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Christie, Burks, Davis, Brown

Those are your runoff winners.

Jack Christie’s victory was the most dramatic, coming in his fifth attempt to defeat Jolanda Jones, an opponent he had forced into multiple runoff elections.

Helena Brown was the other candidate who beat an incumbent, defeating Brenda Stardig by a 10 percent margin for the District A seat, according to unofficial county totals.

Both Christie, a 63-year-old chiropractor, and Brown, a 34-year-old political activist, are conservatives.

Brown, whose political history is colored by Tea Party activism, campaigned as an anti-tax, anti-fee candidate. She attacked Stardig for her support of policies backed by Mayor Annise Parker, including an increasingly unpopular drainage fee for $8 billion flood prevention projects.

In the race for At-Large Position 2, Andrew Burks Jr. beat Kristi Thibaut by less than 1 percent.

Jerry Davis, a 38-year-old restaurateur, defeated Alvin Byrd, a 58-year-old constituent services director for current Councilman Jarvis Johnson, by 98 votes to claim the District B seat.

First, congratulations to all the winners. I wish them good luck in office. The city needs everyone’s best, and I hope they all exceed everyone’s expectations.

I’ve made my feelings clear about Andrew Burks, and I’m not going to pretend I’m not disappointed in that result. He led in early voting, but a strong showing on Election Day put Thibaut ahead of him in Harris County. He had enough of a lead in Fort Bend to hang on for the win. For what it’s worth, the result in Fort Bend illustrates what I had said before about Burks’ strength as a candidate compared to Jolanda Jones':

Candidate Votes Pct ========================= Thibaut 325 32.5 Burks 676 67.5 Christie 75 7.1 Jones 981 92.9

I’ll be very interested to see what the precinct data looks like in each of the At Large races. I hope, though I don’t expect, that I have underestimated Andrew Burks and that he will be a good Council member. But if I haven’t, I hope that candidates who are looking at the 2013 elections will consider that with Christie’s victory there will be only one open At Large seat in two years, that being At Large 3, just as there was only one open At Large seat this year. What do you think will offer better odds of victory, a cattle call open seat race or a challenge to a freshman incumbent like Burks?

The bit in the story about Helena Brown and Renew Houston needs some context. It’s true that Brown rode her opposition to that to victory in District A. However, she was not typical. Jack Christie, who supported Renew Houston, defeated Jolanda Jones, who opposed it. In District B, of the five candidates whom I interviewed, only Jerry Davis supported Renew Houston prior to its passage. Even Andrew Burks says he now supports Renew/Rebuild Houston. In addition to that, all three new Council members who were elected in November supported Renew Houston – Ellen Cohen in C, Mike Laster in J, and Larry Green in K. Point being, District A isn’t the whole city.

Oh, and just for the record, turnout has been unofficially pegged at 56,998 – 55,934 in Harris, 1,063 in Fort Bend, and 1 – yes, one – in Montgomery. That person voted early for Thibaut and Jones. Turnout for the city was a hair over six percent.

That’s all I have for now. On to the March primaries, once SCOTUS cleans up the mess they’ve made of that.

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34 Comments

  1. Voter says:

    Per HarrisVotes., it says Thibaut won her race….

    http://www.election.co.harris.tx.us/Cumulative/cumulative.htm

  2. tired dog says:

    Not quite Burks, looks like Houston put the ACORN lobbyist on council. Thibaut will now do her best to make sure the unsustainable pension scams continue.

  3. tired dog says:

    Davis claims a homestead exemption in Pearland; so does he even live in H-town?

  4. You are forgetting about Fort Bend. Burks won there by 351 votes, which is enough to erase Thibaut’s margin in Harris. Remember, Jack Christie won Harris County in 2009, too.

  5. Go listen to my interview with Davis and your question will be answered:

    http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=39392

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    I am also looking forward to your analysis of the pct. results. (I am to lazy to do it myself) I must admit I am disappointed that Jones lost. City Council can be a lonely place when you go to speak and Jones always made you feel like you were not alone. I am sure that Christie will be just like all the other Republicans on coucil. (except for Brown).

    Joshua, what does Meat loaf say? “Two out of Three aint bad”.

  7. Jj says:

    And the Houston Chronicle’s four endorsed candidates went … 0 for 4.

