Election

Republican-Backed Candidates Take The Two Remaining Seats On Appraisal District Board

Harris County voters elected two more candidates to serve on the Harris County Central Appraisal District's board of directors on Saturday.
Harris County voters elected two more candidates to serve on the Harris County Central Appraisal District's board of directors on Saturday. Screenshot
Two Republican-backed candidates were victorious in Saturday's runoff election. They will take over two of the three newly elected positions on the Harris County Central Appraisal District's board of directors.

According to unofficial results, Kyle Scott — a business owner and previous candidate for Harris County Treasurer — won against former Houston City Council member Melissa Noriega with 57 percent of the vote to Noriega’s 43 percent.

Scott will serve in Place 2 on the board, and Ericka McCrutcheon will take over Place 3 after defeating certified public accountant and business owner Pelumi Adeleke. McCrutcheon, who also owns a business and is a pastor, finished with 62 percent of the vote to Adeleke’s 38 percent.

These two seats on the board went to a runoff after none of the four candidates vying for the two positions could collect at least 50 percent of the total votes cast in the May 4 Election.

Former HISD Trustee Kathy Blueford-Daniels, who previously served as an appointed board member, was the sole candidate to win outright in May. She won the three-candidate race with 50.4 percent of the vote.

The three newly elected positions on the lesser-known board are a byproduct of Proposition 4, a constitutional amendment approved in November 2023 that accompanied the Texas Legislature’s property tax-deal package. The three citizen members will serve on the board with five other appointed members and the elected Tax Assessor-Collector.

Those taking over the three seats will have the authority to hire or fire chief appraisers, assist in setting the agency’s budget and weigh in on appointments of individuals involved in the property valuation process.

However, they are not directly involved in the property valuation or appeal process. Some political experts have questioned the reasoning for these newly created positions, arguing that they have relatively limited power.

Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), the author of the legislation that generated the positions, has fired back at these critiques.

In a previous statement to the Houston Press, Bettencourt wrote that those elected have more authority than other board members in appointing appraisal review board members. He added that their votes on the budget would be the same as other board members. Bettencourt described these positions as involving “real citizen input.”

The senator also took issue with the Democratic rhetoric surrounding the runoff. The positions are nonpartisan; however, both the Harris County Democratic and Republican parties — and other left and right-leaning groups — got involved in the races in efforts to boost voter turnout.

Bettencourt denounced messaging by the Harris County Democratic Party and Texas Gulf Coast Labor Federation that Republican control of the district would defund local public schools, expand tax breaks for the wealthy, increase taxes for working families and cut county services.

Despite the Democrats' offensive tactics, Republican voter turnout won in the end. Scott and McCrutcheon could serve up to four years on the board alongside Blueford-Daniels. Bettencourt took to X on Saturday night to congratulate Scott and McCrutcheon.

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Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.