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Alter appears headed to victory

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by Jo Clifton

District 10 challenger Alison Alter had a strong lead early over incumbent Council Member Sheri Gallo Tuesday night as the Travis County Clerk’s Office announced the results of early voting. Alter had nearly 66 percent of the early vote to Gallo’s 34 percent.

Gallo, a real estate agent, has faced considerable criticism from neighborhoods close to the Austin Oaks planned unit development as well as those surrounding the Grove at Shoal Creek PUD. The most vocal of those critics are members of the Arbor PAC, which is sponsoring the anti-Gallo website as well as the Facebook page Stop the Austin Oaks PUD.

Early voting results showed Alter with 6,259 and Gallo with 3,276. With such low turnout, it seems highly unlikely that Gallo can catch up.

Although turnout in early voting was only 2.8 percent overall in Travis County, the turnout in District 10 was 14.41 percent, which seems to indicate a fairly strong interest in the city’s most affluent Council district.

In the end, however, turnout for the runoff will seem dismal. On November 8 and the early voting that preceded it, more than 74 percent of District 10 voters cast ballots. Only 17 percent of District 10 voters waited until Election Day to vote in that first round.

Gallo came close to winning the first race, with more than 48 percent of the vote overall. But she was less than 5,000 votes ahead of Alter. Still, many of those who voted for two other candidates in the November 8 balloting are probably backing Alter now.

Alter was also endorsed by every Democratic club making an endorsement in the race – as well as the party itself. The Travis County Democratic Party sent out emails urging District 10 voters to get out the vote for her.

Gallo emphasized frugality in city government. Her website says, “I believe that there should be less government, not more, and that our government should operate efficiently and spend our tax dollars wisely. I am the voice on the Council that says we should take our time to deliberate about Austin’s priorities and not rush into new spending plans.” However, what most voters knew about her had to do with the ugly campaign she and her opponents waged.

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