HOUSTON - It’s the first day of early voting in Sunnyside and every other community across the great state of Texas.
Here in Harris County dozens of candidates are vying for nominations in both political parties.
Among the majority Democrats, the battle lines have been drawn along ideological lines with ultra-progressives pushing for a continuance and expansion of controversially lenient criminal justice reforms and moderates, demanding a rollback, citing multiple examples of citizens victimized by criminals cut loose on little or no bond.
Former felony court judge Maria Jackson, who is challenging Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, calls this primary a referendum on public safety.
“After reading and looking at it, I did anticipate that people were going to get hurt and even killed…and I know from personal experience that he (Ellis) is calling and threatening judges,” said Jackson.
Among Republicans, a different kind of controversy emerged on early voting’s first day with the release of a video that appears to show longtime Precinct 3 Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack pulling down the campaign sign of Brenda Stardig, a candidate he is not supporting.
“Do we focus on that he was taking my sign down and it ended up in the trash and not all of them did? There’s a pile right over there, um I don’t know. We just want to make sure we are doing the right thing and we want to stay as positive as possible,” said Stardig.
Reached by FOX 26, Commissioner Radack confirms he pulled down the sign, together with dozens of others he says were improperly posted on a new County-owned fence outside the Trini Mendenhall Community Center.
“There’s a lot of good candidates out here and voters are going to see through dirty tactics,” said Dylan Glass, campaign manager for Adriana Higginbotham, candidate for Justice of the Peace Place 5-1.
Early voting continues through February 28th at 52 polling places throughout Harris County.
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones anticipates around half of the total ballots in the primary will be cast by early voters.