Clearly, it’s Runoff Overview Week at the Chron.
Whittled down from 12 candidates to two last month, the Houston City Council District D race is a David-and-Goliath runoff.
Towering Dwight Boykins, 50, narrowly missed clinching the general election outright with 43 percent of the vote – three times the strength of his runoff opponent. He won most precincts and bigfooted the other candidates in fundraising by collecting more than $200,000.
The diminutive-but-fierce Georgia Provost, 72, is among the seniors she talks about protecting from crime and tax-hiking development. She raised just $30,000 for the general election and became a contender with 14 percent of the vote.
Both are vying to replace term-limited Wanda Adams to represent a diverse area anchored by institutions including the Texas Medical Center, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. The central and southside district extends from just outside downtown to Beltway 8, up to the doorsteps of Pearland and Clear Lake and includes Third Ward, Sunnyside, South Park and a portion of the Museum District.
Boykins and Provost have at least two things in common: A penchant for hats – Stetsons for him and church-lady finishing touches for her – and deep concerns for what’s missing in District D. Where is the full-service grocery store in Sunnyside? Why aren’t there more banking institutions throughout the district’s core? Why are the streets so bad?
The District D winner will be determined by reliable voters, many of whom are seniors and vote early or via mail, according to Michael Adams, chair of TSU’s political science department.
I agree with that assessment, though honestly it’s true for all of the runoffs, where only the truly hardcore show up. Unlike District A, there’s not a lot of differences between these two on the issues and priorities. Boykins remains the big fundraiser, though Provost hasn’t done badly. There is one clear difference between them, however, and it could possibly be a factor.
Provost said she received about $30,000 in contributions and commitments after the general election, in part, because “you won’t have a woman of color on council” if she does not win.
As things stand now, only Districts A and C are sure to be represented by women in 2014. There will be no women serving At Large, which is a big step down from 2009 when Sue Lovell, Melissa Noriega, and Jolanda Jones were all elected. Depending on the outcome in D and I, there will be between two and four women on Council. It’s possible that could have some resonance in either or both runoffs. For what it’s worth I don’t think this dip in the number of female Council members is anything but a temporary anomaly, but it will stand out for the next two years, and I’m sure we will see stories written about it. You can say you heard it here first.