This story was updated at 11:30 p.m. with the final election results.
With all votes tallied, Austin Council Member Greg Casar has been reelected to his District 4 seat on Austin City Council, having received 66.85% of votes.
Opponents Louis C. Herrin III and Ramesses II Setepenre earned 24.74% and 8.41% of the vote, respectively.
WE WON tonight! Elections are not destinations, but doorways. We've proven that progressive policies change lives… https://t.co/1opBGUMTqY— Gregorio Casar (@Gregorio Casar)1604457617.0
District 4, which includes northeast and north central Austin, is one of five of Austin City Council's 10 seats up for election this year. In his next text, Casar will be tasked with the ongoing rewrite of the city's land use code, considering further cuts to the Austin Police Department's budget, and—with voter approval of Proposition A—implementing the $7.1 billion Project Connect transit plan.
As a council member, Casar has supported all of the above initiatives and been a force for progressive policies, championing a paid sick leave ordinance that was passed by council but later blocked by the Texas Supreme Court. He also authored the "Freedom City" policies, which significantly curbed discretionary misdemeanor arrests.
Casar was also a vocal supporter of council's decision to overturn its camping ban, which he said was a critical step toward decriminalizing homelessness.
"We know it's wrong to throw someone in jail for doing nothing wrong other than simply being homeless," he recently told Austonia.
Casar outraised his opponents by a wide margin, with $134,000 in donations, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports.
THREAD: A look at Texas voter turnout by examining my district, the lowest income and most immigrant part of Austin… https://t.co/DQXeyCWDl0— Gregorio Casar (@Gregorio Casar)1604425926.0
Herrin is a long-time environmental engineer with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who ran unsuccessfully against Casar in 2016 and 2014. He opposes the current council's push to reimagine public safety by reallocating police funds to other city services.
Herrin is also against council's decision to overturn the camping ban, which he told Austonia did nothing to address homelessness while making it less safe for people who work and live downtown.
Herrin raised around $30,000.
Setepenre is a licensed massage therapist. On his campaign's Facebook page, he describes himself as a "self-funded, gay eco-socialist" who supports sex workers, the decriminalization of drugs, universal healthcare and reparations.
In an interview with Community Impact Newspaper, Setepenre said he has experienced homelessness and believes the city needs to address the origins of homelessness, such as substance use and lack of familial support.
Travis County saw record voter turnout this election, with 17,285 District 4 residents casting a ballot in this year's race, compared to 12,035 in 2016.
Citing a 77% decline in new COVID cases nationally since early January, Dr. Martin Makary, a surgical oncologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, expects COVID-19 "will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life."
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Travis County is the ninth most at-risk county in the nation for severe vaccine deficits and the second most at-risk in the state, according to a study by data science company Cogitativo.
Late (Tuesday) the City of Austin's outside attorney filed a response to the plaintiffs' (called relators in legal terms) request for a writ of mandamus to force the City Council to amend ballot language for Proposition B.
Proposition B will be on the May 1 ballot as a result of Save Austin Now's petition drive. If voter approved, the resulting ordinance would ban: camping in a public areas, soliciting in designated areas and sitting or lying down on public sidewalks.
Read the full story at The Austin Bulldog.