Incumbent Alison Alter holds on in Austin City Council runoff election to win second four-year term

A voter at Lions Municipal Golf Course. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
A voter at Lions Municipal Golf Course. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

A voter at Lions Municipal Golf Course. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

UPDATE 10:28 p.m.: District 10 incumbent Alison Alter has defeated challenger Jennifer Virden 51.2% to 48.8% in the runoff election to claim her second consecutive four-year council term.

Alter earned 12,348 of the 24,109 ballots cast between early voting and Election Day. Alter never trailed in the race after early and mail-in voting tallies were announced.

For Alter, it's her second win in a runoff election. In 2016, she defeated incumbent Sheri Gallo by a landslide after trailing by double digits in November. This time around, Alter led in November and maintained the momentum into December. She told Community Impact Newspaper she was "excited" to serve another four years representing the West Austin district.

"I believe District 10 voters voted for integrity, policy experience and leadership, and against the politics of fear," Alter said. She said she's always worked to represent all District 10 residents but knows not everyone will agree with her all of her policy decisions.

The strong challenge from Virden came in the name of a pair of recent and divisive City Council policies—reducing the police department's budget in August, and decriminalizing homelessness in 2019, which effectively allowed the homeless community to camp in public.

Virden did not return Community Impact Newspaper's election night calls for comment.

ORIGINAL STORY: With nearly 19,000 ballots cast during early voting, District 10 incumbent Alison Alter has a slim lead over challenger Jennifer Virden in their battle for the West Austin City Council seat.

Alter's 51% to 49% early voting lead over Virden represents only 373 votes. Election Day totals have yet to be posted after polls closed at 7 p.m.

The candidates were the top two finishers in the seven-candidate crowd in the November general election for the District 10 City Council seat. Alter's 34.2% share of the 45,433 votes cast in the district race led the pack, with Virden's 25.4% trailing closest behind. A runoff election was triggered as neither candidate rose above the required 50% vote share.

Virden has run her campaign to Alter's right on local policies, namely City Council's effort to reduce police funding over the summer, and its 2019 decision to decriminalize homelessness, allowing those experiencing homelessness to camp in public. Alter's campaign has aligned Virden with President Donald J. Trump.

The runoff election is District 10's third consecutive since the City Council switched to a geographical system of representation in 2014. Alter earned her seat in a runoff election in 2016 against then-incumbent Sheri Gallo.

This story will be updated as results are posted throughout the night of Dec. 15. All results are unofficial until canvassed.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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