Texas Mayor Deceased but Doing Well in Polls

A mayoral race can be surprisingly rough in this spiderweb of cul-de-sacs anchored by stately mansions — even when one of the candidates is dead.

Mayor Dee Srinivasan (search) died from heart disease last month, but supporters are still trying to win her votes for Saturday's election.

Supporters in the community of 2,350, an enclave within the city of Houston, say they want to ensure Srinivasan's opponent, former Mayor Sue Speck (search), doesn't win. Speck lost to Srinivasan in 2001 by 12 votes and has been criticized for her management style.

"They're both strong-willed ladies," said Councilman Bob Dixon. "When you have two strong people who have been mayor they sometimes clash."

Speck said she wouldn't discuss the campaign out of respect for Srinivasan's family.

If Srinivasan wins, the City Council could call a special election or appoint an interim mayor who would serve until the next regular municipal election in 2006, said City Administrator Beth Staton.

It wouldn't be the first victory for a dead candidate.

Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (search) died in a plane crash a month before the 2000 general election and beat incumbent Sen. John Ashcroft. In 1991, Rep. Ted Weiss, D-N.Y., died on the eve of the primary but defeated a convicted felon. And in San Jose, Calif., City Councilman George Shirakawa died in May 1994 but was re-elected in June.