Houston Campaign Season Opens With Aggressive Mayoral Race

Former City Councilman Ben Hall and incumbent Mayor Annise Parker (photo courtesy ABC13)
It may not feel like campaign season just yet — but the Houston Mayor's race is already getting heated. The two main candidates aren't pulling any punches as they try to prove themselves to voters.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her main challenger, former City Attorney Ben Hall, are already locked into an increasingly aggressive race to the election. It started with a couple of TV ads, followed by Parker challenging Hall to release his tax records.

Pierpont Communications Senior Vice President Nancy Sims is a political analyst and blogs about local politics.

"Clearly the candidates are baiting each other a little bit, and I think it's going to get much more intense as it moves forward."

Sims says she's not sure how effective the current tactics will be with voters. For example, Parker's challenge over tax returns may not matter very much.

"This whole tax return issue is just somewhat silly, and we see it used every election cycle and it has little effect on outcome."

Meanwhile, Hall responded that he has no plans to give in to Parker's demand, and came out with a counter-punch, saying Parker has financially profited during her time in office, with income and assets putting her in millionaire territory, and that's not counting income from her partner. Never mind the fact that Hall is also a millionare.

"Ben Hall has promoted the story that he's a self-made man, Annise Parker has always told that story. And so they're just trying to make themselves more personable to average voters."

Sims says most voters aren't paying much attention to the race yet, with mostly just political insiders taking note of the early and aggressive tone of the campaigns.

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...