Bastrop County Election News

A new congressman from Texas goes to Washington (and has much to do)

A new congressman from Texas goes to Washington (and has much to do)

Michael Cloud is something of an Insta-Congressman. Ten days after winning a special election to succeed scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, Cloud will be sworn in Tuesday as the representative for the 27th Congressional District, which stretches from the Gulf Coast to Bastrop County. “When I pulled into D.C. and saw the Capitol and the skyline, it had a little bit...

Republican Michael Cloud wins special election to succeed Farenthold

Republican Michael Cloud won the special election to succeed U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold on Saturday night, maintaining the GOP’s stronghold over a region that spans from the Coastal Bend to Bastrop and Caldwell counties. Farenthold, a Republican from Corpus Christi, resigned in April amid sexual harassment accusations and after news surfaced that he spent $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle...
Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

TRAVIS COUNTY Attorney wins Travis County Democratic 459th court primary Maya Guerra Gamble has won the Democratic nomination for Travis County’s new 459th Civil District Court. In a close race, Guerra Gamble earned 25,122 votes, 51 percent, to Aurora Martinez Jones’ 23,962 votes. Turnout in Travis County for the primary runoffs was just 8.5 percent, compared with 21 percent in March for...
Cindy Allen beats Sherry Cook in Bastrop justice of the peace 1 race

Cindy Allen beats Sherry Cook in Bastrop justice of the peace 1 race

8:20 p.m. update: Cindy Allen has won the Republican nomination for Bastrop County Precinct 1 justice of the peace, results showed Tuesday evening. Allen, a business owner and former municipal judge, won with 634 votes, or 58.7 percent. Rival Sherry Cook received 446 votes, or 41.3 percent. All ten precincts in Bastrop had reported complete results by 8:15 p.m. In total, 4,154 out of 45,772 voters...
TODAY: Early voting for primary runoff elections begins, runs through Friday

TODAY: Early voting for primary runoff elections begins, runs through Friday

Early voting for Texas primary runoff elections start Monday and will continue through Friday – no voting will occur on the weekend. The formal Election Day for the runoffs is on May 22. You might be asking: Didn’t we just have an election? Yes, on March 6, Texans voted in primary races for statewide and federal offices. But in dozens of those races, no candidate won more than 50 percent...
Smithville school board president loses re-election by wide margin

Smithville school board president loses re-election by wide margin

Smithville school board President Dareld Morris III, who a Smithville Times investigation found had been arrested in Florida last year, lost his re-election bid Saturday to challenger Nancy Towry by a wide margin. Towry, a longtime school district volunteer, received 865 votes, 68.6 percent, according to final unofficial election results. “I learned a lot through this process and I am ready...
A roundup of Central Texas May 5 election results

A roundup of Central Texas May 5 election results

TRAVIS COUNTY LAKE TRAVIS SCHOOLS Incumbent, two newcomers win school board races Lake Travis school board incumbent Guy C. Clayton will keep his Place 1 seat, and two newcomers will join him on the board after winning elections Saturday. Clayton garnered 2,687 votes, 75 percent of the ballots cast in his race against David Lovelace. Nine candidates ran for two open seats on the board. Lauren White...
5 things you need to know about early voting before the May 5 election

5 things you need to know about early voting before the May 5 election

Early voting started this week and ends Tuesday before the May 5 election day. Here’s what you need to know: 1. What’s on the ballot? Races in Central Texas cover the spectrum of city council, school district and city proposition elections. The cities of Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Leander, Liberty Hill and Wimberley are all electing a mayor and council members. Round Rock residents...
Paxton: Abbott can use disaster powers to hasten special election

Paxton: Abbott can use disaster powers to hasten special election

To the extent election law prevents or delays the recovery of Texas’ coastal areas in the long aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott can suspend that law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Monday. Tying the ravages of Hurricane Harvey with the abrupt resignation of U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, Abbott had asked Paxton for his opinion on whether Abbott can...
Who needs a screen? Bastrop’s election tradition is proudly old-school

