AUSTIN — On election night, City of Austin voters put two District 1 Council candidates neck and neck, which has now led to a runoff election scheduled for December.
Candidates Natasha Harper Madison and Mariana Salazar were in a tight race Tuesday night, with Salazar receiving 26 percent of the votes and Harper-Madison receiving 25 percent -- a difference of a little more than 200 votes. The two were clearly the frontrunners in a race that initially included four other candidates.
District 1 encompasses Central and East Austin. Ora Houston, the district's previous council member, announced in June that after months of reflection and conversations with her confidants, she would not run for a second term. She was elected on Jan. 6, 2015.
With 15 years of experience working as a public servant alongside community members, local, state and federal governments, nonprofits, foundations, community organizations and the faith and business community, Salazar said, “East Austin has been neglected for years.”
It’s a district filled with residents she said have a number of issues on their mind.
“Our rents, property taxes and childcare costs continue to go up,” Salazar told KVUE prior to the election. “Our families are being pushed out of the city and don't have the resources they need to thrive. Our schools are under-resourced. There are missing sidewalks. Public transit does not meet the needs of our community. East Austin has been neglected for years. Prosperity is not shared by everyone. It's hard to participate in City Hall.”
Similarly, Harper-Madison, an entrepreneur who serves as board president of the East 12th Street Merchant’s Association and is founder of East Austin Advocates, was born in East Austin.
She said if she's elected, she will “stand strong for my community by fighting for affordability, equity and economic mobility,” according to her website.
The runoff election for Harper-Madison and Salazar is set for Dec. 11.