For third consecutive election, West Austin will need a December runoff to decide its City Council representative

Incumbent Alison Alter (left) and conservative challenger Jennifer Virden are leading the field in the crowded Austin City Council District 10 race.
Incumbent Alison Alter (left) and conservative challenger Jennifer Virden are leading the field in the crowded Austin City Council District 10 race.

Incumbent Alison Alter (left) and conservative challenger Jennifer Virden are leading the field in the crowded Austin City Council District 10 race.

UPDATE 1:00 a.m.: Incumbent Alison Alter and conservative challenger Jennifer Virden will face off in a December runoff election in their bid to earn a four-year Austin City Council term representing West Austin's District 10.

With seven candidates running for the seat, many expected a runoff election, which is triggered when no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote. 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. Neither candidate was available for comment.

The forced runoff means since the inaugural District 10 election in November 2014, every race to decide the district's City Council representative has concluded in a runoff. In 2014, Sheri Gallo trailed Mandy Dealey by nearly 8 points after the November election but went on to win in December 54.7% to 45.3%. In 2016, Gallo held a strong lead in the November election over challenger Alter 48.2% to 35.5%; however, Alter went on to defeat Gallo in a landslide December runoff, 64% to 36%.

The runoff between Alter and Virden is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 15.

ORIGINAL STORY: With early-voting and some Election Day vote totals in and more than 64% of registered voters' ballots tallied, Alison Alter, the Austin City Council District 10 incumbent, is likely headed to a runoff election, according to the Travis County Clerk's Office.

Alter earned 34.3% of the 45,179 votes cast in the race to decide West Austin's next City Council representative. Conservative challenger Jennifer Virden trails Alter with 25.4% of the vote. Pooja Sethi, who positioned herself to the left of Alter, is third with 18.1%. Robert Thomas, another conservative challenger earned 16.6%. Candidates Belinda Greene, Ben Easton and Noel Tristan round out the bottom three with 3%, 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively.

The 45,179 votes cast in early voting represent 64.2% of the total registered voters in District 10, according to county data.

If no candidate earns more than 50% of the popular vote, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a Dec. 15 runoff election. Alter earned her first term on City Council in 2016 after soundly defeating incumbent Sheri Gallo in a runoff election 64% to 36%. Gallo beat Alter in the November 2016 race by almost 13 points, but her 48.2% vote share fell just short of the 50% mark.

Community Impact Newspaper was unable to reach Alter or Virden for comment on election night.

The Travis County Clerk's Office is still counting votes from Election Day. According to the clerk's office, the unofficial number of early voters was 553,290, or 64.7% of the 855,175 registered voters in the county. As of 6 p.m., the clerk's office said 43,000 voters had cast ballots on Election Day.

Results are updated as of 7:30 p.m. and are unofficial until they are canvassed and certified by the county clerk. Under Texas election law, the clerk accepts and counts mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 4, if they were sent from inside the U.S., or Nov. 9 if they were sent from outside the U.S.

Visit to see results from all local elections in your community.

Editor's note: This story received updated vote tallies at 11:10 p.m.
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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