Houston Elects Democratic Mayor

The haters may have turned back LGBT rights in Houston, but they couldn’t keep the mayor’s office out of Democratic hands. The New York Times reports:

State Representative Sylvester Turner, defeated his rival, Bill King, as rainy weather appeared to have lessened turnout in the runoff election.

The vote represented a political crossroads of sorts for the country’s fourth-most populous city. For nearly six years, Houston has been led by Mayor Annise D. Parker, a Democrat who became one of the first openly gay mayors in America after winning office in December 2009. Houston has long been more diverse and Democratic-leaning than most other parts of Texas, and although officially the mayor’s seat is nonpartisan, it has been nearly 40 years since a Republican was elected mayor. (The last one was Jim McConn, who served from 1978 to 1982.)

But as Ms. Parker’s third and final term neared an end, the city was caught up in pragmatic concerns and complaints, from pothole-ridden streets to the costly pension system for public employees, a signal to many that Democrats’ lock on the office was in jeopardy.

The mayoral election came weeks after voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance, a defeat for Ms. Parker and gay rights advocates that attracted national attention and gave social conservatives their most significant victory since their setback at the Supreme Court in June, when a constitutional right to same-sex marriage was established.

Turner hasn’t said whether he’ll back any effort to restore Houston’s LGBT laws. Outgoing Mayor Parker has said that she’s not interested in running for Congress, but may pursue an appointment to the federal bench.