Houston mayoral candidates face off in forum

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In five short months, Houstonians will head to the polls to choose their next Mayor. The seven candidates will face off tonight (KTRK)

In five short months, Houstonians will head to the polls to choose their next Mayor. On Wednesday night, the seven announced mayoral candidates will face off for the first time.

"My advice is to tone out the rhetoric, and look for actual solutions," said Mayor Parker, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

The candidates are: Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, State Representative Sylvestor Turner, former Kemah Mayor Bill King, current Council Member Stephen Costello, former Congressman Chris Bell, attorney Ben Hall, and Marty McVey. They are all participating in an arts and cultural focused forum that will take place in the Asian Society Texas Center.

This seems to be the official kickoff for the race, still at the civically engaged level," says political consultant Nancy Sims.

Sims says it may be early, but that hasn't stopped candidates from trying to break through. King, a wealthy businessman, has already launched a limited television campaign and an active YouTube channel. Keeping up the pace will be a bigger challenge.

"They need to pace themselves, stay focused on their fundraising and messaging," said Sims.

The recent floods have also highlighted what could be a central issue. Bell's Meyerland-area home was flooded. And as an engineer, Costello has been a strong proponent of ReBuild Houston, which is supposed to improve citywide drainage. Mayor Parker will only caution that while flooding may be a hot topic, promising to fix it may not win the seat to replace her.

"Any mayoral candidate that promises a quick solution to drainage, laugh him out of the room," she said.
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