Local and State Election Ticker
Mamas Walking, Mamas Voting Edition
Yes, She Can
TX-10 Democratic primary candidate Mike Siegel announced his endorsement by United Farm Workers hero (and UFW co-founder) Dolores Huerta, who is credited with originating the union invocation, "Sí se puede!" In a statement, Huerta called Siegel "a champion for civil rights and a champion for workers' rights." Siegel said he's "committed to following in Huerta's footsteps" by representing working-class communities in the Texas 10th.
The Pritesh Gandhi TX-10 campaign took another swipe at GOP incumbent Rep. Michael McCaul, this time because McCaul's West Austin home was the largest residential user of water in 2017. The fundraising pitch proclaimed that McCaul used "1.4M gallons of water in 2017, most of any Austin resident. Climate change likely not a priority for him." The charge is a bit dated, but in truth McCaul regularly appears on the list of top 10 local water users; when he hit the list in 2011, he blamed "faulty water pipes." In 2017, it was "chronic troubles with water pipes." McCaul is reportedly the second-wealthiest U.S. congressman, with a net worth estimated at $113 million – perhaps he should consider hiring a competent team of plumbers?
On New Year's Day, the Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez for Senate campaign announced then backed away from the endorsement of actor Susan Sarandon, after heavy backlash on Twitter. The candidate tweeted that the "legendary" Sarandon recognizes that change and "our work starts at the ballot box." Critics immediately responded that in 2016, Sarandon's general election support went to Jill Stein, and she even publicly preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. By the next day, campaign manager David Sanchez deleted the tweet as a "distraction," and he told the Chronicle Tzintzún Ramirez welcomes everyone's support, is building a "big coalition," and intends to support the Democratic nominee (for Senate and for president), whoever that might be. "We need everyone in the party to win," said Sanchez, "and defeating [incumbent John] Cornyn and Trump is everything." Earlier, Tzintzún Ramirez was endorsed by Alec Baldwin – who's worked with the candidate since her days at the Workers Defense Project – but Sanchez said, "Endorsements really don't mean anything when they come from actors." He said the campaign is in good shape heading toward February, with plenty of volunteers and solid fundraising, and that he didn't think the Sarandon endorsement would be a lasting problem. "Cristina combines good policies with imagination," he said, "and the ability to talk to every Texan in a way they understand."
Houstonian Annie "Fed-Up Mamá" Garcia, a late entry into the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate, says she's walking 420 miles across Texas on a "Protest Pilgrimage" against "the do-harm politics of [GOP incumbent] John Cornyn." She'll be inviting people "to share her journey and megaphone to make their voices count." Find out more via Garcia's quite detailed website: RunAnnieRun.com.
Accounting for Williams
There's also a late entry in the TX-25 GOP primary: December filer Keith Neuendorff of West Lake Hills, a software engineer who says he's running as part of the "movement in the Republican party to get back to core principles and position the party to be a reasonable conservative voice ... the opposite of what is being presented by the career politicians like [GOP incumbent] Roger Williams." He's demanding "accountability" from Williams, who he says ignores his constituents, under the slogan "Retire Roger." More at Neuendorff2020.com.
More Foot Traffic
In the Precinct 3 Travis County Commissioner primary race, Sheri Soltes has declared herself the "Hardest-Working Candidate." Soltes says she's the only candidate to file exclusively using voter signatures (instead of filing fee), and collected an extra hundred signatures "48 hours after facial surgery." She says she's been block-walking for 10 months, as "a way to truly remit our community." Meanwhile, former state Rep. Valinda Bolton is trumpeting her recent group endorsements: Circle C Area Democrats, the University Democrats, and AFSCME's recommendation for the Central Labor Council's endorsement.
More Mamas Voting
Julie Oliver continues to rack up endorsements in her campaign for the Dem congressional nomination in TX-25. She reports nods from activist, author, and 2018 TX-7 congressional candidate Laura Moser; UT-Austin's University Democrats; Progress Texas ED Ed Espinoza; and the "Vote Mama" organization founded by Liuba Grechen Shirley, who ran an uphill fight against Long Island GOP Rep. Peter King. Grechen Shirley lost, but became the first candidate to receive FEC approval to use campaign funds for child care. Vote Mama PAC supports the campaigns of mothers with young children running for Congress.
The Black Austin Democrats announce the return of "Black and Blues: A Political Party," Jan. 19 at Hanovers 2.0. The goal of the fundraiser is to "motivate Black voters to turn out to the polls in the March Democratic Primary and the November General Election," as well as advocacy and outreach efforts for the 2020 census and 2021 redistricting. The party will be "an upscale evening of live music and great company." Tickets start at $50 via Eventbrite, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay on top of the latest news from the campaign trail at austinchronicle.com/elections.