Category Archives: Candidates

Why was the Status Quo Upheld in CFISD Board Election?

Trustees Covey, Ogletree, and Ryan were reelected Tuesday, some by large margins, over an effort by conservatives to oust them from office.

Cy-Fair ISD voters returned John Ogletree, Don Ryan, and Bob Covey to the board of trustees for another three-year term Tuesday, after a concerted effort  to oust the incumbents.

Conservative challengers Bill Henderson, Kay Smith, and Scott Adams lost in their bids for the board, by 20 percent, 11 percent, and just 4 percent respectively.

Despite a banner year for Republicans and conservative candidates, I am a little surprised all three challengers failed. But in the end, what I think helped Ogletree, Ryan and Covey was group cohesiveness.

Did the signs cause CFISD's board challengers to fail?

People always seem to respond to “groupspeak.”  With the Citizens for Quality Cy-Fair ISD Trustees PAC behind them, joint signage, and what seemed like a good presence of canvassers at the polls, people more easily identified with the incumbents in a year when anti-incumbent sentiment was the theme.

If cohesion was a winning strategy, the conservative triumvirate had a mixed message of sorts, with similar-sized signs and apple logo, but different colors.

Adams, who was closest to winning, had black-on-yellow signage, far different from the red and blue signs the other two challengers used.

Sheer numbers clearly were also in play online and at the polls; on Facebook, the PAC has over 750 supporters, versus just 127 for the conservative challengers.

So, was it the cohesiveness and ease of incumbency, or the failings of the challengers to use such a strategy that caused them to fail? Hit me up in comments…

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Patrick to GOP: My Will Be Done in 2011

In today’s 4 o’clock hour of Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)’s KSEV drive-time radio show, the Texas Senate sophomore-to-be put Republicans on notice that it is time to act like a majority.

Renewing a 2006 talking point, Patrick said it was some Republicans, not Democrats, who were responsible for the Voter ID bill failing to gain traction after listener John called to discuss his support for the legislation.

“If these Republicans get elected and do not do what they said they would, I will

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

name names,” Patrick said, adding that he was sick of Republicans acting as if they were not the majority in the Texas Legislature.

There it is–fair warning from the Voice of Texas, who looks to renew his threat of using his now expanded radio network and influence of the Tea Party Caucus to bully the GOP into submission.

Prediction: Look for Dan Patrick to run for governor in 2014.

Best and Worst Campaign Websites: Harris County Democratic Edition

Earlier this week, I analyzed the websites of Harris County Republicans.  Now, it is the Democrats’ turn.

As I have previously suggested, Democrats will always win the war on the web when it comes to information and web design, only because they have an actively engaged youth bloc that knows technology.  You know the type: liberal, ugly feet-in-sandals, environmental t-shirt wearing, vegan Starbucks fan who is always plugged in on their iPhone, flipping through their apps, updating Twitter, etc. Yeah, that nuisance.

And even if the Democrats have found a nice niche for their beautiful web wares, the truth remains, if they are of the liberal brand, their sites are nice but their policies are dumb! On to the sites:

The Best

Best Party Website in Harris County

Designed in the same vein of the Barack Obama campaign, the Harris County Democratic Party offers nothing new in terms of design, but it is still the best political party website (for now!) in Harris County, Texas. I won’t say much else, because a liberals are a prideful bunch and will gloat any chance they get.

Best State Senator’s Site: Rodney Ellis

State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D13) wins by default in the absence of a website by the Harris County Democratic Party’s other local senator, the venerable Sen. John Whitmire (D-15).   Much like Republican Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7), Ellis’ site is well connected for social networking and built for effective communications. But, unlike Patrick, I doubt Rodney Ellis will be the next gubernatorial prospect from his party.

Best State Rep’s Site: Kristi Thibaut

State Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D-133) has a website that is probably one of the best in Texas, in terms of simplicity, organization and effectiveness in engaging readers.  I am always a fan of retro fonts, and Kristi’s site uses them in splashes in a way that makes it crisp and fun.

Best Website Flag: Rick Molina

While his website is of the dime-a-dozen Obama-like sites Democrats are hitching their posts to, Pasadena State Representative candidate Rick Molina (D-144) has a pretty cool flag which is reflective of the district’s industrial lifeblood, and his dream digs in Austin.

The Worst

The Best of the Worst Award: Garnet Coleman

While State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-147) has a website that does the job,  it is very modular in design and in old school HTML. Additionally, whoever built the site did not designate a Metatitle which reflected whose website it was.  As a result, the web browser reads “Home” up top, which would not be typically good for Google search results, but then again, how many people do you know named Garnet Coleman?

Man of a Thousand Words Award: Scott Hochberg

State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-137) is, in many respects, a statesman, even if he is a Democrat. I would be remiss not to applaud Hochberg on the many emails I have received over the years in which he linked to and explained the political process or something going on in the Democratic Party. Yet, I must admit his website is of that early 90s HTML look that makes me sad, especially since he has so many useful links and content. Furthermore, more images would help break up the very prolific Hochberg’s text.