    Burks didn’t get 90% in Ft Bend because most African American politicians endorsed Thibaut, who they know as a prior Dem party officeholder. Black voters in Ft Bend still appear to have based their votes very heavily on race. As for “strength as a candidate” outside of that specific environment, what can one make of the huge undervote in the Burks race compared to the Christie race? 10x more voters left the Burks race blank (3500) compared to Christie (380). Thibaut had plenty of money, lots of mail went out, lots of robo calls. Burks had very little money. Seems like plenty of evidence that Thibaut was a weak candidate as well.

  8. Jj says:

    Paul, who are “all the other Republicans” on this new 17 (counting mayor’s vote) person council? Doesn’t exactly seem like a crowd. I count 2, Sullivan and Pennington. Hoang? Laster? More Ind than Rep. The others all seem clearly and strongly Dem. So with Christie and Brown added, you get 11 Dems, 2 Inds, and 4 Reps.

  9. Laster is most definitely a Democrat. The Republicans, in roughly declining order of conservatism, are Brown, Sullivan, Hoang, Christie. I don’t think Costello really counts any more as a Republican – at this point I’d say Burks has more friends there than Costello does.

    To your point about undervotes, that’s one of the things I want to try to figure out from the precinct data. The undervote count in November was lower in At Large #5 than in other races. Nobody lacks an opinion on Jolanda Jones, and her race was the star attraction of this election, much like the Mayoral election was the reason people voted in December of 2009. It’s unfortunate there wasn’t another citywide runoff to act as a control, because it may just be that the undervote level in At Large #2 was about what you’d normally expect. I’ll have to look at runoffs in other years to get some more data points.

  10. joshua bullard says:

    “paul”true,meatloaf did in fact say two out of three aint bad-but that was twenty years ago,

    three out of three is better,trust me, i know.

    i amazed my self at how presice i was.

    respectfully submitted joshua”ben”bullard

  11. Eric Weinmann says:

    Charles, you left off Pennington from the GOP list. … It goes to show you, check fortbendvotes.com!

  12. You’re right. I’d slot him between Sullivan and Hoang.

  13. JJ says:

    Sorry my undervote numbers were way low in prior post. Actually 4800 in Burks but only 568 in Christie. 8.5% and only 1%.

    Some of that, anecdotally from friends, were moderate Reps and Inds who split their votes between Reps and Dems, and they went to vote out Jones but had (i) gotten the two or three anti-Burks mailers from Thibaut and were insulted by them and/or (ii) seen some extreme BS Reps like Bettancourt weighing in for Burks and rejected that as well. Anecdotally from my non-activist Dem friends and some moderate Reps and Inds as well, people who don’t always make it out for the city elections, some were convinced by Bill White’s support to go vote for Christie but they didn’t educate themselves on the other race and left it blank.

    Undervote totals by big precinct, or Kuff’s very helpful neighborhood breakdown will be interesting. Look forward to it.

  14. Mainstream says:

    Costello remains a Republican, and continues to have support from many in the GOP. Although, Helena Brown’s campaign passed out a flyer describing him as a “liberal Democrat”, and mentioning a campaign workers’ connection to Parker, but not also to Bohac, Tatro and other GOP candidates.

    If the GOP kicks folks like Costello, Clutterbuck, Holm out of the party for lack of adhering to a litmus test of political positions, it will become a permanently losing party.

    Indeed many of the extreme right questioned whether Jack Christie was an authentic conservative, based on his role on the state board of education allowing the continued teaching of evolution in the science curriculum. Simillar complaints were made regarding Pennington.

    The undervote in the Burks/Thibault contest probably comes from conservative/GOP voters unwilling to follow the advice of GOP leaders to support Burks, either because of his baggage, his status as an Obama delegate in 2008, or his race, but equally opposed to Thibault’s liberal politics.

    Helena Brown’s victory is a testament to the power of grassroots political organization, a level of dissatisfaction in the electorate, and an illustration of the importance of running both a ground and a media campaign. Incumbents ought to take notice.

  15. Eric Weinmann says:

    JJ, I think you are very correct. Thibaut was a weak candidate. One year in the lege is not name ID, especially when you were voted in by a population of voters who largely have left the area (Katrina), and then quickly replaced by the former representative (Murphy).

    Thibaut failed to differentiate herself from anyone – she ran as the pro-environment limousine liberal in a city whose Ds are not particularly pro-environment and more likely to be minority than white.

