Politics

Anger over Harvey May Not Carry Through to Midterms

Democratic challengers across Greater Houston have spent much of the past year trying to hang the slow pace of Harvey relief around Republican incumbents’ necks

Texas National Guard troops help rescue people from flooded homes in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

Numerous Houston-area Democrats running for office this year are blaming incumbent Republicans for the slow pace of action on Harvey relief and flood mitigation. It looked like a winning strategy in the months after the storm. Now, it’s beginning to look like a miscalculation. 

There are still voters around Houston who were directly affected by Harvey and who haven’t yet recovered. Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said they’re likely to have a bad taste in their mouth toward all incumbents. But he said that, at this point, most voters are more fatalistic than angry, seeing little that any one politician can do against flooding.

“So if Democrats such as Lizzie Fletcher and Lina Hidalgo were thinking that they’d be able to capitalize on Harvey to win votes in the Houston metro region,” Jones said, “they’re likely to find themselves being very disappointed.”

Fletcher has made Harvey one of the central issues in her campaign against Republican incumbent Congressman John Culberson. Hidalgo is running against Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. Jones said that Emmett won high marks for his handling of the storm and that, if anything, Harvey is likely to work in his favor.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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