Sat 12 Dec, 2009 10:46 pm
She is the first person to graduate from Rice University to become Mayor of Houston. She and her life partner and their three grown children were onstage as she made her acceptance speech.
With 737 of 738 precincts reporting, Parker, 53, received 81,652 votes and Locke, 61, received 70,631 votes.
Locke conceded the race to Parker after about 88 percent of the precincts had reported.
"I want to thank Annise Parker," Locke said in his concession speech. "She has run a wonderful race. I am proud that she is now the winner. I congratulate her."
Locke thanked his volunteers and supporters for their hard work during the election.
"I still love Houston," he said. "This is a great city. What we tried to do in this election is a lesson for what the future of Houston can be. We tried to bring people from all walks of life, from all communities, from all political parties, from all ethnic groups, from all religions, working together. That's something that we can do. We didn't accomplish our goal this time, but we set the standard for where this city is going. For that, I'm proud."
He offered his suggestions as the city moves forward.
"Here's what our city needs now," Locke said. "It needs unity. It needs us to come together and heal like we've never healed before, and move forward under a new administration. Don't let past disappointments, past anger, past frustration, guide us into the future. Let's unite and work together. My pledge to Ms. Parker tonight in the first call to her was that I will work to make sure that this city is united."
In the November general election, Parker, the current city controller, received 53,919 votes, or 31 percent, and Locke, a former city attorney, received 43,974 votes, or 25 percent.
The election battle leading up to Saturday's balloting was marked by fierce campaigning and anti-gay rhetoric.
Parker is a lesbian who has never made a secret or an issue of her sexual orientation. But that orientation became focus of the race in recent weeks after anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups endorsed Locke and sent out mailers condemning Parker's "homosexual behavior."
Meanwhile, gay and lesbian political organizations nationwide have rallied to support the Parker by raising money for her campaign and making calls urging people to vote.
Houston is now the largest U.S. city ever to have an openly gay mayor.
Locke, who would have become the city's second black mayor if elected, tried to distance himself from the anti-gay attacks while courting conservative voters who could tip the race in his favor.
Although Locke has condemned the divisive rhetoric, two of his key supporters contributed money to a conservative political action committee that sent out an anti-gay mailer earlier this month, urging voters not to pick Parker because she was endorsed by the "gay and lesbian political caucus."
Campaign finance reports show Ned Holmes, finance chairman of Locke's campaign, and James Dannenbaum, a member of the campaign's finance committee, each gave $20,000.
In addition to the mayor's race, M.J. Khan and Ronald Green battled to replace Parker as city controller. With 737 of 738 precincts reporting, Khan received 69,574 votes and Green received 71,779 votes.
Also on the ballot were elections for five City Council seats, for District A, District F, at-large position 1, at-large position 2 and at-large position 5.
Isn't it great, eb? I'm thrilled that she's won.
I was on her side and I know PDiddie was. I could not vote out here, but the election affects me almost as much as Houstonians.
Parker is a dynamic personality. She inspires confidence. I only hope she knows what she's doing.
Cool beans! I would have never guessed that Houston was so progressive in their electoral politics!
Congratulations Annise Parker
lets see, a lesbian against a negro, I can only suppose that a 3rd party catholic would have Houston running amok. I noticed on this morning's news she doesn't sound lesbian which probably helped her campaign if she kept here ads limited to radio/press and didn't dress like Sarah Palin.
She did not address the lesbian issue, and in fact bristled if they brought it up, though her opponent's friends and backers pushed it hard. Her opponent, Gene Locke, was caught in a few lies (I was never a lobbyist. - cut to film of Locke doing his job as a lobbyist -). On the race issue, Annise and her partner have three grown children, all of whom appear to be black on television.
Here, stolen from PDiddie's blog, is an analysis of Gene Locke's campaign:
He was anointed as the business establishment's candidate by old-time leaders such as Ned Holmes (Locke's finance chairman) and former Mayor Bob Lanier, who effectively discouraged conservatives such as Metro critic Bill King from making the race.
Their analysis of Locke's route to victory, however, turned out to be fundamentally flawed.
His backers had nothing against Parker but did not believe she could overcome the lesbian label.
They believed Locke could win by combining the black vote with a substantial portion of Republicans who would vote against Parker because of her sexual orientation.
That turned out to be wrong. For one thing, as the low turnout indicates, neither candidate had the star power to boost voter participation.
More important for Locke, his appeals to Republicans, particularly as a law-and-order candidate, didn't stick, and the anti-lesbian vote turned out to be smaller than expected.
Greg Wythe, a bright political analyst and blogger (www.gregsopinion.com) who has joined Mayor Bill White's gubernatorial campaign, did a precinct-by-precinct analysis of the first-round of votes.
It showed Parker coming in first or second in such Republican areas as the West Side, Kingwood and Friendswood.
Locke came in a poor fourth in those areas.
I believe it was Locke's performance in those areas that led his finance team members to take the desperate step of aligning the campaign with gay-bashing Steve Hotze " thereby pushing undecided white liberals and moderates into Parker's well-run campaign without turning out enough anti-gay votes to win.
things are looking up in the south
the white folks are just much less afraid of lesbians.
of course, how silly of me
Houston is culturally diverse. We have the stereotypes in abundance, but also enough progressive people to mix it up.