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Perry Wins, Austin-Area Democrats Take Beating

Governor Rick Perry election night victory
Photo by Chris Kosho for KUT News
Governor Rick Perry celebrates an election night victory at the GOP watch party in Buda.

Republican Governor Rick Perry easily defeated Democratic challenger Bill White last night. With 8,447 of 8,461 precincts reporting, Perry carried 55.03 percent of the vote to White's 42.21 percent.  It puts Perry in the historic position to become the first Texas governor ever to serve three full terms in office.

White did win the Travis County vote. The former-Houston mayor carried 59.8 percent of the vote in Austin, while Perry nabbed just 36.8 percent.

In Central Texas, four Democratic legislators lost their seats. Longtime US Congressman Chet Edwards lost to Republican Bill Flores. Hays County Democrat Patrick Rose fell to Republican Jason Isaacs. House District 47 Democrat Valinda Bolton lost narrowly to GOP challenger Paul Workman, while House District 52 Democrat Diana Maldonado lost by a landslide to Republican Larry Gonzales.

Another Austin Democrat is not completely in the clear yet. House District 48 Representative Donna Howard beat GOP candidate and radio host Dan Neil by a mere fifteen votes. A recount can occur if Neil decides to request one. His campaign manager tells KUT News they will discuss the possibility of a recount later on Wednesday and possibly announce a decision by the afternoon. Neil is scheduled to return to the airwaves of Austin's ESPN affiliate 104.9 The Horn on Wednesday.

In local State Board of Education races, socially conservative Republican Ken Mercer easily fended off a challenge from Texas State University English professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau. Moderate Republican Marsha Farney won her first SBOE election in a fight against another first-time candidate, Democrat Judy Jennings.

Austin's $90 million transportation bond was approved by voters, despite a late attempt by opponents to sink Proposition 1. Voters in the Eanes School District, meanwhile, rejected all three school bond propositions on their ballots. As KUT reported in August, the $150 million in proposals was broken up into three propositions in the hopes that voters would be more likely to approve money to build and renovate school buildings and purchase school busses. But the district's hope for fresh funds were dashed.

Find more of our Central Texas election results here, and statewide outcomes in the Texas Tribune widget below. Use the five icons to navigate the tabs.  We posted a lot of pictures from the night here.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.