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Hofheinz City, Tex. By Bruce Cory Houston Houston Mayor Fred Hofheinz appears to be a shoo-in for a second term in office. Hofheinz, 37, took some 48 percent of the vote in a field of five candidates in the Nov. 4 election. A Dec. 2 run-off is set between Hofheinz and his nearest runnerup, Frank Briscoe, who collected about 32 percent of the vote. Much of Briscoe’s support was West Side/Republican accompaniment to the trouncing given the constitutional revision amendments on the ballot that same day. Briscoe may face some difficulty in bringing these same voters out again. IN RETROSPECT, the run-off and its candidates seem to have been determined by two events early in the campaign. On Sunday, Sept. 21, full page ads, carrying the names of several hundred Hofheinz supporters appeared in both the Houston Chronicle and Post. Nestled in among the liberal, labor, and minority leaders who had supported Hofheinz since his first mayoral campaign in 1971 were some mild shockers for political observers. The advertisement indicated that during his first term as mayor, Hofheinz had made some successful inroads into the Houston power structure. Once almost exclusively the candidate of the city’s “have-nots,” Hofheinz now lists among his supporters George Brown and Herb Frensley of Brown & Root Construction; American General Life Insurance Company founder Gus Wortham; George McGonigle of Exxon; and banker-developer Walter Mischer. Also included in the list were senior members of the prestigious and powerful engineering firm of Turner, Collie and Braden; members of the Cullen family; Clifford Tuttle of First City National Bank and many other powerful Houston business figures. Hofheinz opponents, Briscoe [a distant cousin of the governor] and Dick Gottlieb, scoffed at the list as a “who’s who” of companies doing business with the city. These charges were, in fact, backed up by an analysis of campaign funding done by Houston Common Cause. Common Cause reported that “consulting and construction engineers, who accounted for only 4 percent of the mayor’s campaign fund in 1973, contributed about $43,000over 25 percentof the mayor’s 1975 contributions.” The citizens’ lobby group also found that Bruce Cory works for The Houston West Side Reporter. Mayor Fred Hofheinz Hofheinz received some $32,000 in contributions from donors who had given more than $75,000 to his opponent, Dick Gottlieb, in 1973, the year Hofheinz won the mayor’s chair. Almost surely sensing the stampede effect the mayor’s ads might create, the editorial Writers at the Houston Chronicle went to work. On the same day that the Hofheinz ads appeared, an unprecedented, six-weeks-before-the-election, front page editorial headlined, “Houston Needs Frank Briscoe” came out in the Chronicle. Although a Chronicle endorsement for the conservative Briscoe seems always to have been in the cards, the date of the endorsement almost certainly was hastened by the Hofheinz ads. For former city councilman and TV personality Gottlieb, who had narrowly lost, to Hofheinz in the ’73 runoff, the combined effect of the Briscoe-Hofheinz endorsements was a “Sunday Morning Massacre.” Still in debt from his ’73 race, Gottlieb was overnight cutoff from any hope of financing anything more than a shoestring campaign. Proclaiming himself “the people’s candidate,” to contrast himself with the heavyweights backing his opponents, Gottlieb proceeded with a campaign that blasted away at nearly every move that Hofheinz had made or failed to make since taking office. But although his “I’m for the little guy,” campaign apparently helped him lead in ballot boxes characterized as “low income and blue collar white,” on the city’s north and northeast sides, his total cut of the vote amounted to just less than 20 percent. For the month and a half following the Briscoe endorsement, Chronicle readers were one-twoed with editorials exhorting them to vote for Briscoe/against constitutional revision. The same theme was popular with the Harris County Republican Party. The heavily Republican West Side precincts responded appropriately, pulverizing the amendments while giving Briscoe a tidy 65 percent of the “affluent white” vote and coming to the polls in sufficient number to send Briscoe into a runoff. But even more impressive was the overwhelming support Houston’s black voters continue to show Hofheinz. Hofheinz collected some 92 percent of the black vote, and in some precincts, pulled in more than 1,000 votes while his opponents struggled to get even 20 votes. This support, combined with a strong showing in Mexican-American communities and the youth-oriented Montrose area gives Hofheinz a strong base’from which to make his run-off race. BRISCOE understandably is , unhappy about his total unpopularity among black voters. The day after the voting, Briscoe accused the Hofheinz campaign of “racist” advertising in the black community aimed at identifying Briscoe with former police chief Herman Short, Short, the police chief during the ten-year administration of Louis Welch, was, during the late Sixties and early Seventies, probably the most disliked white man in black Houston. The alleged frame-up of. SNCC activist Lee Otis Johnson, the 1970 Dowling Street shoot-out that left People’s Party II founderCarl Hampton dead, and daily tales of harassment and brutality all fueled black resentment of Short. Short and his law enforcement methods were the principal campaign issues in the Hofheinz campaigns of ’71 and ’73 and Short’s name has been evoked again this year. “If you liked Herman Short, you’ll love Frank Briscoe,” was the catch phrase this year in the black community. For his part, Briscoe says that Short is just one of his many supporters. His campaign has focused on “law and order” virtually to the exclusion of other issues. His ads proclaim him “tough enough to handle the job,” and remind the viewer or reader that Briscoe was a two-fisted Harris County D.A. in the early Sixties. Briscoe also warns that Hofheinz is leading Houston down a fiscally irresponsible path to a New York City style crisis. In his speeches, Hofheinz emphasizes his administration’s budgetary soundness, and plays up Houston’s prosperity in contrast to the hard times faced by other cities. In fact, all three major candidates campaigned hard against New York City. A tireless campaigner in his “challenger” races in ’71 and ’73, Hofheinz has chosen an “I’m too busy being a public servant to November 28, 1975 11