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The 2019 elections

We haven’t forgotten that there are some big elections on tap for us this year, have we? Let’s go a quick rundown.

May elections

Election campaigns are already in progress in the cities that have May elections, which includes big cities like San Antonio and Dallas, and smaller cities in our area like Pasadena, Sugar Land, and Pearland. Pasadena will be a hot zone again, with first-term Mayor Jeff Wagner up for re-election and local Democrats hoping to win the District A seat they came so close to in 2017, which would give them a 5-3 advantage on City Council. I don’t have much to say about these races yet, but I will note that my friend Nabila Mansoor is running for City Council in Sugar Land, so I wish her all the best with that.

Houston – Overview

This is the first city election since 2015, thanks to the change in the term limits law. It’s also the first city election since the election of Donald Trump, and the two high-turnout, Democratic-sweep elections in Harris County. How will that affect the course of this election? Normally, even if we have a hotly contested Mayor’s race, we’d be looking at 200 to 250K turnout max – less if the Mayor’s race was not contested – but with all the newly activated people from the past two years, will things change? The betting money always says No until events prove otherwise. The one other thing that may affect turnout this year is the Metro referendum, which itself will be conducted for the first time with no John Culberson in office. So many factors in play, so all I will say for now is don’t believe any firm, confident pronouncements. There’s a lot of room for variance and for doubt at this time.

Mayor

It’s Sylvester Turner versus Bill King, Round 2, with the extra zest (maybe) of Tony Buzbee. And maybe others, too – will anyone be surprised if Ben Hall manages to get a story published about how he’s “thinking about” taking another shot at it? The last Mayor to fail to be re-elected was Kathy Whitmire in 1991. Past performance does not guarantee future outcomes, but I figure there’s a reason for that. It’s Turner’s election to lose, and King doesn’t have his signature talking point from 2015 now that pension reform has been achieved, by Turner. He’s clearly going to attack Turner, but as to what he might campaign on beyond that, I have no idea.

City Controller

Honestly, I’ll be surprised if Chris Brown draws anything more than token opposition. Controller isn’t that sexy a job, and Brown hasn’t done anything to draw the bad kind of attention to himself.

City Council

Districts A, B, C, J, and At Large #5 are term limited. I’ve already received two invitations to like Facebook pages for District C candidates (Nick Hellyar and Bob Nowak), and I’m aware of at least two more such candidates (Shelley Kennedy and Abbie Kamin). Durrel Douglas listed some potential District B candidates a few weeks ago, and there are rumblings in the other slots as well. Raj Salhotra has announced a challenge to Mike Knox in At Large #1, while Laurie Robinson appears to be gearing up for another run in At Large #5. I’ll be reviewing the finance reports for January when they start to come out, which may yield a few more names. For now, let’s just say I expect a lot of activity, and not just in the open seats. Four years is a long time to go between city elections, and lots of people are in a mind to run for something.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Sallie Alcorn, who had been Steve Costello’s chief of staff, has announced her candidacy for AL5.

HISD

Assuming we have HISD Trustee elections this November – we should know that for sure by August – the following Trustees are up in 2019: Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Sergio Lira, Jolanda Jones, and Diana Davila. Far as I know, all are planning to run for re-election. Lira was elected to fill out Manuel Rodriguez’s unfinished term in 2017, Skillern-Jones was forced into a runoff in 2015 and has had a rocky tenure as Board President, Davila upset Juliet Stipeche (now Mayor Turner’s education czar) in 2015, and Jolanda is Jolanda. I’m not currently aware of any opponents on the horizon, but I’m sure most if not all of them will draw someone. Assuming, again, we have HISD Trustee elections this November.

HCC

It will have been six long years, but we will finally have the chance to rid ourselves of the stain that is Dave Wilson, in HCC Trustee District 2, this November. Also up for election are Zeph Capo and Neeta Sane.

Metro

All of Harris County will have the Metro referendum, which is as yet unfinished, on their ballot in November. Again, I don’t have much to say about this yet, but this is one of my top interests for 2019. It will certainly be a component of the Mayor’s race as well. I figure if Metro could pass the 2003 referendum they have to be a favorite to pass this one, but you never know with these things.

That’s all I have for now. Next up will be the finance reports when they become available. If you know of any candidate announcements or other related news, leave a comment and tell us all.

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14 Comments

  1. Jennifer H says:

    The Pasadena mayor has a 4 year term and the city council members have 2 year terms. Wagner won’t be on the ballot.

    The seat they came so close in was District B.

