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Eckhardt leading Brown 53-46 in Early Vote

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by Michael Kanin

After an extremely hard fought race, former Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt took a giant step closer to being county judge tonight with an early vote lead of 53.37 percent to Andy Brown’s 46.63 percent.

 

The Early Vote is considered extremely important because it can represent half of those voting in a race. There were 22,828 votes cast in this race in voting prior to today.

 

Eckhardt was the Precinct 2 Travis County Commissioner who stepped down last May to run for County Judge. She is a former Travis County prosecutor and comes from a legendary Central Texas political family. She is the daughter of former Congressman Bob Eckhardt, a Democrat who served 14 years from 1967 to 1981.

 

Eckhardt said her strength is her experience and understanding of county government. She campaigned on her record in office, touting items like working to set the county’s policy for corporations seeking tax incentives, developing groundwater rules for subdivisions and pushing for more transparency on the court.

 

Brown is the former Travis County Democratic Party chairman and a longtime political operative. He has not, however, ever held public office. (The post of party chair is listed on county ballots, but is strictly a party position.)

 

Brown has drawn a large number of endorsements in the race, including such Democratic luminaries as Congressman Lloyd Doggett, State Sen. Kirk Watson, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and a host of other local elected officials.

 

Brown’s campaign led in donations, pulling in some $733,000, including in-kind donations, with cash donations totaling $662,000.

 

The Eckhardt campaign raised a $447,000 war chest, and garnered several key endorsements, including former State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, former Austin Mayor Frank Cooksey, former Austin Council Members Jackie Goodman, Jennifer Kim and Daryl Slusher and others. She received endorsements from the American Statesman, The Burnt Orange Report, the Austin Chronicle and several Democratic groups and unions.

  

Brown and Eckhardt ran in the first competitive campaign for County Judge since 1998. Republican Mike McNamara will face the winner in November. The office will become vacant in January when current County Judge Sam Biscoe retires after more than 15 years on the job.

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