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Garcia appears to be in for Mayor

Not official yet, but stories like this don’t get run without justification.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia

Sheriff Adrian Garcia

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some of his closest advisers and fiercest backers that a campaign may be imminent.

Garcia, under the Texas constitution, would have to resign as a county official immediately upon declaring his candidacy. That presents Garcia, who watchers expect to rocket to the field’s top tier if he joins the burgeoning mayoral fray, with a fateful decision: Does he step down as the county’s premier Democratic officeholder to make a bid that will make him Houston’s first Latino mayor or politically unemployed?

“At the end of the day, it’s like standing at the craps table, placing the bet – and you could walk away with nothing,” said Garcia confidant Greg Compean.

It is a bet Garcia allies said this week he has grappled with and seems willing to make.

“I’d be really surprised if he didn’t,” Compean said.

Garcia, who said last week he still is listening to others and has not yet officially committed to the race, has met with many of the city’s political leaders in advance of an announcement and privately is telling some close allies that he will run. And other evidence is mounting.

[…]

Backers of Garcia have high hopes he could raise the money to compete and that he could win voters beyond Houston’s Latinos, who comprise more than 40 percent of the city but at the most only 15 percent of the electorate. The county’s highest vote-getter in 2012, Garcia is expected to make appeals to some Republican voters in the nonpartisan election.

Garcia also would open himself up to personal attacks over a yearlong political brawl. Some in political circles for months quietly have questioned whether Garcia, who has no college education, can handle the rigors of the city’s top job. And if Garcia resigns as sheriff, some Democratic judges and Latino leaders worry whether the party and the Hispanic community would be hurt without him leading the local ticket.

My thoughts, in no particular order.

1. Garcia would have the advantage of being likely to be the clear frontrunner among at least one segment of the electorate – Latino voters – in the same way that Sylvester Turner would be among African-Americans and Oliver Pennington would be among conservatives. Sure, that is generally a smaller slice of the electorate, but it’s still an advantage, one that most other candidates don’t have. It also makes the pool of voters outside of Turner and Pennington’s bases, which those other candidates will be relying on, that much smaller. Remember that in Mayoral elections, turnout is not immutable. We had some 300,000 voters in 2001 and 2003, 190,000 in 2005 (spurred mostly by the Double Secret Illegal Anti-Gay Marriage constitutional amendment), between 175,000 and 180,000 in 2009 and 2013, and in the 130,000 range in 2007 and 2011. Remember also that the goal in November is to make it to the runoff. In a multi-candidate field where a couple thousand votes could be the difference between going on to December and going home, being able to coax out some irregular voters is a big deal.

2. I’m not worried about the implications for 2016. The Presidential race will be the driving force for 95%+ of all voters. Hell, if anything having a spirited campaign between an appointed Sheriff that wants to hold the job and a Democratic challenger that wants to win it back is more likely in my opinion to generate excitement than Garcia trouncing another hapless Republican challenger. Note that this isn’t me arguing that Garcia should run for Mayor, or that I’m shrugging off him stepping down as Sheriff if it happens. I’m just thinking through the implications, and that’s how I see it.

3. What Garcia and his backers should be worried about is how pissed off Democratic loyalists could be at the prospect of handing over the Sheriff’s office to a Republican. I mean, everyone is still very raw and angry about what happened this past November. Losing a high profile office, especially one that wasn’t on the line and in the service of someone’s ambition, is going to be a bitter pill for some to swallow. How many is “some”? I don’t know. How hard will it be for Garcia to win them back? Again, I don’t know. I do know that there are two viable Democratic alternatives to Garcia, so those that do decide to carry a grudge have someplace decent to take it. This is their problem to solve, and if they haven’t given it a lot of thought then his path to City Hall is going to be rockier than they might think.

4. The one thing I do know for sure if Garcia gets in is that the current field of hopefuls – declared, soon-to-be-declared, still-thinking-about-it, and so on – will not be what we get on the ballot. Some number of current candidates – at least one – will drop out or decide not to gear up at all. There are a finite amount of resources to help a campaign, and there’s only so much to go around. Fundraising is a component of that, of course, with the proviso that the ability of some candidates to at least partially self-fund may minimize that effect, but it’s not the only one. There are only so many able and willing volunteers, and only so much support from endorsing organizations, many of which may choose to keep their powder dry until a runoff. Some number of candidates – at least one – will not be able to mount the campaign they want to mount. Those candidates will not make it to the starting line. Bank on it.

5. I am now, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, officially undecided in the Mayoral race. There are several candidates I could support. I will need to know more about what they want to do before I make any decisions.

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27 Comments

  1. Greg Wythe says:

    First one to 15% of the vote makes the runoff.

  2. […] & Eggs, Dos Centavos and Off the Kuff have […]

  3. John coby says:

    Maybe Garcia isanking on the Hispanic vote like Leticia, Noriega, and Sanchez did. Oh wait…..

