Local political analysts say some controversial on-line statements by Houston Mayor Annise Parker may have undercut the impact of the pro HERO campaign's newly revealed financial strength.
In the hands of folks pushing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a surprisingly plentiful war chest - close to $1.3 million, a number which dwarfs the amount generated by their opposition.
While some cash came from local donors, more than half the money was injected from a quartet of out-of-state political action committees advocating for LGBT rights with six figure donations.
"This is an issue that is resonating far beyond Houston's boundaries, so it makes sense that they were able to raise a lot of money quickly," said Jon Taylor, a veteran political analyst at St. Thomas University.
HERO opponent Jared Woodfill calls the gay rights windfall an attempt by outsiders to impose their values here.
"This is huge LGBT money coming out of New York, Washington D.C. and Colorado, all in an effort to influence Houston, Texas," said Woodfill, spokesman from the Campaign For Houston.
While they trail in the battle for campaign bucks, anti-HERO forces say their efforts have been bolstered by a trio of attack tweets issued Monday by Annise Parker.
In them, the Mayor sarcastically mocks anti-Hero spokesman and former Astro Lance Berkman, calling him a "hypocrite".
Rice political analyst Mark Jones called Parker's move a blunder.
"Mayor Parker is very much associated with LGBT rights and the more she weighs in in this battle the more it becomes about LGBT rights and not about broader issues," said Jones.
Professor Jon Taylor agrees.
"Not smart to do that, particularly late at night. Not smart to do that, particularly when it's screen captured by reporters like yourself, because in the end it can hurt your campaign," said Taylor.
Parker sent Fox 26 the following statement:
“For me, this fight is about how much I love this city. I don’t want anyone to ever disparage Houston. That someone who made his name in our city would inject himself into this debate by taking to the airwaves to discredit an effort to ban discrimination in all forms did upset me. This ordinance protects all Houstonians and his remarks diminished it to something trivial.”