The clock is slowly ticking on towards the Houston municipal elections. But one area that has seen significant action is the race for Mayor. This week, another major candidate has made moves that are sure to shake up the race. Theodore Schleifer of the Houston Chronicle reports that all the signs point to an impending announcement from Garcia…
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some close advisers and backers that a campaign may be imminent.
Garcia, under the Texas Constitution, would have to resign as a county official immediately upon declaring his candidacy. That presents Garcia, who watchers expect to immediately move to the field’s top tier if he joins the burgeoning mayoral fray, with a fateful decision: Does he step down as the county’s top Democratic officeholder to make a bid that would make him either Houston’s first Latino mayor, or politically unemployed?
“At the end of the day, it’s like standing at the craps table, placing the bet – and you could walk away with nothing,” said Garcia confidant Greg Compean.
Perhaps most tellingly, county sources say, is that Garcia’s top staff at the Sheriff’s Office are looking to jump as they eye other county positions that would give them a landing place beyond Garcia’s tenure and vest them in the county’s pension system. Garcia’s top lieutenant and close friend, Armando Tello, left last month for a lower-profile post in Precinct 6, and other executive officers currently are scoping out other opportunities.
“He’s running,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head Laura Murillo, who once considered her own bid for mayor. “He’s getting ready to make his announcement very soon.”
Murillo is not in Garcia’s inner circle, but several of the sheriff’s other allies confirmed a bid is all but inevitable.
Sheriff Garcia joins a growing field of possible candidates… including State Representative Sylvester Turner, former Congressman and City Council member Chris Bell, current Council Members Stephen Costello, Jack Christie and Oliver Pennington, Ben Hall, Bill King and Orlando Sanchez. Crowded doesn’t even begin to tell the story here, but it’s important to note that some candidates have more potential than others. From the pillars of potential money and name ID, Garcia presumably sits in the upper echelon of contenders right out of the gate with Sylvester Turner. Though there is certainly nothing to stop Ben Hall from bank rolling his own massive campaign, as we basically saw from 2013.
Side note… are there any women interested in running for Mayor? Any??
By far, a Garcia run will have the most immediate impact on local politics. As Dos Centavos points out, his resignation as County Sheriff could mean a substantial roll back of the Progressive policy agenda that has been actualized in recent years. Would a more Conservative Sheriff dismantle aggressive Mental Health reforms and LGBT protections in Harris County law enforcement? That remains to be seen. But those fears aside, there is no doubt that Garcia is a most worthy candidate to lead the city of Houston.
(Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Photo credit: harrisdemocrats.org)