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Weekend Hopes

80,153 have voted Early in Person here in Harris County after four days. In 2010 after four days, 104,420 had voted Early in Person. Not good.

After four days we are behind 2010 by 24,000 votes and change. The Early Voting locations in Latino and African American neighborhoods are a smaller share of the total turnout in 2014 as compared to 2010. Not good at all.

It has me scratching my head. Why are some urban counties in the Lone Star State performing better than 2010 and why is Harris County lagging? We have had air time for ads. We have had pretty good local news coverage of the campaigns?

Today will be better and so will tomorrow but can we reverse the trend of the first four days? I am starting to think not.

What happened in ‘Stros history 40 years ago today?

The H-Town Mayor has named an Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole (that is every member of City Council) for the purpose of reviewing the City Charter including looking at term limits. I have said it before, if you are going to change term limits go out and build support from the community. Go gather signatures and conduct a grassroots campaign. All you do is p_ss-off voters when you make these kind of changes at the Council table. But once again, they didn’t ask me!

40 years ago today the ‘Stros acquired Jose Cruuuuuuuuuz from San Luis of course.

Hey, remember to wish my great friend State Rep. Carol Alvarado a Happy Birthday this Sunday!

The 2014 World Serious resumes tonight.

Bad News Poll

This is a bummer. The latest Texas Tribune poll is a stinker for Dems. I just find it hard to believe just like I find it had to believe the turnout here in Harris County after three days of Early Voting in Person. I just don’t see it getting any better over the next twelve days.

According to the Trib poll, the closest statewide race is with the Dem candidate that isn’t on the campaign trail. Here is from the Trib:

“The drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race.”

Abbott has the support of 54 percent of likely voters to Davis’ 38 percent.

Among men, Abbott holds a 61-32 lead in this survey. And he leads by 2 percentage points — 48 to 46 — among women.

Abbott leads among likely voters who dropped out of high school all the way up to those with post-graduate degrees. Davis leads with voters who said they never attend church services, but Abbott leads with every group that did, no matter how frequently or infrequently. With Anglo voters, he holds a 62 percent to 31 percent advantage. Davis leads 75 to 19 among black voters and narrowly — 48 to 46 — among Hispanic voters.

“It should be a really interesting, contentious race,” said Daron Shaw, a government professor at UT-Austin and co-director of the poll. “And yet, it doesn’t seem to have penetrated the public consciousness. Certainly, nothing down-ballot has.”

Most of the statewide races are not as close as this one, the poll found — and Republican candidates hold the lead in each one.

Republican Dan Patrick has a comfortable 52 percent to 35 percent lead over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the race for lieutenant governor.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican seeking re-election, polled well ahead of his opponents, with 57 percent saying they will support him. Democrat David Alameel has the support of 31 percent of the respondents.

In the race for attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton has 54 percent to Democrat Sam Houston’s 34 percent.

State Sen. Glenn Hegar, a Republican, is 15 percentage points ahead of Democrat Mike Collier, a Houston accountant, in the race for comptroller. Hegar has 49 percent to Collier’s 34 percent.

George P. Bush, whose famous political name scared other Republicans out of the primary for land commissioner, holds an 18 percentage point lead over Democrat John Cook, a former El Paso mayor, in that race. He has 50 percent and Cook had 32 percent.

The contest for agriculture commissioner almost sounds close by comparison, with Republican Sid Miller, a state representative, at 47 percent, and Democrat Jim Hogan, a political newcomer who has not actively campaigned, at 35 percent.

With 48 percent, Republican Ryan Sitton leads the pack in the race for an open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, followed by Democrat Steve Brown at 34 percent.

Name the 2013 World Serious MVP?

Here is what my friend Robert Miller just tweeted:

Robert D. MIller ‏@Robert_Miller 3h3 hours ago
Turn out the lights, the party’s over. UT/TT Poll: Abbott Holds Commanding Lead Over Davis http://trib.it/1FF7ey5 via @TexasTribune #tx2014

After three days of Early Voting in Person in Harris County, 61,140 have shown up versus 79,648 after three days in 2010. This is not good in my opinion.

David Ortiz of course was the World Serious MVP last year.

KC tied it up last night.

