HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After a long night, election results show Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and challenger Tony Buzbee will head to a runoff in December.
A last-minute change by the Texas Secretary of State's Office delayed the results of the election until early Wednesday morning, when it became clear Buzbee had managed to keep the mayor from winning re-election outright.
Turner needed to win 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff. As of 7 a.m., he had 47 percent of the vote to challenger Tony Buzbee's 28 percent.
The mayor released a statement Wednesday morning after the runoff announcement:
"To those who voted for me, thank you. To those who did not, I will work hard to earn your votes.
"The good news about this runoff is that Houstonians have a very simple and very clear choice for mayor: An experienced leader who has been delivering for Houston for more than 30 years? Or a Donald Trump imitator who has no experience, no ideas and will say anything, do anything or spend anything to get elected?
"I trust Houstonians to make the right decision for our city."
Earlier Tuesday, Turner said the numbers were a positive sign he can win re-election, and credited taking decisive action and a strong economy for helping him lead the vote.
"I've had 10 million-plus dollars in negative ads spent against us, and yet the voters pretty much rejected that, which is good for our city," Turner said.
Buzbee showed confidence late Tuesday however, telling cautiously optimistic supporters he would ultimately win in a runoff against Turner.
One Buzbee supporter we spoke with, Gilbert Garcia, told ABC13 he is feeling really good that the mayor will not run away with the race.
Garcia added that once Turner and Buzbee enter the runoff, they will re-approach the campaign.
"We're going to be rolling out our plan, because we need to be a little bit more specific on things we're going to do," Garcia said.
Bill King, who narrowly lost the mayoral race against Turner four years ago, trailed Buzbee for much of the night. As of 7 a.m., he was at 14 percent of the vote.
Before any additional precincts had been reported, King made a statement to supporters that acknowledged his current third-place finish in the early vote totals, but stopped short of conceding the election.
Fourth-place finisher Dwight Boykins said he would not be conceding the race Tuesday night.
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