As I mentioned here, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus held its endorsement meeting Saturday, August 10th. They also provided space for judicial candidates to gather signatures for their ballot petitions, which is the primary reason I went.
Have no fear, Harris County Republican Party members – not a single Republican judicial candidate dared to show up at the meeting to gather signatures. Your party is safe.
I’m not sure that it would have paid off had a candidate bucked the HCRP system and tried to get signatures but I do think it would have been interesting if someone had tried. Most Republican candidates are probably waiting for the big signing event that the HCRP is hosting on September 5th – the problem with that is that if you are challenging an incumbent, it is going to be difficult for you to get your signatures there. And yes, there will be challengers to several incumbent Republicans this year – we have a few incumbents that need to be replaced.
There were several Democratic judges and judicial candidates that were there getting signatures. I’ll mention the ones that asked me to sign their petitions. First, Judge Randy Roll (careful when you click on that website – you’ll be greeted with a tune that would make “Vote Twice for Shelley” fans happy). I didn’t catch which bench he is running for this year. You might recall that he’s the judge that gave a drunk driver probation instead of prison for killing a young father of two. Fortunately, Kristin Guiney now presides over the 179th. No, I didn’t sign his petition but he received a lot of applause when he was introduced to the crowd.
The other candidates that asked me to sign their petitions were Jim Peacock and I forget the other guys name. Peacock made me feel small! But I didn’t sign his petition. That’s saying something. The other guy is challenging Judge Susan “Runaway Grand Jury” Brown for the 185th. I thought that he said his name was
Jim Innis (see update below) but I can’t find any information on him. He told me that he was going after Brown because she was the judge that put a woman in jail for saying “Thank you Jesus“. I think there were other circumstances that led to that but hopefully we’ll have someone in the primary that takes her out and won’t have to worry about that one in November.
As for the endorsement meeting, there was a good size crowd on hand. I tried to do a rough count and pegged it at 120, but it could have been a few more or less than that. One thing is for certain, you can forget the stereotype of gays being polite and quiet – I bet that Noel Freeman had a sore arm after banging that gavel so many times trying to get people to stop carrying on conversations while candidates were introducing themselves. I was somewhat disappointed that controller candidate Bill Frazer and At-large 3 candidate Michael Kubosh didn’t show up but I suppose they didn’t want to upset the Republican base. Former Republicans Steven Costello and Jack Christie didn’t bother either but still received the endorsement.
I did have to laugh when incumbent controller Ronald Green told the crowd that he needed their help because his opponent was a far-right tea party guy. Talk about not knowing your opponent. I think Frazer missed a good opportunity here – not to get the endorsement, that wasn’t going to happen, but he could have picked up a few votes. And the election for controller might be, fingers crossed, close enough that a few votes will matter.
Mayor Annise Parker was the star of the show. And frankly, I liked the way she handled her speech to the caucus. She arrived late but talked about where she had been all morning – a school supplies drive on the south end, a prayer breakfast in the north west, and a barbecue judging contest. She said that Houston is a big city and as mayor she represents all kinds of people and she enjoys interacting with them all. But she wanted the caucus to know that no matter where she is or what group she is in front of, she is always representing the GLBT community and their views.
I like that because I want conservative politicians to be that way. Unfortunately, we have too many that are only that way in front of conservatives. There is no reason that a conservative politician couldn’t stand before the GLBT caucus and present a conservative vision for the city. No, you won’t get the endorsement of the caucus. But you will pick up a few votes – and that is what it is all about.
I ran into Marc Campos, the Commentary dude. He had a couple of candidates there and both received the endorsement of the Houston GLBT. He also wrote about the event and has a list of the candidates that were endorsed.
UPDATE 8-13-13 9:00 am: The candidates name is Garland “Mack” McInnis. He is a two-time losing candidate, having lost to Judge Belinda Hill in the race for the 230th District Court in 2010, and losing to Judge Mark Kent Ellis in the race for the 351st District Court in 2012. Thanks to alert reader RH for the information.
Here are a few pictures from the event: