District G Incumbent Mary Nan Huffman Wins Houston City Council Race Against Attorney Tony Buzbee

District G Mary Nan Huffman came out ahead of high-profile attorney Tony Buzbee as indicated by total vote counts on Sunday.
District G Mary Nan Huffman came out ahead of high-profile attorney Tony Buzbee as indicated by total vote counts on Sunday. Screenshot
One of the most watched races ended in a rather expected turn of events as incumbent Mary Nan Huffman finished ahead of Tony Buzbee with 57 percent of votes to his 43 percent according to final counts on early Sunday morning.

Huffman was the candidate who went into December’s runoff election with a leg-up against Buzbee to retain her District G seat on Houston City Council after she narrowly missed the half mark to avoid running a second time around, collecting 49 percent of votes cast in November.

Houston area voters likely kept an eye on this race as Buzbee is a de facto political personality, having run for mayor against current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and represented Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during the Senate’s impeachment trial against him.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the attention on this contest could also have come from the Republican voter turnout it generated.

“Turnout in District G was relatively high, and that means that there's going to be enthusiasm for Republicans to try to find a Republican for other races,” he said.

Rottinghaus said the concentration of Republican voters brought forth by Buzbee and Huffman’s race likely affected State Senator John Whitmire’s significant lead over U.S Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in the mayoral contest and Houston Controller candidate Orlando Sanchez's slight increase in voter support this time around.

He added that the funds involved in Buzbee and Huffman’s race also drew voter attention. Their combined campaign expenses between November and the beginning of December alone total above $500,000.

According to Nancy Sims, a political science lecturer with the University of Houston, the other two district City Council races were expected to be less eventful and fairly easier to read than District G.

Sunday's early morning total indicated Mario Castillo as the winner of the open District H seat race against Cynthia Reyes-Revilla by 64 percent of votes to Reyes-Revilla’s 36 percent. In recent days, Reyes-Revilla lost some of her previous support after her campaign sent out a message which many in the community interpreted as an attack on Castillo for being gay. In it, Reyes-Revilla is described as a "devoted Christian" who makes decisions that "reflect the moral and ethical standards values in our community."

As Sims expected, District D incumbent Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz retained her seat against veteran community organizer Travis McGee with 65 percent of votes – not unusual for those who held the seat before in council races to win against a challenger.

Sim said the four non-district City Council member races – at large positions one, two, three and four – were up for grabs by any eight candidates running in these respective elections.

Criminal law attorney Julian Ramirez followed suit in his November bid to hold at-large position one, but only came out slightly victorious against fellow candidate and Family law attorney Melanie Miles with 51 percent of the votes to Miles's 49 percent.

Local Real Estate Agent Nick Hellyar trailed pastor Willie Davis by a lengthy amount of votes, 45 percent compared to Davis's 55 percent. Davis will takeover as council member at-large position two.

It was a closer race between Harris County Department of Education Board Trustee Richard Cantu and Former Astros Executive Twila Carta for council member at-large position three. Carter won against Cantu with 51 percent of votes.

At-Large 4 City Council member Letitia Plummer was the only incumbent running in these lower ballot races. She will be re-assuming her position on council after collecting 52 percent of votes to Morale's 48 percent. 

Plummer made stops throughout Election Day at several of Harris County's vote centers, including the West Gray Multi-Service Center. This is the county's largest location, where she said she goes to generate energy from voters coming out to cast their ballots.

When asked before early returns how she felt about the night ahead, Plummer said she felt comfortable regarding the results of the race.

“I feel good. I mean, I am the incumbent. I have done amazing work. I have a great record when it comes to housing and public safety and affordability with food insecure areas and economics," she added. "I’ve really done a really good job, so.”
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Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.