Leander City Council election came down to four votes

During the May elections, all it took was four people to switch up leadership at the top of Leander City Hall.

"The people in the community who maybe didn't vote were kind of kicking themselves going, 'I could have been those four votes.’" said Esmeralda Mattke Longoria, former city council member.

Those four votes cost her big time.

She estimated it would come out to about $12,000 for the Leander City Council Place 2 recount.

She paid for it with campaign funds.

"I felt I owed it to my supporters to follow through with the recount just because it was such a close race," said Longoria.

She said the close race was not surprising.

"Due to the low voter turnout, we knew this race was going to be close," said Longoria.

Only about 10 percent of registered voters in Leander showed up to cast a ballot.

"We just had primary elections, primary runoffs, city council races, now we have a city council run off, so people were just kind of really tired of voting," said Longoria.

Her opponent, and now new city councilman, Michael Herrera, said it was surprising how close the race was.

"Your vote matters. It was disappointing to see the low turnout in the Leander city election, even with the fire department on the ballot," said Herrera.

The next big election day will come in November.

"In the November election, I would tell people they need to get informed and vote," said Herrera. " I know there is a lot of voter fatigue this year and in November there will be a lot of negative ads and flooding of our mailboxes, but that shouldn't keep them from exercising their right to vote."


The importance of voting, whether it’s on a national or local scale, is something both politicians can agree on.

"My race was a non-partisan race, and really local elections matter," said Longoria. "Local elections are really what impact people day to day."

As cliché as it sounds, Longoria adds this: "It really does show that every vote matters."

Longoria added that doing the recount and having poll watchers was also a good reminder of election integrity and how serious election workers take it.

Meanwhile, Herrera is looking forward to serving on the city council. 

Here’s a statement he sent FOX 7 Austin about what he’d like to accomplish during his term.

"The City of Leander has a number of issues to tackle from water security, Cap Metro relationship, and economic development.  I will be working on each of these issues in different ways.  On water, working regionally to find a solution for Central Texas.  On Cap Metro to work on maximizing that relationship for both parties and working on a regional solution.  Leander carries too much of the funding burden to the detriment of the City's infrastructure.  Economic development is where we can have an immediate impact, I would like the City to fast-track development of commercial and retail where it makes sense for the developer and the City.  This would be targeted and each party is held accountable to milestones.  This isn't picking winner and losers, it is getting the project done and online sooner. I want Leander to become a destination not a place you drive through to get somewhere else."