Who needs a screen? Bastrop’s election tradition is proudly old-school

You might be watching election results roll in online. In Bastrop, some people proudly rely on a dry-erase board for poll results. A public vote-counting party is a quirky, old-school tradition in the county, complete with live results updated by hand for viewers to see.  Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz said the public vote count has been going on since he was in high school. He...
UPDATE: Several Travis Co. polling places have wait times of at least 20 minutes

UPDATE: Several Travis Co. polling places have wait times of at least 20 minutes

1:55 p.m. update: At least six polling places in Travis County have voters standing in line for 20 minutes or more, according to a county website tracking wait times. The real-time tracker shows wait times of 20 minutes or more at: Travis County tax offices, 15822 Foothill Farms Loop in Pflugerville, which has 10 voting booths. Travis County offices at 5501 Airport Blvd. in Central Austin...
Early voting starts Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting starts Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know.

Early voting starts today for the Democratic and Republican party primaries. Here are five things to know before you go to the polls: 1. Your vote matters. Both parties are picking their contenders for a half-dozen congressional seats in Central Texas, as well as governor, lieutenant governor, state legislative seats, judicial posts and county commissioners courts. In many cases, though, the seats...
Texas GOP pulls Blake Farenthold off primary ballot, Democrats sue

Texas GOP pulls Blake Farenthold off primary ballot, Democrats sue

The Texas Republican Party has withdrawn embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold’s name from the 2018 primary ballot, but not without some more legal drama on Wednesday. Farenthold, a Republican from Corpus Christi, had asked the party to remove his name from the ballot after deciding not to seek re-election last week amid a widening harassment scandal. But Farenthold’s decision came after...
Texas GOP files suit to remove Blake Farenthold from ballot

Texas GOP files suit to remove Blake Farenthold from ballot

The Republican Party of Texas is suing the Texas secretary of state over an election filing deadline that prevents it from removing embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold from the ballot. The move is in response to Farenthold’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election in the spring. Farenthold, whose district includes parts of Bastrop and Caldwell counties, made the decision after a House...
Eckhardt, Shea draw no challengers as local 2018 races come into focus

Eckhardt, Shea draw no challengers as local 2018 races come into focus

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Commissioner Brigid Shea and a handful of other county officials essentially clinched new terms this week after no one filed to run against them in the 2018 elections. District Clerk Velva Price, County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir and County Treasurer Dolores Ortega Carter also drew no challengers before the filing deadline passed Monday evening. “It’s been...
Embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold draws 9 challengers

Embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold draws 9 challengers

Five Republicans and four Democrats are challenging U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, who used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former staffer and is now under investigation by the House Ethics Commission. The embattled, four-term lawmaker came under fire after a Dec. 1 Politico report revealed he had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with $84,000 in...
Community election news: Lago Vista gets new mayor, 2 council members

Community election news: Lago Vista gets new mayor, 2 council members

TRAVIS COUNTY LAGO VISTA New mayor, council members elected Lago Vista voters ousted two City Council incumbents Tuesday. Retired Coca-Cola sales executive David Williams unseated Council Member Mark Tippetts in Place 1 with 67 percent of the vote. Dick Weatherly, who worked as director of obstetrical anesthesia at a hospital before retiring, defeated Place 5 Council Member Stephanie Smith with 64...
Polls open on Election Day for many cities in Austin area

Polls open on Election Day for many cities in Austin area

Today is Election Day, with municipal elections across Central Texas. Some notable elections to watch: Round Rock school bonds While the bonds have the support of the city of Round Rock and the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, critics say the cost of paying back the debt to businesses and residents is prohibitive. The $572.1 million bond package is split into three propositions: • Proposition...
Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Saturday is Election Day for several Central Texas school districts and cities. Though the date may have escaped the minds of many, as is often the case in nonpresidential elections, it is an important one with important local issues on the ballots. They range from selecting the next mayor to deciding on school bonds and choosing local school board members. As Central Texas continues to grow, more...

