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Gómez wins tight race against Ledesma-Woody

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Margaret Gómez, who has been the Travis County Precinct 4 commissioner for more than 27 years, was widely expected to win reelection by defeating opponent Susanna Ledesma-Woody in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. Ledesma-Woody and Gómez battled over this seat on the Travis County Commissioners Court in 2018. At that time, Gómez defeated Ledesma-Woody with 67 percent of the vote.

But this primary was a little different. Gómez trailed Ledesma-Woody for most of Tuesday night. Finally, with all votes counted at 11:55 p.m., Gómez won with a margin of just 219 votes out of 21,677 cast in that race.

There is no Republican candidate in this race, so the winner of the Democratic primary will be the county commissioner for Precinct 4 next January.

Ledesma-Woody, 39, has served on the board of Del Valle ISD since 2011. She works at Advanced Micro Devices as a project manager and is president of the nonprofit Del Valle Community Coalition.

Perhaps more importantly, Ledesma-Woody aligned herself with the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party and drew the attention of Our Revolution, the group spawned by the 2016 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. She also drew campaign assistance from City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, whose Council district overlaps with the commissioner’s Precinct 4.

Our Revolution was active in Greg Casar’s successful campaign to become the Democratic nominee for Congress from the 35th Congressional District. The group also supported efforts by Jessica Cisneros, who was running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar. Late Tuesday night it appeared the two would be in a runoff.

Gómez was the first Latina elected to the Commissioners Court, where she has served since 1995. Before that she served as constable for Precinct 4 from 1980-1993, when she resigned to run for commissioner.

Political consultants who were not involved in the race told the Austin Monitor prior to election day that they expected Gómez to win once more. So, they were surprised on election night when the early vote favored Ledesma-Woody. But that was only by 318 votes out of a total of 10,618.

An unexplained glitch in the Travis County Clerk’s website left election watchers frustrated for several hours; during that time Ledesma-Woody retained a small lead. However, around 10:30 p.m., the numbers changed and Gómez took the lead with 83 votes, giving her 50.21 percent to Ledesma-Woody’s 49.79 percent. Although Ledesma-Woody had more votes in early voting, election day voters and those who cast ballots by mail favored Gómez.

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