HOUSTON - Riding a promise to reduce crime and lawlessness, John Whitmire captured more than 43% of the Houston mayoral vote versus a field of 16 other candidates.
"We are going to have a safe City. If we don't have a safe City, nothing else matters," said Whitmire.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 2023 Houston Mayor Race headed to runoff election: AP reports
The longtime State Senator has also pledged radical reform of how business is conducted at City Hall.
"There are people that like the status quo. There are people who like the conditions we are living in. It gives them power. They get to look out for their friends. But the message is, we are going to have ethics under John Whitmire. We are going to eliminate conflicts of interest," said Whitmire.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee captured 34% of the vote - enough to force a December 9 run-off in a head-to-head contest she will fight with the endorsement of the Mayor she's seeking to succeed.
"She shares my vision on where this City is and where it should be going," said current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"We will be igniting a new campaign to get the voters out, and we have a short time to do it. Let me stand up and say right now I am my own person. I will be my own Mayor. I will fight for this City," said Jackson Lee near the steps of City Hall.
Rice Political analyst Mark Jones says even with Turner's help, it's unlikely Jackson Lee can overtake Whitmire in a month's time.
"She still faces the same uphill battle in December, because almost all of the supporters of the remaining candidates will lean toward Whitmire rather than her," said Jones.
In a statement sent to FOX 26 late Wednesday evening, Whitmire said, "I respect Mayor Turner’s right to endorse the candidate of his choice. I will continue to focus on what Houstonians care about-public safety, infrastructure, affordability, garbage pickup and other city services that Houstonians expect."