Buda City Council candidates take different tack to woo runoff voters

Runoff candidates tend to have a tough time bringing out the vote. And after an overall election season as explosive as this year’s, the final two Buda City Council candidates said they know they face an uphill battle mobilizing voters for the Dec. 13 runoff.

Project manager Lee Urbanovsky said he’s sticking with the same campaign strategy, as he said it seemed to have worked well for him. Urbanovsky finished the Nov. 8 election with 148 more votes than petition consultant John Hatch. But with a third candidate in that race, financial analyst Theodore Kosub, no one captured a majority of the votes needed to win the Place 1 seat held by Council Member Angela Kennedy, who decided not to seek another term.

“I walked every subdivision hanging my little doorhangers last time,” said Urbanovsky, who won about 48 percent of the vote in the general election, while Hatch garnered nearly 44 percent. “I’m almost finished doing it a second time now. I’ve got two subdivisions I haven’t touched yet, but I plan on doing it before the election.”

Hatch, a petition strategy consultant who works on campaigns for a living, has the fundraising advantage, with more than $8,000 through his own campaign and a political action committee. He’s taking a more measured approach.

After studying turnout results, Hatch said he noticed his opponent did well in Garlic Creek, where Urbanovsky resides, and other West Buda neighborhoods, while Hatch did well in East Buda and downtown.

“He won where he was strong, and I won where I was strong,” Hatch said. “And I’m strong in the rest of the city.”

While he didn’t campaign as heavily in the West Buda neighborhoods last election, Hatch said that may have been a mistake, and this time he’s making a concerted effort to campaign citywide. On top of that, he said, he is targeting known supporters to encourage them to turn out again.

Since the election, Hatch has published a “Five Point Plan.” The plan comprises recruiting retail businesses and jobs; adopting geographically-based council member districts (members are currently elected at-large); creating an independent City Hall bond construction review committee; encouraging elected officials to improve traffic; and giving Buda police resources to increase community policing.

Urbanovsky said he won’t be unveiling a similar plan anytime soon. “I didn’t try to re-invent myself,” he said.

Before the general election, Urbanovsky said he depended on a “network-based approach,” where he used word-0f-mouth to spread support for his campaign. That will be his go-to this round as well, he said.

About the election

Early voting started Thursday and runs through Dec. 9. Election day is Dec. 13. For voting locations and hours in Buda, visit bit.ly/2gzhb9k.

About the candidates

Lee Urbanovsky, 40, is a senior project manager and general contractor. He graduated with a construction science degree from Texas A&M University.

Civic participation: Served as homeowners association president for several communities in 2008. Organized and managed a charity event in 2015 for Any Baby Can.

John Hatch, 52, is a consultant for Texas Petition Strategies. Hatch graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Civic participation: Worked on the Buda Master Plan Committee in 2001 and was a founding member of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce. Served as a coach and board member of the Hays Youth Baseball Association.

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