2020 Central Texas Election Recap

This election has been a doozy, hasn’t it? And it’s not over yet in many areas. If you’re anything like ABoR’s Government Affairs team (and we suspect some of you are), you were running on limited sleep on Wednesday. Though, we’re all waiting on the final results for the Presidential election, the results in most local and state races in Central Texas are pretty much locked up.

A quick note before we dive into results: if you’re feeling anxious about the uncertainty surrounding the Presidential election, remember that it is normal to have to wait for election results and final vote tallies to be verified. Over the course of history, Americans have often waited days or weeks to know the final outcome. A personal favorite of ABoR Deputy Director of Government Affairs Jeni Williams, is the 1876 election of Rutherford B. Hayes. It took four months to determine the outcome! If you’re interested in learning about the other times in history where things took a bit of time, read this informative piece from The Washington Post. Now, onto the results!

US Senate

Despite a tight race heading into Election Day, Sen. John Cornyn was able to win re-election with 53.7% of the vote over Air Force Veteran MJ Hegar. His win was more decisive than Sen. Ted Cruz’s win in 2018. Sen. Cornyn has held a leadership position in the Senate for several years and will continue to represent Texas in that capacity.

US Congress

The Central Texas Congressional Delegation is where things started to get a bit interesting. Several races started out as tight contests and changed hands over the course of the evening, but were ultimately decided by relatively significant margins. One thing you’ll notice as you read through these quick analyses is that Austin shares every Congressional District with other major cities in Texas. That is something that could potentially change as lines are redrawn during redistricting in the upcoming Legislative Session.

Here’s a bit about each Congressional Race in Central Texas:

  • CD10 (Austin to Houston) – Congressman Michael McCaul was able to hold onto his seat despite a credible challenge from Mike Siegel. Early votes cast were largely in favor of Siegel, but Congressman McCaul was ultimately victorious.
  • CD17 (Northeast Austin, Pflugerville, College Station, Waco) – Former Congressman Pete Sessions will be returning to Congress as he handily won this seat after Congressman Bill Flores announced his retirement. Sessions previously represented CD32 in North Texas, which is now represented by Colin Allred.
  • CD21 (Southwest Austin, Hays County, San Antonio, Hill Country) – This was one of the most closely watched races as Congressman Chip Roy had a significant challenge from former State Senator Wendy Davis. Ultimately, Congressman Roy pulled out a victory thanks to strong support in the Hill Country counties in his district.
  • CD25 (Austin to Fort Worth) – Congressman Roger Williams held on to his seat in a race that, at first, seemed tight against Julie Oliver. He came away with 56% of the vote.
  • CD31 (Williamson County to Waco) – Congressman John Carter, who was challenged by MJ Hegar in 2018, was also able to hold onto his seat with relative ease.
  • CD35 (Austin to San Antonio) – Congressman Lloyd Doggett was the only member of the Travis County Delegation to surpass 60% of the vote as he easily won reelection with 65.3% of the vote.

Texas State House

One of the biggest stories heading into Election Day was the potential for Democrats to take control of the Texas House. Unfortunately for them, they did not secure enough seats to do so, but it does look like they gained some ground. After election results were known, the next big story was the Speaker’s race. It seemed like it might be a long and dramatic process, but within two days, Rep. Dade Phelan announced that he had amassed the votes needed to be elected the next Speaker of the Texas House. 

In Central Texas, some of the Texas House races were cut and dry while others are still up in the air. The following State Reps in Central Texas will be returning to the Texas House with decisive victories: Sheryl Cole (HD46), Donna Howard (HD48), Gina Hinojosa (HD49), Celia Israel (HD50), Eddie Rodriguez (HD51), and John Bucy (HD136). A few of the races in Central Texas were closer contests, so here’s a quick rundown of those:

  • HD45 (Dripping Springs) – The race between incumbent Erin Zweiner and Carrie Isaac was a close one, but it appears that  Zweiner was able to pull out a victory with 50.5% of the vote.
  • HD47 (Western Travis County) – Officials are still counting votes in this race as incumbent Vikki Goodwin is in a virtual tie with challenger Justin Berry. It is possible that this race could go to a runoff and/or a recount? Stay tuned!
  • HD52 (Eastern Williamson County) – Incumbent James Talarico was able to secure a win against challenger Lucio Valdez with 51.4% of the vote.

Travis County Commissioners Court

Democrats swept the Travis County Commissioners Court races and it will have two new members: County Judge Andy Brown and Commissioner Ann Howard (Pct. 3). Commissioner Jeff Travillion (Pct. 1) will be returning to the Commissioners Court.

Austin City Council

The Austin City Council races were hotly contested and there were several outside groups involved in supporting candidates in every district. As a reminder, ABoR remained neutral in all Council races. Here’s the scoop on each Council district:

  • District 2 (SE Austin) – Vanessa Fuentes was able to win this open seat outright, even in a crowded field. She defeated former Council Aide David Chincanchan and community activist Casey Ramos.
  • District 4 (North Central & NE Austin) – Incumbent Greg Casar easily won reelection despite strong outside PAC support for challenger Louis Herrin, III.
  • District 6 (NW Austin) – It looks like incumbent Jimmy Flannigan and challenger Mackenzie Kelly will be heading to a runoff in December as neither received more than 50% of the vote. This will be one to watch.
  • District 7 (North Central Austin) – Council Member Leslie Pool cruised to victory in her race against challenger Morgan Witt.
  • District 10 (West Austin) – District 10 was the most crowded field with seven candidates. With so many candidates, it was expected that the race would head to a runoff, but it was anyone’s game. In the end, Council Member Alison Alter will be facing Jennifer Virden in the runoff.

Austin Propositions A & B

Both propositions on Austinite’s ballots passed with a significant portion of the vote. The victory was so significant that advocates for both propositions declared victory after the early vote totals were in. As both initiatives impact property taxes, ABoR will watch both closely as they move toward implementation and we will definitely educate our members on the progress and impact to homeowners.

Tuesday was a busy night and, with votes still being counted and some races heading toward runoffs, it will continue to be a busy season! We’ll keep you updated as things move forward. If you have any questions about these election results, other elections you may have been following, or ABoR’s advocacy in general, email advocacy@abor.com to get in touch with ABoR’s Government Affairs team.

Thanks for getting out the REALTOR® vote during this election!