Archive for December 9th, 2015

The Primaries

It was a packed house last night for a Bill King fundraiser hosted by Latino business leaders. Nice job!

According to the Chron sports section this morning,  Jon Singleton has been told by the ‘Stros leadership that he will be given a shot at starting at first base. “… it’s at this point his job to lose,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. Is Singleton’s MLB career batting average above or below the Mendoza Line?

Commentary is focused on the next four days. I will take a few to mention the upcoming primary.

H-Town City Council member Ed Gonzalez is running for sheriff. I don’t have a problem with that. If he is the Dem Party nominee, he will be attacked by the GOP on the files he had sitting in his garage. That is for sure. Of course, he knows that.

Adrian Garcia is rumored to be running for Congress against Gene Green. I don’t have a problem with that either. We need a spirited contest in CD 29. In this contest, Adrian will be running against an incumbent. I will have more on this as it develops.

As of yesterday in H-Town within Harris County, 27,153 mail ballots were in versus 29,902 in round 1. 86,233 voted early in person versus 104,203 in round 1.

I will say it again. A couple of months ago, folks didn’t think much of Bill King’s chances. Not today! Here is from today’s Chron on the latest poll:

The Houston mayor’s race appears to be a dead heat after the close of early voting Tuesday, according to a new poll and political experts who have reviewed ballot records, setting the stage for a four-day campaign sprint to usher voters to the polls on Saturday.

More than 113,000 voters had cast ballots by the end of early voting Tuesday. Through Monday, turnout had been concentrated in the same African-American and white conservative precincts that vaulted state Rep. Sylvester Turner and businessman Bill King into the runoff to succeed term-limited Mayor Annise Parker.

The end of early voting coincided with the release of the first independent poll of the runoff, showing Turner and King tied at 38 percent support among likely voters.

“I’ve never seen a race this close this late in the election,” said Rice University political scientist Bob Stein, who conducted the survey for the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy on behalf of KHOU-11 and Houston Public Media.

Turner finished first on Nov. 3 with 31 percent of the vote, winning five majority-minority City Council districts. King received 25 percent of the vote, taking the city’s three conservative districts and progressive District C, most of which are majority-white. 

Now, political observers say the election will come down to who turns out his base in greater numbers – African-Americans for Turner, conservatives for King – and where potential swing voters gravitate.

“I think this race will be decided largely by Latino and Anglo Democrats,” Texas Southern University political scientist Michael Adams said.

Party labels will not accompany Turner and King’s names on Saturday’s ballot, but this year’s race has evolved into a decidedly partisan contest all the same, with Democrats lining up behind Turner as Republicans side with King.

The Hobby Center poll, in which 24 percent of respondents were undecided or declined to answer, shows votes falling along partisan and racial lines, with Turner backed by 73 percent of Democratic voters and 75 percent of African-Americans. Meanwhile, 81 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Anglos supported King.

Roughly 54 percent of those who had cast a ballot by the close of voting Monday were white, 29 percent African-American and 8 percent Hispanic, according to Stein.

“As the only Democrat in the runoff, I think Turner has the structural advantage in his favor,” Adams said, projecting a narrow Turner victory. “I think the partisan advantage could prove to be too much for King to overcome, although I think the margin will likely be very close.”

Stein and University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus agreed. Rice University political scientist Mark Jones gave King the edge, however.

“Right now, I would say that King has the momentum and Turner is on the defensive,” Jones said in an email, citing what he said were King’s more concrete policy proposals and Turner’s negative campaigning. “I think the election outcome could rest on how effective Turner is in mobilizing African-American voters on Election Day.”

Turner’s campaign released internal polling last week showing him seven points ahead of King, while King’s campaign has touted a survey conducted by the Houston Realty Business Coalition, which has endorsed King, putting him five points ahead.

King spokesman Jim McGrath framed turnout as decisive in such a close race.

“Voters clearly want change, and we are encouraged at the way Bill’s back-to-basics message is resonating across the entire city over the last few weeks,” McGrath said in an email. “You can quibble over the fine details when it comes to polling, but the bottom line is, the data we are seeing confirm that this election will be won by the campaign that gets their voters to the polls.”

Turner spokeswoman Sue Davis similarly pointed to get-out-the-vote efforts.

“We’ve always said this race will come down to turnout. I believe Houstonians will vote to move our city forward, not back. But we have to earn it,” Davis said in an email. “That’s why we are mobilizing all our supporters for our massive turnout on Election Day.”

Turnout projections ranged from 150,000 to 210,000, with most expecting about 200,000 voters to cast a ballot in the mayor’s race.

The weighted poll of 469 registered Houston voters who reported they cast a ballot in the Nov. 3 general election and said they had already voted in the runoff, or were certain or very likely to do so, was conducted from Nov. 30 through Monday and has a margin of error of plus- or minus-4.5 percentage points.

Jon Singleton has a .171 career batting average of course – yikes!

I don’t like the Singleton at first base move.


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