The 2013 Houston Mayoral Race Begins ... In 2012

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is halfway through her second term and clear about her plans to stay in the job for a third term.

But attorney Ben Hall appears ready to throw his hat in the ring to run against her in the 2013 race.

Hall's credentials include a Harvard Law degree, a PhD from Duke University and city hall experience as city attorney during Bob Lanier's administration.

Pierpont Communications Political Expert Nancy Sims says this could be a long campaign for Houstonians.

"And we can only hope that others don't get in and force a run-off in December. This time next year we still may be determining who's mayor."

Sims says it's not surprising that Hall is entering the race this early, but it's a little unusual for someone to take on an incumbent who is up for reelection.

"He is known to people who are familiar with the inner circle of politics and leadership in the city. The mass number of Houston voters don't know his name or know who he is, so he will have to tell his own story. And, you know as a counter to that, will Parker try to define who he is at the same time."

No incumbent mayor has lost reelection since 1991, when voters enacted term limits.

Sims says Hall and Parker will probably be about evenly matched when it comes to campaign funds, with expectations they'll spend nearly $3 million on their respective campaigns, so you can expect a heavy blitz of TV ads closer to the election.

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