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The Brief: Dec. 17, 2014

In an election where Austin voters changed their form of city government, an outsider, Steve Adler, easily bested City Councilman Mike Martinez for mayor.

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The Big Conversation

In an election where Austin voters changed their form of city government, an outsider, Steve Adler, easily bested City Councilman Mike Martinez for mayor.

Adler took two-thirds of the vote to sew up the runoff election in which the attorney spent more than $1 million overall on his campaign. It was, the Austin American-Statesman's Lilly Rockwell wrote, "the kind of margin of victory an incumbent usually enjoys. Former Mayor Will Wynn was re-elected with 78 percent in 2006. Former Mayor Kirk Watson was re-elected in 2000 with 84 percent of the vote."

The election also was significant for marking a change from a council composed of at-large members to one based on single-member districts.

"Texas’ most liberal city was the longest major holdout on switching to single-member districts," wrote the Tribune's Bobby Blanchard. "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."

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.

The Day Ahead

•    Gov.-elect Greg Abbott is in Houston to meet area legislators to discuss legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

Trib Must-Reads

In Bid for Speaker, Turner Looks to Beat the Odds, by Aman Batheja

Murders Up, but El Paso Still Safe, Lawmakers Say, by Julián Aguilar

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Elsewhere

A Bush presidential bid could crowd out Perry, Houston Chronicle

Perry’s chief of staff backs up accusation made by embattled UT regent, Austin American-Statesman

Fired staffer accuses Farenthold of sexual harassment, Houston Chronicle

Couple ‘joyous’ over Kaufman County slayings, killer’s estranged wife testifies, The Dallas Morning News

Greg Abbott: A “straight-shooter” ready for bipartisanship next year, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Romo jumps into SD26 race, San Antonio Express-News

What Really Happened This Weekend - Sen. Ted Cruz, Politico

Quote to Note

"It is fitting that the first night of Chanukah falls this year on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The same spirit of freedom that inspired the Maccabees to rise up against a foreign empire motivated our Founding Fathers to rebel against the Crown on that fateful night.”

— Gov. Rick Perry commemorates the start of Chanukah in his own particular idiom

Today in TribTalk

Why Texas Republicans won Hispanic men, by Robert Hardaway

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep.-elect Will Hurd on Dec. 18 in Austin

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