Two open school board seats in Bastrop draw four candidates

Four candidates are vying for two open school board seats in the Bastrop school district, which was recently the subject of an investigation into alleged racial discrimination by the U.S. Department of Education. Two of those candidates — Matthew Mix and Ashley Mutschink — sided with the superintendent, saying the school district has worked to handle any potential discrimination issues...
Bastrop challenger’s attempt to withdraw makes for awkward campaign

Bastrop challenger’s attempt to withdraw makes for awkward campaign

Bastrop City Council incumbent Ken Kesselus is seeking re-election, but it’s unclear if his opponent,    Vanessa Leigh Webster, is serious about challenging him. City officials say Webster filed to run for office March 1 and later tried to withdraw from the race, but she missed the March 4 deadline to withdraw, so her name is still on the ballot. The election is Saturday. Bastrop...

Counties see increased early voting turnouts

An increase in some early voting numbers in Central Texas might mean a bigger turnout on election day compared with other similar elections, officials said. The 15 most-populated counties in Texas which include Travis and Williamson counties also saw an increase in early voting. The turnout could be driven by various factors, including the race in Travis County to fill a vacant seat in State Representative...

Voters in Bastrop County approve adding Paige to ESD No. 2

Update, 10:10 p.m.: Final unofficials results are in: Voters have approved a proposal to push the area served by the Paige Volunteer Fire Department into Bastrop County’s Emergency Services District No. 2. The change will provide a new stream of property tax revenue to help cover the department’s costs. The two propositions on the ballot that made up the proposal won a combined 612 votes...

ELECTION ROUNDUP: Spicewood voters approve taxing district for fire department; runoff ahead for Leander council seat

BEE CAVE Roads tax earns approval A measure to continue charging a 1/8-cent sales tax to repair and maintain roads in Bee Cave was approved with a wide margin of support. State law requires cities to give voters a choice in renewing the tax every four years. Last fiscal year, the tax brought in about $474,107 for numerous road improvement projects. BUDA Husband, wife lose bids for council seats The...

Travis, Williamson county races draw challengers

The 2014 election season promises the first competition in recent memory for key Travis and Williamson County offices that have been held by the same person going on eight years or more.

Bastrop Clerk Sarah Loucks sews up reelection bid

Update 9:30 p.m.: With all Bastrop County precincts reporting, District Clerk Sarah Loucks clinched her second term with 62.43 percent of the vote. Her opponent in the Republican primary, Leigh E. Raemsch, received 37.57 percent of the vote. There was no Democratic challenger in the race. Update 9 p.m.: Bastrop District Clerk Sarah Loucks continues to lead with 62.87 percent of the votes so far, with...

Dolores Ortega Carter leading for Travis County treasurer; Jerri Jones on way to be new Williamson County treasurer

Travis County Treasurer Dolores Ortega Carter leads her Democratic primary rival despite the challenger’s steep fund-raising advantage. With more than two-thirds of the ballots counted, Ortega Carter was ahead of Austin lawyer Ramey Ko, who outspent the Ortega Carter 23 to 1. The winner will face Libertarian Mike Burris in November. The treasurer collects and distributes all county money, including...

6 candidates seek ACC board’s Place 2 seat

Austin Community College will see at least one new board member after the Nov. 4 election as the college prepares for the outcome of the second bond election in its history. Six candidates are running for the Place 2 seat on the board, and although all come from different backgrounds and have said they can offer something unique, they all agree on the need to maintain financial stability amid cuts...