    Her mail was rather boring, and treated Burks like an unknown with a hidden past – Sorry, the voters of Houston have known Burks since the 1980s. They know who he is, and sending a 6 1/2 x 11 isn’t going to “open the eyes” of the voters. Nice try, Thibaut, but running for the sake of regaining the title Honorable isn’t a campaign.

  16. Burt Levine says:

    Eric, I really appreciate the cerebral completeness of what you wrote.

  17. JJ says:

    Mainstream — good points. We’ll see if Kuffner’s breakdowns can give more clarity on the undervote.

    Also, don’t forget activist Dem efforts to trash Sue Lovell and Bill White for their nonpartisan efforts in connection with nonpartisan City government. Dems kicking them out are as bad as Reps trying to kick Clutterbuck and Holm out.

  18. Mainstream says:

    In fairness, Eric, I thought Thibault’s two attack mailers were effective, not cluttered with hard to read text, but just came too late. Once GOP endorsements for Burks came out, she needed a hard-hitting piece to reach those voters right away. Some might have been swayed by knowing he was an Obama delegate in 2008. One of mine arrived after I had voted.

  19. Eric Weinmann says:

    Mainstream –

    If they were effective, she would have won.

    Thibaut had the money, the endorsements and the mail, but she failed to close the deal. I think this is a mark of a weak candidate. It shows that voters are either uncomfortable with Thibaut and/or they are more comfortable with Burks.

    Republicans have a strong distrust for Thibaut, for one. Second, Thibaut’s entire career has been Austin-based. She has never proven herself to be a contributor to the local community.

    I don’t think the correct reaction to the GOP endorsement was a set of attack mailers. Instead, she could have sent advocacy mailers to folks with R primary histories detailing bits of her voting record that appeals to Rs; especially COH Rs who trend more moderate than Rs in the county.

    Going after Burks is questionable in itself. He has been around for nearly thirty years; You can’t redefine three decades in a five week runoff.

  20. paul kubosh says:

    Well said Eric

  21. Hobby says:

    It will be interesting to watch how things play out in District A. Like it or not, there is no debating that we have a strong Mayoral form of government. Not being a “rubber stamper” for the Mayor may have its appeal, but going out of your way to be completely on the outs with the Mayor and already starting to alienate many of your fellow council folks, (before you even take office), will not bode well for getting projects funded in District A or furthering your agendas on city council. Helena Brown’s hiring of my favorite failed council candidate as her COS has already started alienating many on council. Helena will have a harder time building consensus, on BOTH sides of the aisle to get anything she wants done.

    Personally I think it is great. There will be limited funds to go around for street improvements and other projects in the next couple of years. I will lay you odds District A won’t get so much as a speed bump over the next two years. Politics is, you know, political. Helena Brown’s election will do nothing but marginalize that district, which will mean more capital improvement funds for the rest of us.

  22. Jules says:

    Being the Mayor’s bestest buddy isn’t necessarily good for your district either. Gonzalez (Mayor Pro Tem) has gotten a taxpayer funded Walmart and a taxpayer funded Kroger for his district (the Walmart has since moved districts). I don’t want either, and I surely don’t want to use tax dollars to pay for them.

    Even though Gonzalez voted against the Walmart 380, he could have done a lot more to stop it.

    He spoke out for the Kroger 380 and voted for it. The Kroger 380 is a huge waste of money, and the City is paying Kroger 5.17% interest, even on the $40K faux-lanthropic donation to Olivewood Cemetery. I’m not against Olivewood getting money from the City (surely the City could get a better interest rate elsewhere though), but what it also needs is protection from Walmart and Kroger’s runoff – the City is grandfathering in no detention for both. Olivewood is already eroding even with both of the properties currently being grassy fields.

    Rubber-stamping the Mayor doesn’t mean your district gets projects it needs or wants.

