From Texas Political Almanac
Who & Where
District 146 is Houston's preeminent south-side African-American House District encompassing the bulk of Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood - the oldest African-American community in southern Houston. African-American voters in this eastern portion of the district give the Democratic Primary the overwhelming share of votes and long-standing community ties define much of the political dynamic. The western arm of the district has been reconfigured in the 2012-era map to include less of Meyerland proper, taking on other disparate multicultural neighborhoods in southwest Houston. The pattern is shared with HD131 since both districts have an elected representative from Sunnyside, yet require population elsewhere to meet the minimum requirement for a Texas House District. In it's completed form, District 146 is 56% African-American among Citizen, Voting Age population.
Borris Miles is a successful insurance broker from the Sunnyside neighborhood. Miles attended Jack Yates High School as well as the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice before earning a degree at Sam Houston State in Criminal Justice and Criminal Science. After working in law enforcement for the Houston Independent School District, Miles began a career in insurance sales. It was in this career that Miles began his own agency, ultimately becoming the third largest African-American independent insurance agency and the largest in Texas.
Miles' predecessor, Al Edwards, had served the 146th district since 1978. But by 2006 Edwards had accumulated negative national press largely due to his push for outlawing "sexy cheerleading dancing" at high school football games and proposing a Juneteenth statue that included a likeness of himself. Democratic activists were disappointed with Edwards for supporting the rise of Tom Craddick to become the first post-Reconstruction Republican speaker in the Texas legislature at the start of the 2003 legislative session. Finally, the pent-up desire among younger ambitious potential candidates in the area led to a three-way primary that also included future District Judge Al Bennett. Miles spent considerable funds in his first race - over $500,000 for the primary and runoff. This included over $255,000 in loans from Miles himself, which would grow to $385,000 in loans after the runoff.
The outspoken Miles made news in his first session by removing two paintings he deemed offensive from an anti-death penalty art exhibit in the Capitol. After the session, Miles again made headlines for shooting and wounding a man who was attempting to steal copper wiring from a new house that Miles was having built.
The Miles/Edwards duel would continue in each following Democratic Primary, as Edwards handily re-won the district in the 2008 Democratic Primary after successfully pitching negative news stories and filing lawsuits against Miles. The events in question accused Miles of showing a pistol and threatening TSU regent Willard Jackson and his wife during a Houston Rockets game at the Toyota Center and displaying a pistol and forcibly kissing another man's wife while crashing a party at a St. Regis Hotel ballroom. Miles was found innocent of both charges in January 2009.
In 2010, Miles won the rubber match over Edwards by an 11-vote margin. What made each of these three outcomes interesting was that Miles never carried the African-American vote from Sunnyside in any of the three elections. It was initially the Anglo vote from the Meyerland arm of the district that gave him nearly 90% of the vote in 2006 and a strong majority in his 2010 return. For the 2012 rematch, this would change. Miles won handily with 57% of the vote, carrying the Sunnyside portion of his district for the first time.
The only substantive difference in the 2002- and 2012-era maps is that the loss of Meyerland precincts removes some of the influence held by the Jewish community in the district. Many of the precincts lost were marginally Republican boxes in General Election returns. These precincts were hence more valuable to Republicans looking to strengthen the Republican vote in HD134. As it is now constructed, the district will continue being dominated by African-American voters with the eventual winner being selected in the Democratic Primary.
Given the proximity of incumbent House members to the borders of HD146, it is not unlikely that it may be a greater challenge to maintain districts for Miles, Garnet Coleman and Alma Allen if they continue to represent their districts when future redistricting efforts are made.
Population & Demographics
|Total Pop.||18+ Pop.||CVAP-10||CVAP-11|
2012 Election Analysis
84,618 Registered Voters
8,378 Spanish-Surnamed Registered Voters
51,346 Total Ballots
|Contest||Rep. Candidate||R-%||Dem. Candidate||D-%|
|U.S. President||Mitt Romney||19.1%||Barack Obama||79.8%|
|U.S. Senate||Ted Cruz||19.7%||Paul Sadler||78.2%|
|RR Commish||Christi Craddick||19.7%||Dale Henry||77.5%|
|Supreme Court||Nathan Hecht||18.1%||Michele Petty||79.6%|
|Crt. of Criminal Appeals||Sharon Keller||18.6%||Keith Hampton||79.9%|
|State Representative||Borris Miles||100.0%|
|County Sheriff||Louis Guthrie||18.0%||Adrian Garcia||80.1%|
|County Attorney||Robert Talton||19.3%||Vince Ryan||80.7%|
|District Attorney||Mike Anderson||22.6%||Lloyd Oliver||77.4%|
|Tax Assessor||Mike Sullivan||20.1%||Ann Bennett||78.0%|
|County Brd. of Education||Mike Wolfe||19.5%||Diane Trautman||80.5%|
2010 Election Analysis
86,869 Registered Voters
7,920 Spanish-Surnamed Registered Voters
32,518 Total Ballots
|Contest||Rep. Candidate||R-%||Dem. Candidate||D-%|
|Governor||Rick Perry||20.9%||Bill White||77.8%|
|Lt. Governor||David Dewhurst||25.8%||Linda Chavez-Thompson||72.2%|
|Attorney General||Greg Abbott||27.6%||Barbara Radnofsky||71.2%|
|Land Commish||Jerry Patterson||25.2%||Hector Uribe||73.2%|
|Ag. Commish||Todd Staples||24.6%||Hank Gilbert||73.7%|
|RR Commish||David Porter||23.4%||Jeff Weems||74.2%|
|Supreme Court||Debra Lehrmann||24.5%||Jim Sharp||74.2%|
|Supreme Court||Paul Green||23.7%||Bill Moody||75.1%|
|Supreme Court||Eva Guzman||25.6%||Blake Bailey||72.8%|
|Crt. of Criminal Appeals||Michael Keasler||24.6%||Keith Hampton||74.1%|
- Plan H309 - House District 146 - plan under which the 2012 elections were held
- Plan H303 - House District 146 - MALDEF/Abbott Compromise Plan
- Plan H302 - House District 146 - San Antonio court's original interim plan
- Plan H283 - House District 146 - plan passed by the 82nd Texas legislature
African-American districts such as the current HD146 have been caught between competing pressure points in the 2011 redistricting process. For starters, the African-American has largely failed to keep up with the growth of the population as a whole. At the same time, VRA-protected districts are traditionally the least-preferred target for map-makers to eliminate due to the red flags such a move would raise for pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act. As things stand, Harris County has six such districts with a Total Population that warrants 4.4 seats and a Citizen Voting Age Population that warrants 5.3.
These concerns came to the fore with regard to how African-American districts were treated with regard to the Legislature's H283 and the initial Western Court Plan H302. Complaints with H302 by African-American legislators focused on districts having a lower percentage of Total Population and Voting Age Population among African-Americans than either their existing district or the legislature's plan. In cases such as the H302 version of HD146, however, the Citizen Voting Age Population remains majority African-American. This hasn't quelled any of the concerns, as the topline demographic numbers in HD146 and other districts shows a plurality Hispanic Total Population. As a result, many African-American elected officials offered only qualified support for the Western District's plan.
- House District 146 - 2001 Map - Election History (2002-2010) and District Map
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