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Looking ahead to the runoffs

The runoff election for the city of Houston will be Saturday, December 10. It’s going to be an extremely low turnout affair – as was the case with the general election, I expect the runoff to have about the same level of turnout as the 2007 runoff, in which 25,382 ballots were cast. Look at it this way: If you bother to vote in the runoff, your vote really counts for a lot.

Some thoughts and questions about the runoff now that we’re two weeks out from the November election and all of the precinct analyses have been done:

– On paper, CM Brenda Stardig has all of the advantages in District A. She had $67K on hand as of the 8 Day reports, while Helena Brown had less than $1500. She swept all of the endorsements of which I’m aware except one, from the odious Steven Hotze. She’s the incumbent, and incumbents generally don’t lose. But the fact remains that she trailed Brown by six points and nearly 500 votes. How does she make that up? Does she try to woo Democratic voters by reminding them that she’s not nearly as bad as Brown, or does she try to out-wingnut her? How much help does she get from groups like the realtors, the police, the firefighters, and so on? Conversely, is Brown able to raise funds now that she’s demonstrated that she can win? Does she get any endorsements from elected officials? This one should be Stardig’s to lose, but then it should have been Stardig’s to win in regulation time. As I said before, I have a bad feeling about this one for her.

– As I said before, a lot of people waited on the sidelines to see who would make the runoff in B before committing to it. Now is the time to get off the fence. Jerry Davis previously announced the support of several former opponents, and Monday it was Alvin Byrd’s turn to make his new supporters known. He now lists former District B candidates Kathy Ballard Blueford-Daniels, Kenneth Perkins, and James Joseph; former Council members Jarvis Johnson, Carol Galloway, Michael Yarborough, and Jewell McGowen (on behalf of Ernest McGowen); and elected officials State Reps. Senfronia Thompson, Sylvester Turner, and Ron Reynolds, plus HISD Trustee-elect Rhonda Skillern-Jones. There are still numerous groups that have not made a choice in this race, including the realtors, the police, the firefighters, HOPE-SEIU, and Planned Parenthood (both Davis and Byrd scored 100% on the PP questionnaire). HBAD and the Chron went with Daniels in the first round, so they’re up for grabs as well. Neither candidate raised much money up till now – Davis has $9,274 on hand, while Byrd has $3,882. There will be another finance report due on December 2, and I’ll be looking to see if some big checks have been coming in. As of this writing, this one looks like a tossup.

– Not much to add to the At Large #2 runoff that I didn’t say before. Kristi Thibaut has the early momentum, and I expect she will collect most of the remaining endorsements in addition to the ones she has already received. I’ll be very curious to see if Andrew Burks reports any major endorsements – off the top of my head, I can’t remember any coming his way in 2009. That was when he was going against an incumbent, however, so this time may be different. Thibaut has $19K on hand, Burks has $12K, most of which is left over from his $20K loan, originally reported as a loan from his wife but later corrected to indicate it was a self-loan. Does anyone write Burks a check? Burks has the advantage of CM Jolanda Jones running, who will turn out voters that will be more inclined to support him than Thibaut, if they bother to vote in his race. What will Burks do to actually try to win? I see this one as being lean Thibaut, with the only thing holding me back from making a stronger statement the low turnout.

– As for At Large #5, what else is there to say? I’ll be curious to see if there’s another big show of support for Jack Christie from some of CM Jones’ colleagues. In retrospect, it’s not clear to me how much that actually helped Christie or hurt Jones, but it sure felt like a big deal at the time. Laurie Robinson picked up a few endorsements, including the police and the firefighters, who I think it’s safe to say will back Christie. If there’s going to be any real money thrown around in the runoff, it’s likely to be in this race. Jones starts out with $40K on hand, while Christie has $23K, but as we saw last time he’s willing and able to write his own check as needed. I feel like there’s another shoe or two to drop in this one, but I have no idea where they may come from or when they may fall. This one is a tossup. Nothing and everything will surprise me.

