Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Predictions for 11/8/11 Houston Municipal Elections

Houston voters adopted terms limits in 1991, and since then only one council incumbent has lost while seeking reelection to the same office. I see that precedent remaining unbroken this cycle.   Labor Day is still considered the traditional start of fall campaigns, and tomorrow is the deadline to file for a spot on the November 8 ballot. Even though there is one more day to file, I believe we can safely predict the following races:
Mayor -- Annise Parker will be easily reelected to her second term.
Controller -- Ronald Green is unopposed for his second term.
District Council Members -- Brenda Stardig; Wanda Adams; Mike Sullivan; Al Hoang; Oliver Pennington; Ed Gonzalez and James Rodriguez; will all be reelected.
At Large Council Members -- Steve Costello; Melissa Noriega; and Brad Bradford; will all be reelected.  Council Member Jolanda Jones is the one competitive race (see below).
Open and New Seats -- There are three open seats and two new seats on the ballot.  Here is how I see them today:
District B -- There will be a runoff between Alvin Byrd and someone.
District C -- There may or may not be a runoff, but it is irrelevant:  Ellen Cohen wins this seat.
District J -- There will be a runoff and Mike Laster will be in it.
District K -- Larry Green wins this seat.  Today, he is unopposed.
At-Large 2 -- The top three candidates are Bo Fraga; David Robinson; and Kristi Thibaut.  Two of these three will be in a runoff.
At-Large 5 -- Widely disliked by her Council colleagues, brash, outspoken and flamboyantly attired, Council Member Jo Jones is the The Most Interesting Member of Council.  In 2009, she barely survived a runoff with Jack Christie. With an ongoing Harris County District Attorney investigation, many had written off Jones’ reelection chances earlier this year.  
Jones then reported raising $113,586 on her July 15 report. She deftly handled and capitalized on the Red Light Camera court ruling and City Council vote.  She has proven to be a tireless campaigner, and is showing the competitive drive of the world-class athlete that she was.  Love her or hate her, she is likely coming back to City Council in 2012.

Correction:  I originally stated that no incumbent had lost since the advent of term limits.  That is incorrect:  Sylvia Garcia defeated Lloyd Kelley for Controller in 1997 when he was the incumbent.  It is true that no incumbent Council Member has lost since term limits were adopted in 1991.

Second Correction:  Robert -- I think the one exception is when Burt Keller defeated (recently-deceased) Jean Kelley, wife of former Councilman John Kelley. She was running for a second term when Keller beat her in 1999. Great blog!  Andy Teas