By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Adrian Garcia, an HPD officer and director of the mayor's anti-gang office, had planned to run for District H but decided to wait until Vasquez was term-limited out of the post in 2005. Thanks to the early warning, Garcia hustled in his filing papers for the position ahead of the deadline. He's expected to receive endorsements from Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, District I Councilwoman Carol Alvarado and other elected Democratic Hispanics.
Another prominent Democrat, former state rep Diana Davila Martinez, also entered the District H race, but she has a handicap in getting the liberal vote. Her husband, former state senator Roman Martinez, is backing Orlando Sanchez's bid for mayor.
Whether all the political maneuvering actually will have any effect on the outcomes of the races involved is open to question.
"Clearly this is an effort to boost turnout in Hispanic neighborhoods for Orlando," says councilwoman Parker. "Those of us who really want to be controller have been out campaigning for months...I think a last-minute entrant will have a really difficult time finding a place in the field."
Tatro says he's worked his GOP base from the grass roots up. "I don't think Gabe has that history or has adopted that tactic."
In the Position 5 at-large race, Democratic consultant Dan McClung isn't willing to concede a free ride for ex-mayoral candidate Berry, either.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see the minority community rear up and put him in a runoff," says McClung. "It could be a place where Hispanics and blacks come together on one thing: Let's pop Michael Berry."