Thursday, March 5, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Which Republican will Fleck face in HD 47 runoff?

House District 47 Rep. Vikki Goodwin had no opposition in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, but five Republicans were vying for the opportunity to run against her in November.

Attorney Jennifer Fleck led the Republican pack with 5,760 votes, more than 32 percent of the ballots cast in the race. In the unofficial totals released by the Travis County Elections Division, former Council Member Don Zimmerman garnered 4,099 votes and former Austin Police Officer Justin Berry got one less – 4,098 votes.

Berry seemed quite confident the day after the election that he, and not Zimmerman, would be in the May 26 runoff with Fleck. His Facebook post read, “We have had a tremendous surge in the final hours of counting. It is likely the ballots remaining to be counted will be similar to other late-arriving ballots. I am currently behind by just one vote now, but I expect to go ahead by a small margin by the time counting is 100% complete. The only thing we know for sure is that the number will change when the rest of the ballots come in. I think it is most likely to change in my favor.”

Zimmerman did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Travis County spokeswoman Victoria Hinojosa, the county has 1,052 provisional ballots, which were cast on election day or during early voting, and may or may not be counted. Hinojosa said the decision about which of those should be counted will be made next week.

In addition to the provisional ballots, most often given to people who cannot produce proper identification, it is likely there will be more ballots coming in this week from military personnel stationed overseas. Republican Party spokesman Andy Hogue said it is his understanding that the deadline for those ballots to arrive is Monday.

According to the unofficial figures, 225,108 Travis County Democrats voted in Tuesday’s primary, as did 42,196 Republicans. That means 16 percent of those voters participated in the Republican primary. If the provisional ballots reflect the same percentages of party affiliation, we can expect 168 of the provisional ballots to be intended for the Republican primary. However, there is no way to know whether that is the case and there is no indication at this time how many of those voters live in House District 47.

The district starts in Southwest Austin at Shady Hollow and flows around the southern edge of the city, taking in Lakeway, Lago Vista and Jonestown. According to Democratic campaign consultant David Butts, Republican Rep. Paul Workman wanted to load up the district with Republicans to make it a safer seat. The district “swings around and picks up some of the precincts along 183, so it’s like a big crescent,” Butts said.

Fleck told the Austin Monitor via email that she and her supporters and volunteers knocked on 6,000 doors; among them 5,500 she did herself. “We beat more money, last place on the ballot and name ID with hard work and a desire to take back our government for the people and conservative values. I look forward to the runoff. I know I can win with the same efforts and desire that gave me a decisive lead in the primary.”

Goodwin took office in January 2019 after defeating Workman in the November 2018 election. Workman, the only Republican representing Travis County in the Texas House, held the seat for eight years before he was defeated.

Photo by Jonathan Cutrer.

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