The main point that I want to highlight in this post is my support for non-Green candidates in Harris County. There may be some Greens who vote a straight Green ticket and walk out, but I don't know any. Many of us push buttons for Democrats in local, district, and even statewide races.
Harris County Democrats We Like
Sorry/not sorry for the use of the royal "we." Let royal "us" get these recommendations for Harris County offices out of the way, because they come with few complications. These candidates are all running as Democrats, and I support them with enthusiasm:
- Ed Gonzalez for Sheriff
- Kim Ogg for District Attorney
- Vince Ryan for County Attorney (incumbent)
- Ann Harris Bennett for Tax Assessor-Collector and Registrar of Voters
- Rodney Ellis for County Commissioner, Pct. 1 (unopposed, see below)
- Jenifer Rene Pool for County Commissioner, Pct. 3 (not my precinct)
Harris County Greens We Love
Back in March, we had several more candidates locally, but for various reasons those candidates had to withdraw from their respective races. For example, Natalie Upchurch dropped her candidacy for Tax Assessor-Collector several months ago, so this list on txgreens.org is not entirely up to date.
Apart from Martina Salinas for Texas Railroad Commission, three candidates for State Supreme Court, and two for Court of Criminal Appeals, here are the Green candidates still running in Harris County:
- JosH Darr for US House District 2
- Thomas Kleven for US House District 18
- James Partsch-Galvan for US House District 29
- Hal Ridley for US House District 36
- Joe McElligott, Texas House District 127
- Brian M. Harrison for Texas House District 147
Of these six bulleted candidates, the only one whose name will appear on my ballot is Kleven. Sadly, most of our candidates in Texas don't have campaign websites. We active Greens are busy people, and we don't have much in the way of campaign funds to make quality sites; McElligott just worked a little WordPress magic for his. In the 2018 election cycle, I will be pushing an initiative in the county and state Green Parties to make certain that our candidates do more than throw together a Facebook page.
There is no Democrat running in McElligott's district, by the way. Despite incumbent Dan Huberty's bizarre behavior, including making drunken threats that were captured on video, Huberty will likely be re-elected in the heavily Republican Kingwood area, but McElligott has a chance to make a splash there.
For Congressional and State House districts, I must admit that I haven't done the necessary research to see whether all the Democrats running are worth a vote, but I would start with the assumption that they are. Twelve of our 24 House seats are safer than safe, with eight Democrats and four Republicans running unopposed, plus one facing only a write-in opponent (see next section).
If I lived in House District 134, it would be a tough call: I might just cast a vote for Republican Sarah Davis, whom I have met, and with whom I was not impressed when she first ran in 2012, but who has grown into the office as a moderate Republican. (UPDATE 24 OCTOBER: Actually, no, I wouldn't. See the Comments on this post.) As with our County Judge Ed Emmett, it warms my heart to know that such creatures still exist, Republicans who actually believe in governing in the service of the people rather than grandstanding. But Democrat Ben Rose has run a strong race and has plenty of fans with yard signs in the affluent neighborhoods around Rice University and Greater Meyerland.
I also like what I've seen Dakota Carter, candidate for State Board of Education, District 6.
We also have races for constable, justice of the peace, various district judgeships, and county school trustees. Yes, I'll be voting for Democrats in those; the constable and JP candidates in my precinct have no opposition.
Recent mayoral candidate and perennial advertiser on the back page of the Houston Press Eric Dick is running as a Republican for County School Trustee, Position 2, Precinct 4. He may win that on name recognition alone.
My House District
In Texas House District 146, we have an interesting situation, and I haven't yet made a firm decision on this race. Here's how it has played out:
- Precinct 1 County Commissioner El Franco Lee, the 30-plus-year incumbent, passed away in January. He was the only candidate in the Democratic Primary, and the state does not have a mechanism for a replacement candidate.
- However, per Texas election law, the Democratic voting precinct chairs met after the Primary to choose a temporary replacement, and they selected State Senator Rodney Ellis to run in the General Election.
- So that left Ellis's seat in Senate District 13 open; the precinct chairs in 13 chose State Representative Borris Miles of District 146 to run for that seat. (Miles, a notoriously temperamental insurance broker who has established a scholarship fund for economically disadvantaged youth in his district, has my vote.)
- Shawn Thierry is the Democratic nominee for 146, thanks to 13 of the 24 precinct chairs in that district who showed up to vote in a special caucus. Hers is the only name on the ballot for that spot.
- However, Roy Owens is staging a write-in campaign in opposition to Thierry. Campaign signs urge voters to "write in Democrat Roy Owens."
Attorney Thierry or local entrepreneur Owens? The one chosen by a slim majority of Democratic insiders (including one LaRouchite), or the guy with the stones to challenge the nominee and the process that selected her? Neither of their websites says diddly about policy—or as McElligott would say, "You don't even have a platform!"
Fortunately, we can learn something about their positions on education, health care, and the right to vote from the indispensable League of Women Voters Guide: Mainly, we can learn that Thierry's and Owens's responses to the questions posed therein are remarkably similar. Oy.