Your Editor recently had a front row seat in the City of Houston runoff race between Sylvester Turner and Tony Buzbee.
After Round One, Turner led Buzbee by 16.5 points, winning the first round 44.59% to 28.38% with turnout in Houston, Harris County at 22.56%. Add in Fort Bend County Houston - 3,081 votes Turner, 74.12%, Buzbee 210 votes, 5.05%.
After Round Two, Turner won with 56.04% to Buzbee's 43.96% of the vote. The turnout was 18.67%. Add in Fort Bend County - 3,029 votes Turner, 93.39%, Buzbee 252, 7.68%, note the lack of drop off.
The Buzbee campaign recovered and lost the runoff by 12 points. The trend was positive on Election Day December 14, 2019, and Buzbee, with more time, could have closed the gap.
In the runoff, the voters finally got to see the real Tony, a truly non-partisan figure who passionately believes in innovative public policy solutions to our problems. Should it matter he donated to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump? No, it's actually an advantage because it showed he could work with all parties.
Buzbee released plans to deal with fixing Houston streets, flooding, crime and corruption and developed a 100-day plan to get Houston moving again. Turner by contrast, had no agenda on his website and hid the last two weeks of the campaign, avoiding two debates and a joint appearance on Newsmakers on Channel 2.
The voters, the ones who actually voted (less than one in five), re-elected Turner.
In a race where Buzbee was left with no chance, he rebooted his campaign with new leadership that let Buzbee be Buzbee.
Buzbee just ran out of time. If his campaign from the spring would have had a similar message, he would have won and the City of Houston would have been the biggest winner of all.
Tony Buzbee learned a lot in his first real political race and it says here he has a future politically, if he is interested.
Observations Of Houston Mayor's Election 2019,
What Your Editor Saw Firsthand
And The State Of Our City
Your Editor had a front row seat for the Houston Mayor's election runoff and with your indulgence, a few observations:
Boy Scouts On Life Support
- Where were the voters? 18% turnout was pathetic and embarrassing. Are the citizens not concerned with our ongoing problems of infrastructure, flooding, homelessness, rising crime and a fire department in open revolt?
- Where were the 298,000 voters who supported Prop B - equal pay for firefighters? The total turnout for the runoff was about 205,000 total!
- Where were the almost 61% of the electorate who voted no on Prop 1, the men in women's bathrooms ordinance?
- Where were Sylvester Turner's issues on his website? There were none.
- Where was the media coverage of the Mayor's race, apart from Fox 26 and Telemundo, minimal coverage at best? TCR wonders, wasn't the Mayor's race of the almost third largest city in America important enough to cover in depth?
- What happened to the Houston Chronicle's political coverage? Gone, like its lack of objectivity. The paper failed to cover a number of Tony Buzbee's newsworthy press conferences on crime reduction, city corruption and his first one hundred days plan. All not covered. As for objectivity, editorial (pro-Turner) bled into alleged news reporting.
- Why is the Chronicle biased? Good question, but the idea of fairness in reporting is gone. How many ways did they stick it to Tony Buzbee? Let me count the ways. (1) They always referenced him as a "millionaire" while Turner who was also a millionaire was never mentioned. Why not former Texas A&M regent or Gulf War Marine or a product of working-class parents from small town Texas or his numerous charitable activities? (2) Why did they use the goofiest photos of Tony they could find? (3) Why did they ignore the serious issues with Turner, and when they talked about it, ignored it in their editorials.
- Where was the outrage when Turner refused to debate Buzbee one-on-one?
- What did Buzbee donations to Trump (and don't forget Obama, Clinton and the Harris County Democratic Party 2018 Judicial Campaign) have to do with the Mayor's race? One point the Turner campaign and the media focused on was Trump and virtually ignored the rest.
- For Mayor in a non-partisan race, is a candidate who can work with both political party officials a good thing? Not discussed in the media.
- Why didn't anyone make the case that Houston was better off after four years of Turner? Probably because there was not much of a case except imperfect pension reform that just punted the problem into the future.
- Is it time for new blood in Washington and Austin? Sheila Jackson Lee - 31 years, in politics in City Council and Congress. John Whitmire - 46 years, State Representative and State Senator. Al Green - 41 years, 26 years as a Justice of the Peace and in Congress since 2004. Rodney Ellis - 36 years, City Council 5 years, State Senate 27 years, County Commissioner 3 years. Sylvia Garcia - 21 years, City Controller, Harris County Commissioner 8 years, State Senator approximately 6 years, Congress 2 years.
What do they all have in common? Careers in politics. A closer look indicates what little difference in every day citizen's lives they have made. The problems we have had locally are the same as they were when theses career politicos got their first office.
- In four years, will we look back and consider why we wasted eight years on a career politician and still be facing the same city issues - flooding, infrastructure, crime and congestion? Only time will tell.
In 2002, your Editor lamented the attacks on the Boy Scouts by the politically correct crowd. Why not gay leaders? What about transgender boys? And while you are at it, why not girls? They gave in and now with the latest news, it seems will be time to say goodbye.
Now with one of the largest groups of Boy Scout members from the Mormon Church, almost 400,000 are out. The church was troubled by the admission of women, gay scout leaders, and transgender boys. That, coupled with sex abuse lawsuits, put them on the edge of bankruptcy.
The world without traditional Boy Scouts will not be a better one. It's a sad day indeed for a wonderful organization that's been around since 1910. Another organization destroyed by the politically correct left in America.
TCR on the Air
Red, White, and Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland on Fridays at 7:30 pm on Houston Public Media TV 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
Red, White, and Blue on hiatus, back with new shows in January 2020.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-second year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eighteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 16 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 18th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.