Yeah, Right Award: Brad Neal

Perennial Democratic State Rep candidate Brad Neal (D-150) uses this piece of crap to get his gobbly goop across to the few Democrats who will bother to show up out there in State Rep. Debbie Riddle‘s turf. Neal has run twice, and will lose again on Tuesday’s General Election. You can blame it on the red nature of the district, but I’ll blame it on his website. Anybody who thinks text that size is appropriate doesn’t deserve to become a State Representative.

The Pretty-Ugly Award: Diane Trautman

I normally wouldn’t write about how pretty or ugly a candidate is, because I don’t like it how the media does that to female candidates of any party, but for a Democratic woman, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Diane Trautman is actually very gorgeous.  So, it hurts to see a nice photo of Mrs. Trautman being displayed on such a boring website, which is why she gets the Pretty-Ugly award: Pretty mug, ugly ass website.

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LSCS: No Discussions on Replacing Chris Daniel on Trustee Board

While it is still three days away, I figured I might as well play devil’s advocate and asked Ray Laughter, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs for the Lone Star College System, what plans, if any, had been made should Trustee Chris Daniel win his election for Harris County District Clerk.

In short, Laughter said, there were no plans considered as of yet.

“Not wanting to get ahead of anything, I don’t believe there has been any discussion about the process to replace Chris Daniel if he were to resign from our board,” Laughter said.

“In the past the board has appointed a committee to review candidates and make recommendations for appointment, in this case for the year and a half remaining on his term.”

Daniel will face Democratic incumbent Loren Jackson for the Clerk’s Office on Tuesday.

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Sen. Patrick: New Tea Party Caucus, ICRoT “Different”

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7) defended the formation of a new Tea Party Caucus today from critics who said its shared goals of Patrick’s Independent Conservative Republicans of Texas invalidate the need for the latter group.

But, according to the state senator, both groups represent the same goals with very different capacities.

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

Patrick announced the formation of a Tea Party Caucus in the Texas Legislature today, created to represent the interests of followers of the conservative political movement.

According to a press release from Patrick’s office, The Tea Party caucus will be active throughout the session, meeting with conservative leaders from the Tea Party movement, discussing issues, and building support for important conservative legislation.

Meanwhile, the ICROT, Patrick’s post-Republican primary pet cause, serves another purpose, he said.

“The ICROT was never intended to be an active caucus.  It was intended to be a statement of what our party stood for as each member signed the pledge,” Patrick said, via email to TL.  “The voters will decide moving forward if those elected officials keep their word.”

Members of the Tea Party Caucus will meet more rigorous requirements for eligibility.

Membership, which will be determined by Sen. Patrick prior to the start of the 82nd Legislature, will be determined based on three requirements, including:

“The Tea Party is the most important political  movement of my lifetime and I want to be sure their voice is heard loud and clear in Austin after the election is over,” Patrick said.  “This caucus will work with Tea Party leaders across the state to be sure promises made during campaigns are followed up in the legislature.”

Despite Patrick’s enthusiasm, critics said it appears he is abandoning the ICRoT.

David Jennings, of Big Jolly Politics, charged Patrick was already moving on from the organization formed in April, previously predicting the senator would probably “have moved on to something else” before the 83rd Legislature.

As a conservative blogger, Jennings is often critical of the senator for moderate politics, choosing to refer to him on his blog as “D_nny.”

“This might be a record-time dropping of a “cause” for [Dan] – the website hasn’t been updated since April 21st,” Jennings writes. “Remember when, at the start and even during the middle of the Tea Party movement, that [Dan] said the Tea Parties wouldn’t survive if they didn’t tie themselves up in knots with Republicans?”

“Remember, Julie [Turner of the Texas Tea Party Patriots]? Remember what TEA stands for? Now you’ve gotten yourself locked up with a bunch of guys that care way more about what you do in your bedroom than what they take out of your pocketbook.”

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Best and Worst Campaign Websites: Harris County Republican Edition

Each election, I am both amazed and appalled by some of the choices of branding political candidates choose to forgo on their campaign signs and websites. While few are excellent, many are notoriously bad. The Harris County Republican slate is no exception.

 

Today, I look at some of the best (and worst) the Harris County GOP has to offer, and a few comments from me to you.  By and large, the Republicans could use a book on CSS for Christmas.

 

The Best

 

Typically, the best Republican websites come from the Congressional incumbents.  They have more money, staff and relevant content on the issues to fill a site.  U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-7) has the most organized site, featuring top-of-the-page navigation, plenty of social media links and buttons calling voters to interact with the campaign, and an overall clean feel.

 

Of all the Republicans in all of Texas, Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)‘s website is built to inform and engage.  A Twitter link up top provides easy access, which a left-hand navigation is straight forward with sections for issues and videos. The gigantic Texas flag behind him and the red, white and blue nature of this website screams “I AM RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN 2016.”.  Scary thought, isn’t it?

