HPOU Legal team member Mary Nan Huffman has achieved what few City Council candidates have ever done – she won a special election to fill a vacant council seat – without a runoff!
Huffman polled 54 percent of the Jan. 25 vote to fill the District G seat from which incumbent Greg Travis resigned in order to run for state representative.
Generally speaking in the Bayou City, special elections see the two leading candidates emerge for a runoff. But Huffman, who lost to Kim Ogg in the last race to become Harris County district attorney, had all the right political ducks on the pond to win with no need for a runoff.
“I think it helped that I had run in the DA race,” Huffman said the day after her election. “That was my first stab in politics. I spent time trying to get to know people. Instead of having to meet everybody for the first time, I picked up the phone and started out with a lot of momentum.”
The influential endorsement of the Houston Police Officers Union started the dominoes falling. She received endorsements from every law enforcement employee group in Houston, as well as endorsement nods from the Houston Area Realtors, the Houston Apartment Association, the Greater Houston Homebuilders Association, the C Club and the Houston Regional Business Coalition.
On the day after, Huffman was especially excited about the reaction of her two sons, aged 4 and 7, who seemed tired of the number of times people were having to vote.
“Can you promise voting is over tomorrow,” Huffman quoted her boys as saying the night before the election. “I told them that I hoped so. And they were very excited when they woke up and learned that the voting was over.”
Huffman was gracious about winning over “a lot of great candidates” and vowed to stay on duty for HPOU members as well as her constituents in District G, which generally includes Uptown, River Oaks and Memorial.
Huffman was well-versed on the issues and obviously rang the right chimes with the voters. She said their highest priority was protection from crime, fires and floods.
First responders come into play in each of these aspects of city government. Huffman has made clear her highest priority: “We need to make sure first responders have the resources they need to be successful. I love working with law enforcement.”
She knows this issue backwards and forwards and obviously had a great advantage in the expected low-turnout election in which almost the same number of voters cast ballots on election day as early voted. The final count showed more than 8,000 people cast ballots in a district with 137,000 registered voters.
Those family members happy about the lack of a runoff are 4-year-old Hayes and 7-year-old Eli, not to mention Huffman’s husband, Eli, legal counsel for Lone Star Production, an oil enterprise.
“I’m very tired,” Huffman told the Badge & Gun on the day after her victory. “I didn’t know we were going to win without a runoff. But that was the goal.”