Ever since the rains subsided from Hurricane Harvey, political analysts say the storm and its aftermath became one the biggest political issues facing candidates up and down the ballot on both sides of the aisle.
From local elections to Congressional battles, preliminary reports show millions of voters across southeast Texas will weigh the candidates based on a single question:
Can they help us recover from Harvey?
In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Bob Stein, a professor of political science at Rice University, said Harvey will weigh heavily on the minds of voters, both in the March 6 party primaries and the November 6 mid-term elections:
“It seems likely that this issue of the flooding will be an issue both in the primary and in the general, particularly for Congressional candidates,” Stein said.
According to records, two Houston-area Congressional seats will be open, with the retirement of Rep. Ted Poe (R-Kingwood) and Rep. Gene Green (D-Pasadena) from the House of Representatives.
Rep. John Culberson (R-West Houston) represents one of the districts hardest hit by the floodwaters, and, while he worked to get an $81 billion aid bill through the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate refused to hear the bill until after the holiday recess:
“If they don’t get that $81 billion out, I think there are consequences for the November election,” Stein said in an interview about the Culberson. “That raises an interesting question of whether or not there’s public support for these guys.”
Although Culberson won re-election easily in 2016, results of the previous election show hhis district voted for Hilary Clinton at the top of the ticket.
Stein and other observers said they believe Culberson could be in danger of losing his seat if efforts to pass his aid bill fail.
Alex Triantaphyllis, a nonprofit executive, is reportedly running for the Democratic nomination in Culberson’s district.
Backing up Professor Stein’s claims, he told the Tribune he believes disaster relief funding for Houston should be Culberson’s top priority:
“He has failed to use his position as an appropriator to make sure that the federal government is doing its part to build the infrastructure we need to mitigate the flood damage here in Houston,” Triantaphyllis said in an interivew.
Stay tuned, y’all.