Sunday, May 07, 2017

Disappointing Pasadena TX election for Democrats - Isbell political machine becomes Wagner machine

The Houston Chronicle has a story on the Pasadena election.

Some inaccuracies. The report on candidate finances ignored a previous report that the Houston Chronicle had of the Moon campaign loaning itself $100,000. Moon was financed by his loan and large Real Estate PAC money.

Wagner was financed by Isbell's political machine, city contractors and Isbell's large donors, pretty much exclusively. The Isbell machine has now become the Wagner machine.

The last article correction is that Schoenbein is elected with 50.9% of the vote without a runoff due to the returns from the last and largest polling location with five precincts putting him over.

Wagner won with 38.85% of the vote and is in a runoff with Moon with 18.29% of the vote, assuming voter errors are not found which would not significantly change the results. The next four candidates are bunched with Flores at 11.4% followed by Talton and Van Houte and with Gallegos at 9.6%. Pena had less than 2% with him ceasing to campaign in the last weeks.

Turnout was a disappointing 13.45% although still much more than the last mayoral election. Although there was increased Latino turnout on the north side that was matched with increased turnout from the south side that was Anglo, older, Republican and religious. The two mayoral forums did not explore controversial topics or hard questions, surprising given the recent controversies that had national attention.

During the highly attended Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Forum Wagner answered one question by leading the crowd in prayer. No controversial or tough questions were asked. One question of this election was how Wagner, Moon, and Talton would split the religious Republican vote. It was only on election day that it was clear to outside observers that Wagner had secured it as well as Isbell's donors. Every polling location had eager volunteers from the largest church in Pasadena, to which Wagner belongs, helping him with what seemed liked religious fervor. Moon seemed favored by the less numerous business Republicans and had run a campaign heavy on Chamber of Commerce boosterism - "Pasadena is the greatest city in the world."

The north side vote was split between Van Houte, a current at-large council member, and two last-minute candidates with no political experience:  Gallegos, a school administrator, and Flores, a Latino businessman. Pena's limited support also came from the north side. Refusing to collect money from large donors, city contractors, and click to donate here money from the Internet(!?) Van Houte's campaign ended up being underfunded and understaffed. It is unclear if the Houston Chronicle endorsement of Van Houte helped more than harmed with the large Texas distrust of the "liberal media." David Flores made a surprisingly strong showing with enthusiastic young Latino backers. He also floated by with not disclosing his Republican ties, he had gone through GOP candidate training, which could have harmed him with the younger Latino voters, and could easily have a future in politics. The Gallegos campaign, with backing from the Latino Democratic groups and some Democratic politicians mistakenly believing that the time was ripe for a Latino mayor for Pasadena, never broke through.

The election is especially disappointing in corruption and favoritism not becoming key issues and the transference of Isbell's city contractor donor base to his designated successor Wagner who is highly favored in the runoff.

This article needs to be read in conjunction with the Houston Chronicle's previous article on the crooked and dictatorial rule of current mayor Johnny Isbell.

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