Newcomer Vanessa Fuentes wins handily to take Austin City Council District 2 seat

(Courtesy Vanessa Fuentes campaign)
(Courtesy Vanessa Fuentes campaign)

(Courtesy Vanessa Fuentes campaign)

UPDATE 12:50 a.m.: Vanessa Fuentes, a health policy advocate who focused her campaign on addressing health disparities in Southeast Austin, has won the race to represent Austin City Council's District 2, according to vote totals from the Travis County Clerk's Office.

Fuentes, who shot out to a more than 36-point lead after early-voting totals were tallied, held on to earn 56.1% of the 26,376 votes cast in the District 2 race. Her opponents, Casey Ramos and David Chincanchan, both Southeast Austin natives, earned 19.8% and 19.1% respectively. A fourth candidate, Alexander Strenger, earned 5% of the vote; however, Strenger dropped out of the race weeks ago to endorse Ramos.

Fuentes, a local politics newcomer, will take the torch from current Austin City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, who decided against another City Council run in favor of the Travis County Attorney seat.

Fuentes said the results show how hard her campaign worked to engage the community throughout a race in which she continually promised "proactive community engagement" if victorious.

"Some folks may be surprised by the [margin], but I could hear and see it in the community in how we were engaging," Fuentes said. "I knew we would have a strong run at this race and usher in a movement."


Community Impact Newspaper was unable to reach Ramos and Chincanchan for comment.

ORIGINAL STORY: With early-voting and some Election Day results tallied, health policy advocate Vanessa Fuentes has a comfortable lead over her two opponents in the battle to represent the Southeast Austin City Council District 2—the lone race guaranteed to bring a new face to Austin City Council in 2021.

Fuentes, who spent the last six years with the American Heart Association and was inspired to run after seeing growing disparities in her Southeast Austin community, carries 56.1% of the 26,077 votes counted as of 11:20 p.m. Challengers David Chincanchan, a Dove Springs native, and Casey Ramos, a Southeast Austin native, hold 19.8% and 19.1%, respectively. A fourth opponent, Alexander Strenger, has 5% of the vote; however, Strenger dropped out of the race weeks ago to endorse Ramos.

The 26,077 votes cast in early voting represent 50.3% of the total registered voters in the district, according to county data.

Fuentes said the results show how hard her campaign worked to engage the community throughout a race in which she continually promised "proactive community engagement" if victorious.

"Some folks may be surprised by the [margin], but I could hear and see it in the community in how we were engaging," Fuentes said. "I knew we would have a strong run at this race and usher in a movement."

Community Impact Newspaper was unable to reach Ramos and Chincanchan for comment.

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. The clerk's office said 50,558 voters had cast ballots on Election Day.

Results are updated as of 11:20 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.



Editor's note: This story was updated to include the latest voting tallies and a quote from Fuentes.
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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