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Interview season begins tomorrow

We’re a month into primary season, and we’re also six weeks out from the start of early voting. You know what I did over Christmas vacation? I interviewed a bunch of candidates, that’s what. You will begin to see the results of that labor tomorrow, with more to come. Doing a bunch of interviews is always a challenge, but this year I had the additional task of trying to decide which interviews to do, as there just wasn’t the time to get to every race.

I have done interviews for a long time. I do them mostly to give candidates in races where there usually isn’t much media coverage the chance to be heard, and thus to give the voters who may not otherwise be able to know anything about them beyond what they can find on the Internet a chance to hear them speak for themselves. I usually stay neutral in the races where I do interviews (the 2009 Mayor’s race, where I was open about supporting Annise Parker, is an exception) because I want all the candidates to feel like I’m being fair to them, but also because I see my mission in doing these interviews as informative. I have always wanted to be broad and inclusive.

This year, the huge slate paired with the compressed primary timeline makes that goal unattainable. I thought about ways I might try to work around that, but in the end I decided that was neither practical nor desirable. And as I thought about that and considered my options, I realized I could approach things a little differently, and in doing so help me decide which races to prioritize.

What that means is this. For this year, I have decided there are some races where the better use of my platform is to make an endorsement rather than schedule and try to execute multiple interviews. If people come here to learn about candidates, then for this year I think it would be best for me to just say who I’m voting for in certain races. I’ve not done this before, and I may never do it again, but this year this is what feels right.

So with that long-winded preamble out of the way:

I endorse Beto O’Rourke for US Senate. Do I really need to say anything about this one?

I endorse Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in CD18. She works hard, she votes the way I want her to vote, I have supported her in previous elections, and I see no reason to do otherwise this year.

I endorse Sen. Sylvia Garcia in CD29. I was redistricted out of SD06 before she was elected there, but she has been an excellent successor to my former Senator, the late Mario Gallegos. She’s the clear choice in CD29.

I endorse Sen. John Whitmire for re-election in SD15. In the hostile environment that is the State Senate under Dan Patrick, Whitmire’s experience and institutional knowledge are vital. Four years ago, I asked his primary opponent Damien LaCroix why we should forsake Whitmire’s seniority and clout for a freshman. He didn’t have a good answer then, and I doubt he has one now. We hope to get a lot of new Democratic blood in every branch of government this year, but we still very much need John Whitmire.

I endorse Allison Lami Sawyer in HD134. I do plan to interview Sawyer – I’m in discussion with her to set a time and place at the time of publication – but I can’t say enough that her primary opponent, Lloyd Oliver, is a clown and an idiot, and we would be doing ourselves a grave disservice if we let him slip through the primary. Not that there’s ever a good year to screw around and nominate a deeply problematic schmuck like Oliver, but this is an especially bad year for that. Vote for Allison Sawyer in HD134.

I dual-endorse Marty Schexnayder and Sandra Moore in HD133. They both look like fine people (I haven’t reached out to them for interviews yet but probably will), but with all due respect to them this isn’t really about them. It’s about the third candidate in the race, who is even more of a problem than Lloyd Oliver. This other candidate, whom I will not name, has a long history of harassing me over a silly thing I said about him back in 2002. You can vote for Marty Schexnayder in HD133, or you can vote for Sandra Moore in HD133, but please do not even think about voting for the other candidate in HD133.

I endorse Diane Trautman for Harris County Clerk. I’ve known Diane for a long time. She’s a hard worker, a great Democrat, and she has served ably as HCDE Trustee. She was also the first Democrat to announce for anything for this cycle, and has been on the ground campaigning for months. Gayle Mitchell is a nice person who ran against Ann Harris Bennett for this nomination on 2014. You can listen to the interview I did with her then here. Ann Harris Bennett was the better candidate that year, and Diane Trautman is the better candidate this year. Nat West is the SDEC Chair for SD13, and is by all accounts I’ve heard a fine person. As far as I can tell, he has no web presence for his candidacy. With all due respect, Diane Trautman is the clear choice.

I endorse Marilyn Burgess for District Clerk. I only met her during this cycle, but like Diane Trautman she’s been out there campaigning for months, and she has great credentials for this office. All three of her opponents entered the race in the last days of the filing period. Two have no web presence – one was a candidate for SBOE in 2016, and had no web presence then, either – and one has a mostly unreadable website. District Clerk is – or at least should be – one of the least political elected offices out there. It’s about doing a straightforward information management job. I have faith Marilyn Burgess can do that job, and I’m voting for her.

I endorse Adrian Garcia for County Commissioner in Precinct 2. I’d been pining for him to run for this office for months, so I may as well be consistent.

So there you have it. Interviews begin tomorrow. Let me know what you think.

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8 Comments

  1. TexMex Dude says:

    Which candidate for CD 7 do you endorse?

  2. These are the only races in which I’m making an endorsement. You’ll be able to hear interviews with all of the CD07 candidates beginning Monday.

  3. Flypusher says:

    Will you have CD22 interviews?

    I’m weighing my options as to which primary to vote in. I base that choice on where I feel my votes are going to count the most, whether it be saying “OHHELLNO” to nut jobs, or supporting good candidates.

    Lately I’ve been doing more of the former.

  4. Flypusher – Probably for the runoff. I didn’t plan on it for March.

  5. Thanks Charles. Your endorsement means so much to me and I appreciate your support and confidence in my campaign.

  6. Robert Nagle says:

    Look forward to your coverage of the 7th congressional district. (I have to think my CD10 district will be competitive — though I don’t know very much about the people running yet). Curiously, my mom — who lives in Katy — met CD22 district Dem Sri Preston Kulkarni who was street-walking in her (conservative) neighborhood. I checked out his bio and website Impressive fellow. Alas, it’s sad to see such an impressive candidate trying to make headway in a solid Republican district….

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Kulkami does have an impressive background. I’m especially impressed by his speaking multiple languages. The negative I see is he doesn’t list any actual business experience. Has he managed employees, had to make payroll, plan growth, schedule, deal with regulators, manage tax obligations, etc.?

    I do like his enthusiasm, out block walking already. I had a TX congressional candidate years back knock on my door that I was not planning on voting for, but after talking with him for a while, told him he had my vote, even though we had some substantive differences on the issues. I appreciated him telling me what he thought, even though he knew up front I was going to disagree with some of it.

    It would be nice if Kuff would get him to do a Q&A. How will he vote on the MAGA issues, and in particular, since he’s experienced in negotiations, what is he willing to give for DACA, because I don’t see that issue getting settled before the midterms.

  8. Souperman says:

    Had to look up who The Candidate Who Shall Not Be Named was, but yeah – at the very least, the guy should figure out if he’s a Democrat or not before asking for votes in the Democratic primary. I get it if your schtick is to be the iconoclastic anti-establishment candidate (or a pox on both their houses kind of thing – we have the ability to run for office without either major party label for that purpose), but bouncing back and forth like that just strikes me as either opportunism in the hopes nobody notices or an inability to make up one’s mind.

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