Defeated Brown Looks Toward November

Judge candidate concedes after long night

Congressman Lloyd Doggett (l) stands by ally Andy Brown.
Congressman Lloyd Doggett (l) stands by ally Andy Brown.
Photos by Jana Birchum

Just after the release of the early vote count, a little after 9pm, the mood at Andy Brown's election headquarters – a big ramshackle house on Waller Street – was not somber, but certainly subdued. Trailing by about six percentage points, Brown and his campaign manager, Jim Wick, had seen (and run) enough campaigns to know that making up a margin of roughly 1,500 votes on election day – while not impossible – would be an uphill climb. "I think that will be pretty hard to come back by on E-day," said Brown frankly, chatting in a quiet room above the crowded first floor. "But we had a strong GOTV effort today, so I guess we'll see." He was characteristically soft-spoken about his immediate prospects, and already looking past this race.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Margaret Gómez at Andy Brown's election-watch party
Pct. 4 Commissioner Margaret Gómez at Andy Brown's election-watch party

"I'm glad at the way we campaigned," Brown said. "We stuck to the issues, and my team ran a great race. Democratic primaries always get heated, but I think we always come back together after the primary's over, and we campaign for the ticket in November. I look forward to doing that." Asked if he had any specific notion why Eckhardt was leading, he smiled wryly and said, "My hunch is that more people voted for her."

As the night wore on – and the election day numbers failed to arrive – the standing room-only crowd diminished a bit, still waiting. Incumbent (and newly re-elected) Pct. 4 Commissioner Margaret Gómez stopped by, as did Congressman Lloyd Doggett, fresh from monitoring a couple of intense San Antonio races at the other end of his district. Doggett remained upbeat, and noted, concerning his early endorsement of Brown, "I had two friends in the race, and I had to pick one."

By midnight, sufficient returns had trickled in to convince Brown there would be no late-hour comeback, and he phoned his congratulations to Eckhardt.

Wednesday morning on the phone, Brown was audibly exhausted, and quietly resigned to his loss. "I'm proud of my team and the outreach that we did and the issues we talked about," he said. He thought he would be buoyed by election day results and higher turnout, but it just hadn't happened. Asked about the tone of the race, and specifically Eckhardt's attacks on his supposed ties to "special interests," he said he was "disappointed" in the campaign's direction: "I don't think that's good for turnout or the party; I think it's better to have a healthy debate about issues, and that's what we tried to do." Pressed to elaborate, Brown answered in keeping with both his low-key style and his long personal dedication to the Demo­cratic Party. "I wish Sarah the best," he said, "and I think she's going to do a great job as county judge."

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