2012 Election

KUT News

The City of Austin is hosting a community meeting tonight to introduce the top eight applicants to serve on the Municipal Civil Service Commission.

The commission, approved in November by voters as Proposition 10, will propose personnel rules for most City of Austin employees. They will also make final decisions in the cases of city employees who are appealing disciplinary action such as being suspended or demoted.

Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

This May, Austinites will learn the names of the people who will be drawing the city’s 10 new district maps, and then the redistricting process will start to take shape. After the maps are drawn, Austinites will learn the district boundaries. Then people interested in running for City Council will know which district they can represent. 

Seems like a lot of changes. And the biggest one is that the next Austin City Council is likely to be made up of rookies.

KUT News

There is one week left to apply for the five-member Municipal Civil Service Commission. It's part of Proposition 10 that Austin voters approved in November. It establishes a municipal service system for most city employees.

According to the City of Austin, the Municipal Civil Service Commission will help to establish certain personnel rules. The commission will then make final decisions on appeals of disciplinary actions by most City of Austin employees. The commission is expected to hear cases from city employees or are fired, demoted or denied a promotion.

KUT News

Update (Nov. 20, 7:38 a.m.): The dynamics of the Austin School Board of Trustees continue to shift. The board voted to elect officers last night—including two newcomers.

Vince Torres, District 4, will move from Vice President to President—replacing Mark Williams, who decided not to seek another term.

New member Gina Hinajosa, At Large Position 8, was picked to take Torres' place.

Another new member, Jayme Mathias, District 2, is taking over the role of Secretary. Lori Moya, District 6, had served in the role.

Jennifer Whitney, Texas Tribune

Update, Nov. 9, 2:30 p.m.:

U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco conceded the Congressional District 23 race on Friday. He congratulated state Rep. Pete Gallego, while renewing allegations that voter fraud skewed the results.

“While there is no doubt there were improperly counted votes and improperly cast ballots, a full investigation and recount would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming,” Canseco said in a statement.

Original Post: In the aftermath of a close and costly campaign for Congressional District 23, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco has alleged voter fraud and is not conceding to his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Pete Gallego. Gallego finished 9,222 votes ahead of Canseco as of Wednesday morning.

“The race is not over, and it won't be until all votes are properly and legally counted," Canseco said in a statement the morning after the election.

Michael Stravato/Texas Tribune

Democratic victories across the nation left Republican voters and activists with the political version of a hangover last week. In the alternate universe known as Texas, they are blaming the Champagne.

Republicans here are celebrating another statewide sweep. They held onto huge majorities in the Legislature and the Texas congressional delegation. And at a time of increasing angst about their ability to thrive as the Hispanic population grows, the Texas Republican Party has fielded the first Hispanic U.S. senator from Texas — Ted Cruz.

“Thank God for Texas,” Chris Turner, a Republican consultant, said in a post-election speech to Republican activists in a conservative suburb of Austin. He said, joking, that the state might consider using stimulus money “to build a moat around our northern border.”

Nationwide, conservatives watched as Democrats scored come-from-behind victories in some red-state U.S. Senate contests and thinned out the Republican Party’s majority in the U.S. House. Victories by gay rights proponents and supporters of legalized pot did nothing to lift their spirits.

Kelly Connelly for KUT News

Travis County voters passed Central Health Proposition 1 this week, which increases property taxes to help bring a medical school to Austin.

But a group of citizens is trying to stop the vote from being certified or canvassed.

A lawsuit filed by the Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) says the ballot language of Prop 1 was misleading and made promises that the health care district is not legally able to fulfill.

“We want a federal judge to agree with us that the misleading and illegal ballot language contributed to the victory of Prop 1 at the polls. So the point being, if they had told the truth, we thing the voting outcome would have been different,” Don Zimmerman, TCTU Treasurer, says.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Now that Proposition 1 has passed, the University of Texas is moving ahead with plans for its new medical school.

UT officials held a press conference this morning about a possible timeline for the complex. University President Bill Powers said with an aggressive approach, the first freshman class could start as soon as 2015. “This isn’t off in the 2020s,” Powers said. “We might take a little breather today and start tomorrow on all the processes. We’d like to break ground within a year.”

If you were plugged into the polls, odds are nothing really surprised you about last night.

That's why one of the most dramatic moments of night had to be when GOP strategist and major fundraiser Karl Rove threw a bomb in the middle of the Fox News broadcast.


Williamson County released its unofficial elections totals early this morning, following a technical delay that required one of the voting machines to be read by a technician.

Following poll closures last night, one of the iVotronic machines at a Williamson County precinct malfunctioned and election administrators at the precinct were unable to access the results from that machine. Administrators called a technician to obtain the results from the machine. 

"The backlight went out on one of our voting machines and so the election judge couldn't see the screen in order to get it properly closed. And so we had a technician that had come down from Dallas to repair the machine so that we could get the votes counted from that machine," Connie Watson, Public Affairs Manager for Williamson County, says.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update (Nov. 7, 6 a.m.): The final tally shows Central Health's Proposition 1 passed 54.67 percent (186,128 votes) to 45.33 percent (154,308).

