HOUSTON (FOX 26) — It's not unusual for candidates to sling the proverbial manure, but attorney Tony Buzbee is bringing real manure by the wheel barrow to make a point. Really, he brought in wheel barrows full of it to a news conference. It’s a colorful way for him to say that something smells at Houston City Hall and he has the solution — take the money out of politics.
"I'm calling on you, Mayor, to return the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you've already received from hurricane contractors and I'm calling on you to not take one more penny," said Buzbee.
To underscore his point, Buzbee blasted the $6.7 million paid to Mayor Sylvester Turner's former legal firm for legal services related to Harvey relief money administration. Buzbee also said he's going to lead a petition drive to place an initiative on the ballot to change the city charter to forbid anyone from doing business with the city if they have given any money to a council member or the Mayor.
Does the petition sound familiar? It should. The other man who would be mayor, Bill King, floated a very, very similar petition proposal on Monday.
"So there's no way that either the vendors or the elected officials can get out of this inherently corrupt system," said King. "The people of Houston are going to have to stand up and do that."
Why are both King and Buzbee seizing the same issue? Political analyst Mark Jones from Rice University said possibly because the "pay to play" culture in Harris County has given them plenty to work with and they feel the Mayor is vulnerable here. They want to force the race into a runoff.
"The first step is to knock Turner down to assure he doesn't get the fifty percent plus one and then to raise yourself to be the second place candidate," said Jones. "I don't think there’s a way to push Turner into third place and then completely out of the runoff.”
Mayor Turner refused to comment.