Austin mayoral race heads to runoff, with Dallas County judge winning re-election bid

O’Hare leads Tarrant Peoples County judges race

November 8, 2022 at 11:07 p.m.

In the state’s last major urban county dominated by the GOP, Republicans appear poised to retain control of Tarrant County’s top elected position as Tim O’Hare leads Democrat Deborah Peoples by a wide margin with more than 90% of votes counted, according to the Tarrant Office of County Elections.

O’Hare and Peoples are vying to replace Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican who did not seek re-election.

Peoples is the underdog in this race. Tarrant County voters have recently backed Democrats leading the poll — Beto O’Rourke for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and President Joe Biden in 2020 — but tend to vote for Republicans on the rest of the poll.

Those two victories — along with population growth and GOP infighting this year — bolstered Democrats’ hopes that they could see gains elsewhere on the ballot, such as in the county judge race. Peoples tried to pose as a pro-business Democrat in hopes of winning over moderate, business-minded Republicans put off by O’Hare’s culture war story of conservatism. O’Hare co-founded Southlake Families PAC, which successfully opposed a plan to address racial discrimination in a school district in northeast Tarrant County.

O’Hare, a former Farmers Branch mayor backed by former President Donald Trump, opened up a huge fundraising advantage over Peoples, a retired AT&T executive who twice ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Mayor of Fort Worth. O’Hare has raised more than $1 million since July 1 and spent nearly as much – eclipsing Peoples’ $193,000 and $228,000 spent during the same period.

Disclosure: AT&T financially supported the Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a suit list here.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins leads re-election bid

November 8, 2022 at 11:05 p.m.

Just east of Tarrant County, in blue and dependable Dallas County, the race for the county’s top elected position has seen more heat than usual – but the incumbent Democrat had a wide lead as he was seeking re-election.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat first elected to the seat in 2010, had a significant lead over Republican Lauren Davis, a first-time candidate who owns a chain of hair salons, with more than 90% of the vote. votes counted, according to the Dallas County Elections Office.

Jenkins rose to greater prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic — becoming a chief antagonist to the Governor. Greg Abbott as the governor overstepped the authority of local authorities to institute measures such as mask mandates and occupancy restrictions for businesses.

These restrictions put in place by Jenkins fueled a challenge from Davis, who told the Dallas Morning News the measurements hurt his business and blamed Jenkins.

Davis has raised more than $1 million since July and spent nearly $1.2 million to bring down the 58-year-old attorney. Jenkins, meanwhile, raised nearly $323,000 and spent nearly $465,000.

Dallas County has become a top-ranking Democrat in every election since 2008.

Austin mayoral race appears to be heading for a runoff

November 8, 2022 at 12:57 p.m.

Two Democratic heavyweights have qualified for a runoff election to lead Austin as the state capital grapples with rapid population growth, soaring costs of living and rising homelessness.

With nearly all precincts reporting late Tuesday, state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, led a crowded field, followed by former state senator Kirk Watson. Jennifer Virden, a real estate broker, was in third place. They all feared getting the majority of votes needed to secure a victory.

Israel and Watson will meet in the second round of elections on December 13.

It was a packed field, with six names on the ballot to succeed Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who must leave office due to term limits.

Watson and Israel are Democrats, although the mayoral seat is technically nonpartisan. Watson served as the city’s mayor from 1997 to 2001.

Austin’s housing affordability crisis has taken center stage in the race after the city’s already rising housing costs were supercharged during the pandemic. Meanwhile, new residents have flocked to the city from more expensive parts of the country and millennials and so-called institutional investors have entered the home buying market in full force.

Both Watson and Israel have presented proposals on how to solve the city’s housing problem. Watson wants to overhaul the city’s development review process and allow taller mixed-use developments to be built to create more housing units. Israel has proposed using city-owned land to build housing and reducing the city’s parking requirements for new residential developments, which would make room for more housing units.

Watson has raised nearly $358,000 since July and spent more than $1 million, while Israel has raised nearly $156,000 and spent about $288,000.

Disclosure: Steve Adler, former chairman of the board of the Texas Tribune, financially supported the Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporations sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a suit list here.

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