BG Reads - Elections | News You Need to Know (November 7, 2018)



Adler cruises to second term as Austin mayor (Austin Monitor)

In a landslide victory, Steve Adler won his re-election as mayor of Austin on Tuesday and will serve another four years in office.

With voters coming out in record numbers in Travis County, Adler earned 61 percent of the vote, overpowering his biggest challenger, former Council Member Laura Morrison, along with five other candidates.

Voters first elected Adler in 2014 to serve as mayor under Austin’s new 10-1 Council district system, in which 10 geographic districts replaced six at-large positions. Adler, a civil rights and eminent domain attorney, has established himself as both an earnest compromiser and someone who expects things to happen quickly in the city.

“This community has said very clearly that they want us to look forward,” Adler said at his victory party at the Belmont in downtown Austin, with his wife, Diane Land, and three daughters standing beside him…

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District 1 runoff: Mariana Salazar and Natasha Harper-Madison (Austin Monitor)

With less than a percentage point separating them, Natasha Harper-Madison and Mariana Salazar will advance to a December runoff election for East Austin’s District 1 seat.

In the end, Salazar had 5,673 votes (or 26.01 percent), with Harper-Madison behind at 5,469 (25.07 percent).

“I’m feeling grateful and empowered,” said Salazar at her election watch party. “I was the underdog in the race. The Austin Chronicle endorsed other people, and not only did they endorse other people, they forgot to even mention me.”

Salazar raised significantly less money than the other two top contenders, Harper-Madison and Vincent Harding, who finished a close third with 5,057 votes (23.18 percent). As of a week before the election, Harding had raised roughly $80,000, Harper-Madison had raised $31,000 and Salazar raised just under $17,000…

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Another brother-sister runoff in East Austin’s District 3 (Austin Monitor)

Council Member Pio Renteria finished way ahead of multiple opponents in his bid for re-election in East Austin’s District 3.

Renteria won 47.71 percent of the vote, while his sister, Susana Almanza, came in a distant second place, with 21.32 percent.

“I think we did pretty good,” Renteria said at his election party Tuesday night. He also expressed confidence in a runoff: “I think my people will come out.”

Almanza, a longtime east side activist and regular opponent of development that she views as causing gentrification and displacement, ran for Council four years ago. Renteria later declared his candidacy, ultimately besting Almanza in a runoff election.

Almanza said she absolutely intends to wage a runoff campaign, pointing to past races where candidates trailing badly in the first round have won the runoff…

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Tight D8 race headed to runoff to fill Troxclair’s seat (Austin Monitor)

The City Council seat for Southwest Austin is headed for another runoff to determine new representation for District 8, with incomplete results Wednesday morning pointing to newcomers Paige Ellis, who won 30.5 percent of the vote, and Frank Ward. who won 24.7 percent, set for a Dec. 11 race.

Ellis and Ward won the top two spots in a four-person race for the seat that is open because Council Member Ellen Troxclair opted not to run for the seat she narrowly won in 2014. Candidates Bobby Levinski (22.93 percent) and Rich DePalma (21.86 percent) came in third and fourth, respectively, in the race that saw less than 10 percentage points separate the top and bottom vote-getters.

Ward and Ellis bring largely differing positions to the runoff election. Ellis, a public involvement specialist for a local environmental firm, has come out in support of progressive causes, access to health care and equity in public resources.

Ward, who has touted his experience working in state and federal Republican administrations, has promoted lowering taxes on property and bringing greater accountability to the city’s budgeting process to reduce waste…

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Tovo easily wins third term (Austin Monitor)

Kathie Tovo will serve her third term on the Austin City Council after winning a relatively easy victory over three opponents on Tuesday, finishing with almost 53 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Danielle Skidmore, garnered less than 32 percent of the vote, with two other candidates each winning less than 10 percent of the vote.

Tovo, who serves as mayor pro tem, told the Austin Monitor she was excited about starting her next term in office. “I’m very much looking forward to continuing the work I’ve been doing on homelessness,” an issue that has been a high priority for her over the past four years.

In addition, Tovo said she was looking forward to building housing on the city’s publicly owned land. She also said she was eager to start a conversation with the community about doing a tax swap with the Austin Independent School District. Mayor Steve Adler brought up the idea originally, but gave up after it became obvious that the community needed more time to consider it. Tovo gathered signatures on a petition to allow her to run for a third term…

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Austin bonds and propositions (Austin Monitor)

Austin voters gave the OK to seven bond propositions totaling more than $925 million this election, but things aren’t looking good for two propositions fueled by citizen petitions – Propositions J and K – that could fail…

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For Gov. Greg Abbott, a victory, though not the towering one he’d hoped for over Lupe Valdez (Dallas Morning News)

Gov. Greg Abbott breezed to a second term Tuesday but didn’t annihilate Lupe Valdez the way he did Wendy Davis four years ago. In early returns, the incumbent Republican was leading Valdez by enough to call the election, but not nearly as much as the 20-point drubbing he delivered in 2014 against Davis, a former state senator from Fort Worth…

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Democrats Nathan Johnson and Beverly Powell defeat state Sens. Don Huffines and Konni Burton in Texas midterm (Texas Tribune)

Republicans' grip on Texas' upper chamber loosened a bit Tuesday night after Democrats picked up two Republican-held state Senate seats.

State Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas was behind Nathan Johnson by 7 percentage points with 52 percent of precincts reporting, and state Sen. Konni Burton of Colleyville was trailing Beverly Powell by 3 percentage points with 82 percent of precincts reporting.

Most of the 15 Texas Senate races on the ballot this cycle were not considered competitive, but recent voting history in three Republican-held districts has put them in play for Democrats. Burton and Huffines were two of three Republican senators in districts where more voters backed Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump in 2016 or where the president had a narrow winning margin.

The third seat is held by state Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, who was leading Democrat Rita Lucido by 6 percentage points late Tuesday with 45 percent of districts reporting…

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Texas Congressional delegation likely to be younger, more female and diverse (Houston Chronicle)

Republican Congressman John Culberson lost his bid for a 10th term to Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher as tightly fought contests across the state produced the closest U.S. Senate race in 40 years, launched record numbers of women into Congress and took down at least one other longtime GOP congressman.

In the first nationwide elections since President Donald Trump took office, a record number of Texans went to the polls for a midterm election and boosted Democrats statewide. Races for lieutenant governor, attorney general and the U.S. Senate were all closer than the state has seen in decades. One of the few to be unaffected was Gov. Greg Abbott, who cruised to victory over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the underfunded Democrat who trailed in fund-raising and the polls for the entire contest. Abbott and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, another Republican, had dominating leads and were expected to easily gain new 4-year terms in office. The surge in Democratic voters also appeared to be remaking the Texas Congressional delegation into a younger, bluer and more diverse delegation with more women than ever before…

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Ted Cruz defeats Beto O'Rourke in re-election fight (Texas Tribune)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, narrowly defeated Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke Tuesday evening in what appeared likely to be one of the closest U.S Senate races in Texas in decades.

With more than 60 percent of precincts reporting in Texas, Cruz had a four-point lead over O'Rourke. While Cruz had a strong showing across most of rural Texas, O'Rourke narrowed the margin by winning urban counties and coming within striking distance in some Texas suburbs…

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