The filing deadline is just days away and a few candidates have thrown their names into the mix. If they are just now throwing their names in the mix, their chances of winning aren't very good unless they have a hell of a ground game that they are throwing into action now.
Rep Tolbert is in some trouble. He's taken the sharpest nose-dive in popularity of anyone I've ever known in local politics and now he has competition - two of which could be very problematic for him, both of whom happen to be veterans
Jud A. Burgess - If he were running in District 3, the name alone would be helpful to him. But he's not. He always seems angry and is going to campaign via Facebook memes he makes or maybe print out a bunch of literature, hopefully not low-key anti-semitic this time, to people who may or may not be voters. He's going to make a lot of noise on social media, but the fact that they guy has never voted in a municipal race is going to really hurt him. Not much of a threat other than he likes media attention.
Alex Burnside - Hands down the biggest threat to Tolbert. He's a veteran, young, and played a big part in the Bernie Sanders campaign. He knows field organization is important and knows how to run a field op. The big obstacle for him is money. If he can get enough of it, he can be a big problem for Tolbert. He's the guy that is going to make Tolbert's field guy Chris Hernandez the most nervous.
Raul "Scoop" Valdez - Normally I wouldn't say that a musician is a political threat, but Scoop's not your normal musician. The guy is somewhat of a local legend, probably most notably known from his time with Radio La Chusma. He's a decorated veteran himself and the vato knows a lot of people. And he knows a lot of young people. He's the kind of guy that can be a sleeper because he can attract non-traditional voters to the polls that probably won't be targeted by a campaign because they have little to no voting history. He's the dark-horse, but if he's smart and surrounds himself with people who have won campaigns before, not just people that have worked on a campaign or two, then he can definitely be a player.
Quick side bar: The reason I mention Chris Hernandez is because he is in a difficult spot, mostly because of this race. He's getting paid a lot of money by David Saucedo to run his field program. And frankly given all of Saucedo's problems, his only prayer is a good field program, so it has to be a full-time focus. But Hernandez is Tolbert's former staffer and he and Susie Byrd pulled the Tolbert win without a run-off. Tolbert doesn't have Susie Byrd's support anymore. So Tolbert's only hope is Hernandez, and I'm pretty sure Saucedo isn't going to want Hernandez moonlighting on another campaign, much less Sam Morgan's in District 4. On the other hand, Hernandez has a lot at stake in the Tolbert race though, pride being a big part of it. Its going to be interesting to see how this one shakes out for Hernandez, heart versus pocketbook.
In one sense, almost anyone is a better city rep than the current occupant of the seat.
Cassandra Brown-Hernandez - Smart, young, qualified, and gets the big picture stuff. I think as long as she has money she will do well and has a chance at making the run-off.
Jaime Barceleau - On his campaign literature he lists that he's married. There's a reason he does that, she is literally the only thing that Barceleau has that comes close to being a qualification for office. He has all the money in the race. And I mean un chingo. He's spending it as well as I thought he would. I mean when a guy puts his marital status on his lit its a dead give-away that he doesn't know what the hell he's doing. There's more to that lit, but that is a piece for another blog.
Elias A. Camacho - Never heard of him.
Antonio Williams - Smart, young, qualified, an attorney and has a lot of political street cred with the Democratic Party. He's another one that as long as there is the money, he can make a run-off. Its refreshing for voters to have the choice between to really smart qualified candidates like Brown-Hernandez and Williams.
An open seat that is going to be an interesting race. Sam Morgan came within a few votes last time. In order to not lose anymore votes, he shaved his trademark dreadlocks. He will likely be in a run-off versus Shane Haggerty, the YISD Board of Trustees President and the only candidate in the race with any real experience. Lets break it down.
Sam Morgan - Came within a few votes of unseating Carl Robinson in the last election. Its easy to say that the reason he lost is because of dreadlocks, and I'm sure that might have been part of it, but its certainly more deep than that. He lost because he didn't have the organization and money in place to be effective in a run-off. That may change in this election cycle, but again, Chris Hernandez who is running his field program, is in a tight spot. He simply doesn't have the time available to run three city campaigns, and only one is paying him. The other two wouldn't pay for a part-timer, so its a big catch 22 for Hernandez. Morgan is a business owner and a veteran, which plays well in the Northeast. He's a shoe-in for a run-off.
Diana Ramos - "Who?" That is what most people in the northeast say when I ask about her. Why? Because she hasn't lived there very long, if at all possibly. She's most notable for something negative, she has an ethics complaint filed against her already. If by some chance she actually is able to get passed the ethics complaint, it merely underscores her biggest problem, she hasn't lived very long in the district and has no base. She's gonna rely on being brown and female. Thats not enough in the northeast. Its the most diverse part of town. Even if she's Beto O'Rourke's candidate, its not nearly enough to make her a factor.
Shane Haggerty - He's the only candidate to have run a big tax-payer funded budget. He's saved the district millions, he has a base of support in the northeast, he's leveraged millions in tax dollars to the north-east from the bond that would have otherwise gone to another part of the district, he's fought for transparency on a school board that was against transparency, and was the only candidate to actually fight against meetings that violated the Texas Open Meetings Act. He's a retired fire fighter. And oh yeah...he's a Haggerty in the Northeast. He'll meet Morgan in the playoffs.
Jose Placencia - He's the other guy running.
Mayoral Race - This list is getting really long and just to make the shit-show complete, Jaime O. Perez threw his hat in the ring. I know, shocker. Although truth be told, this is the best shot he will ever have. I'm not going through all of the candidates, just the ones that matter.
Emma Acosta - Dora Oaxaca is a huge liability and no one can actually make it look like Acosta accomplished anything while on council. That is a big hill to climb. Especially after her bid to make the city less transparent. She's broke and she can't raise any money. But since she's been in office for the better part of the last decade, and in the news a lot, she'll make a run-off.
David Saucedo - Raised a lot of money up front, blew threw it and will have to self-finance the rest of the way. Long shot to make a run-off, but if people hate Acosta and Margo as much as I think they do, he still has a outside chance.
Dee Margo - God help us all, but is looking more and more like he's going to be the person to beat. I still don't see how he appeals to people in central or basically anyone south of the freeway, but if he does well in west El Paso and the northeast, he has a shot because of his money. He will likely be in a run-off with Acosta.
Jorge Artalejo - You guys think I was joking, but I'm not. I'm voting for Artalejo because he's as good a choice as any and has more experience with local government than Saucedo.