Gene Locke vs. Annise Parker: Who Will Get the Conservative Vote?

According to the Houston Chronicle, City Controller Annise Parker heads into the December 12 Houston Mayoral runoff election a step ahead of former city attorney Gene Locke among voters in most demographic and geographic categories.

The only exception was with African-Americans, among whom Locke dominated despite a protracted effort by City Councilman Peter Brown to make inroads in that population. Locke's advantage there was weakened by generally low turnout in areas with high populations of black voters, the analysis shows, a factor that will take on heightened importance as the contest becomes refocused on the two remaining candidates.

Annise Parker gained most of her support from inside-the-loop white voters and placed first or second among the Conservative voters. Locke placed fourth among the Conservative voters. These results are not surprising according to Gary Polland's Texas Conservative Review Houston Election Editorial, in which he gave the candidates a set of questions to answer as a way to grade them on how conservative they are. Annise Parker received a B, while Gene Locke received a D.

Annise Parker, Grade B. TCR was pleasantly surprised that Annise Parker scored near the top. Clearly her answers indicate she is a fiscal conservative. She is a former executive at Mosbacher Energy and has been involved in City government for 12 years. She is a skeptic when it comes to more sports stadiums at City expense and is running on her ability to control spending and run an efficient City Hall.
Gene Locke, Grade D. Locke is an attorney, government lobbyist and former City Attorney under Bob Lanier, and former Chief of Staff for Congressman Mickey Leland. Over the years his politics have moderated from where he started in college. He has been a key player on the deals involving the now financially troubled Harris County Sports Authority. He is running on his ability to bring the diverse city of Houston together.

Both Parker and Locke know that Republican voters are at stake here, and because of this, they will likely attack each other on issues important to fiscal conservatives:

Locke may turn up the heat on accusations that Parker did not do enough as controller to sound the alarm about the city's troubled financial situation. To hit back, Parker may go further in playing up Locke's role in striking deals for three new sports stadiums, deals that recently soured amid the financial crisis.

Although Annise Parker received more conservative votes than Gene Locke, Locke does have the backing of several heavyweight Republicans such as Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, and former Port of Houston Commissioner Ned Holmes. It will be interesting to see how conservatives vote in the upcoming December run-off election!


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