AP NEWS

Houston attorney Buzbee announces mayoral bid

October 31, 2018

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee announced his candidacy for mayor of Houston on broadcast appearance Tuesday, vowing to fund his own campaign even if it takes $5 million and saying the city lacks the international standing it deserves due to a lack of leadership.

“The mayor race in Houston traditionally has been as boring as watching paint dry,” Buzbee said in a brief appearance on Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey’s “Isiah Factor” program. “And I think that we have a city that’s above average with below-average leadership. I’m considering very seriously — because there’s a lot of people asking me to do this — running for the mayor of this town.”

Later in the interview, he was more direct, saying, “I’m going to run for the mayor and I’ll win it.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner, asked for his reaction to Buzbee’s announcement after Wednesday’s regularly scheduled city council meeting, said, “I don’t even know who he is. Next question,” then laughed.

Buzbee, a former Marine who was appointed to the Texas A&M board of regents in 2013 by former Gov. Rick Perry, has amassed a fortunate through lawsuits against corporate giants, and also helped defend Perry against a 2014 abuse-of-power charge.

Earlier this year, Buzbee hosted a fundraiser for President Trump at his River Oaks mansion, his latest turn as a fundraising powerhouse for candidates and causes he backs. Among them was Adrian Garcia’s 2015 mayoral bid, for which Buzbee hosted a 2014 fundraiser that netted more than $100,000 for Garcia, a Democrat who now is running to unseat Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman.

After Garcia was eliminated in the 2015 mayor’s race, Buzbee contributed $5,000 to Turner ahead of his December runoff election that year against Bill King.

Buzbee recently has been in the news for parking a tank in front of his home, for having $300,000 in artwork destroyed by a house guest, and, in 2016, for having a drunk-driving charge that year dismissed personally by then-District Attorney Devon Anderson.

Buzbee hinted at a few campaign-trail critiques in his comments, referencing the time Turner has spent traveling to other countries at taxpayer expense and saying he recently saw Houston on a list of cities with high crime.

He also vowed not to accept any campaign donations and to donate the mayor’s roughly $236,000 annual salary to a voter he would select at random each year.

“The worst thing that could happen to me is to be the mayor of Houston,” he told Carey. “The best thing that could happen to Houston is for me to be the mayor, and that’s a fact.”

Houston municipal elections will be held in November 2019, with runoff elections, if necessary, the following month.

mike.morris@chron.com