Tony Buzbee vows win in mayor's runoff before votes finalized

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While it appeared incumbent Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner had a sizable lead when the first election returns were shown, his main rival, prominent attorney Tony Buzbee, had confidence that the election would head to a December runoff.

Inside the Crowne Plaza just off the South Loop, Buzbee's supporters maintained a nervous excitement at the mayoral hopeful's watch party.

At least one Buzbee backer, longtime supporter Gilbert Garcia, told ABC13's Ted Oberg Tuesday evening that he is feeling really good that Turner will not run away with the race at least on election night.

Garcia said Buzbee's camp doesn't believe the mayor can get to the 51 percent threshold to win re-election without the runoff. He cited not seeing a poll that puts Turner over the top.

SEE ALSO: Election Day 2019: Results and winners

"This is similarly where we thought he (Turner) would be," Garcia said. "We are outperforming where we thought we would be. And so, we feel really good about today."

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.

With the vote count just underway around 10 p.m., Buzbee entered his watch party wearing his military issued "Marine greens." In an uproarious and at times disjointed speech, he told supporters that a runoff will take place and that he's will be a champion for every person in the city.

You can watch his full speech in the video above.

RELATED: What to know about runoff elections in Texas

If results hold with Turner at No. 1 and Buzbee at No. 2, neither with more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will take place between the two contenders on Dec. 14.

WATCH: Buzbee backer confident in mayoral runoff
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While the Houston mayor race appears swinging in the incumbent's advantage, a supporter of Tony Buzbee, a main rival, is confident in a runoff. Here's why:

Meet Tony Buzbee: Mayoral hopeful and Renaissance man
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"I'M JUST REAL": When the prominent Houston attorney isn't working a tough case, he sings, writes poetry, and plays with his 3 beloved dogs.

When it comes to Tony Buzbee, what you see is what you get.

"I'm a...I'm... I'm just real," he tells ABC13. "I don't, I don't pretend to be somebody."

Sometimes, you don't know what you're going to get, but on this day, hanging out with the aggressive trial attorney and Houston mayoral candidate struck a new chord.

This man rocks. No. Literally, he does. Call us the 'Buzbee Band,' me and Tony in tune, or at least trying to be.

He plays the piano and the guitar. Music is how he unwinds from the stresses of tough cases, and now a vigorous mayoral campaign.

"This seems like this is your favorite room," Chauncy Glover says.

"This is where I do all my work, and um, do all my planning. Uh, usually if I'm not working at my office, I'll be working right here," Buzbee said.

Buzbee is quite the Renaissance man. He has books of poetry he's written over the years.

"He took a deep breath, perhaps the deepest of his life and he jumped," Buzbee reads. "But he didn't fall. He soared."

He's quick on his feet, too. When he's not spitting out rhythms and rhymes, he's playing with his three dogs, Lucy, Lacy and Lillian.

While the millionaire attorney sleeps in one of the most expensive houses in Houston, right on River Oaks Boulevard, he says his beginnings were humble. His mom was a school bus driver. His dad was a meat packer.

Buzbee went on to graduate from Texas A&M. "I was a Battalion commander," he says.

Then, he became a Marine, a father, an attorney, a musician. The list goes on.

There are many faces of Tony Buzbee, but now he's trying to hit a higher note with voters. He's hoping to wear another face: Houston's next mayor.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Get to know the people running to lead the city of Houston

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