As we noted yesterday, most Houstonians have no idea who they want for their next mayor. A poll shows more than two-thirds don't favor any of the candidates, partly as a result of financially crimped campaigns that haven't been able to advertise much yet.
Houstonians who were called for the poll and said they had no candidate were then given brief bios about the four people running. That changed things a little, not too much, but we're hearing some off-the-record grumbling about the way those bios were worded.
Here what the poll respondents were told:
Peter Brown is a 72 year-old Democrat who is a member of the City Council and an architect. He supports tougher land use restrictions and has worked to increase recycling and energy conservation in Houston.
Gene Locke is a 61 year-old African-American Democrat who was City Attorney under former Mayor Bob Lanier and serves as a legal advisor to METRO and the Port of Houston. He played key roles in some of the most significant economic development projects in Houston.
Roy Morales is 53 year-old Republican currently serving as a Harris County Department of Education Trustee. He is a highly decorated military veteran and businessman, who served as the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Houston Emergency Center.
Annise Parker is a 52 year-old Democrat who served on the City Council for 6 years and is now the City Controller, where she monitors city revenues and expenditures. Before entering public service, she worked in the oil and gas industry for 20 years.
One of the factors Brown is fighting is the perception that he's too old for the job. He was the first candidate to air an ad, and that ad was a virtual workout video of Brown robustly walking, climbing stairs, pointing vigorously, and doing basically anything short of dunking on LeBron to show he's no oldster.
But the first thing voters hear about him is that he's 72. Next!!!!!
Gene Locke's bio includes this sentence: "He played key roles in some of the most significant economic development projects in Houston." Hey, what's not to like?
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Longshot Ray Morales is not only a vet, he's "a highly decorated military veteran."
And Annise Parker is described in exceedlingly dull terms. If only there was something relatively unusual about her in terms of a politician....
Yesterday, in talking with poll designer Bob Stein about complaints that his son-in-law works for Locke's campaign, the Rice prof defended his survey, so he's obviously fine with the bios. And a little grumbling is to be expected in a political race.
Gee, maybe the race will even start showing some signs of life.