by KIM HILSENBECK
In the run-off election between Wiley Hopkins and Amy Proctor for Buda City Council Pl. 2, Hopkins came out the winner based on the tally of 162 votes to Proctor’s 81.
According to the city’s elections web page, 129 people participated in early voting while 114 turned out on Saturday – Election Day.
By 11:30 a.m., a note on the door of the polling location indicated 43 people had voted. By 7 p.m., it was 114.
But the vast majority of eligible Buda voters did not cast a ballot for their city council member. Was it the rain on Saturday, the start of spring break or the lack of interest – or knowledge – about the election that kept people away?
One woman, holding the hand of a young boy as they crossed the street near city hall, said she lived in Buda but was not registered to vote.
A quick informal survey of patrons and employees at Mike’s Barber Shop on Main Street elicited surprise that there was an election that day. Just across the street, campaign signs lined the strip of grass in front of city hall. A sandwich board sign announced “Vote Today.”
Traffic flowed steadily during the late morning and early afternoon. Patrons visited the shops and restaurants in the historic district.
Despite signs all over town and several articles in this newspaper, only 14 more people voted in the run-off than voted in the January special election (229) between Hopkins, Proctor and former council member Cathy Chilcote. The town had a mayoral election in December and the general election was in November.
So perhaps it was voter fatigue that prevented more Buda residents from trekking to the polls.
Whatever the case, both candidates in the Buda run-off race, along with their families and friends, spent a good deal of a rainy Saturday at City Hall, respecting the rule to remain at least 100 feet away from the building where a small percent of Buda residents exercised their Constitutional right to vote.
But both candidates braved the weather to have a presence. They held signs, waved at passers-by, and shook hands with voters going in and out of city hall.
As of the close of the polls at 7 p.m., Hopkins was declared the unofficial winner.
In an emailed statement, Hopkins responded to a question about his reaction to winning.
“Very pleased with the very decisive election victory! Thank you to all my suporters (sic) and those who were instrumental in getting me elected,” Hopkins said.
He continued, “The Voting Citizens clearly showed they could navigate through the meaningless rhetoric of an election and choose a candidate that is able to work together with the members of the Buda City Council and Staff toward preserving the uniqueness of the City, while at the same time guide conservatively the growth and development, that will continue to evolve in the community.”
Amy Proctor also responded to questions about her reaction to the results.
“I want to thank all the citizens of Buda who voted in the Buda City Council Special Election,” Proctor said. “This election was a cross-roads for the citizens of Buda; two candidates with opposite visions for the future of our small town. Buda voters chose Mr. Hopkins’ vision over my vision for our future. Again, I thank all of the voters for participating in the election Saturday.”
According to city secretary Danny Batts, the votes will be canvassed at an upcoming city council meeting. The official winner will then be declared, thanks to the 243 Buda residents who decided to vote.