The two obvious names that will be on the November ballot are current Mayor Annise Parker and local attorney Ben Hall, who’s considered Parker’s most serious challenger. After that, the names are considerably less familiar, mayoral hopefuls like Michael Fitzsimmons, Derek Jenkins and Victoria Lane. Dr. Jon Taylor is chair of the political science department at the University of St. Thomas.
“In 2011, Mayor Parker had only three challengers. A little bit different with nine this time. It’s not quite a “y’all come” type primary, but close to it. No offense to the so-called minor candidates, but to be blunt, it’s a Hall vs. Parker race.”
Taylor says the extra candidates could make a run-off scenario more likely. Parker managed to win without a run-off in 2011, but got just more than 50% of the vote.
“Houstonians tend to re-elect their mayors once they’re elected the first time and so Hall has an uphill battle at this point. That said, you never know. Particularly with enough of these minor candidates to be on the ballot, it’s quite possible that you might end up seeing a Hall-Parker runoff as result of these other people.”
Taylor says some candidates simply file to run for mayor with no intention of putting together a real campaign. He says the more viable candidates like Parker and Hall will concentrate on each other and likely ignore the lesser-known candidates altogether.