Incumbent Sylvester Turner and 11 challengers will compete in the November 5, 2019, general election for mayor of Houston, Texas. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will participate in a runoff election on December 14, 2019.
Of the 11 candidates running against Turner, local media outlets have identified five major challengers: Kendall Baker, Dwight Boykins, Tony Buzbee, Bill King, and Sue Lovell.
Policy debate in the race has centered on Turner’s record during his first term, especially regarding his handling of 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.
Throughout the race, Baker, Boykins, and Lovell also criticized Turner’s budgetary opposition to Proposition B, a ballot referendum passed in 2018 requiring equal pay between firefighters and police officers, while Buzbee and King have repeatedly accused Turner’s administration of corruption.
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.
Mayor Turner is affiliated with the Democratic party. Sixty-two mayors in 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. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party.