should be clear from this that the biggest beneficiary of the election that Garcia lost is Steve Radack, who now effectively controls two seats on the Court;
if and when Jerry Eversole resigns, given that the Court will choose his replacement, we could be looking at a Court of Radack, two mini-Radacks, and El Franco Lee. Have I mentioned before that the most important local election for Harris County Democrats in 2012 will be the one against Radack? Well, this is me mentioning it again.
UPDATE: I received a call from Joe Stinebaker in Judge Emmett’s office to let me know that in fact Judge Emmett would select Eversole’s replacement if Eversole were to step down, not the Court. I apologize for the error, and I thank Stinebaker for the feedback.