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Wednesday, November 9, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard
Commissioner Gerald Daugherty retains Precinct 3 seat
Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty won a fourth term in office on Tuesday night.
The Commissioners Court’s lone Republican triumphed over his Democratic, novice office-seeker David Holmes, in a close race that early voting results showed as virtually tied shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m.
“I said it from the get-go that this was going to be one heck of a race even with incumbency at my back,” Daugherty told the Austin Monitor early Wednesday morning. “It’s just hard to win a race in Travis County when you have an ‘R’ by your name. I’ve always known that.”
Precinct 3 covers almost all of rural and suburban western Travis County but is considered a swing district thanks to the inclusion of parts of south, west and downtown Austin. Daugherty dominated in communities such as Lakeway and Lago Vista and the surrounding hinterland, while Holmes found his strongest support in the urban edge of the precinct.
Daugherty’s victory renews his status as one of the county’s few GOP officeholders. He shares the distinction with state Rep. Paul Workman, whose District 47 also covers western Travis County.
The race’s close result was a dramatic end to a contest that briefly flashed into the national consciousness thanks to a viral ad produced by Daugherty. The spot featured his beleaguered wife asking voters to return her husband to office so that she wouldn’t have to put up with his monomaniacal obsession with wonky policy issues. The gentle, self-deprecating tone of the ad made it a viral sensation in a country battered by bitter partisanship from the White House race on down.
“It was a little tongue-in-cheek,” Daugherty admitted. “But more than anything, she wanted me to be re-elected because she was supportive of me and she knew I had the best interests of Travis County residents in mind.”
Daugherty was originally elected to the Commissioners Court in a special election in 2002 and again in 2004. He lost the post in 2008 during the Democratic wave that helped sweep President Barack Obama into his first term. In 2012, Daugherty came back, largely running on the promise to shepherd through to construction the logjammed plans for State Highway 45 Southwest.
That toll road project, now under the aegis of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, has overcome legal challenges from environmental groups and officially broke ground on Tuesday morning.
During the campaign, Daugherty also touted his fiscal conservatism and the county’s record of maintaining the same tax rate or lowering it for three years in a row. He also helped oversee the creation of the downtown sobriety center that the county, in partnership with the city of Austin, will open next year.
Daugherty said he’ll maintain a steady charge for the next four years.
“I won’t do anything different than I’ve always done, which is get out and work for the people of Travis County regardless of their party and provide them with good governance,” he said.
Holmes told the Monitor, “I think i can still work with Gerald to positively impact things and I’m looking forward to doing that.”
Additional reporting by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.