Corruption, flooding, crime dominate first TV mayoral debate https://t.co/4hX92QS224 via @HoustonChron— Jasper Scherer (@jaspscherer) October 3, 2019
Mayor Sylvester Turner’s opponents came out swinging at the first televised mayoral debate of the election, accusing him of mismanaging a pay dispute with Houston firefighters, slow-walking flood recovery and overseeing a culture of corruption at City Hall -- charges the mayor emphatically denied.
With his opponents criticizing him on nearly every question, Turner defended his approach to the firefighters’ push for pay parity with police and said the sluggish pace of Hurricane Harvey recovery largely stems from delays within the federal government.
On the corruption allegations, pushed most aggressively by Tony Buzbee, Turner said the millionaire lawyer and businessman -- who is self-funding his campaign -- is “trying to buy City Hall.”
The mayor then issued a fresh attack, criticizing Buzbee for an incident in which a federal judge removed Buzbee’s law firm from 85 cases involving a judge who maintained close ties with Buzbee and his law partners.
You can watch that exchange here:
"I really didn't wanna go here, but since you're talking about public corruption..." - @SylvesterTurner responds to @TonyBuzbee's claims about city contracts. Then Buzbee responds by mentioning the mayor's $95K internship. https://t.co/9JfIctE19U pic.twitter.com/4SddCHETd6— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) October 3, 2019
Update: You can view the hour-long debate here. For a few short video takes, see here.
I did not get the sense that Turner or Buzbee, the polling leaders, helped themselves last night. Bill King and Sue Lovell looked and sounded more 'executive', shall I say. And I'll posit that any Democrats inclined to consider not voting for Mayor Sly might feel better about a Dwight Boykins or a Lovell vote after watching ... unless they are of that scared variety of Donkey that doesn't want to see two Republicans in the runoff.
In other words, a vote for Turner being sorta like a vote for Joe Biden.
As for the remainders and their lawsuit ... *ahem*
Though 12 candidates are running for mayor, a moderator said the host networks -- ABC 13 and Univision 45 -- narrowed the field to the top five fundraisers: Turner, Buzbee, King, Boykins, and Lovell. The state of the race has recently come into sharper focus with a poll that found Turner leading the field with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Buzbee at 20 percent and King at 10.
As I mentioned back here, I'm still deciding between Lovell and Derrick Broze. I have a few more weeks to choose.