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2019 election results: Houston and Metro

Unfortunately, we have to start with this:

Results of Tuesday’s election could take until 2 a.m. Wednesday after the Texas Secretary of State issued a new regulation that upended plans by the Harris County Clerk’s Office to speed vote counting.

The first tubs containing electronic ballot cards from across Harris County arrived at central count just before 9:30 p.m., where election judges and poll watchers waited to see the vote count in action.

Dr. Diane Trautman said she had hoped to have votes come in from 10 countywide drop-off locations, fed in through a secured intranet site, leading to faster results on election night.

Instead, Secretary Ruth R. Hughs ordered on Oct. 23 that law enforcement officers would instead escort the ballot box memory cards from each of the 757 polling sites to the central counting station.

That change, made nearly two weeks before Election Day, led to a major delay that left voters wondering for hours how races up and down ballot would turn out.

Early election results trickled in shortly after 7 p.m., but remained virtually unchanged for hours Tuesday.

Here’s the County Clerk’s statement about that order. I don’t know what was behind it, but it sure did gum things up. In the end, final results were not available till quite late, with no more partial results after midnight because producing those was slowing down the input process. Here’s the later statement on when results would be expected. Suffice to say, this was a mess, and no one is happy about it all. Expect there to be an extended fight between the County Clerk and SOS offices.

Anyway. I’m still groggy from a late night, so I’m going to hit the highlights, and we’ll get final results later. Here we go.

Mayor: Turner leads, is close to a majority.

Mayor Sylvester Turner held a wide lead over Tony Buzbee in limited early returns late Tuesday and was within striking distance of an outright re-election win, though it was unclear at press time if he would secure enough votes to avoid a runoff.

Buzbee, a millionaire trial lawyer, jumped out to an early second-place lead that he appeared likely to retain over Bill King, an attorney and businessman who narrowly lost a 2015 runoff to Turner but struggled this time to compete financially with Buzbee, his main rival for conservative votes.

With a small share of Election Day precincts reporting, Turner remained a shade under the majority vote share he would need to avoid a December runoff against Buzbee.

Councilman Dwight Boykins, who competed with Turner for the support of Democratic and black voters, trailed in fourth place, while former councilwoman Sue Lovell was further behind in fifth. Seven other candidates combined for the remaining share of the vote.

Adding in the Fort Bend results, and we get the following:


Turner     63,359  47.28%
Buzbee     39,361  29.37%
King       17,878  13.34%
Boykins     7,848   5.86%
Lovell      1,433   1.07%
The Rest    4,121   3.08%

Three things to think about: One, Turner has at this point more votes than Buzbee and King combined, so if we do go to a runoff that’s not a bad position to start with. Two, the Election Day results reported so far came mostly from Districts A, C, E, and G, so they would be more favorable to Buzbee and King than the city as a whole. And three, the election polling was pretty accurate, especially at pegging the support levels for Boykins and Lovell.

Oh, and a fourth thing: Tony Buzbee’s drunken Election Night speech. Yowza.

Controller: Incumbent Chris Brown leads

It’s Brown 62,297 and Sanchez 54,864 adding in Fort Bend, and again with mostly Republican votes from yesterday (Sanchez led the Election Day tally by about 1,700 votes). Barring a big surprise, Brown has won.

City Council: Most incumbents have big leads, and there’s gonna be a lot of runoffs. To sum up:

District A: Amy Peck has 44.3%, George Zoes 16.8%
District B: Tarsha Jackson 21.0%, Renee Jefferson Smith 15.1%, Cynthia Bailey 13.7%, Alvin Byrd 10.7%
District C: Abbie Kamin 30.8%, Shelley Kennedy 15.8%, Greg Meyers 14.4%, Mary Jane Smith 14.0%
District D: Carolyn Evans-Shabazz 19.0%, Carla Brailey 12.3%, Brad Jordan 11.9%, Rashad Cave 11.4%, Jerome Provost 10.4%, Andrew Burks 10.3%
District E: Dave Martin easily wins
District F: Tiffany Thomas 39%, Van Huynh 24%, Richard Nguyen 18%
District G: Greg Travis easily wins
District H: Karla Cisneros 38.9%, Isabel Longoria 27.5%, Cynthia Reyes-Revilla 24.0%
District I: Robert Gallegos easily wins
District J: Edward Pollard 32.4%, Sandra Rodriguez 26.4%, Barry Curtis 19.7%
District K: MArtha Castex-Tatum easily wins

