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The Brief: Dec. 15, 2014

The Houston Chronicle's Theodore Schleifer has the goods on next year's mayoral election in Houston.

State Representative Sylvester Turner at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on May 27, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The Houston Chronicle's Theodore Schleifer has the goods on next year's mayoral election in Houston, which along with the mayoral election in San Antonio is shaping up to be the state's most significant municipal race next year.

It's still nearly a full year until Houston voters select their next mayor, with up to a dozen contenders looking at the race. But there's a definite front-runner, according to Schleifer.

"Most observers consider Rep. Sylvester Turner, with his support base from the African-American population that could cast a third of next year's vote, to be the man to beat in November. Yet his fortunes to win in a December runoff — all but guaranteed to be needed in a large field — depend heavily on whom he faces in a one-on-one comparison."

One potential candidate who could reorder the field is Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Schleifer notes that Garcia got the most votes of anyone in Harris County in 2012 and, with his Latino voter base, could pose a challenge to Turner. Fundraising could be a challenge, though. And he would need to resign his seat, which would give Republican county commissioners the opportunity to put an R in the office ahead of elections.

"You're going to be giving them an early 2016 gift," Democratic Sen. Sylvia Garcia told Schleifer. "Nobody wants a Latino mayor more than I do, but it's got to be the right time."

Former Congressman and former gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell is also expected to enter the field. Schleifer reported that Bell has already sued to try to block Turner from getting around a moratorium on raising money for a mayoral run until early next year. Turner plans to do this by putting contributions in his state officeholder account and later transferring it to his mayoral campaign.

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Quote to Note

“Texans are very conservative people. We like our guns and, apparently, the death penalty, but it should be done the right way. There should be no doubt of guilt.”

— Judge Tom Price of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, explaining to the Austin American-Statesman why he decided to state openly his opposition to the death penalty

Today in TribTalk

How one race could chart Texas Democrats' future, by Mark P. Jones

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep.-elect Will Hurd on Dec. 18 in Austin

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