Two Women Win Without Runoffs

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Delia Garza flashes a winning smile on election night

Delia Garza Austin’s first Latina council member, former state representative Ann Kitchen also victorious

Two female candidates won seats on the Austin City Council in yesterday’s election, while the mayor and eight other council seats will be decided in a runoff election December 16.

Delia Garza flashes a winning smile on election night
Delia Garza flashes a winning smile on election night

District 2 council candidate Delia Garza gained a place in history by becoming the first Latina elected to the City Council.

Garza thumped her three opponents by gaining 65.01 percent of the votes while her nearest competitor got just 16.53 percent. “I am honored to be the first Latina elected,” Garza told The Austin Bulldog as her party was winding down at Trudy’s restaurant off South I-35. “It’s been a long time coming.”

It has taken nearly four decades for Latin women to achieve political parity with their male counterparts. The first Latino won a seat on the council 39 years ago, when John Trevino Jr. was elected in 1975.

Mary Ann Neely, Ann Kitchen, Steve Beers, and Roy Waley gathered for Kitchen’s party.
Mary Ann Neely, Ann Kitchen, Steve Beers, and Roy Waley gathered for Kitchen’s party.

District 5 candidate Ann Kitchen netted 53.62 percent to beat six opponents. Her nearest opponent, Mike Rodriguez, was a distant second at 22.21 percent. Although the votes were not final when The Austin Bulldog stopped by Kitchen’s party at Red’s Front Porch on South Lamar a little before 9pm, she was edging over 50 percent and the crowd was enthusiastic.

Kitchen’s husband, Mark Yznaga, anticipating the possibility she would win without a runoff, told The Austin Bulldog if she did so he would resign his position with Opticos Design Inc., the lead urban planning consultant for the City of Austin’s CodeNEXT project.

Runoff candidates and indy backers

Even in the waning moments of this election the PACs continued pouring money into independent expenditures, which now total $275,669.

In the last-minute category, the Austin Apartment Association tossed $5,000 into online advertising for District 9 candidate Chris Riley and another $3,250 for phone calls to help him. Austinites for Equity put up $1,229 for postage for District 4 candidate Laura Pressley’s political mailer. The Better Austin Today PAC spent $1,108 to print a mailer for District 3 candidate Susana Almanza and another $2,012 to do likewise for District 9 candidate Kathie Tovo.

Here are the runoff candidates and the PACs that supported them so far with independent spending:

Mayor—Steve Adler (36.76 percent) with $12,528 from Austin Board of Realtors vs. Mike Martinez (29.63 percent) with $17,577 from Austin Firefighters Association and Austinites for Equity.

District 1—Ora Houston (49.12 percent) $6,819 from Austin Firefighters Association, Austin Police Association, and Austinites for Equity, vs. DeWayne Lofton (14.41 percent) with no PAC support.

District 3—Susana Almanza (20.99 percent) $3,859 from Better Austin Today, Sierra Club vs. her older brother, Sabino Renteria (18.80 percent) $3,516 from Austinites for Equity.

District 4—Greg Casar (38.65 percent) $10,674 from Austin Board of Realtors, Austinites for Equity, and Sierra Club vs. Laura Pressley (21.55 percent) with $1,229 from Austinites for Equity.

District 6—Don Zimmerman (24.21 percent) with no PAC support vs. Jimmy Flannigan (24.05 percent) $4,471 from Austinites for Equity.

District 7—Leslie Pool (32.14 percent) with $5,160 from Austinites for Equity and Sierra Club vs. Jeb Boyt (16.89 percent) with no PAC support.

District 8— Ellen Troxclair (26.38 percent) with $1,554 from Young Conservatives of Texas vs. Ed Scruggs (25.54 percent) with $6,210 from Austinites for Equity, Better Austin Today and Sierra Club.

District 9—Kathie Tovo (49.05 percent) with $19,057 from Austinites for Equity, Austin Police Association, Better Austin Today, and Sierra Club vs. Chris Riley (40.41 percent) with $46,498 from Austin Apartment Association, Austin Board of Realtors, Austin Community Coalition, Austin Firefighters Association, and Real Estate Council of Austin.

Kathie Tovo at Scholz Garten
Kathie Tovo at Scholz Garten

It was midnight at Scholz Garten and with 19 voting precinct totals still not reported, Tovo was running within a couple of dozen votes of edging over the 50 percent mark and outright winning the District 9 seat. But she closed down the night by saying she would be “privileged and honored to serve at the District 9 representative. If there’s a runoff I know we can win it.”

District 10—Mandy Dealey (30.65 percent) with no PAC support vs. Sheri Gallo (22.93 percent) with $10,545 from Austin Apartment Association.

ABOR’s big bet election bust

PAC spending through November 3, 2014
PAC spending through November 3, 2014

The Austin Board of Realtors Political Action Committee—by far the biggest spender among local PACs supporting candidates with independent expenditures totaling $106,547—went three for five in yesterday’s mayoral and City Council elections.

Robert Thomas
Robert Thomas

The $50,000 that ABOR dumped on District 10 candidate Robert Thomas fizzled. Thomas placed third behind Mandy Dealey and Sheri Gallo. He trailed Dealey by more than 3,279 votes and Gallo by 1,126. The labor organizations for firefighters and police also backed Thomas, as did Reagan National Advertising.

Mayoral candidate Steve Adler, District 4 candidate Greg Casar, and District 9 candidate and incumbent Chris Riley all got ABOR support and fared better. Adler (36.76 percent) and Casar (38.65 percent) scored well ahead of their opponents but failed to gather enough votes to avoid a runoff. Riley (40.41 percent) trailed incumbent opponent Kathie Tovo (49.05 percent) but lives to fight another day because the other District 9 candidate, Erin McGann, got the anything-but-incumbent vote of 10.53 percent that forced a runoff.

Adler garnered a seven-point lead over runner-up council member Mike Martinez (29.63 percent). Casar has a 17 point advantage over District 4 opponent Laura Pressley (21.55 percent).

Related Bulldog coverage:

PACs Indy Spending Tops $262,000: Another $68,000 dumped into campaigns in last three days to back favored candidates, November 3, 2014

Indy Spending Big Election Factor: Fifteen political action committees trying to influence mayor and council elections, October 29, 2014

Links:

City of Austin Unofficial Cumulative Results of General Election of November 4, 2014

Independent Expenditures for 2014 Austin Mayor and City Council Elections through November 3, 2014