Members of Gene Locke's mayoral
campaign have been tied to anti-gay attacks against openly lesbian
Annise Parker, the Houston
The two candidates were the two top
vote-getters out of a field of seven in November and will face each
other in Saturday's runoff to lead Houston, the nation's fourth
largest city. Parker's sexuality and long history of gay activism
was a non-issue before winning a top spot in the runoff.
But as the campaign tightened, several
groups have attempted to make it an issue. Last month, about 35,000
fliers featuring Parker being sworn into office as city controller
while her partner of 20 years, Kathy Hubbard, looks on with the
caption, “Is this the image Houston wants to portray?” were sent
to voters. The fliers were paid for by long-time gay foe Dave
Wilson, a 62-year-old sign company owner.
The mailer sent out last week by
conservative activist Steve Hotze urged voters to reject Parker and
several other candidates because they were “endorsed by gay lesbian
political action committee.” The Houston
Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Political Caucus endorsed the
candidates. The Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that supports gay and
lesbian candidates, has also endorsed Parker for mayor.
Hotze's political action committee,
Conservative Republicans of Harris County (CRHC), paid for the
In its December
4 Texas Ethics Commission filing, CRHC lists a $20,000 donation
from Ned Holmes, finance chairman of Locke's campaign. James
Dannenbaum, who is on Locke's finance committee, contributed another
$20,000. The two contributions occurred in late November or about a
week before the mailing went out.
CRHC has been active since the 90's and
is known for supporting anti-gay candidates and opposing gay rights.
The Parker campaign has alleged Locke
is coordinating efforts with Hotze's PAC. Coordinating efforts
between a political campaign and PAC is illegal under Texas campaign
“Locke's campaign has been meeting
with Hotze's strategist, and they even offered him a job,” Adam
Harris, campaign manager for Parker, told the paper. “Hotze's
funders are Gene's closest advisers and major financial supporters.
Locke is either behind all the illegal coordination or has absolutely
lost control of his campaign.”
“Either way, that's bad for Houston
and we deserve better,” he added.
Polling gives Parker a slight edge in