Challenger Alison Alter defeats incumbent city council member Sheri Gallo in runoff election

Sarah Philips

After a contentious campaign, Alison Alter, former member of the Austin Parks and Recreation Board, upset incumbent city council member Sheri Gallo in a runoff election for the Austin City Council District 10 seat Tuesday.

In the runoff election, Alter captured 66 percent of the vote, while Gallo received 34 percent of the ballots, according to unofficial results from the Travis County Clerk’s Office.

Gallo captured 48 percent of the vote in the general election on Nov. 8, just shy of the majority she needed to win the election and avoid a runoff. Alter received 35.53 percent of the vote in the general election.

While city council races in Austin are nonpartisan, Alter was endorsed by the Travis County Democratic Party and ran on an anti-Donald Trump platform after the president-elect was voted president on Nov. 8. Gallo, while having never formally declared herself a Republican, ran for Travis County Commissioner in 2002 as a Republican.

The campaign between the two candidates was filled with contention over negative fliers and the fact that the current City Council, including Gallo, removed Alter from her position on the Parks and Recreation Board in August. Gallo said she did not believe Alter could adequately represent District 10 interests while running against Gallo. Alter originally refused to step down from the position when asked to resign, which caused Gallo to move the action through City Council.

Alter supported Mayor Steve Adler’s mobility bond, which voters approved on Nov. 8, and opposed two land developments, the Grove at Shoal Creek and Austin Oaks, the Austin-American Statesman reported. 

Alter will take office in January, where she will join incoming council member Jimmy Flannigan, who defeated Don Zimmerman in a rematch election on Nov. 8. As it was the only county runoff election, the race was expected to have a low turnout, with a little more than 10,000 constituents turning out to vote for the District 10 seat. According to the unofficial results from the Travis County Clerk’s Office, a combined 15.22 percent of Travis County registered voters turned out on election day and during the early voting period for the runoff.