It wasn't exactly a landslide, but a victory by former land commissioner Garry Mauro and local Democratic Party leader Eric Hartman (representing Al Gore) over City Council Member Gus Garcia and political consultant Peck Young (representing Bill Bradley) in a mock straw poll benefiting the Austin/South Austin Tejano Democrats last Thursday at Scholz Beer Garten. And it gave a hint of what voters are likely to see in the next Democratic debates, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 17.
Although neither debater seemed likely to win any awards for preparation (more than once, Mauro snapped that he didn't "have a list to read the answers" from), each debater got points for trying, gamely, to represent the view of his respective side in front of a raucous audience made up mostly of longtime Democratic supporters. A number of current and former state officials were in attendance, including Austin Reps. Elliott Naishtat and Gonzalo Barrientos, former Democratic Party chair Harold Cook, and former attorney general Jim Mattox. The crowd of about 130 spent $5 each to cast their ballots for Bradley or Gore; the final vote totals were Gore, 68; Bradley, 58; and Ann Richards, 1.