Precinct 2: Shea Wins Easily

Three-way race decided in early vote count

Brigid Shea celebrates at Scholz
Brigid Shea celebrates at Scholz (by Jana Birchum)

Brigid Shea’s supporters had just started gathering at Scholz to watch the election returns when the early vote results handed an early victory to the Precinct 2 Travis County commissioner candidate.

The three-way race that included immigration attorney Richard Jung and longtime Democratic activist Garry Brown had initially appeared headed toward a run-off. That dynamic changed a few weeks ago when the Shea campaign broke from the pack to try to win without a runoff.

Shea took 65% in early voting, followed by Jung (19.56%) and Brown (15.50%).

“I’m so humbled,” Shea said, crediting her campaign staff, “an army of volunteers,” and her family for helping her secure the seat Sarah Eckhardt vacated to run for county judge. (With most of the votes counted, Eckhardt bested opponent Andy Brown 55%-45%).

While there were some minor flareups between campaigns in the Pct. 2 race, the candidates mainly stuck to issues important to the Central and North Austin precinct. “I said all along that my opponents really are good guys and I mean it,” Shea said. “I think they both conducted themselves well. There were a few moments of friction but by and large [the race] was very civil and I think they made their case well.”

Shea, of course, entered the race with the higher profile, having challenged Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s re-election bid in 2012. She served one term as a city council member after successfully leading a 1992 voter referendum to pass an ordinance to protect Barton Springs.

Water, and the region’s shrinking supply, was also a theme of her campaign this time. But Shea says her first order of business is to tackle affordability, specifically the skewed state law that places a greater property tax burden on homeowners. “A tremendous amount of work needs to be done leading up to the next legislative session,” she said. “I have lost track of the number of people who’ve told me they’re going to have to sell their house and move. People can’t afford to pay their taxes because the system is broken.”

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Travis County, Travis County Commissioners Court, March 2014 Election, Brigid Shea, Richard Jung, Garry Brown, water, affordability, Sarah Eckhardt, Andy Brown, county judge

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