Who Is Running For Houston City Office In 2011?

Houston municipal elections are just weeks away.

(Above–Photo montage of Houston by Yassie.

October 11 is the last day to register to vote.

Early voting runs October 24–November 4.

Election Day is November 8.

Voters in Houston will be selecting a Mayor, the City Controller, 5 at-large citywide Council positions, and 11 district Council seats.

Who are the candidates?

There are some useful resources online for you to get the lay of the land.

Fellow Houston blogger Charles Kuffner has a list posted of the candidates and of what groups have endorsed the candidates.  Charles has also conducted interviews with many of the candidates.These interviews can also be accessed at the link above.

The Harris County Republican Party has a very helpful list of the candidates with the party identification of each candidate.

The Harris County Democratic Party—damned near useless in municipal elections as always—has a list of candidates that offers no clues at all as to who is a Democrat.

The Harris County Green Party has a web site as well.  There are two Green candidates in 2011.

While candidates are not listed by party on the city ballot, nothing prohibits candidates for Houston city office from saying what party they represent.

Party identification is a core political question that tells voters a number of things about a candidate.

I don’t know why the Harris County Democratic Party does not promote itself and all the Democratic candidates on the ballot  more aggressively in City of Houston elections.

Most people in Houston vote Democratic in most elections.

You would think that given how lousy turnout is in city elections year-after-year, that the Democratic Party would want to expand the number of people who take part in these elections.

You would think this would be even more the case as the 2012 elections approach. Democrats will have positions to gain and to defend in Harris County in 2012.

While I do not believe that Barack Obama will win Texas in 2012, there is no reason to concede 14 months before the election. You never know. Houston is the largest city in Texas. Should not every effort be made to mobilize likely Democratic voters in Houston?

I suppose though that if the local Democratic establishment did really try to expand turnout , they might have to start to answer questions about why our local Democrats are silent about a near 50% child poverty rate in Houston.

And, of course, we would not want partisanship to get in the way of Democratic Mayor Annise Parker’s outreach to Republicans.

Mayor Parker’s 70% victory with 15% turnout is going to be of cold comfort should Republicans make major gains in Harris County in 2012 and if Rick Perry is elected President.

As we progress towards Election Day, I’m going to have more on the candidates and on who liberals and progressives can support with some measure of enthusiasm.

I’m afraid that may not be a very long list.

In any case, it is up to each voter to learn about the candidates and to ask questions of the candidates during the election season.

The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

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