RESULTS: Austin City Council seats go to Harper-Madison, Renteria and Ellis

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UPDATE: 9:40 p.m.

The final three members to sit on the Austin City Council dais in 2019 have been decided.

Sabino “Pio” Renteria will return to represent District 3 on the council for a second term. He received 64.3 percent of the vote, defeating Susana Almanza 2,414 votes to 1,339.

The other two races decided on Dec. 11 were contested by newcomers after incumbents Ora Houston in District 1 and Ellen Troxclair in District 8 chose not to run for re-election.

After a tight race on Nov. 6, Natasha Harper-Madison won her runoff election against Mariana Salazar. Harper-Madison received 71.8 percent of the vote, or 3,404 total votes to Salazar’s 1,341 votes.

In District 8, Paige Ellis defeated Frank Ward in the closest race of the night and the race with the highest turnout. Ellis received 6,115 total votes to Ward’s 4,799, winning by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.

UPDATE: 8:48 p.m.

With ballots counted at 51 percent of election day locations, District 3 incumbent council member Sabino “Pio” Renteria leads his race in District 3, while first-time council candidates Natasha Harper-Madison in District 1 and Paige Ellis in District 8 are also out in front in their respective races.

Renteria has received 64.6 percent of the vote in the District 3 race, leading his sister, Susana Almanza, 1,980 votes to 1,084. Harper-Madison has received 72.5 percent of the vote in District 1, or 1,980 votes to lead Mariana Salazar’s 1,084 total votes, and Ellis has 4,302 votes in the District 8 race, leading Frank Ward, who has 3,523 votes, by nearly 10 percentage points.

Original Story:

Early voting totals from the city of Austin’s Dec. 11 runoff election show the lone incumbent in the three contested races, District 3 Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria, leading his sister Susana Almanza in the second consecutive runoff election between the two candidates.

Renteria received 65.4 percent of early votes cast in District 3, winning 1,352 votes to Almanza’s 716.

In the District 1 race, Natasha Harper-Madison, a mother and affordable housing advocate, received 1,958 votes cast early or 71.7 percent of the total, leading her opponent Mariana Salazar, an immigrant with 15 years of community organizing experience, who received 772 votes or 28.3 percent. In the Nov. 6 election, the two top candidates in District 1 were separated by less than one percent of votes, with Salazar receiving 25.9 percent of the total and Harper-Madison 25 percent.

After early voting, the District 8 council race is the closest of the three that went to a runoff. Paige Ellis received 3,532 early votes or 54.6 percent of the total in District 8, leading opponent Frank Ward, who received 2,938 votes.

District 8 was also the race with the highest early turnout, as 6,470 votes were cast early as compared to 2,730 in District 1 and 2,068 in District 3.

Election background

Austin City Council elections are held every two years, and this is the third consecutive election in which at least one race went to a runoff since the council instituted its system representing the city’s ten geographic districts in 2014.

In 2016, District 10 Council Member Alison Alter defeated incumbent Sheri Gallo in a runoff election, earning 9,481 of the 14,918 runoff ballots cast in that race, or 64 percent of the vote. Alter had finished behind Gallo in the November election that year, earning 36 percent of the votes to Gallo’s 48 percent in the initial race among four candidates.

In 2014, the mayoral race and seven council races went to a runoff in the first year of the 10-1 district system. Of the eight races, Renteria in District 3 and Gallo in District 10 were the only run-off election winners who were not the top vote-getters in the November election.

City council will meet for the last time this year on Dec. 13. Its first meeting of 2019 will take place on Jan. 7.

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Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. He graduated in 2011 from Boston University and worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in January of 2018.
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