I’m going to be brief, and will have a longer look at things tomorrow. A bit more than 20% of the E-Day votes had been tallied as of 10 PM, but for the most part I’d say we had a pretty good feel for how things would be as of 7 PM when the early vote was posted. Here we go:
State Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee are likely headed to a December runoff in Houston’s mayoral race, with early returns showing the two longtime politicians sharing a large lead in the crowded contest to lead City Hall for the next four years.
As of 10:10 p.m., Whitmire (43.6%) and Jackson Lee (35.5%) lead the 16 other challengers by large margins among early votes, mail-in ballots and about 20% of election day votes. Former Metro Chair Gilbert Garcia (7.2%) and former Councilmember Jack Christie (7%), perhaps their most well-known challengers, are trailing the front-runners by wide margins.
With the proviso that things could still change, only five candidates – Lee Kaplan, at 2.55% in Harris County as of 10 PM – received at least one percent of the vote. The other thirteen – yes, there were 18 total candidates, and no, I still have no idea why there were that many – failed to receive as much as one percent. That included Robert Gallegos and MJ Khan, and it also takes into account Fort Bend.
(UPDATE: As of the 11 PM update, Robert Gallegos was at exactly 1.00% in Harris County.)
All Council incumbents appear headed for re-election, though two could end up in runoffs. As of the 10 PM update, CM Carolyn Evans-Shabazz led a field of five candidates with 50.33%, while CM Mary Nan Huffman leads Tony Buzbee and a third candidate with 50.65% (Buzbee was at 41.16%). In District H, candidate Mario Castillo is close to avoiding a runoff as well, with 47.38%; Cynthia Reyes-Revilla would oppose him in a runoff if things stay as they are.
In the At Large races, CM Letitia Plummer was at 50.08% for Harris County, but with the boost from Fort Bend (where she got 63%), she might avoid the runoff against Roy Morales in AL4. CM Sallie Alcorn was coasting with over 60% in AL5. For the three open seats, the top two were as follows:
AL1: Melanie Miles and Julian Ramirez, with Conchita Reyes probably too far back to overtake Ramirez.
AL2: Willie Davis and Nick Hellyar, with Danielle Bess a few points back in third.
AL3: Twila Carter and Richard Cantu were six (!) votes apart at 10 PM; no one else was close.
Also possibly avoiding a runoff: Chris Hollins in the Controller’s race, who was at 48.5% overall thanks to a boost from Fort Bend. Most likely, he will face off against (sigh) Orlando Sanchez, who was at about 25%.
Of interest: Going by the partisan classifications in the Erik Manning spreadsheet (all hail Erik Manning), here are the total percentages of the Republican candidates in the At Large and Controller’s races (Harris County percentages only, I’m too tired to do the math right now):
AL1 = 38.08% (Ramirez plus Kendall Baker)
AL2 = 32.42% (Davis)
AL3 = 35.46% (Carter plus Ericka McCrutcheon)
AL4 = 40.29% (Morales plus John Branch)
Controller = 41.76% (Sanchez plus Dave Martin)
I note that because in all of the races in which there will be a runoff (as noted, there may or may not be one in AL4) it will be between a Dem and a Republican. With the Whitmire/SJL runoff at the top of the ticket, I don’t think the GOPers will be in a good position.
All three local propositions, the two for Houston and the Harris County hospital bonds, are winning easily. Well done to the Fair for Houston folks in particular.
I don’t see a story about the HISD races, but thankfully both incumbent Trustees with challengers – Dani Hernandez and Patricia Allen – were winning by wide margins. In less happy news, three of the four Cy-Fair ISD races are headed to runoffs, with the wingnut candidate headed to victory in the fourth.
And last but definitely not least, the Tuesday experience was a smooth one.
Most of Harris County’s 701 voting locations appeared to be running smoothly in the final hours of Election Day, with just a handful of polls reporting tech issues a year after a paper shortage and other issues led to 22 lawsuits.
At River Oaks Elementary, voters could not cast ballots for around 90 minutes due to the location’s malfunctioning ballot scanner, while the River Oaks Community Center had a long line of voters waiting as poll workers resolved multiple paper jams.
At the school, the presiding election judge — who did not provide his name — estimated around 20 people had left without voting. They were able to get the equipment working after rebooting it four times.
In Bunker Hill Village, another two locations encountered troubles during the day. Half of the voting machines at the Frostwood Elementary polling location had technical issues, while at Bunker Hill Elementary School, one controller computer — the “brains of the operation,” according to presiding judge Hope Hooper — was out of service for hours.
Two locations in the Tanglewood area had hiccups on Tuesday, as well. At St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, two broken voting machines slowed down operations, though election judge Tom Maness said enough machines were working that voters were not impacted. At Tanglewood Middle School, half the voting machines experienced difficulties, resulting in slightly longer lines.
At a Tuesday morning news conference, Hudspeth confirmed that issues at Frostwood Elementary School and River Oaks Elementary School had been resolved. She added that 93% of voting centers opened on time.
Kudos to all, and to all a good night. I’ll have more tomorrow.
UPDATE: CMs Evans-Shabazz, Huffman, and Plummer will be in runoffs. I’ll have more tomorrow.