AP Election Overview | Houston’s Upcoming Mayoral Runoff

by Ryan Lee
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Houston mayoral runoff election

The upcoming runoff election in Houston, set for this Saturday, will determine the city’s next mayor, with U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and State Senator John Whitmire vying for the position. Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., sees these two experienced Democrats competing for the top office.

In the initial November 7 general election, neither Jackson Lee nor Whitmire secured a majority, leading to this runoff. Whitmire led the group of 18 candidates with 42% of the vote, followed by Jackson Lee at 36%. The remaining candidates, including a write-in option, garnered less than 10% each.

The elected mayor will succeed Sylvester Turner, who is stepping down due to term limits. During recent debates, both candidates addressed key city issues like crime, infrastructure, housing affordability, and budget management. Jackson Lee also commented on a leaked audio where she is allegedly heard criticizing staff members, which she doesn’t remember and countered by commending her team.

Amid new state legislations that limit local Democratic influence in Harris County elections, where Houston is the largest city, this election is set against a politically charged backdrop.

Whitmire and Jackson Lee are not new to Houston politics. Whitmire, celebrating his 50th year in Texas politics, has outperformed Jackson Lee financially, as evident in the campaign’s financial disclosures. Jackson Lee’s election would mark a historic moment as Houston’s first Black female mayor.

Key Points for Election Night:


The runoff is scheduled for Saturday, with the polls closing at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET).


Coverage will focus solely on the mayoral runoff.


Registered Houston voters can participate, with the registration deadline having been November 9.


Typically, runoff elections see low turnout, as evidenced by the 19% turnout in Houston’s 2019 mayoral runoff.


Houston’s diverse demographics play a significant role, with Hispanics/Latinos being the largest group. Jackson Lee, with strong support from Black and Hispanic voters, needs high turnout from these communities. Whitmire’s constituency includes a diverse demographic mix in his state Senate district.

The AP will not call the race until a clear winner is evident, adhering to its policy of not making projections. Texas law allows for candidate-requested recounts under certain conditions.


In the November election, over half of the votes were cast early. Similar trends are expected in the runoff, with a significant portion of votes already cast in early voting.


In the November election, initial results were reported shortly after polls closed, with the vast majority counted by the following noon.

For detailed coverage, visit https://bigbignews.net/election-2023.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Houston mayoral runoff election

What is the Houston mayoral runoff election?

The Houston mayoral runoff election is a deciding vote between U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and State Senator John Whitmire to determine the next mayor of Houston. It follows the general election where no candidate received a majority.

Who are the candidates in the Houston mayoral runoff?

The candidates are U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and State Senator John Whitmire, both of whom are Democrats and have long-standing political careers in Texas.

When will the Houston mayoral runoff election take place?

The election is scheduled for Saturday, with polls closing at 7 p.m. CT, which is 8 p.m. ET.

What major issues are the candidates addressing?

Both candidates have discussed plans to tackle major challenges in Houston, including crime, infrastructure, affordable housing, and budget management.

What is the significance of Sheila Jackson Lee’s candidacy?

If elected, Sheila Jackson Lee would become the first Black woman to serve as the mayor of Houston.

How does voter turnout in runoff elections compare to general elections?

Runoff elections typically have lower voter turnout compared to general elections. For instance, only 19% of registered voters participated in Houston’s 2019 mayoral runoff.

What are the demographics of Houston’s voters?

Houston is a diverse city with Hispanics/Latinos being the largest demographic group, followed by non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic Blacks.

How will the Associated Press report the election results?

The Associated Press (AP) will declare a winner only when it is clear that there is no scenario for the trailing candidate to close the gap. The AP adheres to a policy of not making projections and will report on any significant developments like a candidate concession or a victory declaration.

More about Houston mayoral runoff election

  • Houston Mayoral Runoff Election Details
  • Profiles of Sheila Jackson Lee and John Whitmire
  • Houston Election Voter Information
  • Houston Demographic Data and Voting Patterns
  • Associated Press Election Coverage Policies and Procedures

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