With just over a week remaining until the election, Houston’s race for mayor is finally heating up. Candidates Peter Brown and Gene Locke are sparring over race and money. Locke is even accusing the city council member of trying to buy African-American votes.

At the center of the controversy is Locke’s new political radio advertisement. The 60-second ad says in part “Peter Brown is spending millions of dollars in this race because he can’t match Gene’s long time record of service but our community is not for sale.” The ad goes on to call Locke “unbought and unbossed.”

Now many of Brown’s black supporters aren’t happy. “It’s an insult,” said Reverend James Nash. Brown was surrounded with support Sunday from black community leaders, many of them pastors, who say it’s not true.

“The reason I’m insulted is because those individuals are saying that the black community cannot make decisions on their own,” said city council member Jarvis Johnson. “That the leadership is so short-sided that it needs the pennies of a politician to make their minds up and I say that is certainly unfair.”

Bishop James Dixon was even more animated while defending Brown. “None of use here have been paid to support Peter Brown but he earned our support,” he said.
Peter Brown said he has made “offerings” to many churches but not to buy votes. “I want to get out in the community and do what’s right for all of our neighborhoods and city at large that’s my only motive,” he said.

Meanwhile, Locke supporters held a press conference of their own led by former city council member Jew Don Boney. He’s the voice behind the controversial advertisement.
“He (Brown) doesn’t have the record, I was very clear, he does not have a record of service to our community, not comparable to Gene Locke,” he said.

Locke was noticeably absent from this event. Instead he was speaking at a Third Ward church. “I’m saying Peter Brown is trying to buy the vote all over Houston, I’m absolutely saying that,” Locke said. “This guy, Mr. Brown has not raised the money but he’s giving the money for his own campaign and he’s spending money all across Houston to buy votes.”

It turns out Locke isn’t the only candidate bashing brown’s deep pockets. Roy Morales agrees Brown is spending too much. “Where’s the day where the average citizen can go out there and run and be a representative for his community,” said Morales.

Meanwhile, City Controller Annise Parker says she’s ready for the stretch run and was feeling confident Sunday night during a fundraiser party at her Montrose home. “”While Mr. Brown has put a huge amount of his personal money in this race he doesn’t have depth and breadth of community support and he has almost no endorsements.”

Early voting ends on October 30th. The election is November 3rd.

By: Chris Stipes