John Whitmire, a moderate Democrat, won the runoff for mayor of Houston

John Whitmire, a moderate Democrat who has served in the Texas state Senate since 1983, won a second run to become mayor of Houston on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

From the moment he entered the race last year, Mr.

He made public safety the centerpiece of his messaging, following a strategy that has proven successful for moderate Democrats in recent big-city mayoral races across the country.

“Tonight is something to laugh about,” Mr. Trump said in his victory speech Saturday night. “We’re not New York. We firmly believe we’re not LA or Chicago. We fix our problems,” he said. “Big cities solve their problems. They bring people together. Our campaign brought this city together.

73 year old Mrs. Jackson Lee, a veteran legislator first elected to Congress in the 1990s, entered the race in March with strong support from many Democrats and black voters.

Many Houstonians are already familiar with Ms. Jackson knew Lee well from his years in Congress, his penchant for the spotlight and his reputation for being tough on staff. Before the initial round of voting, a University of Houston poll found that 43 percent of respondents said they would never consider voting for him, and 15 percent said they would vote for Mr.

Mrs. Jackson Lee received endorsements from prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who came to Houston to rally for the candidate, and local leaders such as outgoing Mayor Sylvester Turner and District Judge Lina Hidalgo. Ms. Jackson Lee polled significantly better than Mr. Whitmire with the Democrats ahead of the vote.

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But he appealed more to Republicans and independents than anywhere else to return in a nonpartisan runoff without a Republican candidate. In the end, the votes weren’t even close: According to results released early Sunday, Mr.

The electorate appeared starkly racially divided, with black Houstonians overwhelmingly supporting Ms. Jackson Lee and white residents supporting Mr. supported Whitmire. Race became an issue later in the campaign.

In one of their head-to-head discussions, Mr. Whitmire said the city needs to do more to promote diversity in its top ranks, saying too few jobs went to Hispanic or Asian people. Many of the city’s top officials, including Mr. Turner, are black. Mr. Turner, Mr. He called Whitmire’s comments a racist “dog whistle.”

Mr. Whitmire focused on crime as her central message, while outside groups filled mailboxes with fliers, calling for Ms. Jackson attacked Lee for not giving enough support to the police.

Although police statistics show crime is down from post-pandemic highs, Mr. Whitmire said. He has pledged to bring 200 state troopers into the city to patrol the city, along with Republican Greg Abbott’s administration. A similar effort by city leaders in Austin to partner with state troopers has been stymied by allegations of racial profiling and aggressive police stops.

74 year old Mr. Whitmire had a significant fundraising advantage. Propaganda War Chest Raised during his tenure in the state Senate, he also raised money from major Republican donors.

A lifelong Democrat, Mr. He shrugged off questions about past conflicts of interest related to his work as a lawyer for a firm whose clients lobby the state government.

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Both candidates struggled to excite voters in historically low-turnout races. In the city of 2.3 million people, fewer than 132,000 people cast ballots in early voting, as in other recent mayoral races.

Some analysts said Ms. Jackson Lee may have entered the race too late.

Mustafa Tamiz, who managed successful campaigns for former Houston Mayor Bill White, said “I don’t know she’s had time” to get a coalition together. “And Whitmire ran a very error-free campaign.”

Voters in Houston, while favoring Democrats in statewide and national elections, are more centrist than those in other major cities, Mr. Thamees said. “We’re not San Francisco, we’re not New York,” he said. “Texas Democrats will always be different.”

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