ACC: Mahoney Comes Out on Top, for Now

The high jumpers over at the UIL track and field state championships at UT Saturday night certainly had no idea who Tim Mahoney is, but they could probably relate to the Austin Community College board of trustees candidate's predicament – his election result was like getting his whole body over the bar ... but then clipping it with his ankles on the way down. Thanks to 5,297 people (18%) voting for ACC student Mike Reid – despite the fact that he stopped campaigning and apparently ended his candidacy – Mahoney ended up with only 48.5% of the vote, just shy of the 50% needed to avoid a run-off. The community activist and lawyer with strong Democratic support will have to again face Harrison Keller, an adviser to House Speaker Tom Craddick on education issues, who took 33%.

"I'm certainly honored by getting such a high plurality," said Mahoney, "but I sure wish we'd gotten another [two] percent. Now we're gearing up for June 14, and a whole new campaign."

Asked about how Keller's Republican connections played into the race, Mahoney said, "It certainly deflated some of his lift."

But after Saturday night, those connections could benefit Keller. He actually won among Williamson County voters, who accounted for only 3.5% of the total ballots. The next round, however, will feature a changed electorate: Simul­tan­eous to the board race, voters in the Round Rock ISD voted to join the ACC taxing district, 3,195 to 1,761. Those voters, presumably more conservative than Travis County's, will now be eligible to vote in the run-off – and based on Saturday's numbers, the newbies would account for 15% of the voters.

"I think now it's a whole new race," said Keller. Asked about the new Round Rock voters, Keller, ever the data-based researcher, said: "I'm still looking at the numbers. I think it's important. It's encouraging that the annexation passed overwhelmingly. It shows that people in Round Rock have an interest in ACC."

Asked if that worried him, Mahoney said: "I welcome their participation. We'll campaign in Williamson County, as well."

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