Local elected officials gathered on Saturday at a Houston Luby’s to mobilize turnout for this year’s elections. The lion’s share of the political conversation has been on the high-octane presidential race next year.
“This is an election year. If you focus on 2020 and forget about 2019— let me tell you, this election in 2019 is not just about me,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stumping for R.K. Sandill, a fellow Democrat and judge for Texas’ 127th District Court in Harris County.
Sandill is running for re-election for the judge position he has held since 2008.
“This is where it begins, in Harris County,” Sandill told supporters. “Don’t let anybody tell you Dallas is blue or Austin’s the place to be. Harris County is where we get it done and how we’re going to set the future moving forward.”
The weekend gathering of Democrats, which included precinct chairs, supporters and Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, was one of several meetings held recently aimed at maintaining Democratic victories that have turned the Houston area from purple to solid blue.
In 2016, Harris County saw the largest Democratic presidential margin of victory in more than a decade, transforming the Houston area from the biggest battleground county in the state to a Democratic stronghold.
In 2018, the gains for Democrats were even bigger, especially in the county’s judiciary. A total of 59 Republican judges were wiped off the map.
“The judiciary now reflects the diversity of our community,” Turner, who is running for re-election himself this November, said. “Know who’s out there running, know their history, know where they’re coming from and don’t be fooled. “It’s easy to be a backseat driver.”
The race for mayor remains Turner’s to lose.
All 16 seats of the Houston City Council, as well as city controller, are also up for election in the fall.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org