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Pennington withdraws from Mayor’s race

Sad news.

CM Oliver Pennington

CM Oliver Pennington

City Councilman Oliver Pennington announced he would end his candidacy for mayor on Friday, citing his wife’s health.

The term-limited councilman, who represents west Houston’s District G, said in a press release he would complete his third and final two-year term, which runs through the end of this year.

The 75-year-old retired attorney’s exit removes the candidate best positioned to secure conservative votes, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. That could have a significant impact on a crowded race in which any candidate with a reliable base has a shot at earning one of two spots in the December runoff election that will surely follow November’s initial vote.

The news is an obvious boon to Councilman Steve Costello and former Kemah mayor Bill King, Jones said, two centrist-to-conservative candidates who were set to spar with Pennington for the same supporters.

“There simply was not enough room for them to all three run and have a real chance of entering the runoff,” Jones said. “Pennington had at least a potential path to the second round. But it would have been a very uphill battle to actually win a runoff because the characteristics that made him one of the more viable Republican candidates also made him less viable against a Democratic foe in a runoff.”

In Pennington’s press release, he said, “For nearly 47 years, Beverly has been the love of my life, and I will be by her side as we walk through this situation.” Reached by phone Friday, he declined to elaborate on the medical diagnosis.

[…]

Pennington said he will not endorse any mayoral hopeful in what he sees as a wide-open race, but said his vote will go to the candidate who best shows leadership abilities and focuses on financial sustainability and the efficient delivery of city services.

The press release from the Pennington campaign is here. My best wishes to CM Pennington and his family going forward.

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