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Daugherty reclaims Precinct 3 seat from Huber

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 by Michael Kanin

In a very tight race, former Precinct 3 Commissioner Republican Gerald Daugherty took back the seat he lost in 2008 to Democrat Karen Huber. Daugherty defeated incumbent Huber by about 2300 votes as of midnight. His election will make him the only Republican on the Travis County Commissioners Court and one of two local Republican officials.


Late Tuesday, Huber told In Fact Daily that the contentious redistricting fight that grabbed the court in 2011 played a critical role in her defeat. “I am sad to say that it’s my belief that redistricting made the difference,” she said.


For his part, Daugherty told In Fact Daily that traffic – the issue that he ran on – may have spelled defeat for Huber. “She’s got a situation in this county that people really understand that traffic is the number one issue,” he said. “It’s the thing that challenges all of us.”


The Huber-Daugherty race has been a hotly contested one. Huber unseated Daugherty, a then-six-year incumbent, by a 49-46 percent tally in 2008.


Daugherty entered the 2012 race at the last minute, and came as a surprise to fellow Travis County Republicans. He told In Fact Daily that his decision to run came after he learned that Huber would try for re-election. Since then, Daugherty has led a strong and vocal campaign focused on lack of roads and general traffic congestion. Daugherty’s unwavering support of SH 45 also may have won over some disenchanted Huber supporters.


During the campaign, Daugherty successfully, it turned out, put his promise to build SH-45 Southwest up against Huber’s perceived flip on the issue. Huber has maintained that she never committed to vote for the construction of the road, which proponents argue would alleviate traffic in northern Hays and southern Travis counties.


Still, Daugherty seemed ready to acknowledge the fact that it is going to take more than his vote to get SH-45 built. It remains unclear whether the will of the court is such that Daugherty could push his colleagues to keep the road in the CAMPO 2035 plan.


“It’s not like anybody has a magic wand,” he said.


Huber tried to turn the discussion toward water issues. In looking back at the race Tuesday night, she said that she was disappointed that the race didn’t feature more substance. Huber suggested that the number of other questions, and the headlining Presidential race, may have lent to some relative ignorance of her race. “We had very few forums,” Huber said. “They were not covered by the press.”

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