Mosbacher Leads Houston Mayoral Race
HOUSTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 6) -- The son of a former U.S. commerce secretary took an early lead over former federal drug czar in early returns Saturday in the Houston mayoral race.
With 65 percent of precincts counted, Rob Mosbacher, a businessman, had 102,753 votes, or 51 percent, to Lee Brown's 98,933, or 49 percent.
Brown, the nation's first drug czar, is hoping to become Houston's first black mayor in an election that attracted the attention of President Clinton and former President Bush.
Recent polls had put Brown anywhere between 3 to 10 points ahead of Mosbacher, son of former Bush commerce secretary Robert Mosbacher.
Many believe the race could be decided on the turnout of black voters in the country's fourth-largest city. About one-third of Houston's 1.8 million residents are black, one-third white and one-third Hispanic.
With the economy healthy and crime down, the campaign has been dominated by attacks.
Mosbacher, 46, has accused Brown, 60, of being a career bureaucrat and poor administrator.
He criticized Brown's record as police commissioner of New York City, where Brown was criticized by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for mishandling the 1991 Crown Heights riots that left one man dead and 200 injured.
Brown called Mosbacher a tax dodge because a company in which he was a minority investor moved out of a Texas county to avoid higher taxes.
Brown has called for a "neighborhood-oriented government" similar to the neighborhood police effort he instituted as Houston's police chief.
The winner succeeds Bob Lanier, who is barred from a fourth term because of term limits.
Lanier has endorsed Brown, who has also headed the police in Atlanta. He was President Clinton's drug policy director for two years before resigning in 1995 to teach at Rice University.
Mosbacher, a longtime Republican activist, handles the family's oil and gas business. He unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 1984 and for lieutenant governor in 1990.
Although the race is technically nonpartisan, both sides have enlisted the help of party heavyweights.
Clinton has been in Brown radio ads aired on black and Hispanic radio stations during the final days of the campaign, and Vice President Al Gore appeared at a couple of Brown fund-raisers.
Former first lady Barbara Bush appeared in a television commercial and Bush arrived in Houston on Thursday to tout Mosbacher.
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