Archive for October, 2014

Ending Soon

Today is the last day of Early Voting in Person. In 2010, 59,644 showed up to vote early on the last day. That is not going to happen today.

As of yesterday (Oct. 30), 320,381 have Voted Early in Person or mailed in a ballot in Harris County. In 2010, 447,701 Voted Early in Person and by mail. So as of yesterday, we are at 71.6% of the 2010 pre-election day turnout. We had 55,560 total mail ballots returned in 2010, we are at 64,729 as of yesterday.

Did you know that if George P. Bush win his bid for Land Commissioner, he will be the first Bush not to lose his first race for office? Now you know!

The Giants picked World Serious MVP Madison Bumgarner with the tenth pick in the first round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Player Draft. Who was the first pick of that draft?

The Chron’s Nick Anderson has a killer cartoon today on The Mayor. Check it out here: http://blog.chron.com/nickanderson/2014/10/plague-of-locust/.

Did I say ouch!

As we wind down the campaign season, here is some bold talk from AG Abbott.

From the Trib:

Abbott has run ads in Spanish and campaigned heavily in the Rio Grande Valley, setting a goal of winning Cameron County and breaking 45 percent in Hidalgo County, both Democratic strongholds in predominately Latino South Texas.

Abbott said he had been to the region “16 or 17 times” during the campaign.

“We’ve devoted a lot of resources down there, a lot of time down there,” Abbott told reporters. “We have more people on the ground in the Rio Grande Valley than Rick Perry had in the entire state of Texas.”

Noting that his wife would become the first Hispanic first lady of Texas if he’s elected, Abbott said he gets “great cheers” when he travels to the area and said his campaign has been “reaching out and connecting with” the fastest growing segment of the Texas population.

A Texas Lyceum Poll conducted in September showed Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, with a clear lead among Hispanics in the governor’s race. But the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll showed it was a statistical dead heat among Latinos.

Davis spokeswoman Rebecca Acuna called Abbott’s predictions about the Latino vote “ludicrous,” saying he had compared the region to the “third world” and campaigned alongside GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, whose harsh statements about the border area and illegal immigration have drawn criticism from Hispanic leaders.

We will see!

David Price of course who is now with the Tigers was the top pick of the 2007 MLB Draft – he was selected by the Rays.

It looks like the Rockets and ‘Stros have gotten their TV deal.

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In Charge

As of yesterday (Oct. 29), 284,362 have Voted Early in Person or mailed in a ballot in Harris County. In 2010, 447,701 Voted Early in Person and by mail. So as of yesterday, we are at 63.5% of the 2010 pre-election day turnout. We had 55,560 total mail ballots returned in 2010, we are at 63,857 as of yesterday.

A quick review of Early Voting locations in Latino neighborhoods STILL has me concerned. Again, maybe some of those folks are now voting by mail and not in person – but still.

A few days ago another Dem door-hanger was dropped off here. Again, it appeared to be designed for African American households. I am just kind of wondering if they checked on my ‘hood’s demographics.

Some local political folks that Commentary respects are kind of wondering about the local Dem effort. A couple are starting to conclude that next Tuesday night isn’t going to be pretty. Some can’t figure out what the strategy is. Some can’t figure out the allocation of resources. None of them are close to those that are making the decisions. Who is in charge?

Since 2000, name the MLB club with the most World Serious titles?

The Texas Observer put out a piece yesterday on state voter turnout. Here are parts:

If Wendy Davis and the rest of the Democratic slate of statewide candidates have any chance of defying the polls, or even doing better than the disastrous (for Dems) year of 2010, they’ll probably need a large number of voters to turn out to the polls. We’ve written this story many, many times: The Achilles’ heel for Texas Democrats is that their voters don’t show up. Texas has some of the worst voter turnout numbers in the nation and that abounds perpetually to the Republicans’ advantage. This election cycle was supposed to start changing that. A year and a half ago, Battleground Texas—the hyped Obama-style grassroots machine—came here promising to launch a multi-year effort at rebuilding the Democratic apparatus largely by expanding the electorate and deepening engagement with neglected communities and constituencies, especially with Latinos.

Well, we’re more than a week into early voting. How are Davis and Battleground Texas doing? It’s probably still too early to reach any definitive conclusions but the tentative answer so far is that turnout does not look all that different from 2010, the last mid-term election and a horrible year for Texas Democrats, when Bill White lost by 13 points to Rick Perry and Republicans won so many seats that they secured a super-majority in the Texas House.

The total number of people voting early barely tops 2010. Despite a bump in registered voters and significant population growth, only about 16,000 more people have voted in the first nine days of early voting this year compared to the last mid-term in 2010.

