Key Races on the November Ballot
A quick guide to the biggest contests to tide you over until endorsements
By Mike Clark-Madison, Fri., Sept. 4, 2020
It's not even Labor Day yet and y'all are asking for endorsements, which we're hustling to get done before voters start receiving mail ballots in about a month. In the meantime, here's a quick review of the key contests. See more at austinchronicle.com/elections.
President/U.S. Senate: Yes, Texas really is in play; though unlikely to be the tipping-point state for either Biden or Trump. Sen. John Cornyn will outperform the president, which still may not be enough to outrun Round Rock's own MJ Hegar.
U.S. Congress: Of Austin's six districts, Dems only hold one (which is safe) but are bullish on four, as the GOP gerrymander is trampled by the suburban stampede to the left. Two of these got added to national D target lists just last week, with contenders Julie Oliver and Donna Imam joining Wendy Davis and Mike Siegel as ones to watch.
Texas Legislature and State Offices: To flip the Texas House, Dems must defend freshmen James Talarico and John Bucy III in Williamson County, Vikki Goodwin in western Travis, and Erin Zwiener in Hays; the latter two are the tougher races. As Texas purples up, Dems have the best chance in years in contests for Railroad Commission, the state's high courts, and (for those south of the river) the State Board of Education.
Travis County: In a deep blue county, these mostly get decided in primaries, but José Garza and Andy Brown still need to be formally elected as district attorney and county judge. More competitive is Commissioners Court Precinct 3 (which overlaps Goodwin's House district), where Ann Howard aims to flip the last GOP seat; there's also one lonely incumbent GOP judge facing an uphill battle against Selena Alvarenga.
City Council and School Board: Four Council incumbents are up; Jimmy Flannigan's high-profile support of de-policing will get challenged in the city's purplest seat, while Alison Alter and Leslie Pool defend their land-use votes and Greg Casar cruises to another term. In District 2, the top candidates seek to claim the mantle of County Attorney-elect Delia Garza. In contrast, none of the four AISD incumbents is running again, and the leading contenders all promise change. Check out our last two issues (or online) for our overviews of these races, and stay tuned for our endorsements.
Other Local Races: Austin voters have two propositions: Prop A is the Project Connect transit plan (specifically, the tax rate earmarked to support it), and Prop B is a $460 million active transportation bond to help close the chronic funding shortfall for bike routes, sidewalks, and trails. Austin Community College has no contested board races, but most every Central Texas city and school board that still holds May elections has postponed them until now.
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