Early voting total in Travis County on par with 2010 early turnout

A last-minute surge of early voters headed to Travis County polls on Friday to mark up a long ballot with a marquee governor race, but that wasn’t enough to push total turnout above the usual level. Turnout during the two weeks of early voting, which typically makes up about half of the overall turnout in Travis County, was 22 percent of registered voters — the same as in the November...
As Hegar resigns, Dec. 6 special election called in Senate District 18

As Hegar resigns, Dec. 6 special election called in Senate District 18

Hours after receiving a resignation notice on Friday, Gov. Rick Perry scheduled a Dec. 6 special election to fill the state Senate seat being vacated by Glenn Hegar, the Katy Republican who was elected state comptroller earlier this month. Hegar, whose term as comptroller begins in January, notified Perry on Friday morning that he will resign his Senate seat effective Dec. 5. He has represented the...

Gigi Edwards Bryant wins Austin Community College board election

Gigi Edwards Bryant beat Jade Chang Sheppard for a spot on the Austin Community College board in a Tuesday runoff election. Bryant, 57, won 54 percent of the 58,037 votes cast in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Lee counties. A board member for the ACC Foundation, which raises money for scholarships, Bryant has promised to do more to recruit more international students and to bring more attention...
Voters reject Bastrop school bond, Smithville school bond OK’d

Voters reject Bastrop school bond, Smithville school bond OK’d

Bastrop school district voters rejected a $75 million bond and tax increase Tuesday night, while voters in the Smithville school district approved a $35 million school bond, according to the final unofficial election results. Fifty-four percent (8,425) of Bastrop school voters rejected the bond, compared to 46 percent (7,190) who supported the measure. Sixty-four percent (9,820) of voters came out...
Early voting wraps up in Texas with record turnout

Early voting wraps up in Texas with record turnout

Record numbers of Texans have already cast their votes for the Nov. 8 election, including about half of the voters in Travis and Williamson counties. More than 4 million Texans — well over the 2008 early voting record of 3.5 million — had voted in the state’s 15 largest counties by the end of the day Thursday, according to the most recent data available from the Texas secretary of...
Record-breaking voter turnout continues in Travis County

Record-breaking voter turnout continues in Travis County

Unprecedented early voting turnout in Travis County showed no signs of slowing Thursday and, if it keeps up, could reach the total turnout rates for previous presidential races before Election Day even arrives, county elections director Michael Winn said. On Thursday alone, more than 20,000 people had voted by 3 p.m., and officials were expecting a late evening rush that would put numbers close to...

Four candidates vying for 2-year unexpired term on ACC board

A four-way race is underway to fill two years of an unexpired term on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees. A business development consultant, a political activist, the head of a Christian ministry and, in a twist, an ACC trustee who currently holds a different seat on the board are competing for Place 9. Allen Kaplan was elected to a six-year term on that seat in 2012 but announced in July...
Real estate executive, retired CEO competing for seat on ACC board

Real estate executive, retired CEO competing for seat on ACC board

A retired CEO of a nonprofit group and the director of a commercial real estate brokerage are competing to become one of the nine members of Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees. The prize in the race between Nora de Hoyos Comstock, the retired CEO, and Douglas Gibbins, the real estate professional, is Place 6. Guadalupe Sosa, who currently holds the seat, has decided to run instead...
Student, consultant, legislative aide vie for seat on ACC board

Student, consultant, legislative aide vie for seat on ACC board

A student, a management consultant and a legislative aide are vying for Place 5 on Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees. Victor H.P. Villarreal won the seat in 2010 and currently serves as chairman — elected to that position by fellow trustees — but is not running for the board again. Like all nine seats on ACC’s board, Place 5 is elected at large by voters in the college&rsquo...
Realtor, auditor, educator competing for ACC board seat

Realtor, auditor, educator competing for ACC board seat

A real estate agent, an auditor and the owner of a child care and early childhood education center are competing for Place 4 on Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees. Jeffrey K. Richard, who currently holds the seat, isn’t running for re-election after serving two six-year terms, including a stint as chairman. Like all nine seats on ACC’s board, Place 4 is elected at-large...

