Here Come the City Races…

And, just when you think it is safe, look out for next year. In 2013, the Mayor, City Controller and all members of City Council will be up for election/re-election. HISD will also have several school board races and other area school districts are likely to hold bond elections, especially on the success of the Houston bonds.

The primary focus, though, will be on City Hall. Mayor Parker is eligible to run for her third and final term. She won re-election in 2011 by a narrow victory but led a city bond initiative in 2012 that won with significant margins.

Part of the challenge for the Mayor in 2011 was an extremely low voter turnout. Most people did not consider her threatened in any way and only about 13% of the population voted. However, many pundits still read “vulnerable” in her narrow margin and are encouraging others to run against her.

Former City Attorney, Ben Hall, has been making the rounds with donors as well as hiring staff. He appears to be serious about mounting a challenge to Mayor Parker. Hall was City Attorney for former Mayor Bob Lanier. Lanier supported Parker’s first opponent, Gene Locke, who was also one of his City Attorneys. In 2011, Lanier endorsed Parker. Now, it seems that he and other civic leaders are backing Ben Hall to run against her in 2013.

Is the Mayor truly vulnerable? That’s an interesting question. Since Houston adopted term-limits in 1991, no incumbent Mayor has been defeated. Most serious contenders decide they can wait out one more term and run for an open seat. The only incumbent to genuinely face serious opposition was Lee Brown at the start of the century. He won in a hotly contested race in 1997, sailed through his second re-election and faced serious competition in his third term – having to endure a run-off to secure his position.

Thus, history would tell us that Parker should not be that vulnerable.

We’ll continue to ponder and discuss the city elections.

By the way, tune in to News 92 FM on Monday mornings between 9:30 – 10:30 to hear me discuss political topics of the day with host Dennis Spellman. 

This entry was originally posted at Nancy Sims’ blog, Ponderings.