At-Large Position 5 Councilwoman Jolanda Jones arguably finds herself running as the upstart in her own re-election campaign.
Opponent Laurie Robinson has raised nearly four times as much money in the last quarter. Robinson also has racked up many of endorsements from groups that can offer that campaign cash, as well as from two of Houston’s major city employee labor unions.
Jones and Robinson are both black Democrats running for a seat traditionally held by an African-American, but the similarities end there. Jones defends the accused for a living as a criminal defense lawyer. Robinson has climbed a corporate ladder by doing audits at an accounting and consulting firm. Jones sees serving the homeless as a core city service. Robinson sticks to a more business-friendly platform. Jones has solicited clients by passing out a card with the message: “If you want a fighter then you want me!!!!!” Robinson describes herself as a “regulatory compliance expert.”
Two white Republicans are on the ballot as well. Chiropractor Jack Christie came close to beating Jones in a runoff election two years ago. He’s running against her for the third time this fall, this time with the endorsement of former Mayor Bill White.
Businessman Bob Ryan’s service to the city goes back nearly half a century, and he talks wistfully of an era when things got done more collegially. He said he raised money for the mayor two years ago, but “the administration has another horse in the race. I’m basically running against the administration.”
It’s the longest and most in depth of these stories so far, and much like the District F overview is as much about the incumbent and her baggage as it is about the challengers. I can’t imagine there are too many people who are likely to vote in this election and who don’t already have an opinion on CM Jones. There are probably some people who are waffling on whether or not to vote for her; my guess, and it’s only a guess, is that more of them had voted for her before and are reconsidering. I could be wrong about that, and even if I’m not it could be an insignificant number of people. The one factor that will matter in this election is turnout. Either enough Jones supporters show up to keep her out of a runoff, or they don’t. And if they don’t, I believe the runoff, in the absence of a Mayor’s race, will be decided by a tiny group of voters, which to me says a coin toss on what happens. I know what my strategy would be if I were on CM Jones’ campaign team.