Right outside the Hays County Election Administrator’s Office, the signs of a San Marcos City Council run-off election enliven the holiday season. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The two remaining candidates for the San Marcos City Council await next Tuesday’s result in a run-off election that could be wide open because of anticipated low turnout.
Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commissioner Ryan Thomason is in the run-off with academic advisor Lisa Marie Coppoletta after he fell three votes short of the needed majority to win election to Place 5 on Nov. 3. The winner of the Dec. 15 run-off will take the seat being vacated by Pam Couch, who decided to not seek re-election, then signed on as Thomason’s treasurer.
Thomason received 924 votes (49.90 percent) of the 1,960 ballots cast for the seat, while Coppoletta took 504 votes (26.2 percent). Small business owner Shane Maycock missed the run-off, receiving 460 votes (23.91 percent).
Thomason said he is gaining new support while hanging on to the electorate base that almost put him in office, though he cautioned that it’s still not in the bag.
“I don’t know how confident anybody can be with such a smaller turnout,” Thomason said, adding that every vote cast is important because the race can easily be swayed in any direction.
During the general election campaign season Coppoletta touted herself as “the most qualified candidate” in the race.
“I’m sure there are some things she is more qualified in, like animal rights,” Thomason said. “But not more qualified when it comes to the budget, or planning and zoning … I’m the most qualified person.”
Coppoletta’s campaign didn’t comment on Thomason’s claim to be the most qualified in budget, planning and zoning. Asked for a response, along with other questions, the Coppoletta campaign asked for written questions, then didn’t provide answers, citing a family emergency and two planned events.
Thomason has served for three years on the P&Z, which addresses issues such as zoning codes, future land use policies and fiscal budgets. Thomason said his tenure on the P&Z has provided him with an “edge” over Coppoletta.
On the night of the November election, Maycock said he wouldn’t support either remaining candidate for the council seat.
“Both of my opponents (Thomason and Coppoletta) will have their work cut out for them, and I wish them both luck,” Maycock said. “But I don’t think Lisa (Coppoletta) is the type of individual we need on council … And I think Ryan (Thomason) is a decent guy, but I cannot throw my support behind someone that is backed by so many special interest groups. I don’t think when you’re backed by special interest groups that you can make independent decisions that a councilmember needs to make.”
Thomason, who is endorsed by realtors and public safety employees, said interest groups would not have undue influence on his performance. Thomason said people donate to his campaign because they “have things in common” and trust he will “do a good job.”
Said Thomason, who has lived in San Marcos for most of his life, “I’m not the new guy on the street. People know me, they know my family, and if they donate to my campaign, it doesn’t mean I owe anything to them.”
Thomason said he has not held any fundraisers for the runoff election, though he said he has received contributions. He said he’s bought new signs and sent out a political mailer last week.
Early voting runs through Dec. 11 at the Hays County Election Administrator’s Office, located at 401-C Broadway, every day during normal business hours.