Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
Tony Buzbee, the prominent Houston lawyer who represented Attorney General Ken Paxton in his recent impeachment trial, appears headed for a Dec. 9 runoff in his campaign for Houston City Council.
With virtually all precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Buzbee had 41.31% of the vote and the incumbent, Mary Nan Huffman, had 49.42 — just short of the majority she needs to win outright. A third candidate, Enyinna Isiguzo, had 9.26%.
Both the Buzbee and Huffman campaigns said they anticipated a runoff. Huffman spokesperson Allen Blakemore said his candidate was “in a strong position for the runoff.”
“Clearly, District G voters are showing dissatisfaction with the neglect and lack of attention they have received from the incumbent,” Buzbee’s campaign manager, Jacob Way, said in a statement.
Buzbee challenged Huffman for her seat in District G, which covers a wealthy, more conservative area in west Houston. Huffman is a lawyer for the Houston Police Officers Union who has served on the council since 2022.
Buzbee entered the race in August, about two weeks before the start of Paxton’s trial on abuse-of-office allegations. The Texas Senate acquitted Paxton in late September after a trial where Buzbee animatedly argued the attorney general was the victim of a political witch hunt.
The millionaire Buzbee largely self-funded his campaign and had the backing of two of his most famous Republican clients, Paxton and former Gov. Rick Perry. But Huffman carried the support of local Republican officials and also had the endorsement of the state GOP, which otherwise aligned itself with Paxton throughout his impeachment.
The race was nonpartisan, though Huffman highlighted Buzbee’s amorphous political identity. Buzbee once chaired the Galveston County Democratic Party and has donated to members of both parties, hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump in 2016. Buzbee countered that the city’s problems — issues like crime and flooding — were nonpartisan.
This was not Buzbee’s first foray into Houston politics. He ran for mayor in 2019 and forced incumbent Sylvester Turner into a runoff where Buzbee lost. He considered running again this year before deciding to seek the council seat.