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Photo by Susanna for County Commissioner Campaign

Ledesma-Woody says she’s still in county commissioner race

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Susanna Ledesma-Woody, who is running to unseat Margaret Gómez, the incumbent Travis County commissioner for Precinct 4, has erroneously filed a form indicating she does not intend to accept any future political contributions or make any expenditures. Ledesma-Woody told the Austin Monitor that the form was filed in error last week and would be corrected on Tuesday.

Gómez and Ledesma-Woody are the only Democratic candidates for the Precinct 4 seat. Since no Republican has filed in that primary, whoever prevails on March 1 will be the next commissioner.

In acknowledging the error, Ledesma-Woody said she and her campaign treasurer, Eduardo Pantoja, made the filing together. The form says, “I understand that designating a report as a final report terminates my campaign treasurer appointment. I also understand that I may not accept any campaign contributions or make any campaign expenditures without a campaign treasurer appointment on file.”

Alfred Stanley, a longtime political consultant with expertise in financial filings, told the Austin Monitor he thought filling out the designation of the final report form was “a stupid mistake” and that Ledesma-Woody “must not have understood what she was doing.” After looking at Woody’s Feb. 14 report, Stanley pointed out that the final page, which is the erroneous one, does not match the first page, which designates the report as the one to be filed 30 days before the election.

One problem for Ledesma-Woody is that when she filed that report she was indicating she would not continue to raise money and that her campaign treasurer’s job was done. That may mean that any money she has collected since filing the erroneous report was not legally collected, according to Stanley. This fact was not lost on Joe Cascino, who works for Gómez.

Ledesma-Woody’s campaign finance report was due on Jan. 31, but was filed two weeks late, which could result in a fine from the Texas Ethics Commission. Ledesma-Woody’s report shows she collected about $4,400 during the month of January and had about $6,449 left in her campaign account. Gómez, who has served as county commissioner since 1995, reported raising nearly $67,000 during the final six months of 2021 and an additional $12,200 in January.

The Gómez campaign has sought to capitalize on Ledesma-Woody’s mistake, advising voters on Monday that Ledesma-Woody had withdrawn from the race. One text to a Precinct 4 voter said, “Surprisingly, our opponent, Susanna Ledesma-Woody, has filed official paperwork terminating her campaign. Margaret Gómez still needs your support to continue fighting for you. Can we count on your vote for Margaret Gómez to continue serving as your county commissioner?”

The Ledesma-Woody campaign fired back on Twitter, saying, “In another desperate attempt to stop our momentum, my opponent’s campaign is using a clerical error to say we dropped out. That is not the case. We’re still knocking, phone banking, and we could use your vote to show that we are tired of shady politics and inaction in Precinct 4!”

Early voting in this race, and all others on the Democratic and Republican primary ballots, continues through Friday. Election day is next Tuesday, March 1.

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