While Austin is often referred to as “the blue dot in the sea of red,” that trend may be changing somewhat, especially in certain areas of the city such as Four Points.
“Northwest Austin has always been a more conservative portion of Travis County,” said James Dickey, chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. “It’s part of why the 10-1 panel created District 6 the way that it did — so this area could have a voice that represented the previously unrepresented conservative viewpoint on the city council.”
Voters in District 6, which includes much of the Four Points area, elected conservative Don Zimmerman to the Austin City Council in November. Zimmerman received 51.21 percent of the votes over runner-up Jimmy Flannigan who took 48.79 percent of the votes.
“The success of the candidacy of Don Zimmerman and the strong performance of Jay Wiley in the race shows that Austinites in District 6 were strongly interested in having someone to stand for fiscal restraint at city hall,” Dickey said.
Three of the newly-elected Austin City Council members were endorsed by TCRP- Zimmerman, Ellen Troxclair in district 8 and Sherri Gallo in district 10.
A 2015 Zandan “Voices of the Austin Community” poll released April 16, conducted by longtime Austin pollster Peter Zandan surveyed more than 800 people in Austin and the surrounding communities that make up the metro area. His survey showed that 45 percent of respondents described themselves as Democrats, while 29 percent considered themselves Republicans.
The most recent election data shows that Travis County overall still has a large Democratic majority with a 60/40 Democrat/Republican split; however, that number is reversed in District 6.
In the 2012 Presidential election, Precinct 232 in Four Points had a 70/30 Republican/Democrat straight party split and a 66/32 Republican/Democrat presidential candidate vote split. Precinct 244 in Steiner Ranch had 61/37 Republican/Democrat straight party split and a 57/39 Republican/Democrat presidential candidate split.
District 6 also tends to be one of the more active voter populations in Travis County, according to the city’s demographic data.
“You’re seeing the emergence of a pretty strong Republican base in western Travis County,” said Austin Demographer Ryan Robinson. “When you look at the western suburbs like Circle C, River Place and Canyon Creek, they’re not only more affluent they’re also more politically conservative. That’s just part of the whole evolution of Austin.”
Dickey said the increasing number of conservative voters may influence some potential candidates in the upcoming election season.
“We predict that conservatives who usually sit out elections will look at the City Council victories as proof positive that Republicans can win in Austin, and therefore will show up in greater numbers as candidates and to the polls,” Dickey said. “This is true especially for the Four Points area, which is home to many proud property owners and business success stories who know how important it is that we fight to keep Austin affordable.”