Pct. 1 Commissioner: On to Round Two
Front-runner Travillion faces Sampson in run-off
Sitting at a table at the Mueller Torchy's Tacos Tuesday night, Jeff Travillion projected the confidence of a man whose polling numbers were more than twice that of his closest opponent. Travillion said that he believes that Precinct 1, which he seeks to represent as Travis County Commissioner, has deficiencies – in affordable housing, in accessible transportation, and in environmental quality – that are "problems government is designed to solve. Collective problems take government solutions." Travillion said the legacy of the city's 1928 master plan is a set of disparate outcomes on the Eastside that were "not unintended," but that he believes are beginning to be addressed. While Travillion's vision of government as a means to "move people from poverty to opportunity" and his air of authoritative competence clearly resonated with voters, he was not able to garner quite enough votes in the five-man race to avoid a run-off.
James Nortey appeared to be his most likely opponent in that contest, and early Tuesday night at his party at Hoover's Cooking he spoke of his plans for the coming election, but he ultimately was edged out by Arthur Sampson, or, at least, that's what the final unofficial results indicate. Nortey campaign manager Nick Hudson told the Chronicle Wednesday afternoon that Nortey was waiting to formally concede until the official count – which will include mail-in ballots and cured (i.e., validated) provisional ballots – has been tallied. Travis County Clerk Public Information Coordinator Ginny Ballard said that Travis County received about 1,700 provisional ballots (the unofficial count has Nortey losing to Sampson by 138 votes). An official count should be available no later than March 10.
Reached by phone Wednesday morning, Nortey said that he was "so, so grateful for all my supporters who believed in my vision, and believed in my campaign," and that he believes it will be important for the community to support whoever wins the run-off. Nortey said his campaign was never so much specifically about the office, "instead what the community could do with the office," and that – assuming the official result doesn't put him in the run-off – he will continue practicing law and addressing "neglected needs" as a Democratic Party member and volunteer.
After the unofficial results had come in late Tuesday night, Sampson told the Chronicle that he is the candidate with the hands-on experience Precinct 1 needs. "I'm prepared and ready to go. I could get sworn in tomorrow." That may be the case, but he faces an uphill battle: Travillion took home 41.7% of the vote, while Sampson garnered 18.5%.