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Sylvester Turner to face Tony Buzbee in runoff for Houston mayor

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with the media after arriving at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with the media after arriving at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
Sergio Flores for The Texas Tribune

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is heading to a runoff against high-profile attorney Tony Buzbee in his rowdy re-election race.

With all but a few vote centers reporting Wednesday morning, Turner had 47% of the vote in unofficial returns to 28% for Buzbee. Turner was around 7,700 votes short of winning enough of the vote — over 50% — to avert an overtime round.

The runoff is set for Dec. 14.

Bill King, who narrowly lost to Turner in the 2015 mayoral runoff, came in third Tuesday with 14%, while City Councilman Dwight Boykins finished fourth with 6%. Turner faced 11 challengers but only a few seen as serious.

There was massive delay in results from Harris County, where the almost-complete numbers were not released until about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. Still, the overall order did not change through the night and morning, as Turner’s percentage hovered below 50% and Buzbee persisted as the clear runner-up.

Turner is fighting for a second-term leading Texas’ biggest city and the fourth most populous in the country. Early Wednesday morning, with still many results uncounted, Turner thanked supporters for their work and added: “It made a difference – and we’re not done yet.”

A short time beforehand, Buzbee took the stage at his election night party wearing a camouflage jacket and gave a rambling speech expressing confidence that he would make the runoff.

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 as a political outsider determined to clean up city hall corruption. Along the way, Buzbee self-funded his campaign to the tune of $10 million.

Disclosure: Tony Buzbee and the Texas Secretary of State have been financial supporters 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.


Source: Texas Tribune Government

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