District B election set for Dec. 12, nearly a year after its original date

Cynthia Bailey, left, and Tarsha Jackson, right

The 269th District Court on Monday, Oct. 19, confirmed that Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, will be the date for the Houston City Council District B runoff election.

The Court’s decision allows residents of District B to finally be able to elect their new city councilmember, which has been long overdue since the result of the general election, that took place on Nov. 5, 2019, was contested, leaving front-runner Tarsha Jackson, the second-place finisher, and residents in limbo.

This decision brings an end to the third-place candidate’s judicially challenging the election results by alleging that the second-place candidate was ineligible to run for office due to a previous felony conviction. Filings of appeals by the third-place candidate left District B residents without an elected representative for over half a year.

The appellate ruling found that Renee Jefferson-Smith did not sufficiently establish Cynthia Bailey’s ineligibility, and now paves the way for the two top vote-getters from November, Jackson and Bailey, to be on the ballot.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Special Judge Grant Dorfman ruled against the filing and ordered the runoff election between Jackson and her opponent be held on May 2.  However, due to an order by Governor Abbott, Texas municipalities could push their May elections to Nov. 3, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later in the summer, a district judge ruled the city was not responsible to declaring Jackson’s opponent ineligible before the election, so she remained on the ballot. Finally, on August 11, the First Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to hold the runoff election for District B, putting an end to the challenger’s judiciary objection.

“I’m happy that the District B election is moving forward and that the residents can elect their new City Council representative,” said first-place finisher Tarsha Jackson. “I am also happy to continue to stand with District B voters to ensure that everyone has their voices heard through the democratic process of voting.”