The conventional wisdom is that’s bad for Democrats, though the Davis campaign says there’s reason for “cautious optimism.”

“Of course higher turnout is generally better,” said Jeff Rotkoff, a Democratic operative who advises Steve and Amber Mostyn, the Houston couple who are among the biggest donors to Texas Democrats. “But counties don’t vote. People do. In Harris County we’re not focused on the overall percentage turnout, but rather on who is voting. And that while it looks like Republicans carried the first week of early voting in person, that we carried the weekend and Monday.”


“The data isn’t 100 percent clear, but it is clear that turnout seems to be lagging,” said Karl-Thomas Musselman, an Austin-based Democratic political consultant, “and I think it’s helping Rs more than Ds.”

I have to agree that lower turnout is not good for Dems. Turnout is always the key for Dem success.

Commentary tweeted thus yesterday:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 2h 2 hours ago
H-Town Mayor loses national PR battle on #AmenSubpoenas and does an about face. #HouNews

There is no other way to spin it. When word of the Amen Subpoenas first broke, The Mayor tweeted that sermons were fair game or something like that. After a ton of blowback, The Mayor deleted the tweet and then said the next day that maybe the subpoenas were a little too broad. She said the subpoenas would be amended.

As she was getting hammered in the media, a couple of times she pointed to stories that in her words got it right. In other words, all the other media reports got it wrong. That certainly didn’t help her out and she kept swinging.

The Chron E-Board nailed her. So did the publisher of The Leader. So did the Channel 2 editorial.

The story went national. Not very many notable politicos stepped up to defend her. The cavalry was nowhere to be found.

Plus, it never looks good when your mailbox starts getting inundated with Bibles.

In the end she lost the national PR debate, surrendered, and did an about-face on the subpoenas.

Bill King had a nice crowd at his book signing last night – a lot of folks that write campaign checks.

Since 2000, the Red Sox (2004, 2007 & 2013) and Giants (2010, 2012 & 2014) have the most World Serious titles of course.

The World Champion Giants visit The Yard for two on May 12 and 13, 2015.

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Holding Steady

As of yesterday (Oct. 28), 251,832 have Voted Early in Person or mailed in a ballot in Harris County. In 2010, 447,701 Voted Early in Person and by mail. So as of yesterday, we are at 56.25% of the 2010 pre-election day turnout. We had 55,560 total mail ballots returned in 2010, we are at 60,400 as of yesterday.

A quick review of Early Voting locations in Latino neighborhoods STILL has me concerned. Again, maybe some of those folks are now voting by mail and not in person – but still.

The Early Voting in Person locations with 1000 plus voters yesterday were Champion Forest Baptist (1,461), Kingwood Library (1,144), Freeman Library in Clear Lake (1,275), Cypress Top Park (1,265), Franz Road near Katy (1,054), West Gray (1,865), and Mendenhall (1,437). Stay tuned!

Here is what the Chron’s Theodore “Teddy” Schleifer tweeted last night:

Teddy Schleifer @teddyschleifer • 11h 11 hours ago
Local Dems counting on week 2 revival. But turnout in Harris County still down: 28,157 votes today, 35,266 in 2010. #HouNews #txgov #tx2014

Travis County also has some turnout concerns. See this from the Statesman:

Despite talk of it being a historic election, Austinites are, so far, showing about the same interest in this year’s round of politics as they usually do.

Early voting for the November election ends Friday. Twelve percent of Travis County voters had cast ballots by the end of Monday, almost exactly the same turnout as at this point in 2010, and within the range typically seen for a ballot headlined by a governor’s race, according to county election officials.

Is it the message? Is it the mechanics?

We got us a Game 7 tonight between the Giants and KC. Name the team that won the last Game 7 of a World Serious?

The word is my friend Bill King is running for H-Town Mayor. We pretty much know where Bill stands on a number of issues. Bill has a book out now called “Unapologetically Moderate.” Bill has a book signing tonight. I wonder how many folks will be showing up and I wonder how many of them will be his campaign supporters.

Yesterday I saw a tweet about a presentation over at City Hall about car collisions and red light cameras. What the heck is that all about? Are some folks thinking about making an end run on what the voters decided four years ago? It turns out the HPD folks admitted to faulty collection of the data. Doesn’t HPD have anything better to do? Here is from behind the Chron.com paywall:

Executive Assistant Chief Tim Oettmeier acknowledged the analysis was imprecise, however, noting that the data did not split neatly into four years of collisions when the cameras were in place and four years when they were not. In addition, Oettmeier said police did not examine the traffic counts at those intersections to see if the increase in collisions might be related to the streets being busier.


