Elections

How Ben Hall Conceded Mayoral Race A Month Ago

Houston Mayor Annise Parker easily avoided a runoff, winning her third term with 57-percent of the vote. Analysts say challenger Ben Hall essentially conceded the race a month before yesterday's election.

Rice Political Science Department Chair Mark Jones says Ben Hall gave up when he decided in October not to stage an advertising blitz.

“And as a result, Annise Parker was able to define Ben Hall for a majority of the voters — in that, he was defined in a relatively negative manner, as somebody who didn’t pay his taxes, and as somebody who couldn’t be trusted to manage the city’s finances.”

That, and Hall was going up against a very popular incumbent, in a city where incumbents usually win.

University of Houston Associate Professor of Political Science Brandon Rottinghaus says Hall’s attempts to paint a negative picture of Mayor Parker went nowhere.

“I think the fact that most voters approved of her, in general, and liked the direction of the city — the economy is strong, and other things are going well. I think that people generally tended to support her and maintain her status as mayor.”

Rottinghaus says Hall has set himself up for another crack at the mayor’s office should he choose to run in 2015.  

But Professor Jones of Rice believes Hall is no longer a viable candidate, though Hall could influence the race in a couple of years by “threatening” to run.

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