KRIV reports that Sylvester Turner, a longtime State Representative, will run for Mayor of Houston in 2015. Turner has run for Mayor twice before, in 1991 and 2003. While he finished in a distant third place in 2003, he proceeded into a very close runoff election during his first run. In that race, he lost in a squeaker to Bob Lanier after Wayne Dolcefino ran a slimy expose based on utter falsehoods. Turner later sued Dolcefino for libel, but that is neither here nor there. My point is that if you think of Sylvester Turner with preconceived notions of alleged wrongdoing, you are totally incorrect.
In the 22 years since then (30 years total, in the House), Turner has truly become a force to be reckoned with on the State Legislature. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Appropriations Committee (the ranking Democrat) and is one of the biggest leaders among the minority party in the Capitol. Instrumental in the passage of a massive water-infrastructure constitutional amendment this past session, he earned a spot on Texpatriate’s list of Best Legislators. Texas Monthly also noted his massive contribution to the session by naming him the Bull of the Brazos.
But back to 2014. Turner sat down with Greg Groogan of the local FOX affiliate, and denoted his intention to run for Mayor in 2015. The incumbent, Annise Parker, will of course be term-limited. In a statement to Groogan, Turner said the following:
“You know I’ve had my challenges. I’ve come through them.”
“They have to believe that you will be there for this city, not for any one group, not for any one class of individuals, but you will be there for your love of this city. If you can’t convince them that what drives you most of all is your love for the city and your ability to move this city forward in a positive direction. Than [sic] you failed the test.”
“Over my 25 years I think most people will tell you in the legislature that I have been able to work with people whether to the left or the right to be able to try to get us to form that common consensus. I think we are living in a day and time when there is too much toxicity in the air. People want results. They want you to get along with people. They want to see you for who they are.”
Turner has also hired Sue Davis, who served as Mayor Parker’s communication director last year. Among the other candidates to publicly flirt with the idea of running are former Congressman Chris Bell, City Councilmember Stephen Costello and City Councilmember Oliver Pennington. The rumor mill is also replete with tales of the tentative candidates of many others, including Eric Dick, Adrian Garcia, Ronald Green, Ed Gonzalez and Ben Hall. Turner is the first candidate to explicitly announce intentions. The list is very long and diverse, but one key exception is a lack of any women. I recall former City Councilmember Sue Lovell being mentioned as a prospective candidate, but that rumor bit the dust somewhat promptly.
Personally, I find this a little early for 2015 politics.