Some council members questioned the methodology behind the red light crash data and the purpose of including it in the presentation. Among them was Councilman Michael Kubosh, a bail bondsman who, with his brothers, led the 2010 referendum effort that got the cameras banned.

“I don’t know why it’s in this report,” he said. “There’s a charter amendment that says we’re not going to do this. There was a vote of the people; the people said no, and why you even waste your time to put this in the report to us today, I do not know. Maybe it’s that I’m sitting on council – that’s the only reason I can see.”

Oettmeier did not respond to Kubosh’s comments, but said later that he included the camera information to anticipate questions about whether HPD still needs as many police officers with its large recent investments in technology.

I agree with CM Kubosh. Excuse me while I scratch my head on this one.

The Chron E-Board has a take today on the latest HCC mess here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/HCC-accusations-5854112.php.

The new College Playoff Committee announced their first round of rankings last night. A couple of former college football coaches have cracked on former Sec. State and committee member Condi Rice, saying she doesn’t know anything about picking top teams. Like who does? When they finally get around to selecting the four playoff teams in December folks will still be debating who should have made it and who didn’t.

San Luis won Game 7 of the 2011 World Serious over the Rangers of course by a score of 6-2.

No decision yet on Tal’s Hill.

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One week from tonight we will be talking about what happened and not what is happening. Kuffer has a very good take today on Early Voting and what is happening now of sorts. Here it is: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=63588.

Here is the latest tweet from Robert Miller:

Robert D. MIller ‏@Robert_Miller 46m46 minutes ago
After 7 days, R analysis shows Harris Co. EV as 54.14% R and 45.86% D. HD 144 (@repmaryannperez) 53.69% D and HD 149 (Vo) 51.91% D. #txlege

As of yesterday in Harris County, 221,204 have Voted Early in Person or mailed in a ballot. In 2010, 447,701 Voted Early in Person and by mail. So as of yesterday, we are at 49.4% of the 2010 pre-election day turnout. We had 55,560 total mail ballots returned in 2010, we are at 57,929 as of yesterday. We would have to hit 56,624 per day over the next four days to reach the 2010 pre-election day levels. That is obviously not going to happen.

A quick review of Early Voting locations in Latino neighborhoods has me concerned. Maybe some of those folks are now voting by mail and not in person – but still. Stay tuned!

Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner is getting some nice run for two outstanding pitching performances in the current World Serious. Name the Hall of Fame pitching great who had three consecutive shutouts over two consecutive World Seriouses in the 1960s?

More not so good news over at HCC. Here are bits from behind the Chron.com paywall:

The former top attorney and acting chancellor of Houston Community College filed a lawsuit Monday alleging she was fired because she told the FBI of her suspicions that board members sought to use bond funds to award kickbacks.

Renee Byas, ousted in August, said in the lawsuit that some of HCC’s elected board members wanted to change procurement rules “so they could hand out bond-related contracts to friends or family.”

The whistle-blower lawsuit is the latest in a series of accusations of improper business dealings involving one of the nation’s largest community colleges. And it alludes to renewed interest in the institution by federal investigators.

Neeta Sane, chairwoman of the HCC board, denied that Byas was fired in retaliation for talking to the FBI and said she did not know of any instances in which board members tried to steer contracts to preferred vendors.


Byas, represented by high-profile Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, also alleged in the lawsuit that Sane and trustees Dave Wilson and Robert Glaser “cornered” her at a conference in Santa Fe, N.M., and questioned why she couldn’t revise the procurement process so that local firms could be given contracts for bond projects.

Wilson and Glaser could not be reached for comment.

Byas, named acting chancellor by the board in 2013, was so troubled that she carried a personal journal and tape-recorded conversations “so she could document the numerous instances that Trustees pressured her to break the law,” the lawsuit said.

I thought Dave Wilson said he was going over there to clean up the mess. Oh, well!

Can somebody tell me why the publisher of The Leader has it in for the Mayor? Here is his latest:

The Leader’s Jonathan McElvy:

The phone and email messages over the past week have been enough to make me feel like I’m the guy running a karaoke machine down at the local watering hole.

It’s not often that I take column requests, but just enough people have asked for my take on Mayor Annise Parker’s subpoena spill that I feel required to load a few lyrics into this week’s machine. If you don’t know what this Parker-subpoena issue is all about, it’s OK for you to come out of the tornado shelter now. The bad weather has passed.