At Large #1: Mike Knox 38.1%, Raj Salhotra 21.1%, Yolanda Navarro Flores 16.3%, Georgia Provost 14.7%
At Large #2: Davis Robinson 38.9%, Willie Davis 28.8%, Emily DeToto 18.8%
At Large #3: Michael Kubosh 50.8%, Janaeya Carmouche 20.6%
At Large #4: Anthony Dolcefino 22.9%, Letitia Plummer 16.4%, Nick Hellyar 12.8%, Ericka McCrutcheon 11.3%, Bill Baldwin 10.5%
At Large #5: Sallie Alcorn 23.2%, Eric Dick 22.0%, no one else above 10

Some of the runoff positions are still very much up in the air. Michael Kubosh may or may not win outright – he was only at 46% on Election Day. Name recognition worth a lot (Dolcefino, Dick) but not everything (both Provosts, Burks). Not much else to say but stay tuned.

HISD: Davila and Lira are going to lose

Dani Hernandez leads Sergio Lira 62-38, Judith Cruz leads Diana Davila 64-36. Kathy Blueford Daniels is close to fifty percent in II but will likely be in a runoff with John Curtis Gibbs. Patricia Allen, Reagan Flowers, and Matt Barnes in that order are in a tight battle in IV.

HCC: No story link on the Chron front page. Monica Flores Richart leads the execrable Dave Wilson 47-34 in HCC1, Rhonda Skillern-Jones leads with 45% in HCC2 with Kathy Lynch-Gunter at 26%, and Cynthia Lenton-Gary won HCC7 unopposed.

Metro: Headed to easy passage, with about 68% so far.

That’s all I got for now. Come back later for more.

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7 Comments

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  2. Mainstream says:

    County Clerk Diane Troutman’s administration of the election is a complete embarrassment. If Stan Stanart had not been able to report results until 7 a.m. the next day, he would have been crucified by the Houston Chronicle and local television stations. The fact that a number of voters cast ballots in the wrong local districts also raises questions about competence of her staff and the workers who staff the elections. I have heard from longtime election judges who are fed up and considering quitting. If this is what governance by the Democrat Party looks like, we are in for a rough ride.

  3. karen says:

    The reason the TX Secretary of state nixed Trautman’s plan was because it ran afoul of a 10 year Texas Statute which is in place to prevent the possibility of hacking and altering of votes. In past years, Stanart’s office was able to get the vote totals out in a timely fashion without this new system Trautman wanted to use, so it’s really her office that screwed up, the blame is not with the SOS.
    “A voting system may not be connected to any external communications network, including the Internet.”
    https://texas.public.law/statutes/tex._election_code_section_129.054

    As a former EV election worker, I too heard about the lack of support and even training this year from both Democrat and Republican workers, many of whom are considering not coming back next year. So thanks Trautman for such a “stellar” job.

  4. voter_worker says:

    Regarding the reports of a few incorrect ballots, I hope CC Trautman will reconsider the delegation of authority to polling station staff to make a determination of which ballot to provide to a voter in the event of some process or equipment malfunction. First, that level of responsibility exceeds their pay grade, and second the expertise required to make an accurate determination resides at 1001 Preston, not at the voting locations.

  5. Matt says:

    I don’t understand the absolute need to have the results on election night. A truly secure voting system would have chain-of-custody paperwork for the voting machines, memory cards, and the machines would never be connected or be capable of being connected to a modem or the internet. A police escort is a step in the right direction. Our own Ran Stanart was featured on Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver on this very subject: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/nov/04/john-oliver-exploitable-voting-machines

  6. Manny says:

    Only political junkies and die hard supporters of candidates care who wins by 11 p.m.

    If one is old enough, back in the paper ballot time, it was fairly common to wait till very early in the morning to get the final results.

    I would suggest since the problem is that voting locations are over 999, that the Clerk pick about 40 heavily Republican pcts and close those voting locations. Problem solved.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    I hate to admit it, but I agree with Manny. Election results not delivered promptly at 7:01 pm? This is not a big deal. There are always isolated problems with voting, but this one doesn’t seem any more dramatic than usual. For a first election for a newly elected official….Diane did OK.

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