  4. Steven Houston says:

    Garcia has been meeting with well placed officials in several groups, not least of which include local democratic party leaders and leaders of prominent Latino groups. Some of them are quietly asking him to wait his turn in exchange for their future support while friends are telling him that this might be his sole shot for six long years, pointing out he would automatically place in the #2 position to start. As I understand it, a few deep pocket republicans are prepared to write him sizable checks to run while pledging their support should he make the runoff, their hope that it helps their preferred candidate split the democratic vote that will otherwise crush their conservative pick (perhaps figuring Bell and Turner won’t split it enough already).

  5. Paul kubosh says:

    I bet those republicans who are.writing checks also want their guy in as sheriff. This is going to be fun.

  6. Steven Houston says:

    PK, the funny thing to me is that no one is willing to present even a short list of possible picks for who Commissioner’s Court would select as his replacement. None of his command staff have been groomed for the top spot, not one of the Constables is worth a darn, and the city flunkies a few tried to inject as “having potential” caused eye rolling I haven’t seen since Linda Blair in the Exorcist movie decades ago. The fact that someone has already vetted potential candidates by consistency of voting record and party registration tells me what the one criteria is but none of the obvious choices admit to having been asked.

  7. Manuel Barrera says:

    Well all I can say is that the goal of myself and a large group of others is to make sure that Adrian Garcia, the deporter in chief of Harris County, does not get to 15%.

  8. Paul kubosh says:

    Thungs I am looking forward to in the mayor’s race:

    1) kuffner asking the candidates if they support the repeal of the revnue caps.

    2) watching Ben hall and Sylvester Turner fight for the African-American vote.

    3) watching all the weak “republican/conservative” candidates fight for the the republican vote.

    4) watching to see if any of the crap that the sheriff passed while he was city council actually sticks to him.

    5) arguing with steven of Houston and mainstream

    6) watching how many times kuffner says he will be surprised if a strong gay candidate doesn’t run against mike.

    7) and finally how many blogs will kuffner do on gay marriage and abortion.

    Lets get this party started.

  9. Paul Kubosh says:

    By the way…I was typing from a Cell phone on the typo’s.

  10. Ross says:

    Manuel, are you saying that Garcia ought to ignore Federal law and not report illegals in his jail to the Feds? Why do you object to deporting criminals?

  11. Steven Houston says:

    Manuel, you may not want to hear this but if Garcia runs for Mayor, his appointed replacement will almost certainly expedite the deportation of illegals and make it happen on a much grander scale.

    PK, we hardly argue at all these days. We might take exception with each other in terms of what something specific means or might run in different circles so we have different facts to work with but we are hardly that different on major topics of concern. Garcia has plenty of stances on record as city councilman and Sheriff to harm or help him depending on the spin doctors abilities, even his record as an officer so undistinguished that it could be used to help him implode. Heck, the harder Manuel fights Garcia, the more votes the guy will get from a far larger pool of people fed up with illegals.

    I’m not going to fuel Manuel’s delusions of adequacy by feeding him any of it but we’ll know very soon who the major players will be and how they stake their claims. Bell, Turner, Garcia and (gasp) Hall each start out with huge advantages over anyone else; Hall willing to throw away his own money, Turner’s war chest and long career, Garcia’s cross over appeal, and Bell’s name recognition as well as inherent intelligence with people skills. We could start a betting pool if anyone is interested…

  12. Manuel Barrera says:

    Ross you are a racist in my opinion, so I will not reply to your comments.

    Houston, not for three years, are you familiar with the executive action the President passed?

    Houston, you are a racist also. No human is an illegal, that is a term used by racists to demean people. So no more responding to you.

  13. Paul kubosh says:

    Okay manuel using the term illegal alien means your a racist? don’t you think you’re being a little too sensitive

  14. Steven Houston says:

    PK, shhhhhh. If that keeps him from responding, it’s a win for all the readers on this blog. I feel no need to be politically correct and find that the majority of people feel likewise. I won’t be bullied into using whatever term a small number of people demand of the rest.

    Besides, I’m just relaying what I was told by people with far greater influence than Manuel ever had or likely ever will have. And once Garcia is out, he is out for good so whatever executive order you think will apply past BO’s term, the successor in the HCSO is going to feel obligated to cater to the majority of his constituency, as in those who vote for him, not wannabe power players willing to split the democrat party for years because they don’t get their way. That more than half the illegals still have no protection is also a major component of the executive order and will be prime pickings no matter what Manuel wants even if Congress continues to punt.

  15. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul what is an illegal? Do you call people who break laws including traffic laws illegal? It is an offensive term mean to dehumanize a group of people that look a certain way. Why is that a friend of mine when I said all Republicans are evil, I know that sets him off, immediately respond that you can’t generalize and the first thing that came to his mind was what if I said all Mexicans are …. my response, I am not Mexican, what made him think that? I look like one?