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4 Comments

  1. joshua bullard says:

    I dont know if anybody else has figured out yet or not but charles kuffner is politically conflicted with the at large # 2 race-heres why-its obvoius that his vote is going to kristi-we can see this a zillion miles away and as charles kuffner begins to deliever the same body shots that almost downed canidate griff griffin in the regular to the body of andrew c burks hes in for a big surprise-canidate andrew c burks fights back,undoubtly,this is not going to be the usual editorial slaughter of a canidate from years past,that some people have joined the houston chron.com on.
    kuff-your a nice guy at all and i love your site-but you are flat out calling this race wrong-heres why-i think maybe you might want to take a step back and realize your not even giving andrew c burks a chance,youve been beating this guy up for so many years you havent taken the time to even listen to his platform-and he has a great one,now damn it,we can all see you didnt even interview him for this site-you interviewed his opponent but not him-why???????????

    maybe you should consider interviewing andrew c burks
    so that we as the audience can make our own pick in this race,

    again”its time/this time/andrew c burks at large # 2
    respectfully submitted joshua ben bullard

  2. Burt Levine says:

    In 2009 Kuff was convinced that The Heights was identical to Sharpstown/Alief and Spring Branch. He insisted Heights appealing gay Democrat (only pejorative if Kuff and a recently failed school board candidate want to see it that way) candidates Mike Lasiter and Lane Lewis were going to win their run-offs because he felt for them the groupie way he cheer leads for Kristi Thibaut.

    The entire City of Houston is not The Heights.

    Saturday morning I attended the Fifth Ward Texans Together forum featuring Kristi Thibaut and Rev. Andrew Burks, Dr. Jack Christie and Jolanda Jones, Alvin Byrd and Marcus Davis sitting in for Jerry Davis.

    It was clear which candidates had the ideas to go to bat for all the citizens of Houston in the two at large races and who had the base for it to happen in the district race.

    All four races December 10th will truly be an exciting testament to temerity, tenacity and the truism of living and voting in a democratic republican form of government.

    Happy Thanksgiving. In these run-offs we have much to be Thankful!

  3. Jules says:

    District A is not my district but I do not like Stardig. She sounded like an audience plant during the discussions on the Kroger 380 (planted by the Mayor). If she does win, I predict Gonzalez will be ousted as Acting Mayor Pro Tem and Stardig will be in – unless there are more opportunities in District H for the Mayor to gift 380’s to developers.

  4. Concerned District A Voter says:

    Mysteriously Brenda’s political signs continue to be slashed and/or removed. Her opponent’s signs show up in the same place. Stardig’s volunteers have been instructed to post signs only where authorized. Brenda refuses to stoop to Helena Browns tactics. A police report had been made and is on the lookout for offenders.

    Helena recently worked as a part-time Receptionist in 2007 for Bunker Hill Village. So she should be a qualified as a puppet for Toni Lawrence and Helen Huey. Brenda Stardig wouldn’t let them pull her strings, but it looks as though the Puppet Masters failed to do a serious background check on Ms. Brown before backing her. According to reliable sources, Helena Brown was NOT the first choice. Know who could represent you.

    Toni Lawrence ran against Tatro in 1999 and 2001. She lost both races. She won in 2003 because Tatro was term limited. I worked on each of her campaigns. Copy and paste the link below about her negative campaign tactics. Has Toni

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/1999_3173212/voter-s-guide-city-council-district-a-lawrence-is.html

    Helena Brown is shown as President of a Family Business. “Turris Davidica” that according to the Texas Secretary of State (SOS) currently is “NOT” in good standing. The address is 2125 Blalock. A dumpy home with the porch light on 24/7. If she can’t manage her own company, HOW is she going to represent 100,000 +-residents in our district? Google her company. Check with Texas SOS. Know who could represent you.

    Go see the trashy, Moritz Village Townhomes (36 townhomes)on 1715 Moritz and hope our District A doesn’t. Become like this place. Is this her model for Urban Living outside the Loop? The front doors and windows have metal bars everywhere. Security must be a real problem.

    Strange she is registered to vote at a residence located on 1513 Mortiz. (Public Record) Does she live at Moritz Village? Maybe not. Texas SOS has her listed as a member at large, not President for Moritz Village Townhomes HOA. So this is more examples of her integrity and honor. Know who could represent you.

    http://www.hctax.net/Voter/voterdata.aspx?inputName=brown%20helena

    Don Sumners, Harris County Tax Collector, one of Helena’s Supporters who is registered to vote in Spring, TX not in District A, that will be one vote she can’t count on.

    http://www.hctax.net/Voter/voterdata.aspx?inputName=sumners%20don

    There is a debate Sunday, December 4th between the candidates hosted by Spring Branch Super neighborhoods. Time and location to be announced in The Memorial Examiner. Know who could represent you.

    http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2011/11/stardig-may-get-mayors-support-but-not-her-name/#comment-14471