Well the canvass report (draft) of the 2011 General Election is now available and for me there were a few surprises in our district. Mike Laster won the race hands down in every category, winning the majority of votes cast in every precinct except one, Pct 731, where Criselda Romero got 13 of 22 votes. It hardly mattered. In my view we have a get out the vote (GOTV) problem, not a lack of registered voters.
First a look at the conventional wisdom; District J voters are mostly older, Anglo, and live in the Sharpstown Civic Association (SCA) boundaries. This seems plausible :
But what matters is who shows up to vote, and in District J that means Sharpstown, and to a lesser extent Braeburn. Gulfton, mostly Hispanic with over 7,500 registered voters, turned out only 380 votes for Council District J. I have to say I was pretty shocked with those results; barely 6% of registered voters in the Gulfton area made it to the polls.
In the charts above you see the political influence of the Sharpstown community. The neighborhood accounts for a little more than 1/3 of the registered voters in the new district, but when it come times to vote they do, accounting for something shy of 2/3’s of actual votes cast for CM Dist J. You’ll note that Gulfton voter participation is quite low, accounting for 17% of the registered voters but only 9% of the votes cast.
Who did the Sharpstown neighborhood vote for? Mike Laster.
What about Gulfton? Mike Laster, although at a lower rate.
Our new district had fewer voters than in any other single member district on City Council. Our new Council Member won the seat with votes from less than 1.5% of the estimated population. There’s a decimal in that last sentence; one POINT five percent. Ouch! We can do better than that.
This analysis is by no means an evaluation of the candidates or their campaigns, simply a review of who’s participating in our new district. We are all pulling for Mike Laster to get some big things done at City Hall. He’s been in the game, he knows all the players, and by his own account he’s the guy to get it done. That’s what we want and need, someone to get it done. No caretaker, “let’s see how things play out” style of Council Member. It’s time to move forward.