The Austin Chronicle

Top 10 Election Stories

By Richard Whittaker, December 30, 2016, News

1) Trump The unforeseeable happened. Donald Trump will be president. Now the U.S. intelligence community is sending up red flags that Russia may have used fake news and the hack of the Democratic Nation­al Committee emails to influence the election, potentially destabilizing the entire planet.

2) Turnout Up and Down The November election saw record local turnout – or not, depending how you look at it. 475,141 ballots were cast in Travis County, beating 2008's record of 402,832. That was only 65% of registered voters, however, compared to 66% eight years ago.

3) Perry's Double Failure Former Texas Governor Rick Perry performed yet another political faceplant, becoming the first Repub­lican to withdraw from the presidential race after a catastrophic debate performance. Last month, Trump nominated him to be U.S. Energy secretary.

4) Farewell, Elliott ... Elliott Naishtat, dean of the Travis County delegation, chose not to run for re-election. Former AISD board president Gina Hinojosa will take his seat.

5) Ted, Just Admit It No establishment Republican was brought lower by Trump's shenanigans than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Not only did his own GOP presidential primary run stall out, but he was booed at the Republican Party convention after refusing to endorse Trump. A photo of a crestfallen Cruz phonebanking for Trump became an internet meme. Rumors spread that he'll be the target of a Senate primary challenge in 2018.

6) Dukes Gone (Kinda) Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Pflugerville, won re-election, but will only hold her seat for one day. Citing medical issues from a 2013 auto collision (and not the pending abuse-of-office investigation), Dukes says she'll retire Jan. 10, the opening day of the Lege, triggering a special election.

7) Local Change (Or No Change) The big story in Travis County politics was how little shifted after Nov. 8. Only two members of City Council changed; there's one new AISD board member; the House caucus remains split, five Democrats and one Republican.

8) Endorsing Be Hard The Statesman faced criticism after its editorial board announced it would no longer endorse individual candidates. This came in the same year that publications nationwide that have never issued endorsements came out to back Hillary Clinton over Trump.

9) Democrats' Lost Opportunities Dems could have performed better in Texas than they did. Not only did Hillary Clinton do better than expected, but she beat Trump in two GOP House districts – 16 and 32 – in which Dems didn't even run candidates. The Travis County Democratic Party also failed to back Ana Jordan in HD 47, deciding to leave Republican Paul Workman in place instead.

10) Don Done Say farewell to self-proclaim­ed expert on everything Don Zimmer­man, beaten at the ballot box by Jimmy Flan­ni­gan, whom Zim barely fended off in 2014.

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