Houston voters will need to head to the polls again in December to decide who will be the mayor for the next term after incumbent Sylvester Turner failed to receive enough votes earlier this week to win re-election outright. Turner will be facing attorney Tony Buzbee, who came in second place.
It became apparent that the race would be a nail-biter after early voting results showed Turner at 48 percent, just shy of the more than 50 percent required to win outright. Those watching the election were held in suspense, however, as a debacle by the Harris County Clerk’s office caused the release of Election Day’s final results to be delayed until well into the next day.
When the dust had settled, the unofficial results showed Turner at 47 percent, with Buzbee behind at 28 percent. Former Kemah mayor Bill King, who narrowly lost to Turner in a runoff in 2015, trailed a distant third place with 14 percent, while councilman Dwight Boykins pulled 6 percent. No other candidate managed to score more than a few percentage points.
The results show that Turner maintains strong support among the Democrat voter base. Buzbee will likely face an uphill battle in a city that has been trending more and more blue in recent years.
However, Buzbee is running on an anti-establishment theme of shaking up city hall and ending corruption, a message he hopes will resonate with voters across the ideological spectrum.
“A political outsider pushed a career politician into a runoff,” said Buzbee, noting that Turner “has the entire establishment behind him, because their entire way of life depends on him.”
Turner released a statement following the election, casting the race as a clear choice between “an experienced leader” and a “Donald Trump imitator who has no experience, no ideas, and will say anything, do anything, or spend anything to get elected.”
“I trust Houstonians to make the right decision for our city,” said Turner.
Buzbee also cast the race as a clear choice: “This is a completely new race now. Now it’s a referendum on what Sylvester Turner has done or failed to do.”