After initial results came in for the Western Travis County district, former Austin City Councilman Don Zimmerman led Berry, an Austin police officer, by one vote. But after provisional and overseas mail-in ballots were counted, Berry flipped the scales and — with the finalized first count — leads Zimmerman by one vote.
On Friday afternoon, Zimmerman announced — just ahead of the 2 pm deadline — he will not file for a recount, thus cementing Fleck and Berry as the final two. Citing the over $20,000 cost which must be paid by the candidate to commence the recount, Zimmerman decided to forgo it.
In the parting press release, Zimmerman endorsed Fleck in the runoff. He stated, “Jennifer Fleck, who finished in first place with a respectable lead, is a hard-working and well-qualified candidate. She was the voters’ primary pick, and it makes sense for all Republicans to help propel her to the November General Election with the largest possible margin of victory to take back House District 47.”
The runoff will occur on May 26. On March 13, Governor Abbott declared a state of emergency over coronavirus, but stated that right now it shouldn’t affect the runoffs.
A spokesman for Berry’s campaign told The Texan, “We are confident going into this runoff. Justin Berry has the best chance to turn this set red. Since winning this in a “squeaker” we have seen a huge outpouring of support. Justin’s key issue, the homeless problem, has become an even greater concern with the coronavirus pandemic.”
The winner of that will face incumbent freshman Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) in November. Goodwin flipped the seat from Republican to Democrat in 2018.
Below, watch The Texan’s podcast interviews with both candidates.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a quote from Justin Berry’s campaign.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.