City runoff election will be December 9

Slightly reducing the overall intrigue factor of the season.

The runoffs for Houston’s City Hall elections will be held Dec. 9, the secretary of state’s office confirmed on Tuesday.

Houston voters will head to the polls Nov. 7 to elect a new mayor, city controller and 16 City Council members. In any race where a candidate does not garner a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will proceed to a runoff.

It is widely expected that the crowded mayor’s race will require a second round of voting, along with several hotly contested council seats.

Under a new law passed by the Texas Legislature this year, the runoff must be held on a Saturday between 30 and 45 days after Election Day. The secretary of state’s office could determine which Saturday, leaving Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 as this year’s options.

The selection inspired speculation among political observers because of its potential conflict with the deadline to file for next March’s primary elections, which is Dec. 11.

Both mayoral front-runners, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and state Sen. John Whitmire, are long-tenured elected officials and may choose to run for re-election to their current seats if they do not prevail in the mayoral contest.

The Dec. 9 selection means either candidate would be able to file after the runoff, rather than facing the politically perilous decision of filing to run for re-election while still in pursuit of the mayor’s office.

See here for some background. As noted, there are already candidates for CD18 (Amanda Edwards, Isaiah Martin) and SD15 (Molly Cook, Karthik Soora), so if the loser of the most likely runoff decides he or she wants their old job back, they can still try to make it happen. That may also cause some folks who had filed for one race to switch to the now-open seat. The prospect of a December 16 runoff would have made this all a lot more chaotic, but this will still make for an active couple of days. And don’t forget, there will be at least one special election to contend with as well. It’s going to be a busy couple of months however it shakes out.

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