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Likely winners emerge in local early voting

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 by Austin Monitor

Gina Hinojosa, a member and former president of the Austin Independent School District board, took a commanding lead in the race to replace House District 49 State Rep. Elliott Naishtat as the early vote was counted tonight. Hinojosa had 55.4 percent of the 13,460 votes cast during early voting, which ended Friday.

Heather Way, a University of Texas Law School professor, came in a distant second with 19.16 percent of the early vote, and Huey Rey Fischer, a former aide to State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, came in third with 15.42 percent of the early vote.

Hinojosa got the vast majority of endorsements, including from the Austin American-Statesman, The Austin Chronicle and, at the last minute, The Daily Texan, as well as numerous Democratic clubs.

Attorneys Blake Rocap, Matthew Shrum, Aspen Dunaway and Kenton Johnson each scored in the single digits. The winner of this primary will have the seat being vacated by Naishtat, since there is no Republican in the race. Unless people voting today cast ballots in an entirely different way than those who voted early, Hinojosa, the daughter of the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, is on her way to the Legislature.

There is news out of the Travis County Commissioners Court races as well.

In the packed Precinct 1 race, Jeff Travillion has taken an early lead with 44.56 percent of the 9,964 votes cast. The other presumed frontrunner, James Nortey is, indeed, in second place with 19.52 percent of the vote.

However, Arthur Sampson is a close third, with 17.16 percent of the vote. He is followed by Richard Franklin III, who has just over 10.08 percent of the vote, and Marc Hoskins with 8.68 percent.

In the Precinct 3 Travis County Commissioners Court race, incumbent Gerald Daugherty took an easy lead over opponent Jason Nassour, making him the odds-on favorite to retain the seat. Daugherty won 74.18 percent of the 12,339 early votes cast in the Republican primary, dwarfing the 25.82 percent earned by his opponent.

Daugherty was previously elected to the Precinct 3 seat in 2002 and 2004 before losing the 2008 election. He returned to the position in 2012 and still serves as a county commissioner. Nassour is an attorney and co-founder of the Austin Radio Network.

Constable Sally Hernandez is off to a strong start in her race for the Democratic nomination for Travis County sheriff. However, the only woman in the race would still head to a May 24 run-off if only the early votes were counted. With the initial ballots in, Hernandez leads her closest competitor – Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford – by 27 points.

Still, Hernandez collected only 48.75 percent of the early votes, which means she will have to build her lead as the night goes on in order to win an outright majority. Meanwhile, Radford’s 22.98 percent of the early vote leaves him vulnerable to Travis County Deputy Don Rios, who won 19.6 percent. Former Austin Police Lt. John Sisson, in his second try for the office, is running fourth with 9.67 percent of the total 50,922 early votes counted.

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