Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks with the media after arriving at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Photo: Sergio Flores for The Texas Tribune

This story was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

With all but a few vote centers reporting Wednesday morning, Turner had 47% of the vote in unofficial returns to 28% for Buzbee. Turner was around 7,700 votes short of winning enough of the vote — over 50% — to avert an overtime round.

The runoff is set for Dec. 14.

Bill King, who narrowly lost to Turner in the 2015 mayoral runoff, came in third Tuesday with 14%, while City Councilman Dwight Boykins finished fourth with 6%. Turner faced 11 challengers but only a few seen as serious.

There was massive delay in results from Harris County, where the almost-complete numbers were not released until about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. Still, the overall order did not change through the night and morning, as Turner's percentage hovered below 50% and Buzbee persisted as the clear runner-up.

Turner is fighting for a second-term leading Texas' biggest city and the fourth most populous in the country. Early Wednesday morning, with still many results uncounted, Turner thanked supporters for their work and added: "It made a difference – and we're not done yet."

A short time beforehand, Buzbee took the stage at his election night party wearing a camouflage jacket and gave a rambling speech expressing confidence that he would make the runoff.

The race was nonpartisan, though Turner, a former longtime Democratic state representative, dogged Buzbee over his past financial support for President Donald Trump, an unpopular figure in the city. Eschewing party labels, Buzbee presented himself as a political outsider determined to clean up city hall corruption. Along the way, Buzbee self-funded his campaign to the tune of $10 million.

Disclosure: Tony Buzbee and the Texas Secretary of State have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.