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The Long Shots

Ramey Ko: Cheerful to the End

By Michael King, Fri., March 7, 2014

Garry Brown and Richard Jung

About 8pm, an hour before the polls closed (late), followed by an elongated wait for the final count, Pct. 2 commissioner candidate Garry Brown hosted a quiet crowd at Sherlock's on Research Boulevard. Optimistic as always, he reiterated his hope that he would "make the run-off" in his three-way race, most likely with veteran campaigner and front-runner Brigid Shea. Without a vote yet counted, he called it "50-50," and said he's "worked too hard, for months on end, longer than anybody else" not to be optimistic about the outcome. And he continued to hope that his ground game, largely staffed by volunteers, still had a chance. As for the rest of the Democratic primary slate, he said, "I'll be very happy when the county judge race is over. There's bad mojo all over that race, and sadly, because [Andy Brown and Sarah Eckhardt] are both friends of mine, both good people."

Later Tuesday evening, after the early returns showing Shea an easy and outright winner, Brown was frank: "This is what happens when your opponents [Shea and attorney Richard Jung] out-raise you 10 to 1." He said his team had done everything they could, and he thanked his opponents "for keeping the race about the issues." He said he'll get some rest, "but I've still got a job, working for Constable Sally Hernandez."

A few miles away, at Chinatown-Mopac, Jung presided over a lively, packed crowd on the restaurant's second floor. He was also hoping for a run-off, and said, "as a new candidate, our reaction at the doors has been very, very good. I think a run-off is a very real possibility, and we're prepared for that as well." Beyond that, he was already musing about the overall effect of his run. He made a point of thanking his campaign team, "particularly the young people, who have been working and knocking on doors in 32 degree weather, sleet, and rain." He said he's proud of bringing along the local Asian community: "They're energized and participating; I want to maintain that going forward, so the Democratic Party has support from all different sectors of the people."

Finally, after the foreboding early returns, Jung returned to what he called most important about his campaign: addressing "issues of poverty, and how they underlie ... everything that's problematic in Travis County – transportation, education, health care. Win or lose, I'd like to see us focus on those issues – to try to help working-class families, and people living in poverty in Travis County."

Ramey Ko: Cheerful to the End

As it happened, County Treasurer candidate Ramey Ko shared the Chinatown venue with Jung, and as the early returns arrived, he trailed incumbent Dolores Ortega Carter by about six percentage points – a margin that finally wouldn't shift much on election day. The ever-effervescent Ko remained optimistic, and seemed delighted to have run a good race and done his best. The campaign had gotten bitter near its end – the two candidates throwing sharp charges and counter-charges at each other – but Ko was upbeat. "I've spent some time in Chicago," he said, "so I've seen a few nasty campaigns. If this is what Austin calls a nasty campaign, I can live with it."

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