Dan Neil

News Briefly

Republican Dan Neil announced Tuesday that he would request a recount of the ballots of the race against incumbent state Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat. The Neil campaign, which expects the recount to begin next week, does not think it will take too long, said Zach Vaughn, a campaign manager for Dan Neil. “It’s a close race,” he said. “We just want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure that every vote is counted.” Late calls to the Texas Democratic Party, Travis County Democratic Party and the Donna Howard campaign were not returned by press time. If the recount comes up with enough votes for Neil to overcome Howard’s lead, Republicans would gain a super majority in the Texas House of Representatives, rendering Democrats powerless.

State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, increased her lead over Republican challenger Dan Neil by one vote — to a lead of 16 votes — after Travis County officials finished counting about 100 absentee ballots on Monday.

The final and unofficial results show that Howard was barely able to survive a Republican tidal wave that defeated 22 of her Democratic colleagues in the Texas House of Representatives.

“We want to make sure that every legal vote was counted,” said Zach Vaughn, a spokesman for the Neil campaign. “We’re going to sit down tomorrow to consider [a recount].”

Attempts to contact the Howard campaign were unsuccessful as of press time.

The win gives Democrats 51 seats in the House, preventing Republicans from obtaining a two-thirds majority that would have rendered Democrats powerless and unable to mount procedural opposition to bills.