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Early voting begins tomorrow (Monday) for the November 5 constitutional amendment, general and special elections.

Houston: Mayor Sylvester Turner leads the field of mayoral candidates but lacks enough support to win outright, according to a new Univ. of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs poll. Turner is the choice for 43.5% of “likely voters,” followed by Tony Buzbee (23%), his likely runoff opponent. None of the other candidates polled above 10%. Bill King is third at 8%, followed by Dwight Boykins at 7%. A little over a sixth of likely voters are undecided. Turner received a majority of support in each of four potential runoff scenarios, ranging from a 55%-36% margin over Buzbee to a 60%-21% margin over Sue Lovell.

By a fairly solid margin, respondents believed the city was headed “in the right direction,” 57%-35%. Unsurprisingly, 77% of Buzbee’s supporters and 69% of King’s supporters believed the city was “on the wrong track.” Turner’s supporters overwhelmingly believe the city is on the right track (89%-7%).

Turner’s net favorability rating was 56/36, and Buzbee’s was 32/39. King was viewed slightly more favorably than unfavorably, 26/20. Surprisingly, more than half of likely voters “do not know enough about King to have an opinion of him” despite his narrowly losing the 2015 mayoral runoff to Turner. More than two-thirds of likely voters lack an opinion on Boykins.

President Trump’s net favorability rating was 32/63. Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) rating was 47/39.

The survey of 501 likely voters was conducted in English and Spanish via landlines and cell phones. It was in the field October 1-9 and has a stated margin of error of ±4.4%.

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle endorsed Turner and City Controller Chris Brown for re-election.

SC6: Dallas attorney Larry Praeger updated his campaign committee for a potential challenge of Justice Jane Bland (R) as a Democrat. Praeger finished last in a five-way Democratic primary for JD301 in 2014 (4%). He lost 2010 and 2012 races for 5th Court of Appeals, P12 with 42% and 47% of the vote, respectively.

HD49: Austin restaurateur Jenai Hales established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), likely as a Republican.

HD100 special: The Dallas Morning News endorsed James Armstrong III.

HD130: Cypress educator Bryan Henry established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) as a Democrat.

HD148 special: The Houston Chronicle endorsed Anna Eastman.

CD24 open: Irving art director Samuel Vega established a campaign committee for a potential run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Coppell) as a Democrat.

Harris Co.: Longtime criminal judge Maria Jackson, who resigned last month, will announce on Tuesday that she will challenge Co. Comm. Rodney Ellis (D) in the Democratic primary.

Bryan: The Bryan-College Station Eagle endorsed Mayor Andrew Nelson and incumbent council members Prentiss Madison and Reuben Marin for re-election.

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