On to the runoff

Here we go.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is trying to do something no Houston mayor has done in 46 years: flip the result between a general election and a runoff.

Jim McConn last achieved the feat in 1977, erasing a 9.9-point deficit in the first round to win a “stunning” victory, as the Chronicle described it at the time. The top finisher in Houston’s last 20 mayoral elections, though, either has won outright or gone on to win a runoff.

The historical trend is one of several obstacles that Jackson Lee, who trailed state Sen. John Whitmire by 6.9 percentage points in November’s contest, must overcome to become mayor. The congresswoman also faces a steep financial deficit and ominous poll numbers.

Houston has lackluster turnout in municipal elections, but the voting base usually gets even smaller in runoffs. About 252,000 people voted in the first round, fewer than in the last open mayoral election in 2015, despite population growth and about 189,000 new registered voters.

The city typically sees about 15 to 20% of November votes drop off in a second round, set for Dec. 9 this year. That makes it more difficult to gain ground, rendering runoffs mostly a get-out-the-vote battle.

“The primary focus of the runoff will be turnout, and who can get their voters most excited,” said Nancy Sims, a professor of political science at the University of Houston. “On the list of things to do in the holiday season, picking the next mayor falls where on that list?”

For what it’s worth, there were more votes cast in the 2001 runoff than in the 2001 general election. That doesn’t mean anything for this race this year, but it is a reminder that the thing that usually happens is not always the thing that does happen.

While it remains the Mayoral race that drives the bulk of the turnout, it can be useful to look at the other races to see if they might have some effect on the marquee event. There are runoffs in Districts D, G, and H. I’d say the D runoff helps SJL, the G runoff helps Whitmire, and the H runoff is more or less a wash – it’s probably lean Whitmire, but it will have less turnout than the others. There are no HISD runoffs, which might have helped SJL. There are five other citywide runoffs, all with Democratic and Republican candidates, all but one with a Black candidate (that includes Black Republican Willie Davis, who is the oddball among them). You can argue either way who that might help; my guess is that it’s more or less a wash again.

I have no particular reason to disagree with the notion that Whitmire is the favorite in the runoff. He had the most votes in November, and this is not a situation where the other candidates were there to challenge him. I have no idea what the supporters of the other candidates will do, and as of this writing I haven’t seen reports or press releases to say that any of them have picked a side for the overtime round. The basics of this race favor Whitmire. Whether that matters in the end, we’ll see.

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19 Responses to On to the runoff

  1. Manny says:

    I come to question why so many give the white man privileges that are not given to people of color. That includes giving the white man cover from questionable acts. I am referring to John Whitmire, or should I use the nickname he earned, John Quitmire?

    This morning, I saw Mayor Turner being questioned about some books. I wondered why that was major news. Is it because he is black? Should it have happened, no. Channel 2 brought up some contracts on a story they have been working on just before an election.

    A recording that may be 14 years old was brought up by all the major stations and the joke of a newspaper. That was major news.

    Turner was also a spotlight on the eve of the Lanier v Turner mayor’s race.

    I include the site I am commenting on of doing the same thing, especially when it comes to Latinos.

    I will post several times as multiple links stop my comments from appearing and may never appear.

    John Whitmire has a long history of questionable actions locally; you don’t read about that; why is that?

    FYI, Whitmire won in Republican and white progressive areas; ain’t that interesting?


  2. Manny says:

    Sheila Jackson Lee won the most Hispanic District, 54% to 46%, District I.

    More on Quitmire;


  3. Manny says:

    Whitmire earned the name Quitmire when he returned to give the Republicans a quorum. What did he get in return? Kept being chair of the Justice Committee which seems to be a lucrative way of earning some spending money.


  4. Manny says:

    There are more, but the media remains silent; why?

    Gregg Summerlin (Self-proclaimed Moderate Democrat) has not posted in a while, but he does promote this site. Our dear friend Gregg suggests we vote for Whitmire and Hollins.

    What about those other four Democrats running for at-large, Gregg?

    Gregg; Do you think that Morales, with his round them and up ship them back a la Trump, and his Operation Wetback is good? Some Democratic Precinct Chairs are promoting Morales. I wonder why?

