Next in the series of looking at the municipal races is District E. This district is solidly republican and gerrymandered to concentrate republican votes. This district was chosen for the second in the series because it’s ideologically and geographically different from J leading to ease in contrasting messaging differences. Remember, the goal of this series is to look at messaging for next year, not the candidates in this race. However, it is important to elect the more conservative candidate in E to represent conservative values on City Counsel.
Full disclosure: I donated to Fred’s campaign. Martina’s contributions to Act Blue and Kingwood Area Democrats are concerning; especially with the district being so important to having a conservative voice on City Council. This article tries very hard to be as neutral as possible towards both candidates.
Fred Flickinger and Martina Lemond Dixon are vying for the open city council position. From a fundraising point of view they are essentially performing the same, with a 4 donor difference. Two differences stand out, Martina has approximately 40% of her funds raised from PACs or businesses (38.88%) and Fred has loaned his campaign $103,000.
|Candidate||Donors||Received||Spent||Cash on Hand||Loans||PACs||PAC$||Business||Business$|
|Martina Lemond Dixon||42||18064||4276||13817||0||4||5500||3||1500|
Given the nature of the district, it was surprising that those I talked with didn’t mention election integrity as an issue. Otherwise this solidly republican district had areas of concern that would be expected. – crime, flooding, infrastructure, and quockerwodgery (someone pulling the strings behind the scenes.)
A quockerwodger is a puppet that has one string causing the puppet’s arms and legs to flail. It’s not hard to see how this can describe a politician – someone else is pulling the strings controlling the politician. Just a hunch, but maybe election integrity wasn’t mentioned as a concern because it fell under this broad topic (which was vocalized normally.)
Whether it’s PACs and outside money, or it’s a perceived undue influence by individuals in power, this topic has been discussed endlessly the past 2-3 years. From a messaging standpoint there’s not much else to say other than remember what plays well in E can be used as a proxy for republican values in general. Try to keep the bomb throwing to a minimum.
I was asked to write about the issues with Humble ISD school board when the bylaws were changed to allow Martina to retain her position as president. Later, I was asked to write about the subsequent elections. I didn’t because I didn’t want it to look like a backdoor attack on Martina for this race, especially considering my donation to Fred’s campaign. This topic is both salient and intense to a portion of the electorate. However, this is a dangerous path to travel from a messaging standpoint. The 2021 school board elections show that the core, underlying messaging worked. Kendall and Bridget were able to win seats from incumbents. Let the furor of the TEA takeover of HISD dominate the talking points in the media. We need to stick with what worked and not travel down the diversion that is Humble ISD. Our core message works. Stick with it.
Crime is a problem. Sure, the mayor tries to downplay the crime issue, but are people really buying into his arguments? Not in E, and that makes E a great testing ground to try new messaging on crime since it is a matter of increasing salience and intensity of the issue. Trying new messaging here in the primary is a great chance to evaluate how the message will resonate in the general election. Maybe personalizing the abstract message would bear more fruit. Victim stories pared with practical solutions would both humanize the issue and make republicans sound like problem solvers.
Flooding and Infrastructure
Both candidates campaign web pages tie flooding and infrastructure together. The blurbs the candidates had for the issue were very similar. Martina’s had a a hurricane spin, and Fred’s noted drainage; but in general the messaging was we have to improve infrastructure for the next flood. With both candidates’ messaging saying essentially the same thing that’s what the electorate cares about. Seems like the messaging here is already in place and working so no need to change course.
This district is a good area to test messages since the district is dark red. However, the dark red aspect creates the danger of bomb throwing that will be tagged as the republican view by those who oppose us. Crime is an area where the district could be used as a testing ground to see what effect humanizing crime does without the potential for the issue becoming less important. Otherwise, the district location and makeup don’t provide any particular areas for refining messaging.