If you regularly check the houstonchronicle.com page, you may have noticed this article continuing to appear, even though it was originally published last November. The reason for this is that they are tracking who has officially filed for office, and are updating it weekly.
The campaigns for Houston’s November mayoral election are in full swing, with several contenders in the mix and millions of dollars flowing to candidates.
In Houston’s strong mayor form of government, the mayor acts as the chief executive of the city, presiding over City Council while also directly managing the city’s 22 departments. The mayor oversees a nearly $6 billion budget and manages more than 20,000 employees.
That means the next administration will have a chance to shape the city’s finances, and will have final say over the number of police officers patrolling the streets, how your garbage and recycling is collected, how streets are repaired and designed, and how the city manages its water system, among other issues.
Mayor Sylvester Turner is term-limited and will leave office in January. The campaigns to replace him in this year’s open election actually began years ago, an unusually early start for municipal politics. State Sen. John Whitmire, the longest serving member of the Texas Senate, announced his plans to run for mayor way back in November 2021.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee made her long-rumored campaign official on March 26, telling parishioners at City Cathedral Church she plans to run.
The congresswoman’s announcement shuffled the race: About a week later, Chris Hollins, the former Harris County clerk, said he would drop out and run for controller instead. And Tony Buzbee, the millionaire attorney who challenged Turner in 2019, said he is considering another run because he thinks he is the only candidate who can beat Jackson Lee.
Candidates can file a document appointing a campaign treasurer, which allows them to start fundraising.
Dozens of candidates have filed those documents so far. Others, like outgoing City Council members, have announced campaigns for new posts.
We’ll update the list every week or so, as new candidates surface.
The 10 incumbent council members are included in this list. As of April 18, the candidates are:
You can click over to see, but I’ll provide a few highlights:
– There are now twelve Mayoral candidates, with the addition and subtraction of Chris Hollins, now a Controller candidate. Tony Buzbee, who has not filed a designation of treasurer, is not included. The list also includes a number of perennials and “who the heck is that” types. Be that as it may, there are six candidates – John Whitmire, Sheila Jackson Lee, Amanda Edwards, Gilbert Garcia, Robert Gallegos, Lee Kaplan – who can claim to be serious.
– Lots of action already in the open At Large races – four candidates for AL1, five for AL2, and seven for AL3. I expect all three of them to continue to increase in size.
– For District Council open seat races, there are three candidates so far in E, five in H, and two in I. Again, I expect these to grow, though probably not as much as the At Large races will.
– There are now four candidates for Controller, the two current Council members Dave Martin and Michael Kubosh, former Mayoral candidate Chris Hollins, and Chief Deputy Controller Shannan Nobles. My prediction that this race would attract at least one prominent Democrat looks pretty good right now.
– Several incumbents don’t yet have opponents. Tarsha Jackson in B has three opponents, Letitia Plummer in At Large #4 has two opponents, and Carolyn Evans-Shabazz in D and Ed Pollard in J each have one.
– Two people have filed to run for something but have not yet specified which office. There had been three when I looked about a month ago, but one either withdrew his candidacy or picked a race, I don’t remember. They have until the filing deadline to make their choice. Along those lines, anyone who has filed for one office can switch to another before the deadline. Nothing is written in stone until then.
– I’m already exhausted thinking about how many interviews I’m going to need to do.