Live Election Night Results & Updates
The latest from the polls and candidate watch parties
By News Staff,
6:30PM, Tue. Nov. 6, 2018
Well, it's getting to be about 11pm, and by now the scene's looking set in its ways. Beto lost, alas, but Democrats will take the House, and things will get both crazier and more sane, for the next two years. Locally, a lot has held: Steve Adler will be mayor again, and Kathie Tovo likely his pro tem. There'll be three City Council run-offs: It's looking like Natasha Harper-Madison and Mariana Salazar in District 1 (with Vincent Harding on the wing), Pio Renteria and Susana Almanza in District 3, and Paige Ellis and Frank Ward or Bobby Levinski in District 8. The Props all passed, except J and K.
The schools right now look much like they did before, with LaTisha Anderson and Kristin Ashy joining the AISD board and Arati Singh and Carmen Tilton going to a run-off in the at-large Position 9. At the ACC, incumbents Barbara Mink and Julie Ann Nitsch rolled. Stephanie Gharakhanian and Sarah Mills will go to a run-off in Place 8.
And we haven't done much on the Lege races tonight because most of them were predictable, but wouldn't you know Vikki Goodwin beat Paul Workman tonight in House District 47. Ain't the beer cold. – Chase Hoffberger
A crowd of supporters stood before the stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s as Danielle Skidmore conceded her bid for District 9. Skidmore thanked those who volunteered and said “while I’m not going to be a part of City Council, I’m not going away.” She said she would continue to advocate for queer rights in the city and at the Capitol. She reiterated that her trans identity was not the focus of her campaign but acknowledged that it made her candidacy “an inspiration to many voters.” But she hopes that her campaign’s advocacy for transportation issues would also be an inspiration, and that the challenge she posed to Tovo would motivate the next council to “move beyond binary choices.”
“It doesn’t have to be about new Austin vs. old Austin, or urbanist vs preservationist,” she said. She urged the council to end the divides that hampered the CodeNEXT process.
On that front, tonight's victor Kathie Tovo was in agreement. “I hope we can find a more positive tenor to the conversation," she told the Chronicle. She said Council would need to move forward with building more housing, while “respecting the process” that led to the development of smaller neighborhood plans. If a more moderate tone can’t be reached, Tovo said, the next land-use debate will suffer the same problems as CodeNEXT. – Austin Sanders
"Huh. I expected more tears," said one new arrival at the Driskill just as gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez ended her speech with a rallying cry to stay engaged: "The 2020 campaigns start tomorrow." (For better or worse.) Despite the narrow loss by Beto O'Rourke (down by just over 3% at present), the Dems' reclaiming the U.S. House and apparently unseating at least two Texas GOP congresscritters helped sand smooth the evening's emotions. While the Dems' statewide drought continues (O'Rourke did better than the rest of the ticket, with AG contender Justin Nelson in the No. 2 spot), the party appears on track to unseat state Sens. Konni Burton of Colleyville and Don Huffines of Dallas and has flipped a number of Texas House seats, including a near-sweep of the Austin suburbs and the long-desired defeat of Travis County's sole GOP rep, Paul Workman. – Mike Clark-Madison
“It’s still too soon to tell,” Democratic Congressional candidate Mike Siegel said a little after 10pm. “It might take all night, and it might come down to the provisional ballots at the end.” With about 45% of the TX-10 votes counted, Mike McCaul was ahead with just over 50% of the vote.
“We can do some rough math,” Siegel said, “and a lot depends if Travis County really surges and I hold my votes there. I’m getting a lot congratulatory messages that I’ve made it so close” – McCaul has never been seriously challenged in the heavily gerrymandered district – “but that’s not much consolation right now.
“There are just a lot of unknowns, and it’s just too soon to tell.”
