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The Controller’s race

I’m still somewhat amazed by this result.

City Councilman Ronald Green led a three-candidate field in the race for Houston city controller Tuesday and will face Councilman M.J. Khan in a Dec. 12 runoff.

Green, whose campaign appeared unharmed by last-minute anonymous phone calls warning Democrats against him, led comfortably for most of the evening and finished with 36 percent. Khan and Councilwoman Pam Holm jockeyed for second place as the returns came in, and Khan finished with 32.5 percent to Holm’s 31.2 percent — a difference of about 2,000 votes.

Last night, as Khan overtook Holm, I thought there might be a recount in this race. With a 2000 vote difference, however, that would clearly be a waste of time and money.

Green said he was looking forward to the runoff campaign.

“Of course, I would have preferred no runoff,” Green said. “But I’m going to run on my qualifications and I feel confident that I’ll be the next controller.”

Khan, a Pakistani immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 1985, said he never expected to finish first but picked up support as voters learned more about him. The engineer and real estate developer said he expects that trend to continue during the runoff campaign.

“I believe Houstonians will reward qualifications,” Khan said.

Two questions: Will Green try to raise some money and be more visible in the runoff? Will Khan get the local GOP establishment to back him? I believe this race is fundamentally the same as the Controller’s race was in the beginning, which is to say it’s Green’s to lose. I don’t think the runoff in F will be as big a boost to Khan’s chances as a runoff in G would have been for Holm’s, had it gone that way. The lack of a runoff in G helps Green. If I’m right about Roy’s voters sitting it out – and I note that Martha isn’t so sure about that – that helps Green as well. If the GOP gets its act together – having a chance to knock off Jolanda Jones as well as win this race ought to motivate them – that helps Khan. Khan had $31K on hand as of his 8 days out report, so at least this time they start out more or less even in the money department. That’s what I’ll be watching for the overtime period.

As for whether or not Pam Holm picks a side in the runoff, all I can say is that as yet, she has not done so. Click on to see an email she sent out yesterday morning on the race.

Good Morning

Thank you so much for supporting our campaign. For more than a year, we carried the banner of fiscal responsibility in the race for Houston City Controller. We can be proud that we spent our time, our money and our energy furthering this.

The voters of Houston have spoken, and while we are disappointed in the results, we accept the results. However, our city still needs us.

In our campaign, we were advocates for transparency and fiscal responsibility with taxpayer money. While we may not get to be in public office to make the changes, we can, and should, fight for the changes.

We wish Mr. Khan and Mr. Green well in their runoff, and please join me in continuing to make our issues vital in the election for Houston City Controller.

Thank you
Pam

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