GOP Mayoral Pipe Dreams

West U rejected them, so how will they ever win Houston's City Hall?

Bob Stein, a political scientist and social sciences dean at Rice, figures Sanchez's own limitations force him into a partisan strategy.

"He doesn't have a viable base," says Stein. "Never built up a constituency, though he's been an at-large official. It's hard to run as a Hispanic when you're the Republican candidate. And look at what he's done as a legislator in government. He's basically been opposed to everything."

Running on party identification in city races flies directly in the face of two facts of American political life. One is the old saw that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage, keep the streets clean, arrest the crooks, etc. The other is a recent trend of voter dissatisfaction with two-party politics.

"They think it is fractious, uncivil, lacks comity," says Stein. "When candidates make those kinds of appeals, not only do voters reject them but they regard it as negative campaigning."

A suggestion to Sanchez: If you want to do more than guarantee Lee Brown's re-election, try peeling Gary Polland off your forehead.

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