Berry edges Zimmerman by 1 vote in unofficial final count for Texas House District 47 primary

Justin Berry beat out Don Zimmerman by one vote. (Courtesy Justin Berry)
Justin Berry beat out Don Zimmerman by one vote. (Courtesy Justin Berry)

Justin Berry beat out Don Zimmerman by one vote. (Courtesy Justin Berry)

Though not yet officially canvassed, final numbers from Travis County show Texas House District 47 Republican candidate Justin Berry beat out Don Zimmerman by one vote for second place, reversing the positions initially shown as county workers tallied the votes on election night and into the next morning.

With the first vote count coming in the early morning hours of March 4, Jennifer Fleck appeared to be and still is the front-runner, and Don Zimmerman appeared to be in second place for Texas' House District 47, with 5,760 votes and 4,099 votes, respectively.

The rules for the primary election state the victor must garner more than 50% of the total votes. Since no candidate tallied more than 50%, a runoff election will occur between the top two vote-getters May 26.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir confirmed March 11 Berry pulled ahead of Zimmerman with Fleck still comfortably in the lead. Now that the tally includes the newly counted mail-in and provisional ballots, Berry ended up with 4,105 votes to Zimmerman's 4,104.

DeBeauvoir said the final tally will be taken to the Travis County Republican Party, which will then take it to the Texas secretary of state's office to be canvassed.

The results are not official until all of the votes are canvassed, but if the numbers hold, DeBeauvoir said Fleck and Berry will likely face off in a May 26 runoff election.

Berry's campaign representative, Craig Murphy, said since Berry pulled ahead in the final Travis County numbers, it will be up to Zimmerman's camp to call for a recount, and that will be likely given Berry's razor-thin margin of victory.

"That's excellent news, and obviously we're thrilled," Murphy said upon learning Berry had taken the unofficial lead.

Andy Hogue, the Travis County Republican Party's communications director, said the canvassing will take place March 12 at 10 a.m., and after that, the count will be official.

"Looks like Don [Zimmerman] has some money left over to in theory finance a recount," Hogue said. "I think that would be within the realm of possibility."

Information from the Texas secretary of state's office states Zimmerman has until March 13 at 2 p.m. to call for a recount.

Once two candidates are selected to square off in the May 26 runoff, the victor of that race will face Democrat Vikki Goodwin in the Nov. 3 general election.

Community Impact Newspaper will update this story, as more information is forthcoming.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018. From there he became a dual-market editor for Community Impact's New Braunfels and San Marcos-Buda-Kyle editions. Brian is now a senior editor for the company's flagship papers, the Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions.