By Moses Leos III
A new face will join the Kyle City Council after Kyle voters elected candidate Travis Mitchell to the dais by a wide margin in Saturday's District 1 runoff election.
Mitchell defeated longtime District 1 incumbent Diane Hervol 722-509, according to unofficial, final results.
Mitchell, who claimed victory in his first-ever run for political office, said with a few exceptions, Saturday's win was the "greatest honor of my life."
"The amount of people that have come to my side and in support of this campaign is overwhelming," Mitchell said. "I'm beside myself and thankful my supporters efforts were released today."
From the moment early voting results were released Saturday, Mitchell held momentum in the race and never relinquished it.
Mitchell held a 461-371 lead over Hervol after early voting. He garnered 261 more votes on election day to Hervol's 138.
Mitchell said he was "excited" when he held the lead after early voting, but was "certainly not celebrating." In the May 7 election, Mitchell, who trailed after early voting, pulled an election day rally to tie Hervol 510-510 to force the runoff.
"I know well what it's like to be down after early voting," Mitchell said. He added one of his goals was to increase the number of votes he gathered in the May 7 election.
Mitchell gained 212 more votes in the runoff election. The number of new votes cast during the runoff election was an "incredible thing," Mitchell said.
"It was just exactly what I set out to do from the beginning," Mitchell said. "I wanted to engage new people in the process."
Mitchell lauded the efforts of his supporters, who helped him draw more voters on Saturday.
"I'm beyond humbled and honored for what they sacrficed in order to win this chair," Mitchell said.
He also congratulated Hervol for her service to the community. Hervol was first elected to the dais in 2010 and has served two terms.
"It's no easy thing to be a council member," Mitchell said. "She served the office well and I wish her all the best."
On the opposite side, Hervol said she worked on having more of a presence in the lead-up to the runoff election. She said she was working on "being out there and vocal," and that she "ran a grassroots campaign."
Hervol said she believed Mitchell had the advantage after he hired Benezet Consulting during the lead-up to the runoff.
Mitchell said he hired Trent Pool, founder of Benezet Consulting, at the very beginning of early voting for the runoff. Pool's role was to get things “organized and I was operating efficiently,” Mitchell said.
While it was too early to tell if she would run again for office in the future, Hervol said she does plan to be “very active” in the Kyle political scene. She said she intends "to make sure the citizen's voice in Kyle is heard."
"I don't think it's being heard," Hervol said.
Hervol said it was "complete honor" to serve on the dais for six years.
"It's a complete honor to be a part of the city in this time when it's growing leaps and bounds," Hervol said. "Having the faith and trust of the constituency of Kyle is very important."
Making history during the campaign
Both Mitchell and Hervol said setting several firsts during the course of their campaigns were important feats.
During the course of the Hervol/Mitchell council race, the city experienced the first ever tie in an election, along with the first time the number of voters in a runoff exceeded the number during the general election.
"It's an honor to be a part of history, a part of this campaign, in Kyle's history," Hervol said. "This is going to be a triva question someday."
Unofficial, final election results – Kyle City Council District 1 runoff election
Travis Mitchell – 722 total votes (461 early and absentee voting) – 58.65%
Diane Hervol – 509 total votes (371 early and absentee voting) – 41.35%