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Photo by Daniela Silva for District 3 and José Velásquez Campaign

District 3 Council race headed to a runoff

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 by Andrea Guzman

José Velásquez and Daniela Silva are poised to go head-to-head in a runoff after election results Tuesday night show the two candidates garnered the most votes for the District 3 City Council member seat. Velásquez received 7,650 votes for 36.43 percent of the vote, while Silva trailed just behind with 7,228 votes for 34.42 percent. 

Velásquez and Silva stood out in a crowded race of six candidates to replace Council Member Pio Renteria, emphasizing progressive values to voters. 

Velásquez, who received endorsements from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, Travis County Attorney Delia Garza and District 4 Council Member Chito Vela, was at Terrazas Public Library on Election Day before his team held a watch party with neighbors and supporters in East Austin. 

“I’m proud of our community-powered campaign of lifelong and new residents of District 3 that placed us in the lead heading into a runoff election,” he said in a statement. “I remain committed to fight to ensure that every voice is heard as we work together towards an affordable, accountable and equitable Austin for all. I look forward to earning the support and votes of residents during the runoff election and becoming the next Austin City Council Member of District 3.”

Throughout his campaign, Velásquez drew on his personal experiences as a fourth-generation Austinite when sharing how he’d tackle gentrification and assist families through his Affordable Austin plan. 

Silva, who has volunteered with Austin Justice Coalition and Community First! Village since moving to Austin, describes herself as a renter and affordable housing advocate. If elected, she would become the first Latina to represent District 3. 

Silva joined poll greeters at the Daniel E. Ruiz Library on election day, using social media to encourage people to vote. In an Instagram post leading up to the election, Silva shared observations on District 3 and made a final case to voters to turn out for her.

“Right now, people in this district feel unseen, unheard, underrepresented by the current Council,” Silva said. “Representation matters now more than ever.” 

From the campaign’s watch party at Wanderlust Wine Co., Silva shared a statement with the Monitor as results trickled in. 

“We’re grateful to everyone who participated in democracy by voting and volunteering in this election, and are feeling strong and optimistic about the future. This outcome was expected, and we’re prepared to turn out the vote and earn more support in the runoff for our grassroots, people-powered campaign.” 

The candidate with the largest share of votes behind the top two was Austin ISD teacher José Noé Elías with 10.99 percent of the vote. Yvonne Weldon came in next with more than 9 percent of the vote, followed by Gavino Fernandez with 5.10 percent. Esala Wueschner, who was endorsed by Save Austin Now, the PAC that brought forward the petition for Austin’s camping ban, received 560 votes, or 3.84 percent. 

Renteria’s last City Council meeting will be on Dec. 8. The runoff election is scheduled shortly after that, on Dec. 13.

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