The 29th Ward run-off race remains too close to call as of April 4 at 10:30 p.m. though incumbent Ald. Chris Taliaferro’s lead grew in the last half an hour.

With 95.83% of the precincts reporting, incumbent Taliaferro was 186 votes ahead of his challenger, community organizer C.B. Johnson. Taliaferro had 5,008 votes, or 50.95% of the vote, to Johnson’s 4,822 votes, or 49.05% of the vote.

When Austin Weekly News visited the two candidates’ campaign officers shortly after the polls closed Tuesday, both sides were confident of their candidates’ chances. Most of Johnson’s volunteers were decked out in candidate T-shirts and even hats, while Taliaferro’s volunteers were more casual. Taliaferro’s election party had catered food.

While Johnson was out of the office, and the volunteers declined to say when he would be back, Taliaferro was doing some work at his office before stepping out to mingle with volunteers.

The results remained close throughout the night – at one point, the candidates were evenly tied, and there were several points when they were separated by just double digits.

When reached by phone shortly after 10 p.m., Taliaferro said the election night party was wrapping up.

“I feel optimistic that I’ll win the election,” he said.

Austin Weekly News was unable to reach Johnson at press time.

The Feb. 28 primary election led to a run-off when write-in votes and mail-in votes were enough to reduce Taliaferro’s winning margin, dropping it below the 50% plus one minimum necessary to avoid a run-off. Those results weren’t officially announced until March 15.

The results revealed a distinct pattern, with Taliaferro leading in precincts in northwestern portion of the ward and Johnson leading in the south portion of the ward, with much of North Austin, parts of central Austin and the Island community showing neither candidate getting more than 50%. The precinct-level data wasn’t available at press time.

Igor Studenkov

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...