A heated race for the Houston mayor’s office is headed to a runoff.
So are all the other races most important to citizens of Northwest Houston.
Mayor Sylvester Turner held a large lead Tuesday but did not surpass the 50 percent threshold required for an outright victory based on unofficial municipal election results released Wednesday morning by the office of Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman. With all 757 precincts reporting, Turner received 46.4 percent of the 240,300 votes cast for mayor. Attorney Tony Buzbee, the incumbent’s fiercest competition throughout the campaign, was second with 28.79 percent of the vote, setting up the two men for a Dec. 14 runoff.
Businessman Bill King, who narrowly lost to Turner in a runoff in 2015, was third with 14 percent of the vote.
Even though the mayoral race is designed to be non-partisan, a local political expert suspects it will now become partisan. Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, said he expects Democrats to vote for Turner and Republicans to side with Buzbee.
“The adage used to be that all politics was local. Now I think all politics is national,” Stein said. “I think everybody runs for their corners.”
The races for the Houston City Council seats in District A, C and H also are headed to runoffs. Amy Peck, the chief of staff for outgoing District A council member Brenda Stardig, led the six candidates by receiving 45.42 percent of the 15,749 votes cast. George Harry Zoes was second with 16.54 percent.
“Of course, it would have been nice to outright win,” Peck said. “But I think the voters sent a clear message (Tuesday) that they really want me to continue working for them and finish all the great projects that we have in the queue.”
In District C, where Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen has reached her term limit, Abbie Kamin led a 13-candidate field by receiving 31.77 percent of the 37,535 votes cast. She will be in a runoff against Garden Oaks resident Shelley Kennedy, who received 14.50 percent of the vote. Greg Meyers was right behind with 13.56 percent, and Mary Jane Smith was fourth with 12.05 percent.
“I am incredibly grateful to all those who supported and voted for me,” Kamin said, “and I will continue to work hard every day to earn the support of those who voted for another candidate.”
Said Kennedy: “I am thrilled to make the runoff. It’s been amazing for me. I’ve never felt so much love and support from all my friends and family and the community.”
District H council member Karla Cisneros was not reelected outright but led a four-candidate field with 38.15 percent of the 13,200 total votes. Isabel Longoria was second with 27.18 percent of the vote.
Prominent Heights Realtor Bill Baldwin did not make a runoff in the race for at-large position 4 on the city council, placing fifth with 10.7 percent of the vote. Anthony Dolcefino led the field with 20.89 percent of the vote, followed by Letitia Plummer with 15.94 percent.
In the battle for the District II seat on the Houston ISD Board of Education, Kathy Blueford-Daniels led the five candidates by receiving 42.49 percent of the vote. She’ll be in a runoff against John Curtis Gibbs, who picked up 21.55 percent of the vote.
Former HISD trustee Anna Eastman received the most votes in the special election for the District 148 seat in the Texas House of Representatives, appearing on 20.33 percent of the 20,659 ballots cast. The Heights Democrat will be in a runoff against Republican Luis La Rotta, who was second with 15.84 percent of the vote.
“I am thrilled and humbled to have come out where I did,” Eastman said. “I really am grateful to the voters that came out in 148 and supported me. I think it’s an affirmation of what I’ve done in the past, and I feel really excited and energized to hopefully have the opportunity after the runoff in December to represent them.”
In another municipal race, City Controller Chris Brown received 52.17 percent of the vote to hold off challenger Orlando Sanchez.
Harris County voters overwhelmingly approved a $3.5 billion bond referendum from METRO, which plans to upgrade mass transit in the region during the next 20 years. Among 328,439 votes cast, 67.86 percent supported the measure.
For complete election results, visit harrisvotes.com.