In a story that sent a twister through our city, Parker and her consigliore, City Attorney David Feldman, directed (or did they?) their pro-bono attorneys to subpoena the sermons of five area pastors to see if they discussed homosexuality, gender identity, Parker herself, or the petition to seek repeal of a recently passed Houston Equal Rights Amendment.

Christians across the country – and rightfully so – launched a crusade to crucify Parker’s bully-like tactics on those who dare disagree with her.

Here’s the problem with writing a column taking Parker to task for her oppressive approach: I’m a day late and a lawyer short. Considering who has opposed Parker’s legal strategy, is there anything left to say?

The Houston Chronicle, hardly a Parker critic, said she and Feldman were wrong.

“Regardless, the legal questions can be sorted out without heavy-handed tactics that polarize the community. Feldman’s actions look like intimidation,” the Chronicle wrote in an Oct. 16 editorial.
Parker’s friends over at the ACLU even waved a finger at her:

“Freedom of conscience is a core American value. At the ACLU of Texas, we fight every day for the principle that each of us is free to pursue our faith without fear that government will query us about our beliefs or target those who hold disfavored points of view,” the organization wrote.

And even Parker back-tracked, throwing her pro-bono (which means free) attorneys under the bus, blaming them for the verbiage:

“We don’t need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners.”

If Parker, the ACLU and Chronicle have all said Parker was wrong, I’m kind of pointing out that Houston is hot in August. Instead, what I find most interesting is the catastrophe Parker has created that very few are discussing right now. To understand, we need some background:

When Parker and Houston City Council passed HERO, a group of citizens created a petition to have the ordinance placed on the ballot. If the ordinance made the ballot, the voters could then confirm the council’s decision or repeal the ordinance, making it void.

The citizens signing the petition sent it to the city earlier this summer (as in July). The city secretary counted the votes near the end of July. Feldman, in perfect henchman fashion, declared the signatures invalid – but he waited until Aug. 6 to make that declaration, a full week after the city secretary said there were enough signatures to place the petition on the ballot.

This may sound like political speak, but it’s not. If Feldman had gone ahead and allowed the petition to go to the voters, it would have been placed on this year’s Nov. 4 ballot (the deadline was around Aug. 18 to be on the November ballot). While there are statewide elections at stake, the only notable local elections are for district attorney and a bunch of judgeships.

Guess what happens now? The attorneys representing the petitioners have a lawsuit against the city, and that trial will begin in January. The court will then decide if there are enough legal signatures to place the petition on the ballot. My guess is the city will lose that trial, but even if they don’t, you have now re-angered the entire Christian base in Houston and the United States, and those eyes are going to focus squarely upon our city elections.

Guess when those are? Next November.

Let’s say the city wins against the petitioners. Well, every person upset with city government will make it a point to show up at the polls, and that’s going to be difficult for any politician aligned with Parker and her reputation for shoving an agenda down the throats of citizens.

Now, let’s say the petitioners win, and there’s a measure on next November’s ballot determining the validity of HERO. There’s a lot of hyperbole surrounding that ordinance, but Christians and regular old people are actually concerned about transgendered people using bathrooms of their choice.

We’ve talked about the voter turnout problems in Houston repeatedly (we did so last week), but I can promise there will be no voter turnout problems if HERO is on the ballot next November. And guess who’s coming out of the woodwork to vote in that election? You think churches are preaching about the issue now? Wait until about October of next year.

Guess what position is on the ballot next year? Mayor of Houston, and Annise Parker can’t run because of term limits, which is probably a good thing for her.

Every single candidate aligned with Parker (think Sylvester Turner, Adrian Garcia, Ed Gonzalez) is toast. Those voters seeking to repeal this ordinance aren’t going to put their pencils anywhere close to one of those names. Meanwhile, folks like Chris Bell or Ben Hall (who, ironically, is helping the petitioners) will catch a wind-fall of support.

It’s obvious to any observer of Houston politics that Parker is out to advance her agenda before she leaves office. That is completely within her right, as long as she does it legally. But one of the unwritten rules in American politics is you try to leave your allies in good shape when you leave (unless you’re Bill Clinton and Al Gore).

Parker is leaving a devastating path of obstacles for whichever Democrat separates himself from a crowded 2015 mayoral field. And in only Annise Parker fashion, she just doesn’t seem to care.

Yankee great Whitey Ford of course tossed shutouts against the Pirates in Games 3 and 6 of the 1960 World Serious and a shutout against Cincy in Game 1 of the 1961 World Serious.

The Chron Sports is reporting today that the future of Tal’s Hill is under review.

