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The ground game

Where we are with one day to go.

Sylvester Turner

Sylvester Turner

The neck-and-neck Houston mayor’s race has become an all-out ground war in the final days before Saturday’s runoff election as Sylvester Turner and Bill King turn to local Democratic and Republican party operatives to get out the vote in what is putatively a nonpartisan contest.

Democrats, labor groups and local churches have pooled manpower to launch a comprehensive, intricately designed field operation to push Turner voters to the polls, while Republicans have poured resources into mailers, radio ads and phone banks urging Houston residents to back King and his message of fiscal reform.

The race carries symbolic weight, both parties say, presenting Democrats with an opportunity to maintain their longtime hold on the mayoralty and Republicans the long-awaited chance to make inroads in municipal politics.

By the close of early voting Tuesday, more than 113,000 voters had cast a ballot, an increase of about 39,000 from the runoff election in the city’s last open-seat mayor’s race six years ago. Several political scientists project overall participation will be 200,000 or more.

Early turnout was strongest in City Council District G, on the city’s conservative, majority-white west side, followed by predominantly white, progressive District C and conservative District E. King won all three in the general election.

“I would expect King to win the early vote and Turner to win the election day vote, with the election then being decided by the margins for those two respective segments,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said.

It’s true that King won District C in November, but only by a small margin, with a large share of the vote going to Adrian Garcia, Chris Bell, and Steve Costello. My gut says that if Turner picks up a majority of these voters, he’ll be in good shape. If not, that may be a problem. We’ll know when the returns start coming in. I’ll post about Election Day locations tomorrow. Who has not voted yet?

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7 Comments

  1. Joshua ben bullard says:

    turner at 49.8% king at 50.2%,here’s why.when I was at west Gray for early vote I did entry and exit polling,what surprised me most was how many heights democrat voters were voting for turner and admitted that they were doing because turner could be quick to tax them so they were punching in king in the ballot box.let’s be honest with each other,I think most houstonians realize now that campaigns like Amanda Edwards and Sylvester turners which both center on “let’s move all of Houston forward” is played out.houstonians feel like they’ve been lied to for years,is it a coincidence that both turner and Amanda edwards campaign both say the exact same thing “let’s move all of Houston forward” these two candidates give us a sound byte,but never tell the voter how their going to move Houston forward,let me let you in on a little secret,there is a reason why Amanda edwards and Sylvester turner both graduated from Harvard and both say over and over and over “let’s move all of Houston forward” really??houstonians are sick and tired of snapshot sound bytes,if elected both Edwards and turner plan on keeping the same city insiders that have been at city hall year after year after year after year.king wins at 50.2% and my vote goes Roy Morale’s at large 4.because Houston city hall shouldn’t be run by city hall insiders that have been their since Kathy whitmire.I said all this, Joshua Ben bullard

  2. Julain Deleon says:

    I believe Turner wins on Saturday. He will win by a very slim margin. There is one thing he did extremely well to get folks to the polls on Saturday…

  3. Jim Casey says:

    Talkin’ ’bout that “secret” Obama robocall? Ha!
    We’ll see.

  4. Sandi says:

    I haven’t voted yet because I find the choice depressing. Worse than any election I have ever voted in. I can’t bring myself to vote for a Republican, not only because I never have before, but because they always run as moderates and then swing much further right once they govern. But nor can I bring myself to vote for a weak Dem I find to be entirely lacking in character. Or at least I don’t think I can do either … that’s why I’ve left it to the last minute to go at all. Guess I’ll see tomorrow night at 6:45p …

  5. Bill Kelly says:

    Turner has been a strong champion of electric discounts for seniors and low income Texans, mental health funding, and lead the charge against Open & Campus Carry.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    If King wins, I bet Turner supporters will be regretting the city’s moves in the past to annex Kingwood and Clear Lake. Actions (like fleecing the suburbs to finance the inner city) have consequences.

  7. Steve Houston says:

    Bill, for a very long time, annexation was the only recourse cities had to get the “white flight” crowd to pay their way. At least that’s the narrative they sold for generations. Back in the Kingwood annexation, part of their unsuccessful plan to get it overturned was trying to convince the courts that voters of the area were so racist that annexing the area violated voting rights laws. But the residents did promise political payback later, claiming limited victories by their voting patterns.