Early voting starts Monday in the Houston mayor’s race. When I last updated the race, it was halftime and Mayor Annise Parker was leading Dr. Ben Hall 20 - 3. We have now reached the two minute warning.
Mayor Parker has the lead, the ball and the wind at her back. The outcome of the contest is clear and Parker will win. The only question is whether she will cover the point spread and win without a runoff.
The point spread to win without a runoff is a large one (19 points in my opinion) because there are nine candidates in the race. I have the Mayor ahead 27 to 10 and needing one more score. Dr. Hall appears to have thrown in the towel and has pulled his starters (and his television ads). Mayor Parker, on the other hand, has left her starters in and continues to throw downfield with hard hitting television ads. Parker is clearly going to leave it all on the field in the final two minutes and is trying end the contest November 5 without a runoff.
At this point, I believe the Mayor has a better than 50% chance of winning without a runoff. Polling I have seen shows Parker projected to win between 50% and 52% of the vote; Hall at 30% to 35%; and the other 7 candidates at 10% to 15%. Of course, the only poll that counts are the results on election day and a lot can happen in 20 days.
Nevertheless, political fans are already looking ahead to the 2015 mayoral season. The initial rankings show three tier one candidates projected to run for mayor in 2015: Council Member Stephen Costello; Sheriff Adrian Garcia; and Representative Sylvester Turner. Other possible candidates receiving consideration in the 2015 rankings are: Chris Bell; Brad Bradford; Gilbert Garcia; Ed Gonzalez; Ronald Green; Ben Hall; Sue Lovell; Vidal Martinez; James Rodriguez; and Orlando Sanchez.