This is the fifth in a series of profiles on the top candidates running for mayor in Houston.
A fiscal conservative concerned with shoring up the city’s finances, [Bill] King would be Houston’s first Republican mayor in more than 30 years.
To get there, he aims to overcome low name identification by consolidating support among suburban voters and the city’s conservative business class. The self-proclaimed moderate has gained the backing of top conservative groups, including the C Club and the Houston Realty Business Coalition.
Yet, King ended the mid-year fundraising period with less money in the bank than many of his top-tier competitors, leading political observers to question whether he can advance while City Councilman Stephen Costello’s campaign remains strong. Both are vying for conservative support.
“We’re facing some real challenges on this pension system, and the financial management of the city across the board is a problem,” King said. “The mayor’s job needs to be the last thing you do in your career. You need to be the arbiter, the umpire, the referee calling the balls and strikes.”
He launched a committee to explore a 2009 bid for Houston, but, ultimately, opted out.
“I knew way back then that pensions were going to bankrupt the city. Nobody was prepared to hear that,” King said. “I just thought, ‘You know what? I can’t run a campaign and not talk about what I see as being the defining issue.'”
Last year, with pension reform on his mind, King again began mulling a bid.
“The decision I was trying to make was whether I was going to run or I was going to stay out and support Costello,” King said. “There’s not a lot of daylight between us.”
As the fall of 2014 approached, the grandfather of three decided it was time, spurred by the realization that he disagrees with Costello’s plans for pension reform and infrastructure improvements.
I don’t have a whole lot to add here. As I’ve said before, I don’t find candidate biographies as interesting as I do their policy positions. Your mileage may vary on that. The bit about maybe supporting Costello instead of running is interesting and something I hadn’t heard before. I’d think that one or the other of them would have a better chance of making it to a runoff than the two of them together in the same race, but it’s not up to me who gets to run. As for the concern about King’s cash on hand, the real problem is his burn rate. I’ll be very interested to see what his 30-day report looks like.