Shaky After Day Two

I feel a bit uncomfortable after Day Two of Early Voting in Person. Here are a couple of concerning tweets from yesterday:

Scott Braddock ‏@scottbraddock 2h2 hours ago
Those Harris County early vote totals are not good for Democrats. *If* Texas is a battleground, #Houston is ground zero #TxLege

And:

Teddy Schleifer @teddyschleifer • 5h 5 hours ago
Dems excited by big vote-by-mail numbers here in Harris County, but in-person down 25%. Not good for them. #HOUNews | http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2014/10/in-person-early-vote-turnout-still-down-in-harris-county/

Here is from Chron.com:

The number of voters showing up at Harris County’s 41 early-vote locations was down by 25 percent for the second straight day on Tuesday, according to tallies released by the County Clerk.

A total of 20,380 registered voters cast a ballot on Tuesday, more than 7,000 fewer voters than cast one on the first Tuesday of early voting during the last midterm election in 2010. While Monday’s results revealed a massive increase in the number of mail ballots received this fall, the number received on Tuesday slightly trailed those seen on the corresponding Tuesday in 2010. A majority of the vote-by-mail ballots typically arrive on the first day.

A total of 21,612 votes were cast Tuesday, 1,232 of them mail ballots. On Monday, the first day of the two-week early-voting period, 61,735 total votes were cast.

A Commentary review of Early Voting locations likely frequented by African American and Latino voters shows a slight decrease in voter turnout as compared to the 2010 numbers after Day Two. Sure Dems are doing better with the mail ballots but we have to increase the Early Voting in Person numbers – or else. What is happening out there?

Some folks know that Giants Skipper Bruce Bochy played for the ‘Stros. When did he play for the ‘Stros and what number did he wear?

Today the Chron E-Board endorsed in county court races – four GOPers and one Dem here:

http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-county-criminal-court-judges-5838259.php.

They also endorsed Orlando Sanchez for County Treasurer here:

http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-county-treasurer-5838257.php.

Bruce Bochy of course played for the ‘Stros from 1978-1980 and wore the numero 13.

It was good to see former ‘Stro Hunter Pence hit a dinger last night.

Day One Done

The first day of Early Voting in Person is history. The good news for local Dems is the mail ballot numbers. It looks like the local Dem effort might be paying off.

Here in Harris County 41,520 mail ballots are in the can as compared to 24,273 on Day 1 in 2010 and 40,566 in 2012.

Early Voting in Person is below the 2010 levels on Day 1 but when you look at individual locations, they are all down. I was thinking that with all the ads and hoopla out there, the numbers would be better than the 2010 numbers. Well, we still have eleven days.

Here is what the Chron’s Theodore “Teddy” Schleifer has to say:

Twenty percent more votes were cast on the initial day of early voting in Harris County on Monday than were cast on the first day in 2010, an increase fueled by a huge uptick in the number of mail ballots sent earlier this fall to voters.

And:

Election officials said Monday afternoon that 61,735 total votes had been cast, two-thirds of which had arrived by mail but had not been officially counted until early voting began.

While the number of votes at the county’s 41 early-vote locations decreased by 6,000 votes compared to 2010, the 66 percent increase in the vote-by-mail numbers resulted in a total increase of about 11,000 votes.

Democrats made a coordinated vote-by-mail program a priority this cycle for the first time, partially because the new, tough voter ID law does not impact absentee balloting. The law’s reinstatement over the weekend may disqualify potential Democratic voters, Democrats say, making their vote-by-mail push even more critical.

And:

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the early voting period could be “fairly consequential for Democrats” as they claim enthusiasm is on their side heading toward Election Day.

“For a lot of Democrats and for a lot of watchers of Democrats, they’re going to want to know, ‘Are you going to get your people to the polls like you promised?’ ” Rottinghaus said. “From a political standpoint, they need to have those numbers pretty high.”

Let’s see what happens today!

KC and the Giants faced each other for three back in August at The K. Who won the series?

Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Mike Sullivan let me know yesterday that he stands by his tweet on Friday. Here is what I put out yesterday:

I put up the following Mike Sullivan tweet from last Friday and it turned out to be incorrect and wrong. Oh well!

Mike Sullivan ‏@CMMikeSullivan 39m39 minutes ago
Mayor Annise Parker just told this audience “I will bring a term limits change to city council agenda. I want to be mayor longer”.

