Houston voters make history and chose openly lesbian City Controller Annise Parker as their next mayor. The nation's fourth largest city is now the largest in the U.S. to elect an openly LGBT chief executive.
Parker was the favorite to win tonight's run-off election and lead in late polling. With 99 percent of precincts counted, Parker won with some 53% of the vote. Parker's election-day advantage reached nearly 11 points.
In recent weeks, tensions escalated between Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke, who is black and "the ugliest attacks came from a group of black pastors who spoke out against Ms. Parker for what they called her gay agenda," notes The New York Times. Parker was targeted two vicious mailings sent to tens of thousands of Houstonians that targeted her sexuality. The mailings were linked to two of the largest donors to the Locke campaign. Locke denied having anything to do with the attacks and apparently suffered a backlash at the polls.
Parker's success comes in the conservative state that is home to former President George W. Bush and one of the nation's more restrictive marriage amendments. It also comes in the same city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly rejected. Molly Ivins, Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan are probably smiling.
This is the seventh city election in a row that Annise Parker has won. More at the Victory Fund, which supported her in this race and the past six races for city council and city controller.