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Endorsement watch: Latino electeds for Gene Green

Not a big surprise.

Rep. Gene Green

Rep. Gene Green

U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat, will pick up support from several Houston political players Tuesday.

The 12-term congressman faces what could be a formidable primary challenge in the form of former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. According to a Green campaign press release, seven Houston Democrats are ready to back his re-election: state Sens. Sylvia R. Garcia and John Whitmire, state Reps. Ana Hernandez, Garnet F. Coleman, Armando Walle and Carol Alvarado, and Harris County Constable Chris Diaz.

The endorsements’ apparent aim is to give Green cover against Garcia’s argument that the mostly-Hispanic district would be better served with Hispanic congressional representation. With residual name identification from his unsuccessful run for Houston mayor, Garcia could pose a viable threat to Green’s re-election.

I received a copy of the press release as well as the pre-release on Friday that didn’t contain the officials’ names. The event will take place at 11 AM at the Vecino Health Center (Denver Harbor Family Clinic), 424 Hahlo St., in case anyone wants to attend. As I said before, I was looking to see who might be endorsing whom in this race. Whatever the effect is on the final result, this does affect the narrative of the race. Reps. Walle, Hernandez, and Alvarado all once worked for Green, so their solidarity with their former boss is to be expected, but Sylvia Garcia was one of the candidates for the seat back in 1992; she finished third, behind Green and Ben Reyes, whom Green then defeated in the runoff and again in the 1994 primary. She had previously been talked about as a potential opponent for Green in more recent years, before her election to the State Senate. Make of that what you will.

Going back through my archives, I came across this post from 2014 about Green representing a Latino district and when that might change. Here’s what Campos, who is now working on the Garcia campaign, said at the time:

Having a Dem Latino or Latina in Congress from the H-Town area would be empowering to the community. What is missing is an articulate voice for us in Congress like on a day when the immigration issue is front and center. Who is going to argue with that?

I don’t buy into the notion that just because the local Latino leaders aren’t for something, it won’t happen. I can still recall the spontaneous immigration marches a few years ago that local Latino leaders were scrambling to lead.

I can picture a scenario where an articulate bilingual Latino or Latina leader steps up, grabs an issue and captures the attention of the community. That is certainly not racist, that’s politics. This discussion isn’t going away.

And my comment on that:

Sure, that could happen, and I agree that if it were to happen it would likely be a talented newcomer who can inspire people to pose a serious threat to Rep. Green. The problem is that that’s not sufficient. Look at the recent history of Democratic primary challenges in Texas legislative races, and you’ll see that there are generally two paths to knocking off an incumbent that don’t rely on them getting hosed in redistricting. One is via the self-inflicted wounds of an incumbent with some kind of ethics problems – think Gabi Canales or Naomi Gonzales, for example – or an incumbent that has genuinely lost touch with the base. In the past decade in Texas that has mostly meant Craddick Democrats, though one could argue that Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s win over Silvestre Reyes had elements of that.

What I’m saying is simply that there has to be a reason to dump the current officeholder. Look no further than the other Anglo Texas Democrat in Congress for that. The GOP has marked Rep. Lloyd Doggett for extinction twice, each time drawing him into a heavily Latino district in the hope of seeing him get knocked off in a primary. He survived the DeLay re-redistricting of 2003, then he faced the same kind of challenge again in 2012. His opponent, Sylvia Romo, was an experienced officeholder running in a district that was drawn to elect a Hispanic candidate from Bexar County. Having interviewed her, I can attest that she’d have made a perfectly fine member of Congress. But she never identified a policy item on which she disagreed with Doggett, and she never could give an answer to the question why the voters should replace their existing perfectly good member of Congress and his boatload of seniority with a rookie, however promising.

That’s the question any theoretical opponent to Gene Green will have to answer as well.

I think both my statement and Marc’s would stand up today. I’d say we’re likely to hear some form of these arguments over the next two months. In the meantime, I wonder if Garcia will roll out his own list of supporters soon. Better still if that list is accompanied by reasons why Garcia is the superior choice, and where he differs in matters of policy. I know that’s what I’d want to hear about if I lived in that district.

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12 Comments

  1. PDiddie says:

    Still laughing at Campos (vending his services to Garcia) using the word ‘articulate’, and twice to boot. His excerpt and yours together, above, is going to keep me laughing the rest of the day.

  2. Manuel Barrera says:

    Latino leaders leading marches, if the marches are the ones where tens of thousands marched, then they may have been clamoring to lead, but they were not there. I was there and they were not. They are elected but they are not leaders. The only leader was Ben Reyes and he led the wrong way. Rick Noriega had a promising career but tried to climb too high too fast. Rick was and is a leader.

  3. Burt Levine says:

    Manny we have agreed on so much this past few months I really hope we can meet in person sometime soon.

  4. Not my district but Gene Green is a long long time friend and long ago he and his staff set the standard for constituent service that all elected officials should try to emulate. Whoever Gene represents has a true advocate for them all the time.

    We are about to see if the color of ones skin trumps solving the needs of the people. My bet is Gene wins in a walk. No reason to trade in a sure thing for a maybe. When he decides to vacate the seat, his successor will come from one of the young legislators standing with him in this election.

    Also, will be interesting to see just who the money folks behind Adrian Garcia are and what their motive for doing so is. I sort of sniff the Bill White crowd and he didn’t have a real good night in the municipals.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    I think it is funny that the party of quotas, identity politics and affirmative action is now concerned because an obviously competent leader like Gene Green might be deposed by a lesser quality candidate simply by virtue of race.

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that an incumbent “deserves” to keep his/her job simply because he/she is the incumbent, but at the same time, I don’t agree with voting for a lesser candidate simply based on race.

  6. Manuel Barrera says:

    Amazing homosexuals promote homosexuals and they get up tight because people of the same color (ethnicity) may support their kind. Where were all the the homosexuals when Al Green defeated Chris Bell? Were they making the same arguments. If Gene Green is the standard here in Harris County the Democratic party will remain the minority party for a long time.

  7. PDiddie says:

    Uh oh, Bad Manny is back…

  8. Manuel Barrera says:

    If one casts stones expect stones to be cast back, pdiddie, there is no excuse what whitwhatever said. I was kind I could have used the word that Ray Hill likes to use for persons of a certain sexual preference type. But me thinks that is kinda reserved for other Qs just like the use of the N word.

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  9. Julain Deleon says:

    It is a silly for any candidate to think that Voters of the same ethnicity will vote for you for that reason.

  10. Julain Deleon says:

    Is it me or is that Manual Barrera guy fixated on homosexuals.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    @Julain:

    “It is a silly for any candidate to think that Voters of the same ethnicity will vote for you for that reason.”

    That’s not true. If you are black, you’re getting at least 90% of the black vote, period, assuming you have a (D) by your name on the ballot.

  12. […] the Kuff had some thoughts on the primary in CD29 between Rep. Gene Green and Adrian […]

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