Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
With runoffs ahead, we have two major endorsements by the third-place finishers in two big-city mayoral races.
Let's start with Houston, where City Controller Annise Parker received the backing of City Councilman Peter Brown. Parker, who received 31% of the vote last week, will face former City Attorney Gene Locke, who received 25%.
Brown placed a close third at 23%, making his support for Parker valuable. If Parker can simply maintain her support and win most of Brown's backers, she'll win the Dec. 12 runoff.
Brown's backing of Parker is even more valuable because the only other major candidate, Roy Morales who took 20%, seems unlikely to endorse. Morales ran as a conservative Republican, while the other candidates were Democrats. I haven't seen any speculation that he will back Parker or Locke.
That said, Locke does have some high-profile Republican endorsers. So, there's at least a chance that he could win over many of Morales' supporters (at least the ones who bother to vote). Locke is counting on a coalition of white Republicans and black Democrats (he's an African-American) to defeat Parker, but right now she looks like the favorite.
It's less clear whether Lisa Borders will be able to play kingmaker in the Atlanta mayoral race. Borders, the City Council President, threw her support to former State Senator Kasim Reed.
In the first round of voting, Borders received 14% of the vote and Reed received 36% of the vote. So, if Borders simply could transfer her support to Reed, he would win. However, endorsements often aren't that potent. Mary Norwood, another member of City Council, led the pack with 46% of the vote.
With Borders backing Reed, the two major African-American Democrats in the contest are on the same side (Norwood is white and an independent). But, with blacks a smaller share of the Atlanta electorate than they've been in past, whether that's enough to win the Dec. 1 runoff isn't at all clear.
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