Well, The Mayor said she didn’t so tie goes to the runner, I guess.

KC swept the Giants in three back in August of course and it is World Serious time.

Vote Early

In today’s Chron, the Harris County Clerk predicts about 400,000 early votes in the County in the next couple of weeks. In 2012, 700,983 Voted Early in Person. In 2010, 392,141 Voted Early in Person.

As of Friday (Oct. 17) here in Harris County, 86,446 mail ballot applications have been submitted. 38,430 of the applications have been generated by the Democratic Party or Democratic candidate campaigns and 36,731 by the GOP and GOP candidate campaigns.

Two years ago in 2012 in Harris County, 47,093 showed up to Vote Early in person on Day One. Are we ready for today?

This MLB Hall of Fame great would be 83 today if he were still around. He is also my favorite MLBer of all time. Who am I talking about?

A Team Davis door-hanger was dropped off at my place this past Saturday. It asked me to go Early Vote in Person at West Gray. No thanks! I prefer Moody because it is closer and more convenient. (Two miles and five minutes versus 3.7 miles and ten minutes.) The door-hanger also appeared to be geared toward the African American voter. No big deal!

I put up the following Mike Sullivan tweet from last Friday and it turned out to be incorrect and wrong. Oh well!

Mike Sullivan ‏@CMMikeSullivan 39m39 minutes ago
Mayor Annise Parker just told this audience “I will bring a term limits change to city council agenda. I want to be mayor longer”.

If you want to check out the Channel 11 poll, go here: http://www.khou.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/19/abbott-patrick-command-big-leads-in-khou–houston-public-media-poll/17586309/.

Oh well!

The Latino Dems’ favorite critic, Ruben Navarrette, Jr., pooh-poohs the Dems’ effort to get the Latino vote in his latest column. Here is how he ends his column:

The fog is lifting. Democrats haven’t been there when Latinos needed them. On Election Day, Latino voters are going to return the favor.

Here is his column: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Navarrette-Signs-of-a-Great-Awakening-5830610.php.

I don’t agree with Navarrette.

Mickey Mantle of course was born 83 years ago today.

This evening H-Town will once again be focused on the Texans.

BREAKING NEWS!!! The following tweets just came in. Is this a joke?

Mike Sullivan ‏@CMMikeSullivan 39m39 minutes ago
Mayor Annise Parker just told this audience “I will bring a term limits change to city council agenda. I want to be mayor longer”.

Justin Concepcion ‏@JVConcep 31m31 minutes ago
Myr @anniseparker announces she’ll tackle term limits (abolish or change)- she’s wants to be mayor longer!! Woah?! What’s next, zoning????

It has to be a joke – right?

I have tried to stay away from the Ebola issue because that is not my field. Yesterday on CNN I caught parts of a congressional hearing on Ebola and watched a few members of congress bang on the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Rep. Garnet Coleman is probably the state’s leading Dem on health care issues, so what he has to say about Ebola needs our attention. Here is from Chron.com:

It is the State of Texas, not the federal government, that deserves the blame for any problems with the handling of the country’s first Ebola patient, a longtime Houston lawmaker said Thursday.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Democrat who has served on the House Public Health Committee longer than any other legislator, said the infection of two Dallas health workers may signal serious problems with the state’s public health system that will have to be addressed in next year’s session. He added that focusing on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many state politicians have done, misses the point.

“The immediate responsibility for containing emergency health situations is the state, not the CDC. That’s how the system works,” Coleman said. “The reality is, if there was a slow or poor response, it’s the state’s fault.”

“I appreciate the Obama administration’s apology,” he said later, “but have we heard anybody from the State of Texas say they’re sorry?”

Coleman said he believes state health commissioner David Lakey is working hard but has been hamstrung by budget cuts in recent years. Lawmakers have cut money and staff in state public health programs, as well as funding for county programs, he said earlier this week.

“At the end of the day, it’s the counties that have to lead the response to infectious disease outbreaks,” Coleman said, adding his concern was not specifically about Ebola but future viruses that prove more contagious.

Coleman said he has scheduled a discussion on preparedness for Monday in the House County Affairs Committee that he chairs.

Now that ought to get a response or two.

