by ANDY SEVILLA
KYLE — Kyle voters decidedly chose Todd Webster as the city’s highest elected official in a runoff election Saturday night. The mayor-elect trounced his opponent with slightly more than 69 percent of the vote, 639 votes to Brad Pickett’s 285.“I’m honored, humbled, and I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity that you, and the people of this community, have given me to once again try and make a difference – create positive change in the community,” Webster told a packed room of supporters, family and friends shortly after learning of his victory.
Webster, who came out on top in a three-way race for the mayor’s seat in the May 10 general election, was forced into a runoff against Pickett after none of the candidates clinched a majority.
Webster apparently held on to that momentum, continued a strong grass-roots campaign and recruited a lot more support. “A lot of people put so much time and effort into making this happen, and as much as I walked blocks and I did my part, they did to. And I’m just really grateful for that,” Webster said. “… We just brought people together that wanted good government for the city of Kyle, wanted to accomplish something for the city.”
“I didn’t let all these people down – all the volunteers and supporters,” he said. “Truth is, going forward my goal is to not let the people of Kyle down, either.”
Webster benefitted from a monumental lead during the runoff’s early vote, garnering more than twice as many votes than the second-place finisher, a deficit that Pickett could not overcome. Going into Election Day, Webster had 493 votes already in his column to Pickett’s 203. Ultimately, 228 votes were cast on Election Day, and with Webster receiving 64 percent of Saturday’s vote, he sauntered to victory with a total 639 votes (69.16 percent). Pickett received 285 total votes (30.84 percent).
“I’m really grateful, and I’m hopeful,” Webster said.
Hopeful to build upon the successes the city has already enjoyed, hopeful to attract employers offering living-wage jobs, and hopeful for spurred economic development in Kyle, he said. “What really strikes me about (the election) is how responsive people were to a positive message – one that was very forward looking and about the things that we can accomplish in the city and what we can build upon,” Webster said.
Outgoing Mayor Lucy Johnson, who announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection, said she has reflected on what the city was like when she first took office in 2008.
“We’ve changed so much over the last six years, and I have to say immensely for the better,” she said. “I’m happy to see Todd Webster, a former council member, taking the reins. I’m confident that he’ll be able to continue heralding good change for Kyle in the future.”
Collaboration among council members is what Webster said it will take to affect positive change and transform the city into a booming economy to match the rooftops. Said Johnson, “There’s so many things we can do here, but it’s going to take all of us working together and building on all the successes that have happened up to this point.”
Webster said Saturday night he was thankful to Pickett and his family for running a clean race. He said he saw Pickett earlier in the day driving through with his family and that they looked like they were enjoying themselves with the election. He said that from his vantage point, Pickett made his campaign a family event.
“When they went by today they truly looked like they were enjoying themselves and having fun with it,” he said. “I hope they look back at it, despite of the results, they look back at it and say that it was something of a rewarding experience for them.”
Pickett was not immediately available for comment after the election Saturday, and he didn’t return a call seeking comment. Webster will be sworn into office June 10, and the city also will celebrate Johnson’s six years in public office with a reception following the meeting, as she gavels her council one last time.
ANDY SEVILLA reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.
COVER: PHOTO by MIKE RASTIELLO