 

Texas Rep. Patricia Harless (R-126) sets the bar for what every House member’s website should aspire to be. Not only is it clean and classy, in a Texas cowboy kind of way, but it offers her constituents and supporters ways to get in contact with her via email and social networks. Furthermore, bonus points for the very cool tagline: “I believe that limited government means limited spending.”
I hope she will run for higher office at some point, and take this website with her. 🙂

 

The Worst

 

I start the bad section with the Harris County GOP’s party website only because it could be better.  Republicans, by definition, are not very good with the Internet to begin with, so I will try to be brief. But, this site is crammed, very modular in its appearance while also looking very disheveled. My eye doesn’t quite know what to look at, and therefore, I am apt to struggle to focus on one thing; for example, the video embedded (congrats on learning how to embed videos, guys!) at left is so “heavy” in weight, even if I want to look at the buttons at right (which are the second “heaviest” item), I have a hard time focusing.

 

Another point I want to make, thus proving the assertion about the GOP and its slow progress online: While viewing the website’s page source, the webmaster (or creator) illustrated how behind they were by not only taking the time to write out metatag keywords (which, for all intensive purposes, lost importance years ago when it came to SEO and search engines), but alternating between capitalizing keywords, as if they were case sensitive.

 

Remember when I said the Congressional incumbents had the best sites? On the flip side of that, Congressional also-rans (in this case, Republicans challenging standing Democratic incumbents, who no matter how bad they suck, always win) have among the worst. Steve Mueller, God bless him for trying, has nice talking points framed by a website my 10-year-old brother could make if he was learning HTML.

 

Okay, I lied. Not all Republican incumbents have the nicest sites.  Rep. Pete Olson shows just how boring, white bread he can get by filling one of the Republican’s nicest websites with big blocks of text from top to bottom. Olsen is highly prolific, and unless you have the time to read Olson blah blah blah about blah blah blah, you will be turned off by this website.  Olson does get points for breaking out of the red, white and blue motifs, however.

Back when I was with the 1960 Sun Newspapers, I met and spoke with Rep. Gary Elkins on a number of occasions.  His policies, especially in terms of small business, are incredibly sound. But, his website looks like something I tinkered with when I was in my freshman year of high school!  It is a very simple HTML site. I wish he’d do something about this eyesore.

 

In the Harris County judicial races, one judge stands out for a weird navigation feature on their website.  Harris County Judge Vanessa Valasquez, of the 183rd Criminal District Court, relies on this crazy Flash menu which changes at a rate of every 4 seconds.  The image isn’t even shaped like the flap, with a corner virtually cut off. It looks pretty tacky, and for an older voter, probably isn’t clear it is a link.

 

Orlando Sanchez is to the Harris County Republicans as Chris Bell is to the Harris County Democrats: He is always running for something.  And when he throws his hat in the ring, Orlando counts on the above early ’90s HTML website to carry him through, time and time again.  In fact, if you look closely, the “for Harris County Treasurer” part appears to be pixelated, likely because they changed it in Microsoft Paint every time he filed for a new campaign.  The left-hand navigation is very simple, and let’s face it, the site is boring.

 

While Harris County Clerk candidate Stan Stanart is busy vying for Beverly Kaufman’s seat, he is also busy as the Harris County GOP’s IT guy.  And yet, despite being the Computer Whiz-in-Chief, this train wreck of a website is supposed to persuade us to “Stand with Stan.”  The alternating red and blue text is bothersome, the artwork is fuzzy, and the faded American flag looks like some Windows Outlook background. Navigation is simple enough, but the end result leaves much to be desired, Stan.

Oh, and when the September 27th Fundraiser was over, you should have removed the flashing yellow banner. I got my hopes up thinking I was going to get to spend a night with you, Chris Daniel and Paul Bettencourt!
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2 Houston Libertarians Surge in Popularity on KHOU Website

Glass (top) and Townsend (bottom)

Videos featuring Kathie Glass, Libertarian candidate for Texas Governor, and Bob Townsend, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congressional Dist. 7, have surged in viewership on KHOU Channel 11’s website, making them the two most watched videos on the site.

Glass, whose video comes second to Townsend, advocates for border control and getting “our fiscal house in order,” while appealing to disaffected Perry and White voters.

Meanwhile, Townsend takes a hard line against the status quo, who will increase the size and scope of government and trample on the sovereign and Constitutional rights of Texans.

According to a recent Texas Tribune poll, Glass garnered 8 percent support among those polled (797 persons). The poll, taken before an October 19 debate between Glass, Democratic candidate Bill White, and Green Party candidate Deb Shafto, does not reflect what the campaign maintains is an even higher base of support.

Gov. Rick Perry did not appear at the debate, or any debate this election.

Townsend, meanwhile, will face Republican incumbent Rep. John Culberson.

Texas Libertario proudly supports and endorses the Harris County and statewide Libertarian Party ticket, including Kathie Glass for Governor and Bob Townsend for U.S. Congress, Dist. 7.

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