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Precinct analysis: 2011 At Large races, part 1

Here’s a look at the election returns in each Council district for the three “normal” At Large races, in At Large #1, #3, and #4. First up is #1, where first term incumbent CM Stephen Costello won a narrow majority for a second term.

Dist Costello Galvan Boates Cook ====================================== A 46.25% 7.44% 28.98% 17.34% B 42.41% 9.19% 18.17% 30.24% C 63.58% 5.07% 19.66% 11.68% D 46.48% 8.23% 20.82% 24.47% E 42.68% 6.21% 33.25% 17.86% F 45.46% 9.03% 22.44% 23.07% G 53.55% 3.44% 30.58% 12.43% H 53.68% 18.22% 12.30% 15.80% I 48.36% 22.10% 12.91% 16.62% J 50.64% 9.05% 21.56% 18.74% K 52.14% 7.15% 19.85% 20.87%

Costello’s numbers roughly match those of Mayor Parker – he did a little better in some districts, a little worse in others, and finished about a percentage point higher than the Mayor. A couple of things stand out to me. One, for all of the anti-Renew Houston backlash in District A, Costello didn’t do too badly there; he received as many votes as Brenda Stardig but had a higher percentage of the vote, as there was a greater undervote in his race. The total among his three opponents was about the same as Helena Brown’s total, so who knows, maybe all of the Bob Schoellkopf voters skipped this race. Two, the fact that James Partsch-Galvan was able to score in double digits in Districts H and I is a clear indicator to me that little to no voter outreach was done in those districts, at least for this race. No rational voter, given even minimal information about the candidates, would ever choose Partsch-Galvan. Greg suggests that CM Costello needs to work on increasing his name recognition, and I’m inclined to agree. When people don’t know anything about the candidates they’re voting for beyond the names they see in front of them, strange things happen.

Moving on to At Large #3:

Dist Noriega Carmona Batteau ============================== A 48.35% 34.81% 16.84% B 53.76% 15.36% 30.88% C 66.58% 23.62% 9.80% D 51.89% 14.82% 33.28% E 43.06% 41.43% 15.51% F 49.26% 32.34% 18.39% G 46.92% 40.23% 12.85% H 68.16% 19.62% 12.23% I 70.08% 18.12% 11.80% J 55.64% 26.48% 17.88% K 56.49% 20.80% 22.71%

CM Noriega had over 55% of the vote, which is right in line with her performance in the 2007 special election runoff. She won majorities outside of the Republican districts, though her totals in B, D, and K were likely diminished by the presence of Brad Batteau, even if some people thought he was in another race. Carmona did decently in E and G but was mostly background noise in the rest of the districts. He had less money than Scott Boates did, but as Carmona did not try to have it both ways with his party ID, it probably worked better for him. One more thing to note is how well Noriega did in Districts H and I. Having a Latino name surely didn’t hurt, but let’s not forget that Noriega lives in District I and is pretty well known in and around there. She did better in I than its district Council Member, James Rodriguez: Noriega received 4,282 votes to Rodriguez’s 4,045. Point being, once again, that being known to the voters is a necessary condition for performing to expectations.

Finally, At Large #4:

Dist Bradford Molnar Price ============================== A 59.66% 14.08% 26.26% B 84.79% 4.63% 10.58% C 65.64% 10.81% 23.55% D 83.70% 4.51% 11.79% E 60.52% 12.40% 27.08% F 55.85% 15.19% 28.96% G 67.61% 10.75% 21.64% H 57.52% 17.58% 24.90% I 52.43% 21.77% 25.81% J 57.19% 14.69% 28.12% K 73.82% 7.76% 18.42%

CM Bradford had easily the best showing among contested citywide candidates, and one of the best showings overall. He also did not have something that Costello, Noriega, and Jolanda Jones had: A Republican opponent. My guess is that if you’d thrown a token R into his race – imagine Jack O’Connor moving into At Large #4 instead of the Mayor’s race after leaving At Large #5 – you’d likely move Bradford’s numbers down into the Costello-Noriega range. It’s impossible to say with any certainty, of course. There are so many factors to consider. Unlike Costello and Noriega, Bradford did get the CCLUB endorsement, which surely helped him in the Republican areas, but who knows if he’d have gotten it over a real Republican. I don’t want to understate Bradford’s strength as a candidate – he’s now won two multi-candidate races in a row with large majorities, which is no small feat – but I don’t want to overstate it, either. He was in a different race than his colleagues, and that makes it hard to compare them.

I’m working on analyses of the At Large #2 cattle call, and of course the At Large #5 race as well. Look for them shortly. Let me know what you think of this.

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  1. joshua bullard says:

    c o brad bradford-cm-didnt have a republican challenger because he is gifted in problem solving with the people of the city of houston not withstanding their partisan affiliation,hes demonstrated an amazing talent in standing up for the people even if that means disagreeing with the mayor from time to time,this is the council race that the voters crossed party lines from both sides of the fence to elect co brad bradford in heavy numbers.

    way to go, co “brad” bradford

    respectfully submitted
    joshua ben bullard

  2. MB says:

    CM Costello did poorly because he has consistently ignored drainage concerns for these enormous, out of scale developments running alongside White Oak bayou. Walmart and Kroger both grandfathering drainage? How does that Renew Houston and how does it protect Olivewood Cemetery from the already horrific erosion that is unearthing human remains? That erosion is the direct result of their corporate neighbors not detaining and mitigating their drainage. Yet, Costello is a-okay with all of this.

