Over 40 years strong, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the state’s most powerful political organizations. Whether Houston candidates run seeking the group’s endorsement, or specifically try to run against it, when “The Caucus” makes a move, everyone pays attention. As Rebecca Elliott of the Houston Chronicle reports, this year’s annual endorsement meeting was no exception…
A raucous municipal endorsement meeting brought mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner the coveted backing of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus on Saturday, positioning the 26-year state representative to broaden his coalition to include the city’s progressive voting bloc.
Caucus members voted 142-85 to endorse Turner after more than an hour of insult-laden discussion in which they rejected the recommendation of the group’s screening committee to endorse former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
Turner also beat out former Congressman Chris Bell, a longtime ally of the gay community who had been considered a likely pick for the group’s endorsement.
Once-shunned, the caucus’ [support] is now highly sought-after by candidates aiming to win over left-wing voters, known for reliably showing up at the polls.
The Caucus’ backing carries particular weight in municipal elections, which have often proven a more progressive electorate than Harris County or (obviously) the deep red state of Texas. A fact made all the more important this year, as candidates on both sides will vie for attention against the Goliath of the 2015– the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. To be sure, candidate positions for and against HERO were vetted to the utmost extent during this endorsement cycle.
Below is the full list of endorsed candidates…
Houston Mayor- Sylvester Turner
Houston City Controller- Chris Brown
Houston City Council
District B – Jerry Davis
District C – Ellen Cohen
District F – Richard A. Nguyen
District H – Roland Chavez
District I – Robert Gallegos
District J – Mike Laster
District K – Larry Green
At Large 1 – Lane Lewis
At Large 2 – David Robinson
At Large 3 – Doug Peterson
At Large 4 – Amanda K. Edwards
At Large 5 – Phillipe Nassif
Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees (HISD)
District 2 – Rhonda Skillern Jones
District 3 – Ramiro Fonseca
District 4 – Jolanda Jones
District 8 – Juliet Katherine Stipeche
Houston Community College District Board of Trustees
District 3 – Adriana Tamez
District 8 – Eva Loredo
For candidates like impressive newcomer Philippe Nassif, the influential recognition provides visibility and greatly increases his chances of a position in the run-off with Jack Christie, incumbent Council Member of At-Large position 5. Some voters may recall that Christie, who was once himself endorsed by The Caucus after saying that he supported a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance, went on to vote against HERO in 2014 and in 2015. Meanwhile Nassif has been a constant ally in the fight for equality, and leaves little doubt for voters where he would stand if elected to represent all Houstonians.
It will be quite interesting to see how these candidates fair on November 3rd. For the sake of HERO and progress for all Houstonians, let’s hope they do quite well.
Stay tuned for more candidate information via the TLCQ in the coming weeks.
Off the Kuff has more.