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Live Updates: Election Results Are Coming In For Austin And Central Texas

M.J. Hegar, candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at Democratic Party Headquarters in Austin on election night.
Gabriel C. Pérez
M.J. Hegar, candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at Democratic Party Headquarters in Austin on election night.

It's Election Day in Texas for the March primaries.

Our reporters will be sharing updates on what they see and hear throughout the day here. Check back for updates.

RELATED | Texas Primary Election Results

11:22 p.m. Update: Wendy Davis leads Democratic U.S. House race

Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis will challenge Republican Chip Roy for U.S. House District 21 after taking a commanding lead in the primary. This is the first campaign for Davis since she was the Democratic nominee to be governor of Texas back in 2014. Davis knows she’s in for a tough battle to flip a long-held Republican seat. 

“There will be people who are dug in for Donald Trump, and they will dig in for Chip Roy, but that is the minority of voters in this district,” Davis said. “I know that with the resources that we’re raising to help voters understand what they’re getting from Chip Roy, we’re going to win this seat.”

Roy is in his first term representing District 21. The seat has been held by a Republican since 1979. The district stretches from Central Austin, down to San Antonio and west into the Hill Country.

– Jimmy Maas

11:15 p.m. Update: Biden is pulling ahead of Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary

10:43 p.m. Update: From Samuel King, who attended a GOP election watch party

Republicans gathered at the County Line restaurant on Bee Caves Road to watch returns and hear from Sen. John Cornyn, who easily won the GOP nomination. Between bites of ribs and brisket, they expressed optimism about the November election both locally and nationally. 

“The statistics on Cornyn are through the ceiling,” said Sharon Edwards, with the Austin Republican Women group. “I think the Republicans have a lot to be hopeful about, proud about, and we’re really going to go after it for the general election in November.”

The battle for the Democratic nomination to take on Cornyn is likely headed to a runoff.

9:44 p.m. Update: Laurie Eiserloh leads in Travis County attorney race

Early voting totals put Laurie Eiserloh over Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza in the race for Travis County Attorney.

Eiserloh has 45.5% of the early vote to Garza's 37.4%, with roughly 5,800 votes separating the two frontrunners who hope to replace retiring County Attorney David Escamilla. Eiserloh told KUT that, if there's a runoff, she looks forward to continuing the discussion of criminal justice reform and the backlog of cases at County Court at Law 4, an issue which has dogged Mike Denton, who presided over that court before he resigned to run for county attorney.

"I would anticipate those issues would would still be strong in a runoff," she said, "but if I win it outright, then I'm ready to start implementing that agenda as soon as I can and start laying the groundwork for when David Escamilla retires."

— Andrew Weber

8:42 p.m. Update: From a Bernie Sanders election night watch party at Central Machine Works

8:18 p.m. Update: From Nathan Bernier, on the State Board of Education race

A Republican candidate who calls President Trump a "child rapist" and was disavowed by members of his own party is leading the race for the GOP nomination for District 5 of the State Board of Education. The district stretches from South Austin to northern San Antonio and includes vast swaths of the Hill Country.

With 13% of precincts reporting, Robert Morrow leads his closest competitor, Lani Popp, with 43% of the vote compared to her 37%. Popp was endorsed by the outgoing incumbent, Republican Ken Mercer, who's held the seat since 2006.

The SBOE is made up of 15 members from across Texas who develop guidelines for what children are taught in the state's public schools. The Travis County Republican Party passed a resolution in January slamming Morrow's candidacy, saying he "has a history of misogynist and vulgar language," and "has made outrageous and slanderous allegations about President Trump, members of the Bush family, and Governor Rick Perry, among others."

– Nathan Bernier

7:56 p.m. Update: From Trey Shaar, who is watching the state House and Senate races

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez poses with his wife, Christine Garrison, at an Austin Democrats election watch party at Scholz Garten on Tuesday.
Credit Mose Buchele / KUT
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez poses with his wife, Christine Garrison, at an Austin Democrats election watch party at Scholz Garten on Tuesday.

