It is that time of year when I go looking for next year’s wall calendar for my office. Last year I got started late and the best I could do was a Disney “Frozen” calendar. Yesterday I saw a ‘Stros calendar that featured Chris Carter, Jed Lowrie, and Chad Qualls – nope. They also had a Beers of Texas calendar without a Saint Arnold mention – also nope.
This Hall of Fame great who was also born on Christmas Day holds the MLB record for career runs scored – name him? Hint: He still is with us.
Remember when “Hail Mary” was invoked last week in the CD 29 race? Well this doesn’t look like a prevent defense. Check Teddy’s tweet:
Most of Houston’s Latino powerplayers appear to be organizing AGAINST @AdrianGarciaHTX‘s run vs. @RepGeneGreen: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/12/21/houston-leaders-back-gene-green/ …
And here is from Kuffer today:
U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat, will pick up support from several Houston political players Tuesday.
The 12-term congressman faces what could be a formidable primary challenge in the form of former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. According to a Green campaign press release, seven Houston Democrats are ready to back his re-election: state Sens. Sylvia R. Garcia and John Whitmire, state Reps. Ana Hernandez, Garnet F. Coleman, Armando Walle and Carol Alvarado, and Harris County Constable Chris Diaz.
The endorsements’ apparent aim is to give Green cover against Garcia’s argument that the mostly-Hispanic district would be better served with Hispanic congressional representation. With residual name identification from his unsuccessful run for Houston mayor, Garcia could pose a viable threat to Green’s re-election.
I received a copy of the press release as well as the pre-release on Friday that didn’t contain the officials’ names. The event will take place at 11 AM at the Vecino Health Center (Denver Harbor Family Clinic), 424 Hahlo St., in case anyone wants to attend. As I said before, I was looking to see who might be endorsing whom in this race. Whatever the effect is on the final result, this does affect the narrative of the race. Reps. Walle, Hernandez, and Alvarado all once worked for Green, so their solidarity with their former boss is to be expected, but Sylvia Garcia was one of the candidates for the seat back in 1992; she finished third, behind Green and Ben Reyes, whom Green then defeated in the runoff and again in the 1994 primary. She had previously been talked about as a potential opponent for Green in more recent years, before her election to the State Senate. Make of that what you will.
Going back through my archives, I came across this post from 2014 about Green representing a Latino district and when that might change. Here’s what Campos, who is now working on the Garcia campaign, said at the time:
Having a Dem Latino or Latina in Congress from the H-Town area would be empowering to the community. What is missing is an articulate voice for us in Congress like on a day when the immigration issue is front and center. Who is going to argue with that?
I don’t buy into the notion that just because the local Latino leaders aren’t for something, it won’t happen. I can still recall the spontaneous immigration marches a few years ago that local Latino leaders were scrambling to lead.
I can picture a scenario where an articulate bilingual Latino or Latina leader steps up, grabs an issue and captures the attention of the community. That is certainly not racist, that’s politics. This discussion isn’t going away.
And my comment on that:
Sure, that could happen, and I agree that if it were to happen it would likely be a talented newcomer who can inspire people to pose a serious threat to Rep. Green. The problem is that that’s not sufficient. Look at the recent history of Democratic primary challenges in Texas legislative races, and you’ll see that there are generally two paths to knocking off an incumbent that don’t rely on them getting hosed in redistricting. One is via the self-inflicted wounds of an incumbent with some kind of ethics problems – think Gabi Canales or Naomi Gonzales, for example – or an incumbent that has genuinely lost touch with the base. In the past decade in Texas that has mostly meant Craddick Democrats, though one could argue that Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s win over Silvestre Reyes had elements of that.
What I’m saying is simply that there has to be a reason to dump the current officeholder. Look no further than the other Anglo Texas Democrat in Congress for that. The GOP has marked Rep. Lloyd Doggett for extinction twice, each time drawing him into a heavily Latino district in the hope of seeing him get knocked off in a primary. He survived the DeLay re-redistricting of 2003, then he faced the same kind of challenge again in 2012. His opponent, Sylvia Romo, was an experienced officeholder running in a district that was drawn to elect a Hispanic candidate from Bexar County. Having interviewed her, I can attest that she’d have made a perfectly fine member of Congress. But she never identified a policy item on which she disagreed with Doggett, and she never could give an answer to the question why the voters should replace their existing perfectly good member of Congress and his boatload of seniority with a rookie, however promising.
That’s the question any theoretical opponent to Gene Green will have to answer as well.
I think both my statement and Marc’s would stand up today. I’d say we’re likely to hear some form of these arguments over the next two months. In the meantime, I wonder if Garcia will roll out his own list of supporters soon. Better still if that list is accompanied by reasons why Garcia is the superior choice, and where he differs in matters of policy. I know that’s what I’d want to hear about if I lived in that district.
Here is the rest of the Trib piece that Kuffer put out:
But beyond these nods, Green also garnered implicit support from at least one delegation member, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela. The Brownsville Democrat recently gave his blessing to a staffer to join the Green campaign.