  23. joshua bullard says:

    jules-its not proper to go back in the past and keep trying to cry over spilled milk-i assume you didnt get my message the first few times i wrote them-becuase i am of the belief that you are bumping your head on something for the last time jules- i will explain it to you again-i wanted the walmart-i love walmart-the mayor scored huge points getting in sooo very close to downtown and i know your going to be shopping there jules and dont lie and say you wont,last time you posted about this you posted in detail the directions to two other walmart locations so obvouisly your a big walmart fan just like me,as i told you before jules-i guess you havent figured it out yet-the citizens of houston texas will in fact pay less for there merchandise at this walmart as to absorb the monies giving to the development-your a fan and so am i everybody knows the discounts at walmart are catastropic,now then, stop coming back down on this post trying to throw two more cents in and get your scheduler out and pencil you and i in for the grand opening of the walmart-lets n ot forget jules that you nwere the one that said jolanda jones would be relected and i was the one telling you otherwise-therefore stop all this tom foolery jules and get with the winners and lets go to walmart and save some real money on socks, shoes and groceries.stop being a christmas scrooge jules and have some christamas spirit shame on you jules for not being in the christmas spirit and brining up old bussiness.

    i love walmart,in the heights and anywhere elese
    joshua “ben” bullard

  24. Ross says:

    Jules, do you really think the runoff from the WalMart site makes it all the way to the cemetery? There are at least 3 storm water lines between them, according to the CoH GIMS. And the Kroger is across Studemont and some buildings. Those projects may cause some run off issues, but not at the cemetery.

  25. Jules says:

    Ross, won’t all of those storm drains run into White Oak Bayou? Walmart is planning on putting in bigger than required big box culverts for drainage. More water will drain faster from the site. The immediate area around Walmart may benefit from this, but I think putting more water faster into White Oak Bayou a little upstream (Walmart and the other retail on Yale) and a little downstream (Kroger) will have an effect on Olivewood, Woodland Heights and others downstream.

    For $6.05M of public monies (again, one payment option has CoH paying Ainbinder 10% interest – which is outside the $6.05M cap) the public should get a higher standard, not more flooding.

    CoH and Ainbinder put over $300K for private onsite detention into the Ainbinder 380, knowing all along that it would not be required. Why?

  26. Jules says:

    Joshua – I’m glad the Walmart will benefit you, but you will not see me shopping there or at any of the other nearby Walmarts! According to everyone, even the Mayor and Ainbinder, the Walmart would have been built with or without the 380 Agreement.

    And I’m sorry Jolanda didn’t get re-elected. I hope she goes on to serve the public in another way. I will miss seeing her at Council.

    Joshua I hope you have a great Christmas and thank you for the Christmas spirit!

  27. Mainstream says:

    “Helena Brown’s hiring of my favorite failed council candidate as her COS” ???

    I am afraid I am behind on the news. Can someone fill me in?

  28. Mainstream – Helena Brown has hired Leticia Ablaza to be her Chief of Staff.

  29. joshua bullard says:

    thats right and i love e very minute of it-you ever hear that saying

    “you mess with the bull,youll get the horns””””

    you gotta love this entertaing move for sure.

    i told council member rodriquez but he wouldnt listen.

    joshua ben bullard

  30. Hobby says:

    You don’t love it nearly as much as I do JB. But, while there is plenty of bull to mess with when dealing with Ablaza, there are no horns. She shot herself in the foot with so many on council, (and their staffs) on both sides of the aisle. There may be some that are okay with her, but she is going to find out the hard way that her abrasive manner will get her nowhere just like it has gotten her nowhere up until now. This is going to be interesting to watch if nothing else.

  31. joshua bullard says:

    hobby-your started to get on my good side-we will both just sit back and watch the festivities,enjoy.

    “jb”

  32. Hobby says:

    One other thing, there is apparently a $h!#storm brewing between former conservative candidates Elizabeth Perez and Ablaza. (That didn’t take long for trouble to ensue). Something to do with Perez doing a toy drive for a middle school and getting scammed by some con artists that were somehow aligned with Ablaza. This is what is circulating down on this side of town from Elizabeth Perez apparently. Kubosh, you are more in the know with these folks, what’s up?

  33. joshua bullard says:

    HOBBY-ALLOW ME its called a classic “girl fight” its kinda like a “chic flick” but with out the rental fees.ts al good hobby-lobby.”ben”.

  34. Hobby says:

    It’s a classic alright!! Sorry for the length, but here is a copy and paste of the e-mail that has made the rounds. I don’t know anything more about it than what is contained in this.

