Precinct analysis: 2023 Mayor’s race

The November 2023 election has been officially canvassed and certified, and that means that there’s precinct data available for me to analyze. I’ve been working on it over the weekend, and I will tell you it’s a bit more of a slog than the even-year elections are. Part of this is because of the change in election software that the county is now using, which gives its output in a format that I’m still getting used to. The bigger issue is that the city of Houston does not play well with the established precinct boundaries within Harris County. There are lots of precincts with single digit numbers of registered voters, and a handful that are split between two Council districts. I had to do a fair amount of manual processing to get things to a point where I could do the usual Excel tricks I’ve developed for these posts. I’ve got it for the Mayor’s race, but now I have to repeat all that for the other races of interest, and that’s going to slow me down a bit. Sucks to be me, but luckily for you all you need to know is right here. Let’s dive in:

Dist    Whitm      SJL  Garcia   JackC  Kaplan    Khan   RobtG  Others
A      10,039    4,959   1,977   2,070     695     229     196     720
B       3,247   13,530     682     387     175     100      89     504
C      26,610   12,356   3,483   2,217   1,571     344     537   1,218
D       5,869   15,582   1,091     604     393     154     185     673
E      14,956    5,758   2,379   5,017     942     513     223   1,102
F       3,553    4,221     803     806     323     184      76     498
G      22,006    5,403   2,358   3,588   1,251     378     169     764
H       7,881    6,652   2,011     719     368     130     409     753
I       5,229    6,602   1,510     650     282     132     602     662
J       3,189    3,028     790     601     250     222      88     438
K       6,523    9,782   1,338     906     451     143     142     565

Dist    Whitm      SJL  Garcia   JackC  Kaplan    Khan   RobtG  Others
A      48.07%   23.74%   9.47%   9.91%   3.33%   1.10%   0.94%   3.45%
B      17.35%   72.30%   3.64%   2.07%   0.94%   0.53%   0.48%   2.69%
C      55.05%   25.56%   7.21%   4.59%   3.25%   0.71%   1.11%   2.52%
D      23.91%   63.47%   4.44%   2.46%   1.60%   0.63%   0.75%   2.74%
E      48.42%   18.64%   7.70%  16.24%   3.05%   1.66%   0.72%   3.57%
F      33.95%   40.34%   7.67%   7.70%   3.09%   1.76%   0.73%   4.76%
G      61.27%   15.04%   6.57%   9.99%   3.48%   1.05%   0.47%   2.13%
H      41.65%   35.15%  10.63%   3.80%   1.94%   0.69%   2.16%   3.98%
I      33.37%   42.13%   9.64%   4.15%   1.80%   0.84%   3.84%   4.22%
J      37.06%   35.18%   9.18%   6.98%   2.90%   2.58%   1.02%   5.09%
K      32.86%   49.28%   6.74%   4.56%   2.27%   0.72%   0.72%   2.85%

Obviously, I’m not going to include a breakdown of every no-name candidate in the race, none of whom received as many as two thousand votes total. All of them together had fewer than 8K votes, or about three precent of the total, which would have put them just ahead of Lee Kaplan. The candidates I do name are listed in the order of their finish in Harris County, except that I just realized that Robert Gallegos was ahead of MJ Khan. Sorry about that.

The good news for Sheila Jackson Lee is that her numbers in Districts B and D compare pretty well to Mayor Turner’s from 2015 and 2019. Black voters are the biggest part of her base, she needed to do well in those districts, and for the most part she did, in both of those years. She didn’t do as well in District K, but she did do better in Districts F, H, I, and J than Turner did in 2015, and came close in 2019 when Turner was running against a less formidable field. I think she has some room to grow, which obviously she’s going to need.

The problem for Jackson Lee is that unlike Turner, who got to run off against a stuffy Republican in 2015 and a weirdo in 2019, she’s facing off against a Democrat who’s not only strong in the parts of the city where the Republicans did well, he’s also much tougher in the Democratic districts. A comparison with the 2015 runoff is instructive. Look at the margins Turner ran up in B, D, and K. I think SJL will have a hard time matching those numbers, given John Whitmire’s relative strength with Black voters. Whitmire is going to do well in the Republican districts, he’s likely to surpass King’s tally in District C, and he beat SJL in District H, which Turner easily carried against King. Whatever paths you can see for SJL to prevail, Whitmire seems to have more of them.

Another way of thinking about it is where do you see the other candidates’ voters going in December? For the most part, Whitmire is fine with them staying home, but for those who do turn out I have to assume that the large majority of Christie, Kaplan, and Khan voters will go his way. The Garcia voters will be more split, and I’d expect the Gallegos voters to favor SJL, but that’s a smaller slice of the pie to begin with and will be less tilted towards SJL than the others will be towards Whitmire. Also, too, I’m still seeing plenty of Whitmire ads, thanks to his still ginormous campaign account balance, but have yet to see anything for SJL. Rule One of any election is you have to make sure people know there is an election and that they should vote for you.

Like I said, I think SJL has room to grow in the districts that favored her. The question is whether she has enough room to grow.

Beyond that, there’s nothing in the numbers that surprises me. I might have guessed that Jack Christie would have done best in District G – he’s a District G kind of guy – but the actual result is hardly shocking. Robert Gallegos did his best in his district, for whatever consolation that is. MJ Khan served in District F, but that was before redistricting, and I suspect that much of his support in District J came from his old turf. In retrospect, I have no idea what I expected from Gilbert Garcia, so sure, that he did best in District H makes some sense.

I intend to do this exercise for the other citywide races, including the two Houston propositions. As noted, it may take me a few days, so be patient. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions.

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9 Responses to Precinct analysis: 2023 Mayor’s race

  1. Manny says:

    I believe your numbers are high; there are too many split precincts to get accurate numbers.

    Today’s poll indicates they have no idea who will win, only that if you poll the same number of people the same way you did the first time, it still shows Whitmire with a 7-point lead.

    SJL has to do one thing: get the Black voters out. When Lee Brown was predicted to lose, he pulled it out by doing that. Who is Whitmire going to work to get out, the Republicans?

    All the white progressives, remember which community you have aligned with that has supported you. Go with Whitmire, and don’t be surprised that one won’t find more, Harold Duttons or Shawn Thierrys showing up to vote with Republicans regarding certain things.

    Which community voted against HERO by the highest percentage?

    A more natural coalition is Latino and Black, as both communities tend to be more socially conservative. Education and jobs are the most critical part of what they seek.

  2. I did the best I could with the data I had. I believe the numbers I get from this exercise are sufficiently accurate to give you the picture of what happened in each district. Make of it what you will.

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  5. joshua bullard says:

    with a c e and g whitmire hits some of the highest voter votes in history then you analyze voter run off returns and a c e and g voters return to vote in run offs , im calling this election at 58.4 whitmire total votes putting the lee campaign away early on e day.

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