Houston Council District H is Open and Up for Grabs

There's a special election this Saturday that will have a significant impact on the city of Houston. Houston Council District H is open and up for grabs. The spot has been vacant since former District H Councilmember Adrian Garcia took office as Harris County sheriff. Laurie Johnson has more.

District H has been unrepresented since January when Garcia vacated the spot to become the new sheriff in town.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Richard Murray says this election will likely be a case of the few making a decision for the many.

"We have about 90,000 registered voters in the district. We think maybe 5,000 might vote, possibly even fewer. So if you live in that district and you care about who represents you, this is an election you really ought to participate in."

The district includes the Heights, as well as a number of largely Hispanic neighborhoods just north of downtown.

But Rice University Political Scientist Bob Stein says despite the demographic make-up of the district, this may be the first time since 1993 that the district is not won by a Hispanic.

"Adult population, over 18 voting age population, is predominantly Hispanic, but as we all know Hispanic voters tend not to be as likely to be registered or as likely to vote as their Anglo or African-American counterparts."

The race for District H is quite crowded. Nine candidates are on the ballot. That means a run-off is almost certain, likely between two, or possibly three of the candidates. Murray says district councilmembers are like a sort of ombudsman between neighborhoods and the mayor.

"These district councilmembers are awfully important, because if you have a problem in your neighborhood they're the member that really is on the spot and needs to carry the ball for you."

Whoever wins the run-off election will hold office for about six months before having to run again in the November election.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...