Sheriff: Hernandez Avoids Run-Off

Lakeway Chief Radford comes in distant second

The possibility of avoiding a run-off in the race for Travis County Sheriff kept the Sally Hernandez watch party buzzing all evening. After the early vote numbers came in around 7:30pm, the current Precinct 3 constable was receiving positive assurances from her campaign team that the 50% mark was within reach.

Just blocks away from Hernandez headquarters at the CLEAT office, Lakeway Chief of Police Todd Radford stood in the hallway with his media contact and campaign manager. Radford listed the challenges he faced in running: His mother died around the time he announced, his duties as a sitting police chief, his son's deployment, and, perhaps most importantly, he had to learn how to be a candidate almost on the fly. "It's been an educational experience," Rad­ford admitted, pointing to the fact that he didn't know most of his campaign staff before June. "My disappointment tonight if we didn't do well would be more for them than myself."

Though the candidate cautioned supporters that "a lot can happen between now and November," the Hernandez campaign popped a bottle of Champagne as the final totals showed she maintained her lead with 50.6% of the vote. She would become the second woman ever elected sheriff in Travis County.

"It's been a great race," Hernandez said. "We've had a lot of great people working on this campaign. I'm just blessed. We've just become family."

District 4 Council Member Greg Casar made an appearance and listed Hernandez's position on immigration as a reason for his support. Current Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who's held the post for 12 years, has cooperated with the Immigrations and Customs Enforce­ment agency (ICE), which Hernan­dez says won't continue under her regime. "And that's, I believe, part of why there was a contested Democratic primary," Casar said. "I'm happy that Ms. Hernandez came out so strong on the issue. I think over the next few months I and others will be working to support her in coming up with a strategy to separate local law enforcement from immigration officials."

"Our community has spoken out against the current policy on ICE," Hernandez said. "I have Pedro Villalobos as my policy director, and he is a Dreamer. He really has helped open my eyes and see the importance and how it affects families and everybody."

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