HOUSTON, Texas – Late Friday afternoon, the campaign for Democrat Sylvester Turner sheepishly announced the endorsement of his candidacy by President Barack Obama after an email was leaked earlier in the day. The email informed a Texas Congresswoman that the endorsement would be kept quiet “so as not to get more Republicans energized to come out.”
The last minute endorsement by the president came as Turner and his runoff opponent, conservative candidate Bill King are coming down to the wire in an election that experts claim is too close to call.
The email was leaked after someone allegedly hacked the email account of Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. The leaked message was sent from political strategist Grant Martin with Storefront Political Media, according to Sue Davis, spokesperson for the Turner campaign.
While she said they were proud to announce the endorsement by the president and were just holding it “for a big announcement,” the leaked email paints a different picture.
“Note,” Martin wrote to the Congresswoman, “we are using this [endorsement] in a very targeted way.”
“We are not doing a press conference or release,” he continued, “so as not to get more Republicans energized to come out.” He wrote that the strategy would be to secretly use the endorsement in flyers and a robocall on late Friday or early Saturday morning.”
Clearly, the Democrat strategist felt the need to keep the endorsement as quiet as possible.
Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt told Breitbart Texas during a conversation on KSEV radio that “the voters have a unique opportunity to save Houston from bankruptcy” by electing Bill King to be the next mayor of the nation’s fourth largest city. He said there are clear differences on tax, spending, police and social policies that make King the clear choice for mayor.
Breitbart Texas contacted the Representative Jackson-Lee’s office to attempt to confirm the hacking of her personal email account. The spokesperson in the office said he was not aware of any of her accounts being hacked. He would not confirm if the email account listed in the email was actually hers. He also could not confirm the authenticity of the email.
Turner spokesperson Davis did confirm that the email was sent from Martin to Rep. Jackson-Lee and that it was authentic. She called the alleged hacking of the account “a dirty trick” and said it was a serious offense. She also could not confirm if the Congresswoman had filed a criminal complaint about the hacking.
Political experts in Houston are saying that the vote for mayor is neck and neck. The two candidates are tied and voter turnout on Election Day, Saturday, will be critical in determining who the next mayor will be.
The Harris County Republican Party (HCRP), under the leadership of chairman Paul Simpson, has endorsed King in the runoff election. They cite King’s opposition to Mayor Parker’s HERO ordinance that would have allowed men to use women’s bathroom and shower facilities; his support of local control of pensions; maintaining the Houston revenue cap, repealing the “drainage fee” and his opposition to the recent amendment of term limits as the primary differences between the candidates.
Turner received the opposite ratings on each issue except for local control of pensions.
In addition to the mayor’s race, other key positions are on the ballot that could help Houston become the nation’s largest Republican controlled city. The HCRP endorsed Bill Frazer in his race for City Controller, endorsed Mike Knox for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1, endorsed Willie Davis in At-Large Position 2, endorsed Lt. Colonel Roy Morales for At-Large Position 5, and endorsed incumbent council member Jack Christie for At-Large Position 5.
In the city’s single-member districts, the HCRP endorsed Steve Le in District F and did not endorse in the other races.
Other conservative candidate have already been elected outright in the city election held in November.
Voting in the city runoff election begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday and runs through 7 p.m. To find your polling location visit HarrisVotes.com.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter@BobPriceBBTX.