Fratricidal Black Politics

The Houston mayoral election doesn’t occur until November, but the race to succeed Bob Lanier is already the talk of the town. Three blacks would like to be Houston’s first black mayor, and many blacks—among them Houston Chronicle editorial writer James T. Campbell—think that’s two too many. Former top cop Lee Brown was supposed to have the backing of the business establishment, but his lack of charisma has generated a lack of enthusiasm. State Representative Sylvester Turner, who lost to Lanier in 1991 (as did Kathy Whitmire), wants another shot, and in a new and surprising development, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is making the rounds as well; neither would have to resign in order to run. One possibility is that Turner, who is the least viable of the three in a citywide race, might opt out and run for Lee’s congressional seat if she wins. The leaders among the white hopefuls are Whitmire—not Kathy, but her former brother-in-law John, a Democratic state senator—and Rob Mosbacher, son of a George Bush Cabinet secretary and a perennial Republican wannabe, who will have to move from West University into the city to establish a Houston address.

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