A race for a city council seat in Pearland is heating up as two candidates are in the midst of a runoff, and the local Republican party has decided to weigh in.

Harris County Republican Party’s executive committee passed a resolution supporting Adrian Hernandez for Pearland City Council’s Position 4. Hernandez, who came in first in the early May three-way election, is currently running against Dalia Kasseb, who made a failed run for a seat on Pearland City Council just a few years ago.

Kasseb outspent Hernandez 24 to 1 to come in second and is now headed to the June 16 runoff.

According to local reports, Kasseb spent $51,000 in the month leading up to the May 5 election, while Hernandez spent $2,105. To put it in perspective, Kasseb spent roughly $19 per vote as compared to Hernandez’s roughly 63 cents. The job pays $9,000 a year.

Kasseb went into the election with the support of the Texas Democratic Party’s Project LIFT (Local Investment in the Future of Texas), a program to elect Democrats in nonpartisan local elections. The program has not found much success in the Houston area. Hernandez picked up the endorsement of the Harris County Republican Party after the race narrowed to two candidates.

From a look back at the race, it seems Hernandez’s campaign has centered largely on mobility and taxes. He wants to address the traffic problem in growing Pearland while also finding ways to reduce the tax burden on residents. Kassseb, however, has seemed to focus on making Pearland “self-sustaining” and allowing “healthy and smart growth.”

HCRP invested time and resources to defeat Kasseb during her last run for council. Only time will tell if the same effort will be deployed to beat Kasseb and Project LIFT this June.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.