Two of my favorite fall sports are Rice Owls football and City of Houston mayoral elections (in odd numbered years).
There are many similarities between the 2013 Owls and the 2013 Annise Parker Campaign. Both open the season with veteran squads, high expectations, and a tough match-up.
Rice will line up against Texas A&M at high noon on August 31 and attempt to corral Johnny Manziel on national television. A&M enjoyed smashing success in its first year on the field in the SEC, and its move to the SEC has proved to a financial home run.
Mayor Parker (Rice ’78) is similarly competing against the free-spending Ben Hall, who has pumped $1.7 million into his candidacy so far. Given that he only raised $311,000 in the first half of the year, he will need to rely on his fortune made as a plaintiff’s lawyer to continue to field a team.
The mayor’s race kicked off on January 16 when Mr. Hall announced, and the final gun will sound on November 4, election day. In essence, the July 15 finance reports marked halftime. Mayor Parker won the first half.
Hall fumbled the opening kickoff when it was revealed that his taxes to Spring Branch ISD were past due allowing Parker to score an early touchdown. It was thought that the Hall campaign would feature a strong passing game (television), but he has not taken to the air so far despite spending over $800,000 on his campaign. The Chronicle flagged him for an offside penalty when his campaign press release suggested that he only had loans of $152,921.31, instead of the actual amount of $1.55 million.
Parker played a steady first half grinding out the yards. She raised $2.2 million during the period, spent about $640,500, and had $2.5 million on hand as of June 30 compared to Hall’s $1.16 million. She didn’t have any turnovers, and, in my judgment, ended the first half with a 20 - 3 lead.
It is still a competitive game and I look for Hall to start throwing deep. But given that the Mayor has now won 8 citywide elections in a row, I am betting that she will be reelected and cover the spread. I am only betting that the Owls will cover the spread.