sigh All right, all right, if you insist. But let’s make it quick.
The list of possible candidates thus far includes mainly those who have held or sought public office before, though analysts said the guessing game at this point is difficult.
“There are always people who get in the race who no one expected and people everyone expects to run who don’t,” said Houston political consultant Mustafa Tameez. “At this early stage, rumors are often floated about people as an insider game.”
The list of rumored or confirmed candidates includes:
- Chris Bell, a lawyer who was elected to City Council in 1997, to one term in the U.S. Congress in 2002, was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2006, and ran unsuccessfully for Houston mayor in 2001;
- City Councilman Jack Christie, a chiropractor in his second term;
- City Councilman Stephen Costello, an engineer in his third term who chairs the council’s budget committee;
- Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who is in his second term, having served on City Council and, for 23 years, in the Houston Police Department;
- City Councilman Ed Gonzalez, who spent 18 years with HPD before being elected to City Council in 2009;
- Ben Hall, an attorney and ordained minister who was city attorney from 1992 to 1994 and who lost to Parker in last year’s mayoral race;
- City Councilman Michael Kubosh, a bail bondsman in his first term who has helped lead several petition drives to overturn city policies;
- Laura Murillo, the president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce since 2007;
- City Councilman Oliver Pennington, a retired attorney in his third term who chairs the council’s ethics committee.
- State Rep. Sylvester Turner, a Democrat and a Harvard-educated lawyer who was first elected to the House in 1988 and who is vice chair of its appropriations committee; he ran unsuccessfully for Houston mayor in 1991 and 2003.
The bottom line, [UH poli sci professor Brandon] Rottinghaus said, is that speculation about next year’s politics are, perhaps, better left to next year.
“It’s like trying to predict what the Texans’ record is going to be,” he said. “It’s shaping up – there’s no doubt there are some blocks that have been put in place here. But we still don’t know about so much of this.”
There are a few things we do know. One is that if Sheriff Garcia makes any official move towards running for Mayor, he’ll have to resign as Sheriff. Other people can talk about him all they want, but once he joins them he runs into the state electoral code. If he does resign to run, Commissioners Court gets to appoint a new Sheriff, who would almost certainly be a Republican. I know of a few Democrats that aren’t very happy with that scenario.
What else do we know? Well, after my post about Laura Murillo, I have been informed that she is registered to vote in Pearland. You know how I feel about that. I presume if there is anything to her inclusion on lists like this, the first indicator that there’s something to it will be an update to her voter registration information.
CMs Kubosh and Christie may have made themselves some friends with their anti-HERO votes, but they definitely made themselves some enemies with that vote. I figured that would translate to them getting strong challenges for re-election. I suppose running for something else instead is one way to deal with that.
Beyond that and more generally, this much I know: There’s only so much room available for Mayoral candidates. There are only so many donors, there are only so many endorsing organizations, there are only so many constituencies to court for votes and volunteer energy. Look at that list above and ask yourself who will be competing against whom for which slices of the electorate and a shot at a runoff. Sure, there are people on that list that have demonstrated various levels of ability to draw support from other parts of the political spectrum, but how well will they do when they’re up against someone for whom those parts of the spectrum are their base? This isn’t a buffet line – you can only choose one. Most of the people on this list, if they really are interested in perhaps running for Mayor and aren’t just a name some insider is floating around, will run into that reality. File this list away and take it out again next July when the first finance reports are in for 2015. That will tell you the story.