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Houstonian Corner, Vol. 8 Iss. 47

November 16, 2006 by  


Texas Elections

Surprising Big Win for Hubert Vo – Amazing Big Loss For Martha Wong

Chad Khan and Farhan Shamsi Could Not Make It: Good Participation

A strong fight was expected in the State of Texas Representatives, District 149. Here incumbent Stephen Vo (D) was up against Veteran Politician Talmadge Heflin (R), whom he defeated by about thirty votes last time. This time Hubert Vo won comfortably by 12,529 (54%) votes to 10,605 (46%). In another amazing result, incumbent Texas State Rep. District 134 Martha Wong (R) 19,453 (43%) lost by a surprisingly huge margin to Ellen Cohen (D) 24,857 (55%). These results clearly show the demographics and opinions of the Greater Houston Area are changing and altering fast.

Muslim candidate Chad Kahn (D) ran an excellent campaign and got noticed in the Texas State District 126 after being endorsed by the largest newspaper of town the Daily Houston Chronicle. In the end, he lost after good participation to Patricia Harless (R) 18,056 65% – Chad Khan (D) 9,092 33%.

In some other races of interest, for the Justice of Peace – Pct. 3 position, Ken Cannata (R) 21,744 69.6% won against Farhan Shamsi (D) 9,499 30.4% and in the District Clerk Harris County race Charles Bacarisse (R) 297,273 54% won against John Shike (D) 254,329 46% votes.

Major Islamic Conference Comes to Houston On Thanksgiving Weekend

The Muslim American Society (MAS), together with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), brings the Third Annual MAS-ICNA South Regional Annual Conference to Houston next week. It is happening between November 23rd and 25th, 2006 at the Grand Plaza Hotel across from the Reliant Center at 8686 Kirby at IH610.

The theme of the conference is: “Restructuring the Mind & Enlightening the Heart.” It is characterized by the wise understanding of Islam and the sunnah of Prophet Mohammed (s). Allah taught us in Qur`an that He sent to us His Prophet to teach us the book and the wisdom. This means that Islam is built on wisdom and all the deeds of Prophet Mohammed (s), are built on wisdom. If we miss this wisdom, then we are missing a major part of the teachings of Islam or are taking the surface without realizing the beauty of the inside.

Among the major goals of the convention is to let Muslims see this wisdom and run their lives based on it.

At the same time we want our convention to consider the time we are living in and the reality of Muslims in the United States. We are living in 2006, which is different in many ways than the lives of earlier Muslims. In addition, we want to reach the hearts of Muslims and let them realize that a sincere heart, a heart that forgives and is able to forgive, a heart that is transparent and pure, is the key to success.

There will be parallel programs for adults, young professionals, college students, high school youths, scouts, and young children.

For more information, visit www.mashouston.org.

US House of Representatives Texas: Shelley and Lampson win

Special “City of Houston” elections to be held soon

Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs becomes a Congresswoman for the first time as she got elected as the write-in Member of US House of Representatives from Texas District 22. She won a special election to finish the last two months of DeLay’s term. Her name appeared on the ballot in that race, where Democratic Party Challenger Nick Lampson did not participate.

Sekula-Gibbs said she would stand by her commitment to represent District 22, even if it’s only for seven weeks. It means she has to step down from her At-Large Position 3 seat on the Houston City Council, where a special election will soon be held.

After Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs two months stint ends, the House of Representatives member will be Democrat Nick Lampson, who won this U.S. House seat long held by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. As of this report, with most precincts reporting, Lampson had about 53 percent of the vote, while Houston dermatologist Shelley Sekula-Gibbs held about 40 percent. Libertarian Bob Smither had about 6 percent.

Lampson’s victory marks the first time a Democrat had represented that district in more than 20 years. Many predicted Lampson would be a caretaker and the solid Republican district would replace him in two years.

As Democrats closed in on taking control of Congress for the first time since 1994, Lampson told supporters that the country was seeking a new direction. “This country does indeed need and deserve and will get a new direction. To be able to go back and make that difference for our whole country, and addressing the issues that became important for us, that’s what you’ve asked me to do. That’s what we’ve done and that’s what’s brought us here tonight, ladies and gentlemen. I thank all of you who stood with me since the very, very beginning–the confidence that you had, the willingness to go into the streets, to knock on doors and make phone calls.”

The campaign for the 22nd District would not have been much of a race until DeLay resigned from Congress in June as a result of a fundraising scandal. The courts refused to allow Republicans to replace DeLay on the ballot, so the GOP turned to Sekula-Gibbs as a write-in candidate.

The difficulties of mounting a write-in campaign have more than offset Sekula-Gibbs’ advantage in running in the conservative district. She was only able to raise about $700,000. As a result, the National Republican Congressional Committee pumped nearly $2 million in national money into the campaign–nearly all of it in the last two weeks.

Although the Lampson campaign attracted far less money from the national Democratic Party, it did benefit from direct contributions from around the country, much of it donated in anticipation of his running against DeLay.

The Lampson camp reacted strongly Tuesday to the brief closure of a polling place in Fort Bend County. About 45 minutes after polls opened, officials discovered they had the wrong electronic machine to run the booths. It took about 45 minutes to fix the problem, and officials said all votes tabulated with the wrong machine would still count.

Calling the mix-up “inexcusable,” the Lampson campaign claimed voters were turned away and said it planned to contact the Justice Department and Secretary of State’s Office. But Gwen Ross, the election judge at the site, said it was simply a mistake. “There was no one that we turned away, no one,” she said.

A Lampson victory would be somewhat ironic. The former congressman lost his House seat in 2004 as a result of plan orchestrated by DeLay to redraw congressional voting districts in Texas and now he has got elected on the same seat as that of Tom DeLay: Democracy at its best.

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