Green is raring for this fight, which will come to a head on the March 1 primary. In the immediate aftermath of learning Garcia — an old friend — would run against him, Green declared the challenge a “Hail Mary.”
Latinos’ fight for greater representation in Congress is coming to Houston in a race pitting two close friends against each other.
Rep. Gene Green faces a Democratic primary challenge from former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, a longtime ally who is testing whether voters in the majority-Hispanic district will trade in a popular incumbent for one of their own.
Houston remains the most Hispanic major city without a Latino representative in Congress, and this race will decide whether that will change.
“If you are looking at congressional seats in terms of where Hispanics can be elected to Congress, this is as good a seat as any,” said Oscar Ramirez, one of the Democratic Party’s top Latino donors. “From that perspective, it is a missed opportunity if Adrian doesn’t win.”
A potential challenge from a Hispanic candidate has long lingered for Green, a 12-term, white Democrat whose district is three-quarters Hispanic. The district was drawn in 1991 to elect a Latino, but Green has faced little significant primary opposition since winning a hard-fought primary against a Hispanic candidate in 1992.
Garcia’s bid, which comes on the heels of his third-place finish in the Houston mayoral race, signals a recognition of the growing electoral power of the Latino vote. But it also highlights the difficulty Hispanics have had converting population gains into political power: Latinos account for about 17 percent of the U.S. population but hold just 7 percent of the seats in Congress.
“It was designed to be a Hispanic-opportunity district,” Garcia said in an interview. “And I am simply exercising my right to that opportunity.”
For Garcia, securing resources is critical to countering Green, who already has nearly $1.2 million in the bank. But another barrier is overcoming an opponent with a positive record on Latino issues.
That has kept potential opponents on the sideline for two decades—until Garcia’s challenge.
“It’s a concerning obstacle,” Green said in an interview. “But if most people thought I could be beat, they probably would have tried by now.”
Over the years, Green has shrewdly forged ties with the Hispanic community, hiring many well-known Latinos and building personal relationships with them. On Tuesday, seven Hispanic elected officials in Houston will publicly endorse Green, including two state senators and four state House members.
“Gene has been extremely loyal to the Latino community,” said one of those endorsers, state Rep. Carol Alvarado, who is a former staffer in Green’s Capitol Hill office. “He spends probably every moment when he’s in Houston in the district with his constituents.”
Green’s last close primary came after his first term, when he defeated Ben Reyes in a rematch of the 1992 open-seat primary. Last week, The Texas Tribune reported that José Borjon, a top adviser to Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, is working for Green, a sign that Green’s camp views the Garcia bid seriously.
Green is also close to many members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and regularly attends the group’s events. The CHC’s fundraising arm, BOLD PAC, could play in the race. Spokesman Paul Kincaid said the group looks at all districts with large Hispanic populations or where a member has advocated for Latino issues—a position that leaves the door open to a Green endorsement.
Some Democrats say a presidential-election year with higher turnout could hold more promise for a Hispanic candidate. And some Latino groups are already talking up Garcia’s bid, eager to elect a representative who matches the district demographics. In the mayoral race, Garcia proved his fundraising mettle, raising more than $2.5 million in six months.
“We have a leader in Adrian, with a proven track record, who is admired in the community and reflects the community’s values,” said Cristóbal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project, whose endorsement could lead to ground support for Garcia. “We are extremely excited about that race.”
Green supported Garcia when he ran for city council, sheriff, and then for mayor—a race in which Garcia earned 17 percent of the November vote in a 13-candidate field, missing the runoff. Garcia, a one-time presumptive front-runner in that race, came under attacks for his alleged mishandling of cases of inmate abuse at the Harris County Jail, which he led as sheriff.
“The district still has challenges with individuals who have a lack of access to mental-health care,” Garcia said, emphasizing that criminal-justice issues are part of his bid. Garcia also said real estate mogul Donald Trump’s controversial comments on Hispanics are a chief reason for his campaign.
In San Antonio, another Hispanic-heavy city in Texas, Hispanic candidates haven’t fared well recently. In the San Antonio mayor’s race this year, for example, voters elected their first black mayor, Ivy Taylor, over Leticia Van de Putte. Last year, Rep. Will Hurd, a black Republican, defeated former Rep. Pete Gallego, a Hispanic Democrat, in a district that stretches from San Antonio to El Paso.
In Green’s 29th District, where the incumbent’s name recognition and Garcia’s Latino background will be assets, observers said neither should bank on those advantages.
“I wouldn’t want Gene Green to take his reelection for granted because he’s an incumbent,” said Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, which is staying neutral in the race. “And I wouldn’t want Adrian Garcia thinking Latinos are automatically going to vote for him because he’s Latino.”
Hall of Fame great Rickey Henderson who was born on Christmas Day, 1958 holds the MLB record with 2,295 career runs scored of course.
I’ll try to do some Christmas shopping at The Yard today.