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Dem Bad Numbers

There is no sugar coating it. The Chron’s Theodore “Teddy” Schleifer has a story on it today. Folks have instant access to the voter roster and voting history. It is out there. We know what is happening.

My pal Robert Miller put out a couple of tweets the past few days that are not good news for Harris County Democrats. I have not seen any good news tweets from local Dems. I have seen some chatter from local Dems expressing concern after seven days of Early Voting in Person here in the County.

Here are the Robert Miller tweets:

Robert D. MIller ‏@Robert_Miller Oct 25
R analysis of first 5 days of Harris Co. early vote show Rs outvoting Ds 55% to 45%. HD 149 (Vo) is 50/50. #tx2014 #txlege

Robert D. MIller ‏@Robert_Miller 53m53 minutes ago
Murphy Nasica analysis shows 47% of Harris County early voters so far are R and 36% D. #tx2014 #txlege #hounews

This is supposed to be the week that local Dems make up ground in Early Voting in Person. I don’t feel good about where Dems are in Harris County. If we have to wait for the last week, then something is wrong.

The Trib also has a pre-election post-mortem of sorts today talking about Team Davis and will they score more votes than Bill White in 2010. Oh, brother!

Here is the Chron piece by Teddy Schleifer:

The number of Texans voting early at the polls is down significantly in Harris County compared with the last midterm election, a potential warning sign that pundits say may mean Democrats will suffer worse defeats than those seen in the 2010 countywide Republican sweep.

In-person turnout during the first seven days of early voting is 33 percent less than in 2010, a drop masked by a huge surge in vote-by-mail ballots that inflated the first day’s returns. Texas Democrats launched a coordinated vote-by-mail program this year to target the state’s elderly voters, and the Harris County Democratic Party supplemented that effort with its own absentee operation.

Together, the numbers of votes by mail increased by 17,000 on the first day over the last midterm election’s haul, but that increase was quickly been nullified by a daily drop of 5,000 to 8,000 in-person ballots. Vote-by-mail ballots are received and counted mostly on the first day, so it is not expected that the massive uptick seen on day 1 will repeat, while the in-person decline may persist throughout this week.

At the end of the first week, about 195,000 total votes have been cast – 13 percent less than the number at this point in 2010, when former Houston mayor Bill White ran as the Democratic candidate for governor but local Democrats still suffered heavy losses.

Democrats would need a large turnout statewide – especially in Harris County, the epicenter of Texas’ efforts to turn the state blue – to earn surprise victories on Election Day. The lower turnout could spell trouble for Democratic candidates, including Kim Ogg, the district attorney who stands as the Democrats’ best chance to win a countywide offiice this fall.

“Clearly, they’re down in the count,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston. “You’ve got this hidden pocket of Democratic voters that voted in 2008 that clearly aren’t deciding to show up in 2014.”

Rottinghaus noted that turnout was weak at the Acres Home and Metropolitan Multi-Service Centers, which typically are heavily Democratic.

2nd week strongest

Early voting typically increases daily during the second week, which has longer hours, and spikes on Friday, the final day. That gives Democrats a chance to reverse the trend, said Lane Lewis, the county’s Democratic Party chairman.

“The challenge that’s going on right now is our base vote,” said Lewis, “but the second week of early voting is always our strongest week, so I’m very optimistic.”

The Harris County Democratic Party directed its own vote-by-mail program that sent out more than 22,000 absentee ballot applications, mostly to seniors who they consider likely to vote Democratic if presented with the right messaging. Democrats have traditionally trailed Republicans in mail voting.

Paul Simpson, the chairman of the county Republican Party, acknowledged that the increase in mailed ballots was the result of Democrats’ efforts, but argued that they were merely shifting when voters cast ballots rather than persuading new voters. Lewis disagreed, claiming that a majority of absentee ballots in the county came from Democratic voters, many of whom were previously independents or Republicans.

Lewis called the absentee numbers “astonishingly up.”

“That’s the levee that hasn’t broken,” Lewis said. “That’s the levee that’s kept us in the game.”

GOP cautioned

Simpson claimed Republicans were leading the first week of early voting, but said they could not grow complacent considering that Democrats could have a strong turn out in the second week and on Election Day.

The county party’s volunteers have made about 100,000 voter contacts over the past week, he said.

“I follow the rule that you lose until you win,” Simpson said. “I don’t take anything for granted and no Republican should.”

The Trib also has a pre-election take:

San Luis lost a top prospect this past weekend. 22-year old rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras is no longer with us.

I’ll skip today’s MLB question.

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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.

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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.

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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


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:

They also endorsed Orlando Sanchez for County Treasurer here:

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.

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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.


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.


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.

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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.

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