Election brings turnover to Austin City Council

AUSTIN - Austin voters sent a message at the polls: they want change.

District 6 City Council Member Don Zimmerman, best known for his conservative voice, controversial comments and voting record, was defeated by Web Developer Jimmy Flannigan.

This is the second time the two faced off on the ballot. In 2014, Flannigan fell to Zimmerman in a runoff by 191 votes. This time, he won by 3,250 votes.

Wednesday morning, Flannigan talked with KVUE News about his plans to lead the residents of Northwest Austin.

"What it takes to get stuff done is five more votes and that's what I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about the issues in my district being communicated to the rest of Austin so the rest of council understands the challenges of a suburban district," said Flannigan. "So we can find solutions where we all come together and have the votes we need to pass change."

KVUE News reached out to Zimmerman and went to both his District and Campaign Offices Wednesday. He wasn't there, hasn't responded to our requests and his staff said they don't know when he'd be back.

He later sent this statement through the Travis County Republican Party:

The rainy weather fits the mood around Zimmerman campaign headquarters this evening. However, a break in the clouds is all but guaranteed.

After accepting the results of the Austin City Council election, District 6 City Council member Don Zimmerman said losing his bid for re-election will make two things very clear.

“For one,” Zimmerman said, “supporters of lower taxes and fewer regulations will have to work harder and organize better if we’re to represent the taxpayers fairly in future elections. This I know we can do if we put our talents and resources together.”

“Secondly, it’s going to get very expensive to live here, and very soon. It won’t be long before our political opponents will understand what we’ve been saying all along about the burgeoning size and scope of city government into our daily lives. They will have no choice but to leave or form alliances with those of us who have said all along that we’re spending ourselves into oblivion.”

Zimmerman added that while the rest of the nation and Texas embraced restrained government and transparency, the majority of Austin voters, instead, aligned with New York City-style politics.

"I will continue fighting for our values as a Texan-American," he said.

Zimmerman congratulates his opponent, Jimmy Flannigan, on a hard-fought, second campaign for election. “I’m sure he’ll feel right at home at City Hall."

The residents in District 10 could also have new representation on council.

Incumbent Sheri Gallo got 48 percent of the vote, not the 50 percent she needed to win. She will now be in a run-off with Philanthropic adviser Alison Alter who clinched 35.5 percent of the vote. This is the second time Gallo has been in a run-off and she's confident she'll win.

"I am overwhelmingly in first place and almost 13 percent ahead of my opponent," Gallo said.

"Runoffs are about getting our your supporters and getting them out and showing up to vote and there is no doubt in my mind that we will work harder and do that better than my opponent," she added.

Alter's not going down without a fight.

"A runoff is a whole different game. In a runoff, the person who comes in second in the regular election very often ends up being the winner as Council Member Gallo was last time around. And there's not that much difference between how many votes she was behind when she ran last time and where I am," Alter said.

Early voting for the runoff is Dec. 5-9. The election is Tuesday, Dec. 13.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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