Among Democrats representing parts of Austin in the Texas House of Representatives, most incumbents are running unopposed in the primary. They are Vikki Goodwin, Donna Howard, Gina Hinojosa and Celia Israel. Rep. Eddie Rodriguez is challenged by Joshua Sanchez, but Rodriguez is far ahead in the early voting results, 82% to 18%. Rodriguez is considering a run for the Texas Senate seat being vacated by Kirk Watson and has formed an exploratory committee. He said to expect an announcement "very soon."

– Trey Shaar  

7:23 p.m. Update: Early voting results are in from Travis County

Early voting results show Bernie Sanders in the lead in the Democratic presidential race, with 37% of the vote. He's followed by Elizabeth Warren with 25% and Joe Biden with 12%.

In the Senate race, MJ Hegar has nearly 40% of the vote, while Christina Tzintzun Ramirez has 26%.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore was in a tight race with Jose Garza, with 41% to 45% respectively. 

Sheriff Sally Hernandez looked likely to hold on to her job, with 78% of early votes.  

We'll be updating the results here

6:50 p.m. Update: From KUT's Samuel King, who's covering the presidential race

I'm following the presidential race and Republican candidates tonight. While Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have received most of the attention in Texas in recent days, Michael Bloomberg has spent the most money in the state. One of Bloomberg's most prominent supporters in the region, Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, told me that he's hopeful the high turnout in the county means good things for his candidate. 

"I think it means that we have done ... a really good job of educating folks, of knocking on doors, of talking about public education, talking about access to health care and all of the things that define everyone's quality of life," Travillion said.

But not every voter is impressed with the Democratic candidates. In Pflugerville, Angela Schnuelle voted in the Republican primary based on her opposition to abortion and support for President Donald Trump. 

"Not that there's not good Democrats, don't get me wrong," she said. "We need to have honor and respect in our country, and I don't think they've shown much of that over the last years."

Trump is not unopposed in the primary, but he is expected to win handily. Former Congressman Joe Walsh is among those on the ballot. Republicans also showed strong turnout in early voting, with more than 1 million people casting ballots.

—Samuel King

6:15 p.m. Update: It's starting to rain on people waiting in line to vote.

Lines are long at the Church of Christ in Hyde Park. As the rain started, voters took out umbrellas and were soon moved inside.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT
Lines are long at the Church of Christ in Hyde Park. As the rain started, voters took out umbrellas and were soon moved inside.

5:12 p.m. Update: More than 90,000 votes cast as of 4 p.m.

After a "rocky start" to Election Day, voters in Travis County have turned out. County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says more than 90,000 voters have cast a ballot in Travis County as of 4 p.m. – that's more than 10% of the record number of voters registered ahead of early voting.

Keep in mind, the bulk of Travis County traditionally votes early, and a record 116,000 voters cast a ballot this year during the early voting window during the primaries.

— Andrew Weber

4:28 p.m. Update: Are you still planning to vote today? Here's what you need to know.

If you live in Travis, Williamson or Hays counties, you can vote at any polling place in your home county.

Check out the map above to find one with a shorter line, if you’re in Travis County. Current wait times for Williamson County polling places are here. If you’re in line by 7 p.m, you will be allowed to vote, even if it takes another hour before you can actually cast your ballot. Not in line by 7? No voting for you.

We’ve gotten a few questions about why Democrats and Republicans are split up to vote in some counties. This is a primary election, which means parties are selecting their nominees to compete in the November general election. You can only vote in one party’s primary — but you can choose which one, since Texas does not have party registration.

— Matt Largey

4:09 p.m. Update: Long lines at the Ruiz branch of the Austin Public Library

3:54 p.m. Update: From KUT's Audrey McGlinchy, who's covering Travis County races

Tonight I'll be covering the race for Travis County district attorney, while monitoring other county races. There are three Democratic candidates: incumbent Margaret Moore and challengers José Garza and Erin Martinson.

Moore has support from Austin-area politicians, including Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, but she's faced criticism and lawsuits over her office's handling of sexual assault cases.

There seems to be strong support for Garza, who has been endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, so it's possible this race will head to a runoff in May.

— Audrey McGlinchy

3:50 p.m. Update: KUT's Claire McInerny will be following the U.S. Senate race Tuesday night

Tonight I’m monitoring the Senate race. Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn is likely to get the Republican nomination. The Democratic side of this race is very up in the air — 13 people are on the ballot.

