Former Reps. Gilbert Peña (R-Pasadena) and Robert Talton (R-Pasadena) have filed to succeed term-limited Johnny Isbell. They join San Jacinto College trustee John Moon Jr. and council members Pat Van Houte and Jeff Wagner. Both former representatives served HD144. Peña served one term in the House and was defeated in November in a rematch against Rep. Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston). Talton served nine terms in the House but has since lost races for Congress (2008), Harris Co. county attorney (2012) and the Supreme Court (2014). Moon, an accountant, was elected to the trustees in 2009 and re-elected in 2015. The bilingual Van Houte was first elected to the council in 2006. Wagner, a former Houston police officer, was elected to the council in 2015.
In a Facebook post, Peña said, “As a former State Representative, I know that fiscal and social conservatism can keep Pasadena great, and as Mayor, I will work with all citizens to restore pride to Pasadena. I have lived in Pasadena for over 24 years and will put every bit of my time and energy toward making Pasadena a city that is safe and a great place to raise a family.” Peña lost the 2013 mayoral election to Isbell, 83%-17%, before upsetting Perez in the 2014 general election. Talton’s Facebook page is still using his Supreme Court campaign logo as a cover photo.
Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments tomorrow (Wednesday) as to whether the city should conduct its May city council elections using 2011 boundaries for eight single-member districts ordered by a federal judge or a 2014 plan for six single-member districts and two at-large seats. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal previously ruled the 6-2 structure was established intentionally to dilute the voting strength of the fast-growing Hispanic/Latino population. Fourteen candidates, including four incumbents, have filed for the eight single-member districts. As we noted, two other incumbents are running for mayor. Van Houte is currently serving as one of the at-large members.