Mayor Parker's New Council Challenges

Mayor Annise Parker won reelection, but not in a resounding way.

She was running against five grassroots candidates, who split the vote.

Pierpont Communications Political Analyst Nancy Sims says when the mayor walks into council chambers later this morning, she won't do so with a strong mandate from the voters — and that, Sims says, could make it difficult for Parker to govern.

"The mayor has an agenda that she hopes to achieve — did she receive enough votes on election night to secure her position as a leader and to push through her agenda that she so strongly supports."

Some of Parker's close allies on council will be gone due to term limits, others are in run-off races and there will be a number of new faces around the council dais.

Sims says Parker needs to build coalitions on council.

"It could be a little bit contentious. We already have the two new members being added, so it's going to be a lot of folks coming in to position themselves and to represent their constituents point of view. And it may not be as cohesive as it has been the last couple of years."

Sims says the mayor will likely use the next two years to focus on economic growth and jobs growth in Houston, as well as some regulatory issues.

But she adds, if Parker struggles to build consensus in her next term, it could affect her re-election chances in 2013.

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