We may – or may not – know the outcome in TX-10 by tomorrow morning. – Michael King
Michael King has the story on the mayoral race tonight.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo said she was “feeling positive” about her 22-point lead over Danielle Skidmore based on the early voting and portion of Election Day results that have been tallied. She said she wasn’t celebrating yet, because In her two previous elections, she had leads after early voting but was pulled into a run-off after the Election Day vote comes in. It’s looking like that won’t happen for her tonight. Skidmore would need to make unexpected gains in the remaining E-Day vote to force a run-off, let alone win the race. – Austin Sanders
Mary Tuma checks in from District 8.
I’ve migrated to SlabBBQ where D8 candidate Rich DePalma addresses his supporters pic.twitter.com/iBVumLyheU— Mary Tuma (@TumaTime) November 7, 2018
Levinski says it’s no surprise the D8 race is neck and neck, all candidates are strong and v qualified https://t.co/rk8WTonmYi— Mary Tuma (@TumaTime) November 7, 2018
And Nina Hernandez in District 1.
Salazar campaign imploring voters to hang in with them through the run-off. “The next party will be here,” Salazar shouts. pic.twitter.com/6sQ21rJ47q— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
Harper-Madison and husband dancing. Energy 180 from the Harding party, which is tense af pic.twitter.com/3P0gDlhHWB— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
The mood dampened at Tres Amigos in northeast Austin when early vote totals showed incumbent Ted Gordon down about 20% to LaTisha Anderson in the race for AISD District 1 Trustee. Gordon expressed surprise at the numbers, and attributed his trailing to the at-times “combative and divisive” style he adopted on the school board.
Reached by phone at her home, Anderson said she was “trying to take it all in” when asked what she thought about her unexpected lead in the race. She described encountering a mentality on the campaign trail “that you needed a degree” to do well in a political race. But, she said “people can relate to my experiences with the school district” and that her “story has resonated” with voters. – Austin Sanders
District 1 is headed toward a predictable run-off in the race to replace retiring CM Ora Houston. Early Vote put Mariana Salazar, the non-black candidate running in the African-American opportunity district, at the front, followed by Natasha Harper-Madison and Vincent Harding. – Nina Hernandez
We're still waiting for the first set of Election Day results to come in for local races, so now seems like a good time to check in on what's happening in Congress. In CD10, Mike Siegel and Republican incumbent Mike McCaul are neck and neck, with only a few counted votes between them. GOP incumbent Bill Flores appears destined for a victory over Rick Kennedy in CD17. And while GOPers Chip Roy (CD 21), Roger Williams (CD25), and John Carter (CD31) all hold slight leads over Joseph Kopser, Julie Oliver, and MJ Hegar, respectively, it remains too early to tell how those races will shape out. – Chase Hoffberger
"I'm very excited and relieved about the bonds," said Walter Moreau of Foundation Communities, the largest supporter of the Keep Austin Affordable campaign for Proposition A. "Now I'm just nervous about everything else." He notes that housing advocates did not expect to do nearly as well as Proposition A did in early voting. Also here at the Driskill is D8 candidate Paige Ellis, understandably pleased with her first-place showing at present and near-guaranteed spot in a runoff. "It shows that knocking on doors works. Talking to voters works." Her campaign strategist Ed Espinoza (also of Progress Texas) said that Ellis skipped candidate forums that were held outside the district: "We figured there were no voters there. So we went and talked to voters instead."– Mike Clark-Madison
As the crowd continues to scream for Beto (now at 51%) and also other signs of Democratic life, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt – joking that she's "on pins and needles" about her own (unopposed) race – is attending to the attorney general race (Justin Nelson is here, with baby) "and, of course, Beto. ... We're seeing some unexpected Republican resilience, but it's just got to be better than two years ago." That's when she brought her daughter (then 12) "down here to watch the first woman president. Three months later, for her 13th birthday, she decided she wanted to go to the Women's March. And now two years later, she wanted to come back to the Driskill. So there must be something going right." – Mike Clark-Madison
