As I predicted in my blog posting on September 6, it was generally a successful night for incumbents and for frontrunners in the open seats. Eleven out of thirteen incumbents were reelected outright: Mayor Parker; Controller Green; and Council Members Adams, Sullivan, Hoang, Pennington, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Costello, Noriega, and Bradford. Two incumbents are in a runoff: District A Council Member Brenda Stardig and At Large 5 Council Member Jolanda Jones.
In the five open seats, again as predicted, Alvin Byrd is in a runoff for District B with Pearland resident Jerry Davis; Ellen Cohen won District C outright; Kristi Thibaut is in a runoff for At Large 2 with perennial candidate Andrew Burks; Mike Laster won District J; and Larry Green won District K.
There will be four Council runoffs, with the election most likely called for December 10. My current analysis:
District A -- Incumbent Brenda Stardig trailed Helena Brown 41.1% to 47.2%. This race could go either way. Stardig is taking a lot of heat for voting for Renew Houston, which failed in District A in the 2009 vote. As the incumbent, Stardig should be able to raise the money to be competitive. Additionally, to the extent that Schoellkopf’s voters (11.7% of the vote) return to the polls, you would expect them to break for Stardig. Rating: Tossup.
District B -- Alvin Byrd led an eight candidate field 25.1% to 24.4% over Jerry Davis. Davis will be better funded in the runoff, but Byrd has stronger grassroots. Rating: Leans Byrd.
At Large 2 -- Andrew Burks led Kristi Thibaut 17% to 15.9% in a ten candidate field. Thibaut will pick up all of the establishment endorsements; Burks will continue to have strong support in the African-American community and will attempt to appeal to Westside Republican voters. Rating: Leans Thibaut.
At Large 5 -- Incumbent Jolanda Jones led Jack Christi into the runoff 38.3% to 33.4%. This will be the third consecutive runoff for Jones, and the second straight against Christi. In 2009, Jones defeated Christi 50.24% to 49.76%. Jones will turn this into a Democrat/Republican race, and in a 60% Democratic city that should give her the edge. Rating: Leans Jones.