Crime takes center stage in mayoral race

HOUSTON Many Houstonians have said that public safety is one of their top concerns for the city of Houston. Now, one candidate is attacking the other as being weak, but the other candidate is hitting back.

The widow of HPD Officer Tim Abernathy and other members the Houston Police Officer's Union raised the stakes Thursday. They not only reiterated their support for Gene Locke, but also attacked Annise Parker as a candidate without a plan on improving public safety

"Every question that would move the police department forward, Gene had the right answer to and Ms. Parker would not," said Union President Gary Blankenship.

But Parker shot back Thursday, pointing out that she's had public safety plan on her website since August, promising that she "will protect the police department budget in this economic downturn."

"My goal as mayor is to make sure we have the best trained, best equipped and best paid police officers in the state," she said.

Locke says he too has a plan on his website and his main objective is to find more money for the police department.

"One of the things I want to do is try to find the money necessary to put more officers on the street, starting with overtime," he said.

Our political consultant, Dr. Richard Murray, says Locke should showcase the police union endorsement because he says it could be an effective campaign tool and this is one race the union doesn't want to be wrong.

"These public safety unions, police and fire, have a huge stake in the election," said Dr. Murray. "It's interesting they made a bet on Gene Locke, and now they're doubling down."

Dr. Murray says neither candidate wants to appear weak on crime. While Locke has received the largest police union's endorsement, three smaller law enforcement unions have endorsed Parker.

Parker and Locke will debate live on ABC13 on Tuesday, December 1 at 8pm. We will have live coverage, both on TV and here on And if you want to ask a question to be used in the debate, you can send it in here.

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