Price said he was disappointed in the early vote numbers, but is glad he has been able to get his message on sexual assault and mental health out. “Before I ran, candidates weren’t talking about those issues.”— Austin Sanders (@daustinsanders) November 7, 2018
Looks like D8 may head to a run-off. Early voting totals show a tight race: Bobby Levinksi, 23.82%; Frank Ward, 23.33%; Rich DePalma, 22.18%; and Paige Ellis with a slight lead at 30.67%. – Mary Tuma
Scene from Harper-Madison’s watch party. She was outside until a second ago, when the song inside changed, and she jumped up and said, “I’ve got to boogie! I’ll be back!” pic.twitter.com/HFrSmizu3k— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who followed the race, but it appears Greg Abbott will continue to be our governor for four more years. The Associated Press called the race at 8:01pm.– Chase Hoffberger
Let's check in on ACC and Austin ISD. With early voting totals in, it looks like Barbara Mink will cruise to a victory in ACC Place 7 over Mitch Fuller. Stephanie Gharakhanian has a slight majority (51%) in Place 8, where she's up against two opponents, and Julie Ann Nitsch appears headed to victory over Lora Weber in Place 9. Over in AISD, LaTisha Anderson's staked an early lead over incumbent Ted Gordon in D1 (60% to 39%), Kristin Ashy holds a rather commanding lead over Zachary Price in D4 (65% to 34%), and Carmen Tilton holds a slight lead over Arati Singh and Sam Russo, though Tilton's still stuck at 40%. – Chase Hoffberger
Prop A, the $250 million affordable housing bond, will likely pass due to early voting turnout. At first call, the history-making housing bond was up nearly 74%. Council Member Greg Casar, who had a huge hand in getting the bond on the ballot, celebrated with a speech and told me, “Tonight we just showed that anything is possible when Austin puts its mind to it. … Austin doesn’t want to build walls; Austin wants to build houses.” – Sarah Marloff
Talked to Harding about being in third. Says he knew it was going to be a tough race, but felt called to run. “Just because you’re called doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
The screams rang out at the Driskill Hotel – tonight's Democratic HQ – for a full minute as MSNBC flashed the very early but very Beto-friendly Texas returns, including O'Rourke's 52% in Williamson County. According to the Secretary of State, at 7:32pm Beto's only up by 1.5%, but don't tell the folks here that yet. – Mike Clark Madison
Gordon tells me he’s surprised by the early vote numbers. He said maybe his divisive and combative approach to advocating for D1 schools was “not liked by voters.” But he wouldn’t have taken a different approach: “I stand on certain principles and I wouldn’t change that.” https://t.co/p3IS32z99a— Austin Sanders (@daustinsanders) November 7, 2018
CM @GregCasar giving a speech right now about Prop A’s very likely passage. That’s a $250 million housing bond!! Casar says some thought it was to ambitious but we asked AUSTIN to show up & “AUSTIN showed up” pic.twitter.com/AS5LUsjPX6— Sarah Marloff (@SarahMarloff) November 7, 2018
Early voting totals for the city just came in, and if they're any indication, a couple incumbents will avoid run-offs. Mayor Steve Adler took 61% of the early vote in the mayoral race (Laura Morrison, 19.13%), and D9 Council Member Kathie Tovo has a majority at 53%. Elsewhere, D3 incumbent Pio Renteria's got 48.58% – a significant lead over his sister, Susana Almanza, and other candidates in the eastside district, but not enough for a majority – and both D1 and D8 appear headed for a run-off, as expected.
On Props, A through I all have more than 50% FOR (and in fact, none of them are at all close), and the controversial Props J and K are below 50%, at 47% and 40%, respectively.
Well, it's only 15 minutes past the time of polls closing, and while we still await results on the local races, The New York Times is reporting an exceptionally early 18-point lead for Beto O'Rourke in the race for U.S. Senate. That's likely meaningless – again, we don't even have early vote totals for Travis County – but we might as well report good news when we get it. Numbers from Texas' Secretary of State show Ted Cruz up by a good margin, yet only 67,000 votes tallied throughout the state. – Chase Hoffberger
No turning back now!
