Twelve candidates running for Houston mayor
Today is game 6 of the World Series in Houston. Today, our preview of key Nov. 5 elections focuses on the mayoral race in Houston—the fourth-largest city in the U.S. The 2013 census estimated that Houston’s population was 2.2 million with a city budget of $5.1 billion as of the 2017 fiscal year. According to the Legislative Budget Board, Texas’ state budget during the 2017 fiscal year was $209.4 billion.
Voters will decide among 12 candidates for mayor—including incumbent Sylvester Turner—in the city’s general election. In addition, all 16 seats on the city council and the city controller. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote Nov. 5, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on December 14.
Policy debates have centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding the city’s budget and spending priorities. Turner has said his accomplishments in office include balancing the city’s budget, leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey, reforming the city’s pension system, improving infrastructure, and strengthening the economy. His opponents have criticized him, saying he has not done enough to combat flooding, crime, and infrastructure deterioration.
Local media outlets have identified five major challengers to Turner—Kendall Baker, Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell. Baker, Boykins, and Lovell have criticized Turner’s budgetary opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum passed in 2018 requiring equal pay between firefighters and police officers. Buzbee and King both say corruption is creating inefficiency in Houston’s government.
Houston’s mayor serves as the city’s chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors, and overseeing the city’s day-to-day operations. He or she also presides over the city council with voting privileges.
Although municipal elections in Houston are officially nonpartisan, Mayor Turner is a former Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, Baker ran as a Republican for the Texas House in 2016, Buzbee ran for the Texas House as a Democrat in 2002, and Lovell was elected as a member of the Democratic National Committee in 2000.
Currently, 62 mayors of the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 29 are affiliated with the Republican Party, four are independents, and five identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated.
Early voting throughout Texas runs from Oct. 21 through Nov. 1. All registered voters may vote at any early voting location in the county in which they are registered.