    Paul you are one of the few intelligent people, tell us what criminal laws have the so called “illegals” violated? The majority of them have not and you know that, it is a civil violation if they are here undocumented. About half of them came here with visas and over stayed their visas.

    The two above that I mentioned are racists masquerading as progressives.

  16. Paul Kubosh says:

    So do you prefer undocumented alien? This is starting to remind me of the Redskin debate. Remember this commercial?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djd88kYoQEE

    Was Tom Landry a racist?

  17. Ross says:

    Manuel, I guess my Hispanic wive and in laws would be surprised to discover I’m racist (I’m not). “Illegal alien” is a long used term that applies to anyone who is here without benefit of a legal document. It includes all races, colors, and creeds. The fact that being here without the proper documentation is a civil violation doesn’t make it illegal, it just makes it non-criminal.

    I am not in favor of going out and looking for illegal aliens, and have argued that point for years, along with advocating the issuance of drivers licenses to them, but if they end up in the criminal courts, they ought to be deported upon conviction.

  18. Paul kubosh says:

    The problem with the American economy is not the illegal alien/undocumented people issue. I didn’t even know it was a problem until the republicans lost the white house and told me the guy who makes my tacis needs to go.

  19. Paul kubosh says:

    Tacos = bad

  20. Steven Houston says:

    Ross, it amuses me that Manny will call us an endless stream of names from all over the political spectrum depending on his ever updating biases, then attach whatever stereotypical baggage is associated with the label as though we fit into tidy categories. I get that he doesn’t like the term “illegal” and wants to extend the term racist beyond those that call illegals “wetbacks”, “beaners”, or whatever term is in vogue for those that come from south of the border. Having met illegals from Canada, Nigeria, China, and elsewhere, though admittedly less than from parts south given our proximity to the border, I can safely say that while the likelihood an illegal in Houston would be from Mexico (just as an illegal in New York by Niagara Falls would likely be Canadian), it isn’t an automatic assumption.

    I’m with Ross in terms of dealing with the issue which means those incarcerated in the Harris County Jail should be checked for status just as they would be checked for contagious health concerns. There are extremists that would go door to door or tie every form of government service to checking status but the majority of people I’ve spoken with from all walks of life seem to think deporting criminals is a valid expenditure of tax dollars. That includes Latinos who concur with getting rid of criminals that typically prey on other Latinos more than the rest of us. If that were Garcia’s biggest albatross to becoming Mayor, he’d be a shoe in with the voters.

    I’m a pragmatic centrist in areas like this. We’re not going to deport millions of people no matter who takes a particular office, nor is the world going to explode if “those guys” take office, whomever that might be. Getting rid of all illegals, either by buses or changing their status overnight, is not going to improve school funding or solve any of our pressing problems no matter who points to them as the boogyman but it would be completely ignorant to suggest there are not a whole heck of a lot of voters who want illegals tossed out of the country, regardless of political party affiliation.

  21. Manuel Barrera says:

    Ross, so using words like Fa—t is okay? of N—-r? Long term use?

    Paul, undocumented is correct, alien is not necessary, but acceptable but it includes permanent residents;

    2alien
    noun

    : a person who was born in a different country and is not a citizen of the country in which he or she now lives

    : a creature that comes from somewhere other than the planet Earth

    Houston seems to just prove how racist he is as he explains himself. But then again that is the type of progressives that Adrian Garcia seems to draw.

  22. Steven Houston says:

    Manny, you can’t possibly be dumb enough to believe what you write about me so I’ll just continue to dismiss you as a racist troll. Further, as someone who has repeatedly stated I think Turner or Bell would be vastly superior choices for voters to choose, how you label me as a Garcia supporter, a progressive one at that, is a curious notion too.

  23. Ross says:

    Manuel, those terms are pejorative and unacceptable today. Illegal alien is not, never has been, never will be a racist term. It describes someone from another country (or planet) who is here in violation of the laws regarding required documentation to enter the country. Those violations may not be criminal, but they are violations, hence the use of illegal. A legal alien is here with appropriate approvals. Is that a racist term as well?

  24. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul the racists have to defend themselves, it is acceptable today, so were faggot, queer, nigger, etc in their days.

    The worst offender is the one that has chosen to change my name to Manny, I don’t use that name. Interestingly he resorts to dumb, troll, etc. but remains the “intellect”. The word illegal is a dehumanizing term, because racists and persons who may just be ignorant choose to use it does not make it right. So Houston may be a progressive racist who supports Bell, or Turner and not a progressive that supports Garcia.

    Let me repeat no human is illegal. The fact that may not have documents that authorize them to stay here does not make them illegals, just like people who have been convicted of DUIs are not illegals.

