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Bill Spelman: In Re-Election Win, Validation

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Despite facing down six opponents in his Place 5 re-election bid, Bill Spelman did surprisingly well, winning a second consecutive term without a runoff.  

With 217 of 237 precincts in, Spelman collected 58 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor, Dominic Chavez, only garnered 19 percent.

"This kind of validates one of those things I've been thinking about Austin politics for a long time," Spelman told KUT News. "Even though there's no way you can be on the city council without making everybody angry at least some of the time, in the long run the vast majority of people will forgive you because they understand that. And because they understand you can't govern a great city and have everybody agree on everything all of the time. There's too many differences of opinion in a highly political place like Austin."

Unlike some other candidates KUT News heard from tonight, Spelman didn't think higher turnout was necessarily a good thing in-and-of-itself.

"The easiest way to get the turnout to come up is to find some big, bold issue that people have to line up on one side or the other of, and duke it out.  And I don’t think that would be really good for the city," Spelman says. "And that’s not what this city council has been doing. It's trying to find a middle way which incorporates all points of view, rather than pick a side, and then double-dare people to pick the other side. But that would get turnout up."

Still, Spelman says he supports moving city elections to November, as a charter amendment going to voters this November would allow for. "It's a good idea," he says, despite being one of the council members to vote against moving this election to November. "I was against the city council making that decision all by its lonesome … I'm very much in favor of putting it before the citizens in November 2012."  

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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