  5. Hi, Manny,

    In 2022, I had about two dozen like-minded moderate Democrats (mostly friends and acquaintances) who would, on occasion, help me on my blog (review articles, suggest topics, suggest edits, provide feedback, help research candidates, etc.). Most of them are current or former law enforcement officers, but they are otherwise a pretty diverse group. So, back in 2022, I had plenty of free help. Unfortunately, in 2023, most of my core group haven’t been engaged enough to donate their time/effort, plus I’ve been distracted with a side project. For those reasons, there hasn’t been much activity on my blog in 2023. Still, last month, I did poll the group and almost everyone (including me) preferred Democrats John Whitmire and Chris Hollins in their respective races. Most of the group also preferred Huffman over Buzbee, so I could have posted that on my blog as well. As far as the other political races, there was no clear consensus. Personally, in the At-Large #4 race, I like incumbent Letitia Plummer (but Roy Morales is a good candidate).

    As far as the 287(g) program, I wouldn’t waste the local officers’ time doing ICE work until the southern border is secured. Let’s face it, people turned over to ICE often just get released to the streets anyway, and those who do get deported often just come right back. When the HCSO/Harris County Jail participated in the 287(g) program, most of the felony inmates flagged for immigration screening received a “hit” in the ICE fingerprint database, meaning ICE officials had already handled those inmates in a previous encounter(s). IMHO, with an unsecured border, the whole process is just an extremely expensive turnstile.

    For the upcoming 2024 election cycle, I’m reorganizing my blog tasks and hope to get the group motivated to donate their time again. The group strongly supports Biden over crooked Trump, so I think they will get involved again. Frankly, unless he has a staff working for him, I don’t know how Charles does such a great job maintaining his Off the Kuff blog. It must be a full-time undertaking.

  6. Of note, even without particating in the ICE 287(g) Program (local officers performing ICE functions), I believe local incarceration data and fingerprints are still shared with ICE under the Secure Communities program (now called the Criminal Apprehension Program).

  7. Manny says:

    Greg, there is no invasion; you don’t have to worry about your blood getting tainted with the blood of Mestizos. I am not pro-illegal immigration, and never have been, but I don’t like fearmongering and the spreading of hate of people who look like me. Eras Gabacho?


    Morales does not look like me; he is what, in the days before things became politically correct, a fruit hanging from certain palm trees.

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    I am voting for Sheila.

  9. voter_worker says:

    I voted for Robert Gallegos and am really feeling adrift as to the runoff. I might just leave that one open. On another note, has The Houston Chronicle online abolished reader comments or am I experiencing some kind of tech issue?

  10. Manny says:

    VW it is not a glitch. Whether they do away with it, is something else. I personally think they need people coming back to generate clicks. Newspapers like the Chronicle are like the horse and buggy doomed to die.

  11. voter_worker says:

    Thanks, Manny. I’m hoping the comments come back (if anyone at the Chronicle is reading this).

  12. Julian Deleon says:

    Super impressed with Robert Gallegos. He was at the LULAC breakfast today taking about Latino issues, and he is supporting Whitmire. Looks like Gallegos had bounced back from the Mayor’s race and has decided to stay involved. He speaks very well and knows the issues. Looks like Whitmire and him make a great and united team.

  13. Manny says:

    Julian how did he do n district I?

    Do you know who got the most votes in I? Sheila

  14. Julian Deleon says:

    Manny (or whoever you are), you don’t have anything to prove to me. The results are the results. An elected official must have people skills.

  15. Manny says:

    Julian the results show that people did not think enough of him to vote for him.

    They could have voted for him and come back to vote for either candidate still running.

    I am willing to read some tea leaves and state that if Whitmire wins Gallegos will get a job with the city.

    I am Manuel Barrera.

  16. Julian Deleon says:

    Gallegos won 3 terms in his district, so I think he’ll be fine no matter what he decides to do next. A combative approach never wins elections. People have a right to comment as they see fit. You gotta have people skills if you want votes or people to pay attention to your platform. People skills.

  17. Manny says:

    Obviously Gallelos was lacking those skills. District I has been a pass it down district since Alvardo. Gallegos won run off with gay and white progressive votes. He did take care of them folks.

    If u look you can find where he stated that was his goal.

  18. David Fagan says:

    You are MannyQ, the inspiration for January 6

  19. Manny says:

    David if you didn’t know anything, you would know more than you do

Comments are closed.