    In addition, he has made great efforts to attach his name to the ‘food desert’ cause while blindly voting to approve any 380 Agreement for any large grocer who wants to build in an oversaturated, high-value area. Not exactly visionary.

    What is interesting to see is that District H (including Woodland Heights) combined vote went 52.67% AGAINST Parker. Woodland Heights is downstream from these developments, the exact area that suffers flash floods, did not vote to approve historic preservation and currently feels the impacts from the Target traffic streaming through this small neighborhood. If a strong Dem candidate runs against her next time around (CO Bradford), she’s done. Same for Gone-zalez – 30% to a totally unknown challenger? That’s hopeless.

  3. Hobby says:

    I agree with Kuff that it is astounding that James Galvan got the votes he did. One of the great post-election past times is for the ones that didn’t succeed to sit around and calculate how much less per vote each of their small amount of votes cost. The Galvan turn out just goes to show that you get a certain percentage up front for “free” just for showing up. Obviously the first X% of votes don’t cost you much per vote, and they get more expensive as you go up. If ignoring that & having a lower cost per vote helps those that lost lick their wounds though, more power to them.

    One other interesting thing out of the east end districts, if I am remembering correctly the HCC campus and I think Ripley house, were the only two early voting locations that showed increases in turn out while other areas saw significant declines. Sounds like candidates for city-wide positions would do well to pay a little more attention to the east end.

    As for 30% going to an unknown challenger in races like Gonzalez, again, look at James Partsch-Galvan with up to 22% in one district. In low turn out races, that doesn’t mean much.

  4. Mainstream says:

    The support for Simms for mayor in D and B, for Galvan and Herrera in H and I show some portion of voters continue to vote along racial, ethnic lines, and even blindly by name. Although in Herrera’s case his support may be from prior name recognition from the H148 contest, firefighter colleagues, and tea party backing.

    Possible that the low figures for Stardig, Costello, and corresponding large numbers for Brown or Cook partly could be an indication that common names do better than unfamiliar ones. We saw some indication of that in the 2008 judicial sweep, when the losing judicial Democrats all had complex or unfamiliar, ethnic names.

  5. mosquitoesbegone says:

    Maybe the ballot instructions need to emphasize that not voting in a particular race won’t invalidate the rest of the ballot. The only way Partsch-Galvan’s vote total makes any sense at all is if a fair number of voters were under the mistaken impression that they *had* to complete their entire ballots (and therefore randomly chose a candidate for At Large #1 instead of simply skipping it). Otherwise, why would someone take the time to show up on election day, only to pick random names on the ballot??

  6. Jules says:

    Costello says he’s working to help food deserts, but all he’s done is champion gifting tax dollars to stores where they want to build anyway (or have already built). I’m really sorry he won.

    These grocery-type 380′s will only make the food deserts worse. All three of them are near, but not in food deserts. Grocery stores that are in or want to be in nearby food deserts will have to compete with these stores.

    The Gulfgate HEB 380 is the worst – all they had to do to get their City sales taxes reimbursed up to $200K a year for 10 years was contemplate closing. At least Kroger and Ainbinder had to spend some money on infrastructure.

    I wonder what would happen to the City budget if no grocery or discount store paid City sales tax?

  7. Mainstream says:

    I am skeptical about “food deserts.” Crime and shoplifting probably are major reasons stores and their customers will not go there to shop. Are there that many persons who don’t travel, cannot travel to one of the larger stores?

    The answer to mosquitoesbegone is that many voters do feel they “ought” to vote for everything on the ballot, but were motivated to come to the polls by a single issue or candidate. I routinely hear at the polls a voter who says “I did not realize we had these other issues or candidates on the ballot today, or I would have studied about them.”

  8. Jules says:

    I think that crime would be a contributing cause of a food desert. I believe it’s a real issue – but not in the Heights (Walmart and Kroger 380′s).

    Costello says he’s working on plans to help fix the food desert issue so I would imagine that he thinks it’s a real problem – although it’s equally likely he’s just pretending that he’s working on plans to fix food deserts and is really just trying to stuff tax payer dollars into developer’s pockets.

    It’s hard to travel long distance to grocery shop without a car.

  9. Eric Weinmann says:

    I understand that there are areas of this city without supermarkets, but this didn’t happen by accident or planning. The Kroger in Magnum Manor off of 290 and Pinemont (well, that area) is closing. Management argues the high amount of theft from the store has caused it to lose profitability. Crime keeps retail out of neighborhoods – as does the illusion of crime. Local talking heads and elected of
    ficials admit there is a crime and image problem in some areas – but they don’t address the causes and turn around and expect development there anyway. But, we miss another interesting detail; Poorer areas have supermarket sales driven by food sales (as opposed to paper goods, high end alcohol, high end food items, medications, etc. Poorer areas have disproportionate populations using SNAP to pay for their goods. This only covers staples – the items stores don’t make money on. Even if you build the store, it won’t make money.

  10. Jules says:

    It also doesn’t make sense to give Kroger millions in tax breaks to build new stores when old ones are closing. One of the reasons the City gives for these 380s is job creation. Kroger isn’t creating jobs, just moving them.

    Costello, incidentally, calls these grocery store jobs “jobs for the young kids”. He also thinks that grocery stores need incentives to hire locally which makes no sense at all.

  11. Jules says:

    here’s the quote and the link for my previous comment:

    “I look at it as jobs creation for kids,” Costello said. “We could create a business model to where we insist that the grocer hire locally.”

    and another article:

    “And it also creates jobs for the young kids. It creates full and part-time jobs for kids in the neighborhood.”

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