AISD & ACC: Low Turnout rules
The AISD and ACC boards take shape
Dismal turnout was the story of the night everywhere, but nowhere worse than the down-ballot education races. Early voting in two of the three Austin Independent School District seats was so low that the winners and losers were scarcely separated by double digits – votes, not percentages.
In District 1, UT African and African Diaspora Studies Department Chair Edmund "Ted" Gordon was less than 3% ahead of David "D" Thompson, whose connections to the embattled education "reform" movement had become a major talking point in the closing days of the race. However, Gordon dominated on election day by an almost two-to-one margin, finally opening a 12-point lead.
It was equally nailbiting in District 6 for PR consultant and longtime education advocate Paul Saldaña, who slowly widened a lead over former Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders teacher Kate Mason-Murphy. The political consensus was always that Mason-Murphy – who raised no cash and had handmade signs – should never have made it to the run-offs, never mind come so close to the more experienced Saldaña. "It's the Austin way," shrugged Saldaña.
There was less stress in the At-Large Position 9 race, where District Advisory Council member Kendall Pace easily bested UT program director Hillary Procknow. Neither bothered attending election night parties, instead enjoying dinner with their families. While Pace praised her opponent, she ascribed her victory to her nuts-and-bolts district experience, saying, "I'm much more of a doer than a philosopher."
Rounding out the races, Austin Community College Foundation Board member Gigi Edwards Bryant closed out the night with a nearly eight-point win over construction businesswoman Jade Chang Sheppard.