Harris County Democratic Party Should Inject Greater Partisanship Into Houston City Council Races
I recently e-mailed Harris County, Texas Democratic Headquarters and asked if the Harris County Party endorses candidates for Houston City Council. (I said in my e-mail that I was a blogger and that I was going to write on this subject.)
Here is the reply I got from the helpful gentleman at headquarters—
The Harris County Democratic Party does not endorse in City Council Elections, HCDP Chair Gerry Birnberg’s policy is “HCDP does not endorse in city council elections, unless and until there is a run-off and there is only one Democratic candidate in the runoff“
Okay—No reason to step into a fight between Democrats.
(A runoff is held if no candidate wins 50% of the vote in the General Election.)
I followed up by asking if the party sends a mailer out informing rank-and-file Democrats about who is a Democrat on General Election Day.
Here was the reply—
Unfortunately, we do not have the funds for such a mailer. On a couple of occasions where we have endorsed in the run-off, we have sent postcards to folks who voted in the first election and also in the last Democratic primary, where the Democratic candidates in the run-off have provided funds for such a mailing.
I understand the party may not have the money this time around. Fine.
What I’d ask is for the Harris County Democratic Party to consider injecting a greater degree of partisanship into Houston City Council elections in the future and, also, to consider raising funds to promote Democratic Council candidates in 2009.
Houston Council elections may officially be non-partisan, but political parties can send any mailing they wish. Or run any radio ad they wish. Democrats are a majority in Houston and this majority should be worked on Election Day.
Partisan identification gives voters a shorthand on what to expect from candidates. Within that identification, candidates still have the ability to carve out specific profiles and stances on important issues that set them apart from a party-line.
The current so-called non-partisan system of voters selecting five at-large Council members and a district Councilperson with musical chairs six-year terms, works against the interests of democracy and against the interests of the majority party in Houston.
People should know who they are voting for. I’d be happy to donate myself for this purpose.
Let’s have no more Michael Berry-types filling at-large seats on Houston City Council.