National news reports of last Tuesday’s election focused on the New Jersey and Virginia governor’s races and the congressional race in upstate New York. But smart growth and rail transit played a role in several local races.
First, Peter Brown, a candidate for mayor in Houston, had made smart growth the centerpiece of his campaign. A member of the city council, Brown put more than $3 million of his spouse’s money into the race and polls favored him to win a plurality of voters, which would have put him into a runoff with the second out of four major candidates if Brown didn’t win an outright majority.
As it turned out, Brown came in third after another city official (who happens to be gay) and a black civil rights activist. Opinions vary on why the results differed from the polls — Brown got only 22% when the polls said at least 24% were for him, while the other candidates all got more than polled — but at least this is not a ringing endorsement for smart growth.