Ex-candidate demands more Bastrop County polling places in runoff

A Bastrop County resident who campaigned for a Texas House seat has accused a county judge of suppressing voters during the Jan. 6 special election. Linda Curtis, who ran as an independent for House District 17 and received 14 percent of the vote, has accused Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape of suppressing voters by consolidating the county’s 20 election day polling places into four locations...
ACC campus sparks renewal around half-vacant Highland Mall

ACC campus sparks renewal around half-vacant Highland Mall

On a summer afternoon, Highland Mall’s second floor is hot and stuffy, darkened storefronts lining the wide, tile corridor. A handful of customers leisurely pace around the few stores left, catching a faint whiff of stale grease when they pass the desolate food court. Most of the North Austin mall is a skeleton of the past, but a glimpse of its future beams just a few yards away. The first phase...
Bastrop deputy running for commissioner accused of drinking on duty

Bastrop deputy running for commissioner accused of drinking on duty

A Bastrop County sheriff’s deputy running for county commissioner was arrested Friday morning after he was found inside his patrol car with an open bottle of vodka and an empty bottle of prescription drugs while on duty, according to court records. Fred Ensinger, 43, was booked into Bastrop County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated with an open container of alcohol. His bail was set...

TOP LOCAL STORIES OF THE WEEK

MONDAY Vince Young, Longhorns legend, faces DWI charge: Austin police arrested former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young and charged him with driving while intoxicated, the American-Statesman reported Monday. According to an affidavit, Young was swerving within his lane on Interstate 35 on Jan. 24. Young told an officer he drank three or four bottles of beer at the W Hotel downtown. Since...

Central Texas election roundup

TRAVIS COUNTY LAKE TRAVIS SCHOOLS Dorsett joins board; Aoueille returns Incumbent school board member John Aoueille kept his Place 4 seat, with 69 percent of the vote against Ariel Axelrod for Place 4. Two newcomers ran in a special election for Place 7, with Bob Dorsett Jr. claiming 76 percent of the vote against Juan R. Gutierrez. Incumbent board members Alex Alexander and Kim Flasch ran unopposed...

TOP LOCAL STORIES OF THE WEEK

MONDAY Lee Elementary to be renamed for Russell instead of Robert E.: The Austin school board on Monday voted to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary, the first time the district has changed the name of a school because of its ties to the Confederacy. Russell Lee was a critically acclaimed Depression-era photographer and a founder of the University of Texas photography department. He also lived in the...
Republican Bastrop County commissioner primaries head to runoffs

Republican Bastrop County commissioner primaries head to runoffs

Both Bastrop County Precinct 1 and 3 commissioner GOP primary races will head to a runoff in May, after no single candidate clinched a majority in either contest. Incumbent Precinct 1 commissioner Willie Piña will face Melvin “Mel” Hamner in one runoff, while Colton Stabeno and Marc Mulkey will battle it out in the Precinct 3 race. Piña, 67, garnered 43 percent, or 1,247...
Henderson, Cook headed to GOP Bastrop County sheriff runoff

Henderson, Cook headed to GOP Bastrop County sheriff runoff

Matthew Henderson and Maurice Cook will go head to head in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Bastrop County sheriff this May, clearing a crowded field of candidates seeking the top cop spot. A total of eight Republicans faced off to succeed outgoing Sheriff Terry Pickering, who announced he would not seek a third term last May, a decision preceded by a $1.2 million settlement following an...
Bastrop County incumbent commissioner defeated in runoff

Bastrop County incumbent commissioner defeated in runoff

Incumbent Bastrop County Precinct 1 Commissioner Willie Piña lost his bid for re-election by 67 votes Tuesday night. In Bastrop County’s Precinct 3 commissioner race, Colton Stabeno got the Republican nod Tuesday night after defeating his opponent Marc Mulkey by more than 20 percent. Stabeno pulled in 472 votes (61.7 percent) and Mulkey received 293 votes (38.3 percent).
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