Bush leads in race for General Land Office
AUSTIN — Republican incumbent George P. Bush held just over a seven-point lead over Democratic challenger Miguel Suazo in the race for Texas Land Commissioner with much of the early vote counted, according to the Associated Press.
The roughly 4 million votes counted do not include tallies from Harris County or El Paso County, where voting is not yet over. A judge ordered that nine polls in Harris County remain open until 8 p.m. after some polls opened late and voters experienced issues with voting machines at some locations.
The Texas General Land Office is a relatively obscure state agency that manages state lands, operates the Alamo, helps fund Texas public education through oil and gas leases, and helps the state recover from natural disasters.
Bush, whose father is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is a member of a family that includes two former presidents from Texas.
Three Republicans challenged him in the primary election, but Bush still won nearly 58 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff.
His re-election campaign was defined by the Alamo and Hurricane Harvey relief — both issues that highlight stumbles of Bush’s first term in the office.
Bush was heavily criticized, starting early this year, for how he handled relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas in August 2017. Houston government officials said the process was needlessly slow, and an analysis by the Houston Chronicle found that the short-term housing efforts led by Bush trailed well behind post-disaster relief efforts in other states.
At the same time, state lawmakers were questioning Bush’s management of the Alamo.
An internal audit noted troubles with the Alamo’s financial operations and criticized Bush for putting the Alamo under the management of three nonprofits, which led Bush to step down from the board of the Alamo Trust and bring in new employees to oversee the Alamo’s accounting and management.
And there were months of contentious debate over Bush’s Alamo Master Plan during his first term. It was approved by the San Antonio City Council in October and includes plans to lease the Alamo Plaza to the GLO and relocate the Cenotaph, a monument honoring Alamo defenders killed in the 1836 battle.