Welcome to the Chronicle’s 2018 midterm election live-blog; our News team is out in the field to bring you tips, scoops, speeches and spin on tonight’s local, state and national results. Just to review: Here in Austin, we’re electing (or re-electing) a mayor and four council members (District 1 on the Eastside, D3 east and south, D8 southwest, and D9 in the urban core) and voting on 11 ballot propositions, the first seven of which make up a $920 million bond package. Also up for grabs: three Austin ISD board seats (two vacant) and three Austin Community College seats (one vacant). (See a full rundown of our recent election coverage here.) We’ve got some lively county, judicial and legislative races here in Central Texas as well as marquee U.S. House contests. Statewide, there’s this dude from El Paso. … We’ll be posting some results through the evening; visit Travis County Elections for local races and the Texas Secretary of State for multi-county legislative, judicial, and congressional races as well as the statewides. (Do not celebrate or mourn those races based solely on the Travis County results! It’s a mistake people, including us, make every time.) Tweet @austinchronicle with your reactions and hot tips.
D4 Council Member Greg Casar checks in on Prop A.
CM @GregCasar, who's played a large role in getting Prop A on the ballot, expects to know the results soon after the polls close. He'll be speaking at the Keep Austin Affordable watch party at Pelons (802 Red River)— Sarah Marloff (@SarahMarloff) November 7, 2018
Reporting from District 8: Will the new configuration of City Council do without an outright conservative? That’s the question the District 8 race will answer tonight. Thanks to Ellen Troxclair's retirement, the seat could swing to one of three left-leaning candidates – attorney Bobby Levinski, Parks and Rec board member Rich DePalma, or environmental marketing specialist Paige Ellis. Or, the southwest district could go for the Troxclair-approved Frank Ward, a candidate with a background steeped in Republican politics. More likely, D8 heads to a run-off, meaning we may not get our answer until next month.
From a voting line with his family today, Ward expressed confidence that he’ll make it to the run-off if there is one. “I think we ran a really strong race,” he said. “We worked hard to get the message out that, among other things, I’d fight hard to tackle the affordability crisis.” Ellis was equally optimistic, saying she’s received a lot of “positive feedback” from constituents after knocking on thousands of doors. “I think people are really responding when they see a campaign try to meet with everyone and understand their needs and put in that work. I think it could be a really good night.”
Via phone, Levinski said he was busy reaching last-minute voters at the polls. “It’s definitely going into a run-off,” he predicted. “But it’s anybody’s guess who it’s going to be.” – Mary Tuma
About the mayoral race . . .
Early mayoral thoughts – @MayorAdler "Hoping to avoid a runoff, but it will likely be close @LauraForMayor From the lines at the polls … seems like it's going to be a very long day . . . #Austin2018 #Midterms2018— Michael King (@PointAustin) November 6, 2018
Over in D1.
Talked to @marianasalazar earlier this afternoon. She’s been out at the polls all day. Hadn’t thought ahead to the possibility of a runoff just yet. Has faith in campaigns get out the vote efforts. “I’m out there every day and people know it.”— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
Team @lewisconwayjr is awaiting EV returns at Willie’s. Nicole, like seemingly everyone else, doesn’t want to discuss possibility of a run-off just yet. Too tired— Nina Hernandez (@neenthirteen) November 7, 2018
And a few from the Congressional field.
.@JosephKopser "Today it's all about GOTV … stay in the lines and make sure your voice is heard … we have more in common than what separates us"— Michael King (@PointAustin) November 6, 2018
Rick Kennedy "The only question is whether we have enough to defeat … an unconstitutional gerrymander … and I want to shout out to an army of unpaid volunteers … Plan B is to give [Flores] a real scare … Plan A is to win— Michael King (@PointAustin) November 6, 2018