    From: Elizabeth C Perez
    Sent: 12/21/11 02:08 AM
    Subject: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas from Stevenson Middle School Needy Families

    Dear Friends,

    It is with a heavy heart and embarassment that I send you this email. Many of you know that I hosted a Christmas Toy Drive for my son’s school (Stevenson Middle School) to help families who live below the federal poverty line. I am part of the PTO at Stevenson Middle School and interact with these families on a regular basis. These families rely on charitable donations during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    This year the PTO was approached by Miss Ashley Authorlee, CEO and Mr. Raynor Barretti, Special Events Coordinator of Mama D’s Pantry, claiming to be a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Authorlee and Barretti passed out various flyers and sent out press releases with Stevenson Middle School’s logo requesting toy and food donations for the needy families at Stevenson. Authorlee and Barretti were aided by former city council candidate, Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza, who also passed out flyers, circulated emails and promoted Stevenson’s Christmas Toy & Food Drive on her campaign page as her own event in her district. (Stevenson does not reside in Ablaza’s district.) Several republican candidates (or their volunteers) and republican activists contacted me in the days leading up to the toy & food drive to notify me that they had contributed either cash or toys for Stevenson’s Toy & Food Drive. These donors noted that the donations were received on behalf of Stevenson Middle School by Barretti and Authorlee. In the week leading up to the toy drive, the PTO had a conference call with Barretti of Mama D’s Pantry to discuss the donations received and to discuss the logistics of the toy drive. Barretti confirmed that he had received donations on behalf of Stevenson Middle School. During that same week, I received text messages from Ablaza indicating that she was promoting Stevenson’s toy & food drive and also confirmed positive feedback about donations received.

    On the day of the drive, Ablaza showed up in the last 30 minutes of the drive with her family and canned goods, but only to push her own agenda in promoting Jolanda Jones and promoting herself in her new bid for 2013. Authorlee and Barretti of Mama D’s Pantry arrived for the last 15 minutes of the drive only when they knew that Ablaza was asking for them. Barretti and Authorlee showed up empty handed. When asked about the donations they received on behalf of Stevenson Middle School they noted that the donations they received were for Mama D’s Pantry and not for Stevenson. Barretti and Authorlee then proceeded inside the restaurant to talk with Ablaza for the remaining few minutes of the drive. The drive ended at 12 noon at which point the Ablaza family, Authorlee and Barretti all left at the same time.

    I have sent out a press release regarding this incident. I want to make all of you aware that Mama D’s Pantry is NOT a registered non-profit. I find it disturbing that these individuals would take advantage of a charitbale project held by a public school for their personal benefit. I also find it disturbing that Ablaza helped these individuals for her own personal gain politically and that she’s associated with these type of people. Neither Authorlee nor Barretti would return calls until later today to inform us that they are having a “toy distribution” at Allen Samuels Dodge on December 21 from 10am to 1pm. To add insult to injury, they commented, “if you know of any needy families, bring ‘em or tell ‘em to show up.” Mama D’s Pantry, Authorlee and Barretti are scam artists. They used school resources and Stevenson’s school logo to take advantage of people. (I’ll venture out in guessing Ablaza might take part in the distribution to help her friends and her political aspirations.)

    Attached is the press release sent to the media. If you contributed to these individuals, I apologize for the inconvenience, and ask that you let me know please. Among the donations that Authorlee and Barretti collected under Stevenson’s name there was one donation that has a cash value of $300. I pray that these individuals are brought to justice and no longer harm needy families nor caring individuals who donated. What makes this scam so hurtful is that this past week the PTO received a new family who recently lost their home and all of their belongings in a house fire.

    May the Spirit and Warmth of Christmas reign over all people.

    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Perez
    Stevenson Middle School PTO – Treasurer
    ***Stevenson Middle School, Stevenson Middle School PTO & its officers are NOT associated to any political candidates or any kind of organizations.

    PS. Had it not been for the kind hearts of Randy Kubosh, Carmen Cuneo, Alvin Walker, Tom Zakes, Kristin Guiney, Renee Magee, Bruce Bain, Judge Sheri Dean, Buffie Ingersoll, Neal Meyer, Liz Theiss, SD Chair Ken Moore, the Downtown Houston Pachyderm and their members, the PTO would not have been able to provide these families with Christmas cheer. The above individuals contributed cash/gift cards/checks, which included a check from the Dowtown Houston Pachyderm, that totaled $800. The donations will be distributed among 15 families who will receive small packages of food, clothing and toys for Christmas. THANK YOU for keeping Christ in CHRISTmas! Merry Christmas!

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