Chris Bell is a former Houston City Counsel member who left office due to term limitation. He served one term in the U.S. Congress earning a C rating. His website boasts of endorsements by organizations that are not on our side of the gun and/or hunting issues. Of particular importance is the fact that former President Bill Clinton is coming to town for a Chris Bell fundraiser! Yes folks, the "champion of the assault weapons ban" is coming to town to stump for a would-be state senate seat. Why, because Chris Bell wants a platform from which to launch another bid for the Governor's Mansion. (The flier for the Clinton fundraiser is attached.)
I wish I knew more about the Republicans in the race, but I don't. All have TSRA "A" ratings and none are endorsed.
Joan Huffman probably has greater name recognition since she's a former Harris County Criminal Court Judge and a former Houston Police Dept. Officer. I've heard a lot of radio spots for her, so she probably has good financial backing. I believe she has a leg up on the other Republicans.
Grant Harpold is a Houston attorney and a Republican Precinct Chair. His website indicates he is a long-time member of the NRA, so I'm happy to see he openly acknowledges his membership. However, his website also notes that "I am not bankrolled by the political elite and special interest lobbyists, and will never be indebted to vote for their anti-taxpayer agenda." Like it or not, it probably means his message won't get out and he won't be widely recognized. That's a shame, he looks like a good guy and someone who would be good on our issues.
Austen Furse has a lot of political experience, as indicated by his tenure with President George H.W. Bush and other experience on his resume. He also founded Texans for Tax Limits. He looks like a very viable candidate, but I haven't heard a single radio or TV ad for him. With his backing, that surprises me, but perhaps he's waiting until we get closer to election day.
All three Republicans appear to be good people, to the extent you can judge a politician without a voting record. Talk is cheap. The only person to touch on guns is Harpold, but I'm not sure he has the funding or party backing to win, but I may be wrong.
This is purely a guess, but it seems to me that Joan Huffman has the best chance to get into a runoff with Chris Bell, based upon her name recognition. If we can get to a runoff, then the Republican will win, because the is Senator Kyle Janek's vacated seat. Unfortunately, a runoff is unlikely unless voters in Senate District 17 unite behind one candidate.
You folks in District 17 need to get together and chose a Republican to support. There are only 32 Senators and we don't need Chris Bell to be among them!
Here are some of Chris Bell's endorsements:
- ACORN-PAC - ACORN is being investigated for massage voter fraud in Ohio
Houston 80-20 Asian American PAC
Harris County Democrats
Harris County Tejano Democrats
Houston GLBT Caucus
Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee PAC
Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 341
IBEW Local 527
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
Pakistan American Council of Texas PAC
Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Action Fund
Plumbers Local Union No. 68
Texas AFT's Committee on Political Education
Texas Classroom Teachers Association
Texas League of Conservation Voters
Texas State Employees Union
Texas State Teachers Association - Strongly opposes guns on campus
United Transportation Union