This story was updated at 11:30 p.m. with the final election results.
With all votes tallied, Council Member Alison Alter is headed to a runoff against her opponent, Jennifer Virden, in the race for her District 10 seat on Austin City Council.
Alter leds her six challengers, with 34.2% of the vote. But she needed 50% to avoid a runoff.
Virden received 25.43% of the vote.
The remaining five candidates are: Pooja Sethi, who received 18.11% of votes; Robert Thomas, with 16.62%; Belinda Greene, with 2.94%; Ben Easton, with 1.85%; and Noel Tristan, with 0.85%.
District 10 includes parts of West Austin and is the city's wealthiest district. It is one of five of Austin City Council's 10 seats up for election this year. In her next term, Alter will be tasked with the ongoing rewrite of the city's land use code, making 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.
Alter describes herself as a progressive Democrat and has spent her time on council advocating for parks and open spaces and preservationist land use policies. She supported the council's recent effort to reimagine public safety by reallocating police funds toward other city services but opposed the June 2019 decision to overturn the camping ban.
"As a city and a community I believe we should compassionately help our neighbors exit homelessness, and we should do so with a comprehensive strategy that addresses community concerns," she told Austonia last month. "I share the frustration with the current situation.
Alter outraised her opponents, with around $195,000 in donations, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports. Only Thomas broke the $100,000 mark, with $118,000 in political contributions reported.
Virden, a real estate broker and general contractor, opposes Project Connect, council's decision to overturn the camping ban and any effort to defund the police. She reported $94,000 in political contributions.
Sethi owns her own immigration law firm and ran on a platform that centered community-driven transit, such as Project Connect, and police reform. She supports the land use code rewrite process and council's decision to overturn the camping ban.
Sethi reported $92,000 in political contributions.
Thomas, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2014, ran on a platform that included reinstating the police academy—which has been put on hold due to council members' concerns about the current curriculum— and bans on public camping, sitting, lying and nighttime panhandling.
Greene, who works in sales, opposes the Project Connect transit plan and council's decisions to overturn the camping ban and reallocate police funding to other city services. She reported $3,084 in political contributions.
Easton, a writer who ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian candidate for the Texas House in 2016, was moved to run after council voted last year to overturn the camping ban and "witnessing the gutless surrender of the city to special-interest groups and anti-law and order mobs like the Black Lives Matter protesters and the Covid-19 autocrats," according to his campaign website.
Easton reported no political contributions.
Tristan, a business owner, has no campaign website and did not file any campaign finance reports.
Travis County saw record voter turnout this election, with 45,433 District 10 residents casting a ballot in this year's race, compared to 36,434 in 2016.
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