Turner to Run For Houston Mayor

Lege Dems face another major departure, and an Austin opportunity

Veteran Democrat Rep. Sylvester Turner, now running for mayor of Houston
Veteran Democrat Rep. Sylvester Turner, now running for mayor of Houston (Photo by Jana Birchum)

There have been few more consistent faces around the Texas Legislature than Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. Yet there's a good possibility he may be gone soon, as the vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee has declared that he will run for mayor of Houston.

The rumors had been rumbling for months that Turner would officially throw his hat in the ring to replace outgoing mayor Annise Parker. He finally confirmed his plans in an interview yesterday with Houston's KHOU, and will formally launch his campaign on March 28.

While there is no sign that Turner won't stick around for the rest of the session (nor is he guaranteed to win), this is yet another tectonic change for the Democratic legislative caucus. True, lawmakers don't last forever, but in the last two years they have lost some of their brightest hopes, sharpest talents, and most respected figures. Some of them arguably left for promotions: Joaquin Castro went to Congress, while Leticia Van de Putte and Mike Villareal are running for mayor of San Antonio. Others are out of politics: Wendy Davis flamed out in the governor's race, while Mark Strama (who was constantly touted as a potential statewide centrist, and seemingly was enough of a threat that the GOP leadership undermined him in the House) is now heading up Google Fiber's Austin operation.

However, there's a potential interesting side effect of this for the Travis County delegation. If Turner is gone next session, then Austin's Rep. Dawnna Dukes will become the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. That means she has a reasonable shot at taking Turner's valuable position as vice-chair in 2017. That is, unless she sees the light and quits the madhouse too.

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Legeland, 84th Legislature, Texas House of Representatives, Sylvester Turner, Leticia Van de Putte, Wendy Davis, Mark Strama, Dawnna Dukes

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