As of yesterday (Oct. 16) here in Harris County, 85,836 mail ballot applications have been submitted. 38,287 of the applications have been generated by the Democratic Party or Democratic candidate campaigns and 36,567 by the GOP and GOP candidate campaigns.

Are we ready for Monday?

Yesterday Alyson Footer from MLB.com put out a nice piece on the 2004 NLCS between the ‘Stros and San Luis. Who handled most of the catching duties for San Luis during that seven game series?

Chris Bell is the only potential H-Town mayoral candidate who has put out a take on the Amen Subpoenas. Here is what he tweeted:

Chris Bell @AlisonsHusband • 23h 23 hours ago
Good to see Mayor and City Atty back away from sermon subpoenas. Many of us who support HERO see the tactic doing much more harm than good.

The Chron E-Board today endorsed three GOPers for the Supreme Court here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-Supreme-Court-5828067.php.

The E-Board today endorsed a GOPer for the Court of Criminal Appeals here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-criminal-appeals-5828054.php.

In races for Congress, yesterday the E-Board endorsed five GOPers and two Dems here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-Congress-5825437.php.

Current San Luis Skipper Mike Matheny of course started six games out of seven at catcher for San Luis during the 2004 NLCS.

It’s the Giants versus KC in the 2014 World Serious that gets underway next Tuesday!

As of yesterday (Oct. 15) here in Harris County, 85,095 mail ballot applications have been submitted. 38,086 of the applications have been generated by the Democratic Party or Democratic candidate campaigns and 36,359 by the GOP and GOP candidate campaigns.

Here is the number to look for next Monday evening after the County releases the first day results of the Daily Record of Early Voting – 40,566. That’s how many mail ballots were in the books after the first day of Early Voting in Person in 2012. Stay tuned!

KC swept their way to the World Serious yesterday. KC played in their first Serious in 1980 and lost to Philly in six. Name the 1980 World Serious MVP?

Talk about stepping in it and national blowback. Here is what the Chron E-Board is saying this morning about the Amen Subpoenas:

Just when you thought your political leaders couldn’t be more tone deaf than gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis with her now infamous wheelchair ad, along comes Mayor Annise Parker and her city attorney, David Feldman. It surfaced Tuesday that Feldman, represented by one of Houston’s highest-priced law firms, Susman Godfrey L.L.P., had dropped an Orwellian subpoena on a group of local ministers. He was demanding they hand over sermons and any other communications with congregants regarding Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, the mayor, homosexuality and gender identity.

Wednesday, Feldman narrowed the subpoena to communications regarding the petition process. But the damage was already done.

The pastors are tied to a group that has sued the city to force a referendum to repeal the ordinance that was passed earlier this year by City Council.

The ordinance, in short, banned discrimination. Many considered it a solution in search of a problem. This page vociferously supported the equal rights ordinance, and that remains true today. We also believe that procedures for citizens who want to override the will of council should be followed scrupulously. That’s the rub here. Feldman says the plaintiffs in the case did not properly collect the requisite number of signatures. The pastors respond that they have a legitimate challenge to the city’s disqualification and insist there should be a vote.

Maybe so, maybe not.

Regardless, the legal questions can be sorted out without heavy-handed tactics that polarize the community. Feldman’s actions look like intimidation. They also raise questions about the city’s support for freedom of speech from the pulpit and for those with whom the mayor disagrees. We certainly understand that lobbying for a particular candidate can get a church or minister into trouble with the IRS, but even it recognizes that issue advocacy is another animal entirely.

This is a lawsuit about whether signatures are valid. We’re confident that a judge will quash this subpoena faster than you can say the Lord’s Prayer. But before it gets to that point, Parker ought to haul Feldman into her office and tell him to pull the subpoenas down.

Like I said yesterday, City Hall just gave the other side some ammo and some national press run. This was totally unnecessary. So was the following tweet sent out yesterday by the Mayor:

Annise Parker ‏@AnniseParker 5m5 minutes ago
One media outlet that got it right.-A. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/houston-not-going-after-conservative-pastors.html

So every other media outlet got it wrong? Give it a rest, please!

Hall of Fame great Mike Schmidt of Philly of course won the 1980 World Serious MVP.

KC is 8-0 in the 2014 MLB Playoffs.

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