Photo finish in race for District H?

June 9, 2009 3:55:21 PM PDT
A runoff election that could come to a photo finish is underway for the seat that once belonged to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. The winner will be the voice of District H, a large portion of north Houston.

It's down to the last few days of campaigning for the two men vying to become Houston's newest city council member. Both are long time residents of District H, but they are very different. It's a race that could come down to just a handful of votes.

Tuesday was the last day of early voting. The traffic was barely a trickle as just a handful of District H residents turned out. Though the ones who did, had very concrete concerns.

"I'm on the other side of 45 right here and crime is a pretty big issue," said voter Marcy Valdez.

"We didn't seem to get good response with our last council member," added voter Virginia Duke.

Some of the voters were greeted by candidate Ed Gonzalez Tuesday. A veteran Houston police officer, Gonzalez says he's well positioned to tackle the crime issue head on.

"I think my life, the depth of my experience," he said. "I think my law enforcement background."

With the support of former council member and current Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Gonzalez is considered by many as a front runner.

True to his name, candidate Maverick Welsh says he's running a campaign as the underdog.

"I don't think you can properly represent a neighborhood or a district unless you are willing to get out into all those neighborhoods and see what's really going on and ask people what's happening in their neighborhoods," he said.

The former council aide and high school teacher spent Tuesday afternoon visiting one neighborhood dealing with an ongoing water quality problem. Residents there say no matter who gets elected, they just want that council member to clean up their water supply.

"That's why I try to vote, keep track of who's running, because I want someone to look out for our interests in this neighborhood and in this area," said a voter with whom we spoke.

The election is this Saturday. Turnout is expected to be low. Whoever wins the seat doesn't have a lot of time to rest. He'll have to run for re-election on this November's ballot.

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