Troubling Turn in Houston Mayor’s Race

We told you that a group of anti-gay extremists has launched a coordinated attack campaign against Annise Parker, an openly gay candidate in Houston’s mayoral runoff on Dec. 12. Now the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the finance chairman and a finance committee member for Parker’s opponent, Gene Locke, may have helped bankroll those attacks from the fringe right.

According to the Chronicle, Locke’s finance chairman and one of his finance committee members each gave $20,000 to a political action committee run by Steven Hotze just a week before that PAC sent out anti-gay mailers targeting Parker, who currently serves as city controller. Hotze has a long history of vicious anti-gay campaigns in Houston.

Charges are flying back and forth about alleged illegal coordination between the respective Locke and Parker mayoral campaigns and third-party groups in the contest. We’ll let legal authorities sort through those charges.

It would be particularly sad, however, if Locke — a longtime civil rights champion — has allowed his campaign to jump into bed with right-wing extremists who send out mailers attacking his opponent’s sexual orientation and darkly warn of a “gay takeover” of City Hall.

TFN has not endorsed a candidate in that race, nor will we. But we’re deeply troubled by these developments. We hope Mr. Locke will disavow any connections between his campaign and far-right extremists and denounce the vicious attacks against his opponent.

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