All's Well That Ends
Being as we are in the Era of Good Feelings in local politics, the Election Night rite has become as quietly familiar as an old shoe. An old, uncomfortable shoe. Actually, sorta more like waiting for a driver's license. As is the norm for elections managed by Travis County, with their antiquated vote-counting machines, it was not until 9:30 that the mediacrats, consultants, and scenesters at City Coliseum got even a glimpse of how the next-to-nobodies who bothered to find their polling place actually voted. (Things started to pick up thereafter, at least compared to the pace of previous county election nights, comparable to continental drift.)
Rainy Tuesday turnout hovered at new lows through most of the evening, though the final turnout was a not-totally-pathetic 15.7%. And with the air blown out of the presidential balloon, and (surprisingly) only one really close race on the local ballot, the Coliseum scene featured the usual suspects -- City Council candidates past, present, and future, officeholders without races of their own, the yellowest of the Democratic dogs. (Though Republicans were visible on the premises, the George W. Bush potlatch in Northwest Hills drew away some of that buzz.) And a convivial bunch they were; when you see Terry Keel, Todd Baxter, Karen Sonleitner, and Margo Frasier in a group hug, you know that despite the hype, this is still a one-party town -- the insider party.
Meanwhile, the 'burbs handled their vote-counting with dispatch; Williamson County was announcing final results before Travis County got beyond early voting. Neither of Will-Co's two redemption-seekers -- deposed former constable Dennis Jaroszweski and disgraced ex-sheriff's deputy Rick Faught -- got absolved by their voters, as John Maspero bested Faught and Ricki Russell in the sheriff's race, and Bobby Gutierrez almost won the five-way Pct. 3 constable race outright. (He'll meet Bill Schwettmann in the runoff.)
In Hays County, San Marcos City Council Member Rick Hernandez's endorsement by the daily was not enough to keep him from getting shellacked by incumbent Debbie Gonzales-Ingalsbe in the Pct. 1 county commish race. But the reverse was true in Pct. 3, where incumbent Bill Burnett was forced into a runoff by the man he replaced, Craig Payne.