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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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All four Council incumbents easily win re-election
Saturday, May 12, 2012 by Jo Clifton
Austin voters evidently looked around and decided that life was still pretty good in their city, giving the Mayor and three incumbent Council members solid victories in Saturday’s election.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who had the toughest fight against former Council Member Brigid Shea and Council gadfly Clay Dafoe, had about 52 percent of the vote with 217 of 237 boxes counted. Shea, who did considerably better on Election Day than she did in the Early Vote—nearly 40 percent as compared to 34 percent—had no chance of catching up with Leffingwell.
Shea told supporters gathered at Mexitas that they had already made a difference with their campaign. “This was not in vain. We’ve already altered the conversation in this community around affordability. We have changed the conversation around incentives…We did that, you guys,” said Shea, who also cited raising issues around campaign finance reform and proposed electric rate hikes for residential customers as triumphs of her campaign.
“The only thing I really would have changed is I would have started earlier,” Shea told In Fact Daily. “I mean, it took me a while to make the decision.. .and it really took a while to get the campaign set up properly.”
“I got through today, and I have no idea what I’m going to do next,” said Shea.
Leffingwell told a crowd of cheering supporters at Scholz Garten, “I know that this has been a tough election. I know that there were tough decisions to make.” He was surrounded on the stage by his family and a number of elected officials, including Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and Council Member Mike Martinez, who defeated his opponent, Laura Pressley, with about 56 percent of the vote.
Speaking from the same stage, Martinez told the crowd, “On Monday we go right back to work here at city hall…all of the things that we worked on last week and the week before are still here.”
Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole scored the most lop-sided victory of the evening. She told her happy supporters at the Victory Grill that the seven members of the current Council are the hardest-working group of people she has ever known. Cole defeated Shaun Ireland with 71 percent of the vote.
Council Member Bill Spelman, who had a tough race with six opponents, managed to win his race with nearly 58 percent of the vote at last count. He delighted supporters by giving his campaign manager Jim Wick a framed picture of Winston Churchill that featured the famous Prime Minister’s words “Deserve Victory.”
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