Original Story (Nov. 7, 12:12 a.m.): It looks like Austin is getting a medical school.

As of this writing, Central Health’s Prop 1 is ahead 54 percent (176,755 votes) to 46 percent (148,375). Numbers like that were enough for Prop 1 supporters to declare victory at the Driskill Hotel earlier this evening.

As part of Prop 1, the University of Texas has pledged upwards of $25 million annually for a medical school, while Seton Hospital has announced it will build a $250 million “teaching hospital” to replace the aging University Medical Center Brackenridge.

“Almost immediately, you will start seeing an effort to recruit a dean of a medical school,” State Sen. Kirk Watson tells KUT News. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Unease with the Austin school district’s decision to implant a charter school into an East Austin campus helped an East Austin priest narrowly defeat a well-entrenched incumbent by the razor-thin margin. The Rev. Dr. Jayme Lee Mathias defeated five-year incumbent trustee Sam Guzman by a mere 104 votes.   

"There are so many people in East Austin, Dove Springs and Travis Heights who feel that they have not had a voice on the school board or a trustee who has listened to them for so long," Mathias said in a phone interview. "It is our agenda to bring a voice to them to the students and parents.”

Mathias is a priest in the American Catholic Church of the United States, a progressive breakaway from the Roman Catholic church. Mathias says he will be the first openly gay school board member in AISD, a detail he didn't mention during the campaign but disclosed to KUT last night. 

Transcript of President Obama's victory speech in Chicago. Source: Federal News Service

Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

(Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

Transcript of Mitt Romney's concession speech in the presidential race in Boston. Source: Federal News Service

Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

(Cheers, applause.)

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you so very much. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you.

Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News

By 8 p.m. the mood at Opal Divine's was already celebratory, with Proposition 3 supporters pumping 10-1 signs in the air.

Members of Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), the backers of Prop 3 and sponsors of the watch party, were clad in 10-1 stickers. Drinks and laughter flowed freely.  An oversized projector at the back of the private room displayed local election coverage.

Former State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos – chair of the city commission that narrowly recommended the 10-1 plan, and a staunch backer of Prop 3 – greeted fellow guests. "I've been around elections for a long time," Barrientos said. "It's a weird feeling in the beginning. I never like to jump too quickly upon hearing good news, and it's been good news up to this point. If I were a betting person, I would bet that proposition three would win." 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Amber Elenz, a former broadcaster and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) leader, will replace school board president Mark Williams as the AISD trustee in District 5. Elenz easily defeated technology consultant Charlie Jackson in a school board district that covers downtown and the relatively affluent areas west and southwest of the urban core. With 20,000 votes counted, Elenz led 62 percent to Jackson's 38 percent.  

“What I’m really bringing to the table is a true embedded knowledge of District 5 and our school district,” Elenz told us in a pre-election interview. “I’ve been working directly with these parents and teachers for 13 years. And through that, you know what is important. You know how to work within the system, and really bring about change.”

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

In electing Gina Hinojosa to the Austin school board, local voters appointed a civil rights attorney who has pledged to challenge some of the educational overhauls championed by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. With 128,000 votes counted, Hinojosa leads Sooch Foundation director Mary Ellen Pietruszynski 69 percent to 31 percent.

“Our community has reaffirmed its belief in supporting our public schools and engaging the community,” Hinojosa said in a phone interview. “We have the potential to make Austin a great destination for public schools like it is for so many other things.”

Texas Tribune

Republican incumbent Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, R-San Antonio, was defeated by challenger state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, for the 23rd congressional district, according to projections by the Texas Tribune. The district encompasses much of far West Texas, from San Antonio to El Paso along the border. With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Gallego has fifty percent of the vote to Canseco's 46 percent. 

The race was among just a handful of competitive races for congressional seats in Texas this fall, along with Republican Randy Weber’s race against Democrat Pete Lampson for the 10th congressional district.

Canseco was a Tea Party candidate who won office two years ago, but lost re-election to Gallego, who has served in the state legislature for 22 years.


Randy Weber, a Republican state representative from Pearland, defeated former Democratic congressman Nick Lampson in the race to replace Congressman Ron Paul in the 14th Congressional District. With 51 percent of precincts reporting, KUT's political reporting partner Texas Tribune has called the race for Weber. 

CD-14 is in Southeast Texas, running from outside of Houston to the outskirts of Corpus Christi along the Gulf Coast. It was one of the few competitive congressional races in the state this year. The seat came open after Ron Paul, a former presidential Republican primary candidate, decided not to seek re-election.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Retired teacher Ann Teich defeated incumbent trustee Christine Brister in Austin ISD District 3 in North Central Austin. The win was not a surprise, as Brister had suspended her campaign weeks ago, citing non-life threatening health issues.

With almost 10,000 votes counted, Teich led Brister 65 percent to 35 percent.