So tonight will be pretty exciting to see who voters chose from this crowded field. With so many candidates it could definitely go to a runoff (which would happen in May). M.J. Heger and Cristina Tzintźun Ramirez have watch parties in Austin tonight, so I’ll be visiting them and their staff as the results roll in. I’ll be posting updates here and on Twitter.

— Claire McInerny

Voters wait in line at Randalls grocery store on Braker Lane in Northwest Austin.
Credit Julia Reihs / KUT
Voters wait in line at Randalls grocery store on Braker Lane in Northwest Austin.

3:26 p.m. An update on what's ahead from KUT's Mose Buchele

Tonight I’m covering the presidential primary in Austin. I’ll swing by Scholz Garten, longtime Democratic Party hangout, to talk to voters at an election night meet up. Then I’ll scoot over to the Bernie Sanders primary watch party at Central Machine Works in East Austin. 

How high are the stakes for the Democratic presidential candidates? Some have argued that Texas could be a bellwether for the rest of the primary contest. At very least the Sanders Campaign wants a win in Texas to blunt any momentum Joe Biden received from his South Carolina victory.

Austin, with its youth and left-leaning politics could help Sanders pull it off. But it’s not hard to see other candidates doing well here too. At the parties I’ll be watching for enthusiasm, who is showing up, and, above all else, the returns.

— Mose Buchele

2:29 p.m. Update: Don't read this while you're in line to vote.

If you're reading these words on an electronic device while in a voting location, it’s likely a poll worker will come up to you soon and tell you to cut it out.

There’s a good reason, though, you might get scolded for taking out your phone inside a polling place – and it’s not about election security. It’s about voter privacy, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says.

Read morefrom KUT's Ashley Lopez.

1:24 p.m. Update: What are some important issues for Austin voters? A thread:

12:19 p.m. Update: Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir expects a record-breaking Election Day. Also, avoid grocery stores — which usually have long lines — if you haven't voted yet.

11:38 a.m. Update: A good (second) reminder to check for nearby polling locations with shorter wait times.

11:34 a.m. Update: Olivia Sammon is another first-time voter.

11:28 a.m. Update: We're getting voter numbers from Travis County.

10:26 a.m. Update: Willing to travel farther afield? There are polling locations with minimal lines.

10:08 a.m. Update: Are you seeing long lines like this? You have other options!

9:27 a.m. Update: The Travis County polling location wait time map is beginning to update.

9:01 a.m. Update: Coronavirus fears lead to "rocky start" on Election Day

Multiple election judges and poll workers failed to show up on Election Day, seemingly due to fears of coronavirus, the Travis County Clerk's office said in a statement. The clerk's office has implemented emergency procedures and says most locations are up and running now.

Read the County Clerk's full statement below:

Super Tuesday got off to a rocky start due to multiple no-shows of many election judges and poll workers. To the extent that the Elections Office was given a reason, it seems people were fearful of the Coronavirus. Theoffice began implementing its emergency procedures as soon as it became apparent that the number of no-shows was a problem.The Elections staff and other personnel are filling in as emergency recruits. Most locations are up and running now and we’re continuing to work on resolutions to get everywhere fully staffed.

8:53 a.m. Update: 45-minute wait at this Manor polling location

8:50 a.m. Update: No lines at Givens Recreation Center in East Austin

8:08 a.m. Update: Wait time map issues reported

If you're looking at the Travis County voter wait time map, you may be seeing out-of-date information. The Travis County Clerk's office tweeted it is working on getting the map updated.

7:42 a.m. Update: First-time voter Frances Parra

7 a.m. Update: Polls are open. 

Texas, with its 228 delegates, is expected to play an outsized role in the Democratic presidential primary, even by Texas standards. Only one other state — California — will award more delegates (415 of the 1,357 total delegates at stake). 

We'll be keeping track of how Central Texans vote in closely watched races, including the crowded fight among M.J. Hegar, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, state Sen. Royce West and others to become the likely Democratic challenger to Sen. John Cornyn .

And in Austin, we're following the fates of candidates running for Congress, Travis Countydistrict attorney, county attorney and sheriff.

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