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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Casar headed toward easy victory
Council Member Greg Casar was headed toward an easy reelection victory Tuesday night after winning two-thirds of the early vote. Casar, who has held the District 4 seat since 2015, faced two opponents who had little money and messages that obviously did not resonate with the mostly minority district. The early vote, which included 65 percent of those registered to vote, is indicative of how the rest of the electorate will vote.
Casar has been a leader on the most progressive city initiatives, including the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance and repealing the law prohibiting public camping. In a news release after the early vote was announced, Casar said, “Austin has the opportunity to become a model for what progressive and inclusive governance can achieve. We are leading the nation in reimagining public safety, investing in affordable housing, finding solutions to climate change, protecting lives from Covid-19, and focusing recovery efforts where they’re needed the most.”
He concluded, “Despite constant fear-mongering from extremist officials like the governor, Austin has spoken loud and clear. We’re not going to be bullied, and we’re not going to turn back from our progressive values.”
Louis C. Herrin III, an engineer who has competed in two previous races for the same seat, received a little more than 24 percent of the vote. Herrin, a Republican, argued that the city should have built a police substation on the Home Depot site rather than the mixed-use housing development currently proposed. Herrin tweeted, “Austin was safer before Greg Casar! Vote him out! This is not humane, compassionate or safe! One of my top priorities is to reinstate the public camping ban.”
Casar’s other opponent, Ramesses II Setepenre, did not raise or spend any money on his campaign. In a forum sponsored by the Austin Monitor and KUT, Setepenre, who describes himself as a “gay eco-socialist,” said he favored less funding for the police as well as new leadership.
In a conversation with the Monitor, Casar said he is confident his Council colleagues, Jimmy Flannigan and Alison Alter, who both appear to be headed toward runoffs with much more conservative candidates, would eventually prevail.
Casar said he was very happy that Project Connect appeared to be headed toward victory. “I think … despite all of the attacks and dark money and misinformation … overwhelmingly voters saw through that. Because we have to do something. The answer can’t just be to do nothing. We put forth a comprehensive plan, a plan that serves everyone.”
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