Some’s Hot, Some’s Not 06/27/12
Local Politics Part 1
I’ve been on vacation (since the O.J. trial) and haven’t written about the local primary results definitively. I’ll start correcting that today. Don’t know if you are interested, but it helps me get my mind around some of this stuff.
District 26, first round
A review of the primary results, mostly Republican, shows some surprises. I was surprised that Rick Miller got so many votes for State Rep. Dist. 26 compared to Jacquie Chaumette. It was not enough to avoid a run-off election on July 31. I had no idea Miller could poll 2,000 more votes that Chaumette.
He had first ticked off the supporters of Gary Gillen, who was the former county chair, started a cabal against Linda Howell who was running for county chair. After his election, within two years he abruptly resigned as head of the county Republican party, and named as his successor Sharon Roberts, then he had immediately started trying to undercut Roberts to the point she resigned.
I have to interject here about Rick Miller and his crew first wanting to get rid of Eric Thode, then Gary Gillen. They were accused of mishandling money (well, Thode was) and not accounting for the Lincoln Reagan Dinner or newsletter money. Since the exit of Thode and Gillen, neither the newsletter nor the Dinner have made a dime to speak of. Roberts was never able to pin down Treasurer Frank Hester about the amount of money in the bank. Hester just usually didn’t show up for meetings. They mouthed about transparency then never followed up. I’ve heard the party never made any money while Miller was head and is now broke!
Miller was apparently behind the hate mail that went out about Farah Ahmed during the last Sugar Land City Council election, which accused her of being a Muslin (she isn’t but so what if she were?).
He’s mouthed around the county about running against Pete Olson in two years.
So you would think that at least the friends of Gillen, Howell, Ahmed, Roberts and Olson would have voted for someone other than Miller.
With such a vote deficit coming off the primary, I’m worried that Chaumette will have a hard time making them up.
Sonal Bhuchard has refused to endorse either candidate in the run-off which is disappointing as so many people have supported her (including me) before in school district elections. Her sitting on her hands in this election shows a lack of commitment to the Republican part, her sex, and her race. People will remember this in coming years if she tries to run again which I’ve heard is clearly her intent. She should be ashamed in not endorsing Jacquie.
This District 26 race will have an effect on races in other years as people learn the influence large law firms and developers are exerting in Fort Bend politics. I’ll tell you all about it, starting next week.
District 85, a new face
The next race to surprise me was for State Rep. in the new Dist. 85. A man out of Wharton County won that as the district covers a large portion of that county, in addition to Fort Bend. The man’s name is Phil Stephenson. Never heard of him but then I don’t spend much time in Wharton.
He was running against Lee Duggan, the son of the former mayor and himself an officeholder when he was president of the board of the CAD, a job that might have lost him votes during this election.
Duggan beat Stephenson in Fort Bend County but not enough to overcome Stephenson’s lead in Wharton County.
In any event the vote was close as Duggan ended up with a vote total of 5,208 to Stephenson’s winning vote total of 5,944. Now don’t quote me on those votes as that Dist. 85 covers three counties and I couldn’t remember the other one so I can go there and count votes. As it was, I had to chase down the Wharton County votes.
Oh Snap! Fort Bend Elections Office said the vote in Jackson County (the third county covered by District 85) was Duggan 421, Stephenson, 616 . Now let’s see if any of that adds up.
I found a web site for Stephenson where he said he was an accountant with offices in Greatwood and Rosenberg and had been county chairman for five years. I don’t know how I missed that as I have known the county chairman going back to Jean Blissard.
It also showed a wife (I guess) and six kids in the picture. I wish when political candidates had a tab on their web site that said: “About me,” it would be about them and would clearly identify the people in the pictures it shows. Those kids could have been grandchildren, for all we know.
K.P. George, in the doghouse
Then a Democratic surprise. Keisha Rogers, the Lyndon LaRouche candidate who wants to impeach Obama, won the primary to run against Pete Olson. I mean, can the Democrats make it any easier for Pete?
K.P. George, the local Democratic candidate, won in Fort Bend County, but lost in the rest of the district in Houston and Clear Lake. Now all the Democrats are mad at K.P. because they accuse him of not working hard enough.
No runoff! No runoff!
Which brings us to the biggest surprise in the world! Troy Nehls didn’t just beat and brutalize Craig Brady who had “invested” more than one half million dollars in his campaign, he mopped the floor with Brady.
If you remember the two protagonists were long-time chief deputy Craig Brady and long-time Pct. 4 Constable Troy Nehls. Nehls won with over 54.8 percent, quite a feat with four candidates in the race.
Although Nehls worked hard every day after he could legally declare late last year, Brady had a head start and had been working since the old sheriff, Milton Wright, announced on the first week of his new term, almost four years ago, that he would not be seeking office and that Craig Brady would.
The race was Brady’s to lose. And he certainly had plenty of money–over half a million dollars. Of course, there are those of us who had never seen money like that in a local campaign and had our questions about where it came from.
Me, I looked it up on his campaign finance reports and I have to say, I still have my questions.
Interestingly, one of Brady’s early supporters pulled up stakes and left town in the middle of the night shortly before the election.
In any event it didn’t help matters that Brady could never keep a regular campaign staff. With that kind of money, you would think he could.
In an attempt to stifle the press and intimidate other media, he even had his son sue the largest newspaper in Fort Bend County. However, it was published by an old broad (me!) who wasn’t easily scared. I just kept on publishing the facts. And although they won the suit, I won the war. It is being appealed.
On every turn, Brady made mistakes. He bullied his employees, who probably did him more harm than anything in the end. He divorced his wife of over 30 years and married some young jailer who got pregnant and had his baby although they were married by then.
A bunch of crony promotions that took place right before the installation of civil service for the sheriff’s department really angered the rest of the employees. His “Team Brady” was too aggressive at political events and their use of the social media offended and angered people. It got nasty.
Brady’s action of wearing a “Team Brady” shirt into a polling place and when told he would have to remove it, he yanked it off right in front of everybody, turned it wrong side out and put it back on. Some of those little Czech women standing around or working the polls didn’t appreciate that. He did it twice. It resonated all over the county and one person told me that at least three people at the courthouse stopped and asked him if it truly happened.
And lastly, Fort Bend is still divided by the Brazos River. Brady, who lives on the west side simply never tried to connect to all the Republicans who live on the east side. Many of them go to Sugar Creek Baptist Church. They weren’t putting up with all of that.
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