A Successful Fundraiser For Mayor Parker
April 7, 2011

As she prepares to launch her campaign for re-election, Mayor Annise Parker got an overwhelming show of support from community and business leaders on Wednesday.

Supporters writing smaller checks and political contributors with deep pockets helped  push the mayor’s first official fundraiser over the $1 Million mark.   Members of  her  financial team tell me that’s actual money in the bank and it exceeded their expectations.

Guests who piled into the political event at the Four Seasons included former mayoral opponent Gene Locke, who issued a statement endorsing Parker on the invitations that were mailed out for the fundraiser.   Former Mayor Bob Lanier and wife Elyse, a Port of Houston Commissioner also showed their support.  

Seasoned political analysts predict this successful fundraiser could help Mayor Parker frighten  well-funded challengers, however, the rumour mill has been buzzing for weeks that prominent Houston attorney Ben Hall and former Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt will jump into the race.

We’ll wait and see what happens. In the meantime, Mayor Parker’s re-election campaign if planning to have a public (and free) rally at Discovery Green later this month to officially announce her plans to seek a second term.

(Full disclosure: the fundraiser was closed to the media. photos provided by the Parker campaign)

Ladies For Locke And TV Campaign ADs
October 1, 2009

The political world is buzzing this morning with news that Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke is about to launch  his campaign’s  first  TV political ads on Monday, October 5.  Locke who attended a Ladies For Locke fundraiser at the home of  Elyse and former Mayor Bob Lanier Wednesday night did not confirm his plans, but several other sources have confirmed the news to 2 on the Beat.

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That date is exactly  two weeks before the start of early voting on October 19,  but weeks after his opponents Council member Peter Brown and Controller Annise Parker went up on the airwaves with their paid political messages. 

In the TV ad, Locke, who has never been a candidate for office, will introduce himself to voters and talk about his vision for the city of Houston.

Did Locke and his top campaign team make a risky decision to wait until Monday?

Remember that back in 2002 when Bill White was running for mayor, he started his TV strategy almost EIGHT months before the election. Like Locke, White was not a household name, although White had been active in the statewide Democratic party leadership.

However, former Mayor Bob Lanier waited until a few weeks before election day to launch his campaign’s first TV ads.

 

The difference between Locke and Mayors White and Lanier is that both men had a substantial amount of personal wealth they could invest in their campaigns. 

The  econonomic climate in Houston is different now, and all of the candidates currently running for mayor are  facing difficult fundraising challenges .

Locke is not a household name, but he’s been a behind the scenes figure working to create much of  Houston’s current infrastructure: light rail, sports stadiums and economic development.

 Locke’s campaign manager Christian Archer, who would not confirm the TV ad, told 2 on The Beat that waiting wasn’t a risky decision, but rather part of a disciplined strategy.

Once Locke begins his TV political ads,  his campaign expects to maintain a presence through election day, a time when voters are paying the most attention.

While Locke wants to win outright on election day, in reality he only needs to finish in  first or  second place.

There will be a runoff election to decide who is going to be Houston’s next mayor.

Rain Doesn’t Stop Political Rally
April 18, 2009

The threat of flooding and a tornado watch didn’t appear to dampen the spirits of the people who attended the Gene Locke for Mayor campaign rally Saturday morning.

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Good thing the  rally was held inside Minute Maid Park at Union Station, otherwise Locke would have been talking to more empty chairs than people.

The rally had a respectable turnout which included a lot of familiar faces,  community leaders, political types and grass roots organizers.

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Some of the big names throwing their endorsement behind Locke were:  Astros owner Drayton McLane, former Mayor Bob Lanier and his wife Port Commissioner Elyse Lanier, Constable Victor Trevino, Lobbyist Dwight Boykins, Rusty Hardin, former city council mayor pro-tem Gracie  Saenz, former Kemah Mayor Bill King, Pauline and Jr. Higgins, the Honorable John Peavy,  Artee Jones and a host of others.

City Councilman Ron Green and his wife Justice of the Peace Hillary Green were also at the  rally.  Green, who is running for city controller against Locke’s opponent  and current controller Annise Parker,  stressed that he is remaining neutral.

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2 on the Beat arrived late, but witnessed enough to make a few observations:

1. the sound system was terrible

2. Mr. Locke is probably an effective speaker in the boardroom, but he really needs to show some passion and enthusiasm in his campaign speeches.

This is Locke’s first time running for political office, and he faces City Controller Annise Parker (www.anniseparker.com) who is a well known to voters and is having no trouble winning endorsements and raising money, city councilman Peter Brown (www.peterbrownforhouston.com/)  also a formidable  challenger,  and Harris County Board of  Education  Trustee Roy Morales (www.roymorales.com )

Finally, I spotted Parker’s campaign manager Adam Harris at the Locke Rally. (opposition research!) He kindly reminded me that I need to take 2 on the beat and my camera to the next Parker campaign event!