Lehmberg Delivers TKO in Final Round

Lehmberg wins by a mile

Rosemary Lehmberg celebrates her victory.
Rosemary Lehmberg celebrates her victory. (Photo by Jordan Smith)

"The district attorney is a woman," Mindy Montford announced to a throng of cheering supporters assembled at her campaign headquarters just after 9pm Tuesday night. "How cool is that?"

Indeed, the run-off race to replace 30-year Travis Co. District Attorney Ronnie Earle featured two female contenders, both assistant district attorneys: 37-year-old whip-smart Montford and seasoned First Assistant D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg, 58. In the end, Lehmberg snagged the prize, with a solid 65% of the April 8 vote. With no Republican in the race, Lehmberg is the presumptive victor – and so next year will take office as the first female D.A., the county's top law enforcer.

Over at Montford's HQ, the mood was festive (interestingly, more so than at Lehmberg's election night party – at least early on, according to those who split time between the two campaigns' celebrations), even as election results reflected a decisive lead for Lehmberg. Mont­ford was gracious – she'd called Lehmberg to congratulate her and "wish her well," she told supporters – and said that she was proud of the "positive" campaign she'd run. In the final days of the election, things had gotten a tad tense, with allegations that Lehmberg's campaign was behind rumors that Republic­ans – and namely, former Austin state representative turned Tom Craddick parliamentarian Terry Keel – were stumping hard for Montford. Still, Montford said that she believed important (albeit unspecified) issues had been raised in the campaign and that she was confident that Lehmberg had been listening and would consider that voter feedback as she moved into the office's top spot. "I think there are good things ahead," Montford said.

There is no doubt that campaigning has taught Lehmberg a thing or two, she said. "I stepped out into the community, and I heard people," she said, including their criticisms. But she never got "defensive," she said, "because I needed to hear them." Now, she said, she'll sit with Earle "and share with him some of the things I heard and with staff as we start to plan" for the future. "Mostly what I think is that the people of Austin want a district attorney that fits and that shares Austin values," Lehmberg said. "And I think that's what has happened."

Farther down the ballot, voters in eastern Travis Co. gave Danny Thomas a big win in the Precinct 1 constable run-off. He took 71% of the vote over Janie Serna.

Rosemary Lehmberg's run-off win over Mindy Montford was thorough. Of the 210 boxes in Travis Co., Montford won only 20. (Low turnout resulted in several ties, though – six boxes deadlocked.) The few boxes that Montford did win either produced only a narrow margin (13 were less than 54%) or inconsequential (her top seven turned out fewer than 100 voters apiece).

Lehmberg Delivers TKO in Final Round

Lehmberg, by contrast, both won big and won where it counted. She captured more than 80% of the vote in 11 boxes and took all of the biggest precincts in Austin, including dominating margins in the 10 largest. A telling stat: In Montford's most decisive win, only 19 votes were at stake, whereas one of Lehmberg's top victories came in the whale that is Precinct 342, with 548 voters.

Lehmberg's Top Precincts

Precinct / Lehmberg % / Total Votes

274 / 86.7% / 143

422 / 86.0% / 157

235 / 85.7% / 126

250 / 85.4% / 233

342 / 82.3% / 548

437 / 81.8% / 143

136 / 81.0% / 232

332 / 80.9% / 299

421 / 80.7% / 238

208 / 80.5% / 41

Montford's Top Precincts

Precinct / Montford % / Total Votes

411 / 84.2% / 19

222 / 64.4% / 73

402 / 60.8% / 79

202 / 60.6% / 66

320 / 58.6% / 70

200 / 58.1% / 86

209 / 53.9% / 76

334 / 53.8% / 210

218 / 53.3% / 90

343 / 52.9% / 17

Boxes With Heaviest Turnout

Precinct / Total Votes / Lehmberg's Winning %

342 / 548 / 82.3%

354 / 387 / 63.8%

256 / 364 / 58.2%

231 / 358 / 70.1%

337 / 358 / 67.9%

237 / 355 / 70.1%

273 / 347 / 72.3%

242 / 345 / 78.3%

239 / 347 / 75.5%

364 / 346 / 73.4%

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Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, Mindy Montford, Danny Thomas, Election

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