It's Houston Over Lofton

Quiet campaign, big victory

Ora Houston
Ora Houston

On Wednesday morning, defeated District 1 candidate DeWayne Lofton was a little hoarse and a little tired, but he wished victorious Ora Houston the best in her ascension to the City Council dais. "Obviously, I thought things were going to be different," Lofton said of his attempt to overcome a 35-point deficit from the first round (49-14%). "I thought we had plugged all the holes from the general election ... to move the dial in our direction." (The final tally was 74-26%.) He said Houston had thanked him for his concession call and "for running a clean campaign," and he looked forward to meeting with her early next year. "We want to figure out a way to work on the issues that we agree on, and make sure there's a way that the District 1 issues get addressed," he said, citing affordability, jobs, and economic development. "At the end of the day," Lofton concluded, "whether it was me or her there, it was really the people of District 1 that we were fighting to serve, and if that happens, I'll be happy."

Compared to some of the other districts, the D1 race was remarkably congenial, with the two surviving candidates differing somewhat on development issues – i.e., how fast is too fast, a thorny question all across the city – but otherwise not taking personal shots at each other. Both candidates were weary at the length of the campaign. Houston suggested it would be at least a day before her mind cleared sufficiently for her to have "anything new to say."

As the Houston celebration wound down at Midtown Live, the Council member-elect said she had "worked as hard in the run-off as in the first round," leaving nothing to chance and continuing blockwalking right up to election night. She said her first priority, come January, was to begin to "build relationships" on City Council, "because that's the only way this new 10-1 system is going to work." She looked forward to working with her colleagues, including the new mayor, and said it would take a bit of time for all of them to get through "orientation" and begin to work. Asked about the mayoral outcome and Steve Adler's huge victory, she said, "Austin is ready to do something different, and we need to honor that."

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