My Houston-based colleague Mimi Swartz forwarded to me this e-mail from Carl Whitmarsh, a local Democratic blogger, to Arthur Schechter, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, concerning the mayoral runoff in Houston. I provide no warranties about its accuracy: Hotze, along with [political consultant] Allan Blakemore, are rumored to be heading up a third party independent expenditure group of fundamentalist preachers in the Houston area to plow thousands of dollars into a campaign against mayoral candidate Annise Parker, who leads after the first round of voting, and in support of Gene Locke. I’m not surprised. Parker would be Houston’s first openly gay mayor — her life partner appears in her bio — and Hotze is virulently anti-gay. If Hotze does get involved in the race, raising the gay issue to a high profile is likely to be part of the play. That could be a national embarrassment for Houston. The mayor’s office is a big deal in Houston because the city has a strong-mayor form of government. What I find interesting about the race is that the next mayor is likely to represent a departure from the high-profile city leaders of the recent past, Bob Lanier and Bill White. (Former police chief Lee Brown, whose tenure separated the Lanier and White eras, was high-profile but ineffective.) Lanier and White were stars who came to the mayor’s office from outside of city hall. Parker and Locke have been city hall insiders. Parker as an at-large council member and city controller; Locke as Lanier’s city attorney and later as a “legal adviser” (his bio’s description) for Metro and the Port of Houston, two entities that are very interested in what goes on at city hall. Please note that blogger Charles Kuffner has done extensive reporting and analysis of this race. I’m mainly concerned with what Hotze is up to.