    That Turner/Bell supporter just needs to admit that he is a racist.

    Paul when the word an “illegal” is used what picture comes to mind? A six foot blond hair person?

  25. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul I tend to vote in Republican primaries, did vote 2 cycles ago in the Democratic primary to support Steve Kirkland, whom I believed had an opponent for the wrong reason.

    I don’t recall ever voting straight party, but certainly in my younger years I may have as I was certainly in the minority when I voted for McGovern, primarily for his support of civil rights. I maintain that the greatest president was LBJ for his work on Civil Rights which allowed people like me to at least to have opportunities that were not available before.

    I wonder what that racist that is commenting considers himself politically? I don’t know him, but for his comments that strongly suggest he is a bigot and a racist.

    Paul I often wonder why racist like him have no qualm throwing out racist labels and then defending themselves because they use words like that, are they stupid, ignorant? By the way I do know who Paul is. Paul is a good guy just like all his family.

  26. Jorge Lema says:

    Manuel,

    shame on you sir, for stirring racial tensions. I am of hispanic decent, my grandfather came here through legal means, took 8 years to become a citizen and served in the military. What you are saying spits in the face of every legal immigrant that came into this great country. those who worked hard and made this country their home, who chose to fight in wars and protect the ideals of this nation. Illegal immigrants are in this country, and chose not to follow the nations laws when they come in. this is not racist, this doesnt shame any one race. You choose to make it about race. How do you think legal immigrants who have spent their hard earned money and gone through the legal process feel?

    But I suppose you dont care about that. Or care about what other countries do to illegal immigrants?

    Mexico –
    Only Mexicans by birth can perform all government employments, positions, or commissions in which the status of citizenship is indispensable. During peacetime, foreigners shall neither serve in the Army nor in the police bodies. During peacetime, only Mexicans by birth can serve in the Army, in the Navy or in the Air Force as well can perform any employment or commission within such corporations.

    The same condition applies to captains, pilots, skippers, ship engineers, flight engineers and, in general, to every crew member in a ship or an airplane carrying the Mexican flag. In the same way, only Mexicans by birth can be port harbormasters, steersmen and airport superintendents.

    Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners, under equal circumstances, for all kind of concessions, employments, positions or commissions of the government in which the status of citizenship is not indispensable.

    Japan,Canada, UK – rolled out a new point-based system last spring to rate immigrants. Immigrants earn points based on their academic background and research or business experience, among other factors. Those who score higher—mainly professionals like professors, doctors, and corporate managers—will be given preferential treatment.

    Russia – Forced to march in a human chain and lined up with hands behind their heads, this is how to round up illegal immigrants Russian-style.
    Moscow police launched a no-nonsense crackdown on suspected illegals working on stalls in a market.
    Officers prodded suspects with batons and pinned them against police vans as searches were carried out.

    China – China urged its citizens to report suspected illegal immigrants as it passed a new law with harsher punishments for foreigners living or working illegally in the country, Xinhua news agency reported. The rules reflect growing concerns about foreign labor, a new issue for China as it has opened to the outside world.

    Under a new law passed Saturday, illegal immigrants will get a warning before being fined, but in severe cases, they can be slapped with penalties of about $1,500, detained more than two weeks and ultimately be deported and barred from the country for a decade, the news agency reported. Companies that illegally employ foreigners can be fined about $1,500 for each worker, up to nearly $16,000.

    The law also allows the Chinese government to stop foreigners from living or working in certain areas, according to an analysis by immigration attorney Gary Chodorow. Foreign companies or workers who are already established in banned areas could be given deadlines to move. In addition, foreigners seeking residency will have to provide their fingerprints; the same might also be asked of people entering China.

    So next time you decide how racist it is for people to say illegal immigrant, which is not a derogatory as you claim, but a claim of factual status. Remember all the people who came to this country the legal way, think about how they feel when you treat the accomplished they have done.

    One who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.

  27. Steven Houston says:

    Thank you, Mr. Lema. Some wannabe kingmakers don’t understand and their failed tactics of calling people racist to put them on the defensive almost always backfire because most people see that for what it is, a cheap shot. My point was that you work with what you have, not your dream version of life. The Presidential Executive Order barring some from being deported covers about half the people here illegally but he gives the impression that it was a total ban which is not true.

    Any GOP appointee in Harris County is going to feel pressured to “step it up” a notch when it comes to outdoing a democrat in an area that leaves him open for a political attack later. He hates Garcia for lawfully deporting some folks but his opponent used to meet with groups wanting armed militia’s patrolling the border, not just send EVERYONE of questionable status back. His declaration of war against candidates that aren’t Latino enough for him is another failed idea, his own admission that it could set democrats back decades unless they comply with his marching orders just the kind of threat that marginalizes him and anyone of like mind. But he doesn’t get it, nor do I suspect he will for some time to come…