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Houston voters to elect new mayor today; Parker leads in final polls

Saturday, December 12, 2009
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Annise-ParkerHouston voters head to the polls Saturday to vote on several runoff races, and final polls indicate they could elect the city’s first openly gay mayor.

City Controller Annise Parker is a lesbian who has never made a secret or an issue of her sexual orientation. If she wins, Houston will become the largest U.S. city ever to have an openly gay mayor.

In recent weeks, Parker has been a target of anti-gay attacks and mailers, condemning her “homosexual behavior.”

Anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups have endorsed her opponent, former city attorney Gene Locke.

Two polls released this week show Parker leading the contest going ito today’s election.

A poll released by Rice University this week showed Parker leading Locke 49 percent to 36 percent. The poll, commissioned by KHOU-TV and KUHF Radio, is based on telephone interviews earlier this week with 442 registered voters in Houston; the margin of error is 4.7 percentage points.

A Zogby poll commissioned by The Houston Chronicle, also released earlier this week, has Parker in the lead with 41.9 percent over Locke at 36.4 percent. The results are drawn from a survey of 601 likely Houston voters; the margin of error is 4.1 percentage points.

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