Austin’s western council districts coming down to party

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Many voters consider themselves “independent thinkers” that choose candidates based on the issues. But researchers in Austin found more and more, voters are simply choosing one party or another.

Using results from November in several dozen counties, Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies found 61 percent of people voted “straight ticket. That’s the highest straight ticket rate in a Governor’s election since 1998.

The researchers say Republicans benefited the most from straight party voters.

In Austin, for the first time ever, you have the power to select your leaders geographically, possibly a better way for you to be represented.

While the runoff elections today for City Council, Mayor, and Boards for Austin Community College and Austin I-S-D are “non-partisan”, there is plenty of “politics” at play.

That’s especially true in District 8 in Southwest Austin. Political parties actually endorsed candidates even though there is no “D” or “R” next to names on the ballot. Ellen Troxclair  was endorsed by the Republicans. Ed Scruggs was endorsed by the Democrats.

With the move to geographic districts, history tells us that districts in west Austin will be more competitive for Republicans.
Not only did the the Travis County GOP endorse Troxclair here in district 8, they also endorsed a candidate in district 6 also in west Austin.

The Democratic Party endorsed a candidate in district 6 as well. Peck Young from ACC’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies says those November 10-1 races this year acted more as a primary, especially in the west.

“Especially 8 is a classic example. You had the most Republican candidate and the one that ran as the most Democratic candidate.  They were probably the ones that talked the least about issues per say but ran most heavily on their partisanship,” said Young.

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