Mayor: When Wynn Won
Other than Jennifer Gale -- who would have done better, she said, had she not been so shamefully ignored by the Chronicle -- not one mayoral candidate came down to Election Central to watch the returns. Which, admittedly, was like watching grass grow very slowly: Will Wynn began the night with 56.5% of the early vote, and ended it with 58.3% of the total vote, and Max Nofziger, Marc Katz, and Brad Meltzer remained lined up way behind him, in that order, from beginning to end. The only excitement was over whether Gale would hold off Leslie Cochran for the honor of fifth place. She didn't.
"The scale, as well as the geographic distribution, of our victory was very rewarding," Wynn told us Tuesday. "I think the size of our victory was really a direct result of our message and the effort we put into delivering it to the voters."
With all the challengers more than 40 points behind from the git-go, the hopes of a run-off -- which Katz "guaranteed" to E-Day visitors to his campaign Web site -- faded pretty early. Except for three partial precincts on the edge of town, where only a handful of voters are within the city limits, Wynn finished first in every box, and in 126 (out of 180) boxes he finished with more than 50% (see p.28 for the full results). Of the three main challengers, only Nofziger seemed vaguely bitter, postulating that it may have been impossible for anyone to beat Wynn's advantage in fundraising and establishment support.
Katz, on the other hand, after having pilloried Wynn during the last weeks on the stump, told reporters Saturday night Wynn would be "a great mayor" and deserves the community's support. And Meltzer -- who spent between $25 and $50 for each of his 4,851 votes (depending on the accuracy of his campaign reports, which has been called into question) -- had nothing but best wishes for the mayor-elect. "I believe Mr. Wynn's come out of his cocoon; he's going to be tackling the real issues like the budget," Meltzer said Monday. "He's got a big job, and we've got to work together as a team. I'm going to be there for him." For his part, Wynn returned the compliment: "I thought the other candidates did a good job of raising important issues. ... I feel like those debates will help make me a better mayor."
For Wynn, the party's just beginning, of course -- "I'm going to use the next six weeks to get a head start on the work before us ... as we head into budget discussions." Meanwhile, Nofziger says that after 25 years on the Austin civic scene, it's time for a rest, but Katz and especially Meltzer seem to have caught the political bug. "I'm not done -- I'm just getting started," Meltzer says. "I enjoyed the campaign; it was a great adventure, and I'm looking forward to doing it again." He did not specify what office he might seek next. Gale, however, has made her plans clear: She told us on election night that she intends to run for Congress next year against Lloyd Doggett, whatever his district may be. "I'm not waiting until Monday," Gale said. "I'm beginning tomorrow. I'll be calling [Doggett] out to debate. I'm calling him up. I wanna fight."