Brad Jordan‘s claim to fame was as the rapper Scarface and he was apart of Houston’s most influential rap group The Geto Boyz.
Now, at 49 years old, Jordan is running for Houston City Council and he’s garnered so much support that he’s found himself in the middle of a run-off election geared for Saturday. According to Associated Press, he’s hoping that voters who supported him before will return so he can represents the council’s District D. This time around, he’ll just have to make sure he secures a key voting group in his district — Black women over 60.
“You can sit back and point out the problems or you can address them and bring solutions to the table,” Jordan said Tuesday, referring to continual poverty and crime that afflicts his neighborhood.
District D expands into the south and southeast sides of Houston with more than 200,000 residents. According to 2017 data compiled by the current city council member, Dwight Boykins, Black people make up 53 percent of the district. Thirty percent of the population makes less than $25,000 a year, and although this number has risen over the past two decades, it’s still a plurality.
Political commentators have pointed out two big factors that could impact Jordan’s goal of getting elected. “Voter turnout for run-offs is usually low,” explained Mark Jones, a political science fellow at the Baker Institute at Rice University.
Meanwhile, Michael Adams, a political scientist at the historically Black college Texas Southern University, which is located in the district Jordan wants to represent, says the rapper also has to secure the votes of Black women over 60, who are the most dependable voting bloc in his neighborhood.
“He needs to improve voter turnout from his home ground in subdivisions like Sunnyside,“ Adams said. “Older African Americans may be not swayed by the notion a hip-hop artist can be in public office.”
Jordan’s opponent, Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, a Black women, might be more aligned to voters’ liking. “My belief is that City Council is not a training ground, it’s a proving ground. I’ve already proven my record,” said Evans-Shabazz. The 66-year-old holds a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees and the executive committee of the local NAACP. She also worked for the Houston Independent School District as an education evaluation specialist.
“I know she’ll get our potholes filled, our ditches dug out and more police in the neighborhood,” 81-year-old Lula Wilson explained outside of the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, which is a polling place. Wilson, decked in an Evans-Shabazz campaign T-shirt, said her favorite candidate has “always had a seat at the table.”
Other voters would prefer someone who can maybe take a more direct approach to issues like crime and violence in neighborhoods.
“We have a serious gang issue in District D,” said resident Gerry Monroe outside of the Sunnyside center. “Who can go into one of these rough gang infested neighborhoods and have a conversation with gang members to put guns down? Carolyn (Evans-) Shabazz or Brad Jordan? I’m gonna ride with Brad because I’ve seen him do it.”