There are only two campaigns with a legit field program in the D2 race to replace Larry Romero. As a result, they are the two that will make it to the run-off.
Today is 4/20 so I don't blame you if you think any one of the candidates can win the city election without a run-off, because you'd have to be higher than Snoop Dogg on stage if you think there won't be a run-off.
The run-off is going to be between Jim Tolbert and Cemelli de Aztlan in case you haven't figured that out yet.
Sorry Nevarez, but Paredes put your business out there about the domestic violence stuff and no amount of explaining is going to help you get over that major hurdle. Remember, Peter Svarzbein is a city rep because another potential candidate, potential front-runner, had to drop out because of that issue.
Aside from that, your campaign manager is the guy who came in DEAD LAST in that race. He even got less votes than Manny Hinojosa. So Nevarez was doomed from the get-go. Nice guy, but just not a legit city rep candidate.
The other people running are people no one knows and with an election that has early voting starting any day now, there just isn't enough time to get people to know, let alone remember you.
So the race comes down to the two candidates that have name ID and a little bit of campaign cash. Both have their positives and both have their negatives.
Lets lay them out:
Jim Tolbert is a nice guy. Very well qualified and been the active voice for city and environmental issues in the area for many years. Voters turned him away once, but he's got a much higher profile now these days and he's positioned himself as the anti-Larry.
He's got a lot of advantages obviously and that is why he's the front-runner. He's had more of a dedication toward field work than the other candidates. That is a big advantage. He has more money, that is a big advantage. He has Susie Byrd running his campaign, that is a big advantage.
The vato has backbone and you have to admire that.
His one weakness is pretty glaring. Its why he lost last time and there is nothing he can do to fix it.
Jim Tolbert is white.
Yeah, I know, so is Susie. But Susie went to Austin. That area is key in that district and she had a great base of support there. That makes all the difference. Jim, not so much.
Expect Jim to go into the run-off with the most votes. But if he doesn't, he's toast.
Cemelli de Aztlan is more of a threat to win in this race than many of you might think. She's extremely intelligent and has an amazing personal story. She's been a community advocate for many years, though her issues weren't primarily about city-based stuff. But she is brilliant and articulate. Much better speaker than Tolbert.
Here's video of her speaking recently and frankly, she's impressive.
She's young, progressive, Latina, and bilingual. The big question is can she get the money necessary to win. She even has a pretty big endorsement from Carmen Rodriguez.
CDA has street cred in addition to a great background in academics and activism.
Her biggest drawback, which is something that is a strength for Tolbert, is her team. It hangs like a boat-anchor around her neck. They basically have never won an election and her message guy just screwed up royally on another campaign he's working on. But as a practical matter, she doesn't appear to have anyone around her who will help her avoid doing stuff like this:
Yes that is her.
Someone around her should've stopped her from doing the whole lucha libre mask thing. Being "en la lucha" is what she is known for, but wearing a mascara undercuts her credibility because there are large chunks of the electorate that don't know who she is. You don't really want to make that introduction wearing a mask. Unless she can get Jim to wear a cape and stretchy pants.
She went to Harvard for Pete's sake.
Truth be told, I'm pretty biased in this one. I like CDA's politics. She's consistently been a community advocate. Yes, the same can be said for Tolbert, but the causes I care more about are ones CDA has also been involved in. Farmworker rights, equality, fair wages, anti-wage theft, immigration reform, etc are all issues I know she's been involved with and I've seen her work.
Not taking anything away from Tolbert. He's a smart policy-oriented guy and I think he's one of the few people in town that was no problem telling the money guys were to stick it.
The reality is that unlike recent history, D2 has a chance to pick between a couple of really great candidates and either one would make a great city representative.