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Houston City Council Member Mary Nan Huffman has declared victory over Tony Buzbee, the prominent Houston lawyer who represented Attorney General Ken Paxton, in a runoff election for her seat.
With 85 of 450 vote centers reporting Saturday, Buzbee trailed the incumbent, Huffman, 44% to 56%, according to unofficial results.
The two were competing to represent District G, a wealthy, more conservative area in west Houston.
Buzbee was Paxton’s lead lawyer in the impeachment trial in the Texas Senate, which acquitted the attorney general in September. Buzbee had Paxton’s support in the race, as well as the backing of another big-name Texas Republican he has represented, former Gov. Rick Perry. Buzbee defended Perry against abuse-of-office charges in 2015.
Huffman, a lawyer for the House Police Officers, retained the support of the Texas GOP and local party officials. She nearly avoided a runoff in the initial election last month, getting 49% of the vote to 41% for Buzbee.
The contest got more contentious in the runoff. Buzbee accused Huffman of having supported the Black Lives Matter movement and sought to undercut her GOP credentials after running a less partisan campaign earlier.
Buzbee previously ran for Houston mayor in 2019 and forced incumbent Sylvester Turner to a runoff, which Turner won decisively.
Buzbee’s partisan affiliations were an issue throughout the race. He was once the chair of the Galveston County Democratic Party, but he has also aligned with Republicans in more recent years, hosting a 2016 fundraiser for then-candidate Donald Trump.
His high-profile legal career includes representing the 20 women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. More recently, he represented120 victims who died or were injured during a crowd crush at the Houston rapper Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld music festival.