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Adler Wins Austin's Mayoral Race

Steve Adler defeated current Councilman Mike Martinez in a runoff in Austin’s mayoral race Tuesday. Austin's first council under a new district system will have 10 brand-new members.

Voters inside Austin City Hall on Nov. 4, 2014.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Steve Adler easily defeated current Councilman Mike Martinez in a runoff for mayor of Austin on Tuesday, making him one of 10 brand-new members who will serve on the first council under the city's new system of single-member district elections. While the mayor is still elected at large, councilmembers will represent individual districts, and only one incumbent is returning from the old at-large council.

The mayor's race was all but over as soon as early voting returns were released showing Adler up by almost 40 percentage points. Martinez conceded before any vote totals from Election Day were even reported.

"This election does not deliver the new way forward,” Adler told cheering supporters at his victory party. "This election only gives us the opportunity to deliver the new way forward. There is much work to do to deliver the new way forward — and we are ready to begin today."

An eminent domain attorney, Adler becomes the city's first million-dollar mayor, having reported more than $1 million in campaign contributions in his pursuit of the office. 

Texas’ most liberal city was the longest major holdout on switching to single-member districts. Voters approved a proposition two years ago changing the council's makeup. Now, the first Austin council with geographic representation in more than 100 years is set to assume office next year. Only Councilwoman Kathie Tovo is returning — she won District 9 when her opponent, Councilman Chris Riley, dropped out of the runoff.

After Tuesday's runoffs in seven council races, the new council will have seven women members. Final, unofficial returns showed Ora Houston in District 1 winning by the largest margin; almost 50 percentage points. 

In District 3, a race between two siblings, Sabino "Pio” Renteria defeated his sister, Susana R. Almanza, by almost 20 percentage points. Both had campaigned on affordable housing. Almanza told The Texas Tribune earlier this month that the race between the siblings had "broken up the family." 

In District 4, Greg Casar beat Laura Pressley by 29 percentage points. The race in that district had been dramatic. Pressley lost the Austin American-Statesman endorsement when reports emerged that she had conspiracy theories on 9/11 (she told the Tribune her views had been misinterpreted). In return, Pressley accused Casar of not believing in God — something he said is not true.

In District 6, the district most likely to elect a conservative, the race was closer than many expected. Computer systems engineer Don Zimmerman, who aligned himself with Ron Paul while running, beat Jimmy Flannigan by a little more than 2 percentage points. 

In District 7, Leslie Pool beat Jeb Boyt by more than 30 percentage points.

District 8 was one of the closest races, with real estate agent Ellen Troxclair beating Ed Scruggs by less than one percent of the vote. 

And in District 10, real estate agent Sheri Gallo defeated Mandy Dealey by more than 9 points. 

Disclosure: Steve Adler is a major donor and former board chairman of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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