ATLANTA: A Group In Each Corner
Rev. Joseph Lowery, who gave the benediction at Pres. Obama’s inaugural ceremony, endorsed state Sen. Kasim Reed (D) on 11/18 while Councilor Mary Norwood “met with gay and lesbian community leaders as” both camps “try to encourage supporters to come back to the polls” on 12/1. “Lowery said he was dismayed by” the 30% turnout on 11/3. general election. Lowery: “This is the home of Martin Luther King. This is the home of the civil rights movement.”
Turnout “will be key” for both camps, “since polls suggests there are few undecided voters. … The runoff is five days after Thanksgiving and some Atlantans may be more focused on Christmas shopping.”
Lowery “said he’s supporting Reed … because of his ties at the state Capitol and because he believes Reed can better handle the city’s financial challenges. Reed said he was grateful for the endorsement.” Reed: “It is our time to accept responsibility. The torch has been passed.”
In Midtown, “Norwood was greeted by about 200 members of the LGBT community at Amsterdam Atlanta.” Norwood: “Tonight’s event shows how inclusive my campaign is. We can be a city that is fun and without fear. When I say I am going to be there for you on the state, local and national level, I am going to be there.”
Norwood “has gained strong support in the LGBT community for her support of same-sex marriage. It is estimated that” up to 15% of “Atlantans are in the LGBT community. They could represent a key swing vote, said” Ex-GA Equality political dir. Kyle Bailey. Bailey: “She is the only candidate who is for 100% equality and supports marriage equality. She has been there for our communities and our neighborhoods, and she has been a staunch advocate for the LGBT community.”
That “might start at home.” Norwood’s stepdaughter introduced her at the LGBT event. Dorsey Norwood: “Mary Norwood is my stepmother. And I am gay.”
Later, “GLBTATL announced on its website their support of Norwood. The local gay advocacy group was at the forefront of protests against the” police dep. “after the raid of the Atlanta Eagle, a local gay club” (Stirgus/Suggs, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/18).
An Attempt Street Cred
Norwood’s camp “unveiled a supporter-created GOTV rap video” on 11/19.
HOUSTON: Step To The Right
“Hoping to tap a potential bloc of swing voters” in the runoff, Cont. Annise Parker and ex-City Atty Gene Locke “courted conservative voters” 11/17 at the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club forum, “promising not to raise property taxes while streamlining” gov’t and “improving public safety.”
Harris Co. GOP chair Jared Woodfill “said the GOP advisory board decided not to make an endorsement in the … runoff. But support from the GOP faithful will be critical to the next mayor, he predicted.” Woodfill: “It will make or break the race. Whoever attracts those voters will win. Because whoever voted for them the first go-round, will stick with them. But the Roy Morales folks, however they split, will be the difference between being the next mayor or the runner-up.”
United GOPers of Harris Co. chair Bob Shults: “What conservative voters have to do now is, look at which of these folks would be the most fiscally responsible, both in terms of taxing, spending and how they manage the finances of city government. Both of them have issues that may not play to a lot of socially conservative voters very well, but a lot of social conservatives are realizing this isn’t the time to stay home.”
Parker departed the forum “early to introduce” George H.W. Bush “and wife Barbara at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Before leaving, Parker outlined her public safety initiative to allow any certified peace officer to respond to serious crime, regardless of jurisdiction. She also expressed support for the city’s affirmative action program, but got her loudest applause when she reiterated her pledge to not raise taxes.”
Parker: “I have stated on a number occasions on the campaign trail that I don’t plan to raise taxes in this economy — that’s the wrong thing to do to struggling taxpayers and business. My pledge is not to raise the tax rate — certainly not in the near term. That’s not necessary.”
Locke “recounted his” East TX “roots, where his father was a farmer and his mother a school teacher, and introduced his wife of 27 years. He told the group he was a devout Christian who had raised five children.” Locke: “I’m not going to raise anybody’s property taxes. We’ve got to find a way to give property tax relief.”
Pachyderm Club pres. J.D. Joyce: “They seemed to be really straightforward and forthright, and I didn’t get the idea they were pandering to our group to get votes” (Pinkerton, Houston Chronicle, 11/17).
Meanwhile, anti-gay activist Dave Wilson “said he has sent out” 35K fliers “opposing … Parker in part because of her sexual orientation. The front of the flier has” a ‘04 photo “of Parker being sworn into office … while her partner, Kathy Hubbard, looks on, accompanied by the headline: ‘Is this the image Houston wants to portray?’ On the back is written, ‘Just because Annise Parker is a lesbian doesn’t make her qualified to be mayor of Houston.’
Wilson “also challenges Parker’s record, … saying she failed to alert the city to” a $1.5B “operational deficit.”
Parker mgr. Adam Harris: “In terms of the only real issue facing the city the flier addresses, that claim has already been met with a blunt rebuttal by Mayor Bill White.”
Wilson’s “flier states that he has ‘nothing but compassion, respect and sensitivity’ for homosexuals, but decried ‘behavior that will stifle religious freedom and trap millions of more people in its deadly grip.’ Wilson said he tried to word his flier as a compassionate Christian, albeit one who believes homosexuality is a sin. He said it was not intended to be a personal attack on Parker, and that he has sympathy for homosexuals because two of his uncles were gay and died of AIDS and a brother-in-law is gay.”
Wilson “said he is concerned that Parker, if elected, would become a gay and lesbian cultural icon and an inspiration to others to enter politics.” Wilson: “I think she is kind of a poster child for that movement” (Tolson, Houston Chronicle, 11/18).
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