Sylvester Turner leads in Houston mayoral race

Texas Tribune Blue Government News

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 25, 2017.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 25, 2017.
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Incumbent Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a strong lead in his bid for reelection Tuesday night, according to early vote totals, and was just short of the majority he would need to avoid a runoff.

Turner had 49% of the vote after early ballots were cast, while second place Tony Buzbee, a Houston attorney, had 29%. In third place was Bill King, the businessman who narrowly lost to Turner in the 2015 mayoral contest. King netted 13% of the early vote.

The other major candidates in the race, Dwight Boykins and Sue Lovell, netted 6% and 1%, respectively.

If Turner receives more than 50% of the vote, he’ll secure a second four-year term representing the state’s largest city. He’s fighting for a second four-year team in the mayor’s office against Buzbee, who self-funded his campaign to the tune of around $10 million. The runoff for the mayoral race in the city of nearly 2.3 million people is slated for Dec. 14.

The race was nonpartisan, though Turner, a former longtime Democratic state representative, dogged Buzbee over his past financial support for President Donald Trump, an unpopular figure in the city. Eschewing party labels, Buzbee presented himself a political outsider determined to clean up City Hall corruption.

Disclosure: Tony Buzbee has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.