Incumbent Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a strong lead in his bid for reelection Tuesday night, according to early vote totals, and was just short of the majority he would need to avoid a runoff.
Turner had 49% of the vote after early ballots were cast, while second place Tony Buzbee, a Houston attorney, had 29%. In third place was Bill King, the businessman who narrowly lost to Turner in the 2015 mayoral contest. King netted 13% of the early vote.
The other major candidates in the race, Dwight Boykins and Sue Lovell, netted 6% and 1%, respectively.
If Turner receives more than 50% of the vote, he’ll secure a second four-year term representing the state’s largest city. He’s fighting for a second four-year team in the mayor’s office against Buzbee, who self-funded his campaign to the tune of around $10 million. The runoff for the mayoral race in the city of nearly 2.3 million people is slated for Dec. 14.
The race was nonpartisan, though Turner, a former longtime Democratic state representative, dogged Buzbee over his past financial support for President Donald Trump, an unpopular figure in the city. Eschewing party labels, Buzbee presented himself a political outsider determined to clean up City Hall corruption.
Disclosure: Tony Buzbee has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.