  2. voter_worker says:

    “All of Harris County will have the Metro referendum, which is as yet unfinished, on their ballot in November.” You can verify this with the Voter Registrar or County Clerk, but Jersey Village, Tomball, the unincorporated areas west and east of Lake Houston, Jacinto City, Galena Park, Baytown, La Porte, Deer Park, Seabrook, El Lago, Friendswood (Harris County portion), Pearland (Harris County portion), League City (Harris County portion) and Pasadena are not in the Metro election. go to the “METRO Park & Ride Locations and Fares” (the second map) at this link to view a depiction of the actual METRO voting area, the white field on bluish background. https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/ParkRide.aspx

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    I hear Boykins is thinking of putting his name for Mayor.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    I don’t see how Turner can be re-elected by any decent people. First off, his policies that promote segregation. Second, he swelled the numbers of his staff, with many jobs paying over $100,000 per year. He hands out contracts to his friends and associates. Now, the latest is the recycling is costing one million dollars in over time, and not being done, due to aging equipment and poor staff retention. Trash collectors, bus drivers, firefighters, and other workers in Houston city government are some of the lowest paid of any comparable size city. I might run for mayor, not because I would win, but because it is morally wrong not to try to stop this.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Jason you must have Turner confused with Abbott. Want an appointment donate 10,000 or more to Abbott.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Abbott-donor-s-shocking-admission-Texas-13195216.php

    That is why Republicans love Trump, they are selling our Country and State.

  6. N.M. Horwitz says:

    I’m glad you emphasized this being the first Muni since Trump got elected. I think that changes everything. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2017 saw the School Board go all-Democratic. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2018 was the biggest judicial landslide for Democrats in my lifetime after two years of the Smart People at Brennan’s and La Griglia saying dEmoCrATs dOnT vOte iN mIDteRm eLeCtiOnS.

    I just don’t see a 2019 that is less favorable than 2015 to Democrats.

    “Bigot Bill” and “Trumpy Tony” need to be coined now.

    As for the council races, I’m picking a few sides early. Abbie Kamin is a lifelong friend, who I know would be an amazing District CM (I say this as my parents’ house, one of the few original constructions in Meyerland to not go underwater thrice in the last four years, has its recycling bin turn into a permanent curbside fixture). I only met Raj Salhotra a few months ago, but was amazed and impressed, and am all-in for him.

    It’s going to be an exciting cycle.

  7. Manny Barrera says:

    N.M. in 2020, I hope to see a serious candidate take on Radack. Mike Laster would be a good candidate for that, if not that a J.P. could be considered for him.

    Laster is a good district council member.

  8. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Dwight Boykins isnt going to knock out Turner. Hed just be running as a kamikaze candidate to help the Republicans make the runoff by trying to peel enough Turner votes away to keep him winning outside the runoff.

    Turner should simply point out that Buzbee and King are both Republicans and are supported by Trumpers. Turner lost District C last time. Run against Buzbee and King based upon their Trumpian support, and he wont lose it this time. And his numbers would be improved in West Houston too. Of course Buzbee and King could repudiate Trump, and by doing so, anger their base. And in Buzbee’s case , I dont think he can credibly distance himself from Trump.

    Im not a big Turner fan, and didnt vote for him in 2015, but 2015 with Obama as President is far different than 2019 with Trump in the White House. I see no alternative but to vote for Turner this time.

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    Agree with Tom, Boykins would be in as a spoiler, maybe being encouraged by one of the multimillionaire Republican candidates.

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Tom.

    This Trumper wouldn’t support Buzbee, unless his super secret master plan for Houston governance is to sue Dallas to pay for everything Houston needs, like fixing the roads, trash pickup, and paying for that big-ass firefighter raise.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Maybe Buzbee could roll that tank up 45 and lay siege on Dallas until they pay up!

  12. Jason Hochman says:

    @Manny: it is always ironic to find that many people who want to take down statues–blocks of stone, wood, and metal that do nothing–are fine with contemporary people promoting segregation. I don’t like segregation at all.

  13. Manny Barrera says:

    Jason you take and ant hill and build it into a mountain.

    What you are suggesting because of the housing are Republican talking points that any rational person would see do that apply.

    Please tell us how Turner is responsible for the housing? One apartment in River Oaks or 100 in a neighborhood that is not expensive.

    You and all the Republicans are so full of hate for minorities, that you create scenarios to try to justify your own hate.

    If you think you can prove that Turner is for segregation, give it a shot, but not just he is.

  14. Manny Barrera says:

    do not apply