Houston mayoral race heating up

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - In one of the final debates in the race for Houston's next mayor candidates Sylvester Turner and Bill King faced off in front of a live audience at KPRC Channel 2. Early on they addressed the issue of negative campaigning, each accusing the other of doing so.

"The ads that Bill is running about me wanting to raise property taxes, those are coded words," said Turner. "He knows that's a complete fabrication."

King also had plenty to say on the subject.

"If you've seen any of the ads that they're running they're vicious, personal attacks," King said. "He and his buddies at the fire station are running against me because I've said I want to change the pension system."

Questions ranged from fixing Houston's finances and roads, to how best to prepare the city for future flooding. It was one of the last chances the two will have to make their case.

"You have to be able to pull people together, you have to be able to form a consensus in order to get things done," Turner said after the debate. "I think that's one of my strengths and that's what will be needed at city hall."

King also spoke to Channel 2 after the debate to tout his credentials.

"The problems we're facing are fundamentally business problems and they need a business man to address them," King said. "I've run large organizations."

UH political professor Dr. Brandon Rottinghaus called the debate a draw and said the runoff, which traditionally draws low numbers at the polls, will come down to turnout.

"This is the heart and lungs of elections in Houston," Rottinghaus said. "If you get your voters to come, then you will win and both candidates know this so both are going to be driving hard to get their voters out."

The candidates will face off in one more debate before Saturday's election.

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